Every Monday for the month of September I shall be presenting some of my favorite artists from the short lived Marvel Fanfare series! Today we look at the cover of issue #40 by David Mazzucchelli featuring Angel!
In this story by Ann Nocenti, Angel falls into the life of a sweet little old lady whose religious beliefs are seemingly proven by his sudden appearance. It’s a sweet story that depicts the woman finding a new lease on life thanks to Angel (Who surprisingly doesn’t have any lines!). Mazzucchelli carefully carries the story with his linework which is both bold and intimate. There’s another page from this story here as well as a nice summary of Mazzucchelli’s superhero work for Marvel and DC Comics. The Marvel Fanfare page is immediately following the amazing unused (!) cover of X-Factor #16.
By the way, you are reading Asterios Polyp, right?
I first discovered Craig Hamilton in issue #40 of Marvel Fanfare and instantly fell in love with his rendition of Storm! I remember being a bit confused because this story was not presented in Uncanny X-Men and yet was still part of continuity (It actully explains an untold story before Storm lost her powers and features the nasty Mystique). I was a bit upset that there hadn’t been some kind of note in the letters page of Uncanny X-Men to inform me about this extra feature! I started to get a bit paranoid that perhaps other stories of Storm were being told elsewhere as well! This image is the back cover of Marvel Fanfare #40, probably because Storm’s story is told second. The first story features Angel and is written by Ann Nocenti and drawn by David Mazzucchelli! That cover really caught my attention due to Mazzucchelli’s bold linework and since Angel is my favorite character after Storm I immediately grabbed it! After flipping through it and discovering Storm’s story and Hamilton’s amazingly lush and detailed artwork, I was in heaven! I felt like this issue had been created especially for me!
Tomorrow I will share with you, dear reader, the cover and one page from Nocenti and Mazzucchelli’s Angel story as part of Marvel Fanfare Monday! This new feature will only be up for the month of September (Yes, we are starting a day early! How generous is that?!) as I celebrate the month of my birth! Go Virgo!
If you like this image enough to want it in its original form, click on this smaller image to enlarge it.
Check out this splash page! Having Storm’s face hidden in shadows really adds to the mystery and grandeur of the character! The shape of the clouds imply so much movement, giving a kinetic quality to the overall story.
The mutant goddess descends ever so gracefully from the sky! Check out the closeup of Ororo’s face! The level of detail is simply breathtaking!
Storm enters a club to meet with the nefarious Mystique about Rogue. Mystique’s trap for Storm is already set before Ororo even walks in the door. She knows Storm is too noble to do anything less than what is right and unfortunately that is why Mystique has the upper hand in this story. I’ve always liked Storm’s feud with Mystique and am sad that Mystique has become more of a foil for Wolverine these days. I’m not going to post any more pages but it is worth your while to check out this underrated issue for yourself!
Storm has been many things in her storied career: thief, goddess, superhero, leader, queen, and even sorceress (although the latter was an alternate timeline version of her; see the Magik miniseries for more). Many a comic has explored Ororo’s life as an X-Man, but ever since Chris Claremont told her origin story in Uncanny X-Men #102 (and further explored her childhood on the streets of Cairo in #117), there has existed a precedent to mine the stories from Storm’s past. Perhaps it is simply a fascination to delve into the humble beginnings of a character destined for greatness. I think it’s important to note that the “All-New, All-Different” Uncanny X-Men were already adults when they joined the team unlike the original 5 members, and I think that made their backstories much more fascinating, adding mystery to the characters (especially Wolverine, who’s past was a secret for a very long time).
Speaking of Wolverine, the image above is a scene from Wolverine: Origins featuring Storm as a child. It was cut from the final movie and has been rumored to be included with the extras when it is released on DVD. I’m curious to see what the scene was about, but not anxious to have to see that movie again *sigh*.
Chris Claremont de-aged Storm in a story involving Nanny and the Orphanmaker. Storm escaped, but was still a youth and began to live her life as a thief again (but this time, instead of Cairo, Egypt she was was in Cairo, Illinois). She later was returned to adulthood in Uncanny X-Men #272 during the X-tinction Agenda crossover. The above image is Gambit’s first appearance and is drawn by Andy Kubert.
The Ororo: Before the Storm 4 issue mini-series (cover by Patrick Zircher) also went back in time for stories about Storm’s past. I chose this cover to share because I love the Egyptian hieroglyphics on the wall behind ‘lil Ororo. It’s so iconic and a great storytelling device!
In recent issues of X-Men Forever, X-Scribe Chris Claremont is revisiting the concept of young Storm. X-Men Forever is a title that grants Claremont an alternate timeline of the X-Men Universe as if the writer never left (picking up fresh from X-Men #3). I found some annotations of X-Men Forever #4 here that I found interesting. I appreciate all the work that Paul Steven Brown puts into his articles about the title. The above image is by Tom Grummett.
I’m interested in seeing where Claremont takes this storyline. What do you think, dear reader? Do you like reading about young Storm? Or would you rather see stories that delve into the modern woman a la X-Men Worlds Apart by Chris Yost? I’m thinking we’re getting the best of (literally) both worlds since Claremont can write about both the young and the older Storm in his title (and yes, that is a kind of spoiler, sorry; but at least I didn’t tell you why the older one is not a Storm I can really get behind, although I love reading about her; you can read the title and see for yourself) and then we can read about Storm in the regular Marvel Universe (although her appearances these days in Uncanny X-Men & Black Panther are spotty at best (I suppose I should be grateful for that one panel of Storm watching the news about her team whole she sits at T’Challa’s hospital bed), but I do love Warren Ellis’ take on her in Astonishing X-Men). Oh yeah, and there’s Marvel Adventures Avengers where Storm is actually an engaging respected member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes! So, there’s a lot of Storm but also not enough (at least not in a cohesive,, scene stealing, centerstage way). It’s confounding! I’ll end this post by simply giving thanks that there’s this much to talk about! Let me know what you think in the comments below!
This week’s pinup is ripped from the pages of Marvel Fanfare #23 and is drawn by Ken Steacy! Storm is the epitome of severe style in this image, sporting a sliver of hair and some rather dangerous nails (I think this is the first time I’ve seen Ororo drawn with claws more befitting Tigra or Catwoman). I also think this is the first time that an artist imagined Storm in the salon where she got her hair cut. Although this image tells a wonderful story, there’s no way that this is how it happened in the comics. This looks like a very American salon and Storm was in Japan when she changed her look. Also, conceptually I think it is smart to have a framed photo of Storm on the wall to compare and contrast with the makeover, but there’s no way the salon just happened to have a framed photo of her on their wall. However, it works because Steacy didn’t simply leave the picture framed on the wall, he drew it broken with cracks in the wall and bits of broken glass on the ground. The scissors flying down at an angle on the wallpaper really work for me as a design element because they speak to the action of what has happened. This implied violence is in direct opposition of having Storm nonchalantly relaxing on the seat (not actually in it). However, I have a hard time believing that Storm would eat fast food, even just a soda. But overall, the whole scenario gives the character a sense of naughty fun that certainly captures the influence that Storm was getting at this time in the comics from Yukio. All in all, this a lovely portrait of Storm, speaking volumes about the character and the times in which she was being written (1985).
The above image is a pinup from a Marvel Fanfare issue by Bret Blevins (artist on The New Mutants from 1987 – 1989). I love the quiescent mood he’s established with this piece. Storm has taken off her gloves to hold a dove, finding a moment of peace for just a moment as the moon bears witness. I enjoy the kinetic elasticity of Blevins’ characters (especially when he draws Magik). The features of his characters are more elongated and exaggerated, like one would more normally find in animation. I remember receiving the cover of The Uncanny X-Men #219 in the mail and kind of freaking out about the cover. The X-Men looked so crazy, like evil crazy. The issue tells a story from Havok’s point of view and has a very “what is real?” and “what memories of mine are true?” kind of vibe (Psylocke, under Storm’s orders, erases Havok’s mind to protect the secret that they aren’t really dead like the world, at the time, believes). Blevin’s exaggerated bodies and and facial expressions really enhanced the mind trip aspect of the reading experience for me. You can check out what Bret has been up to recently on his blog, where he showcases many of his sketches from life model drawing.
Here’s the same image in its gigantic scanned glory in case you want to add it as your wallpaper. I think it’s a lovely image that really captures the earth goddess aspect of Ororo.
My re-reading the entire run of Marvel Fanfare this past week has me energized about a lot of characters that were prominently featured around Marvel’s 25th anniversary. The images from today’s post come from Marvel Fanfare #27 and are drawn by New Mutants co-creator, artist Bob McLeod! Click on the artwork for the actual size of the scans. Above, Danielle Moonstar communes with nature. The former co-leader of the New Mutants looks positively divine as befits a character who went on to become a Valkyrie! I would love to see that power returned to her in the recent relaunch of the New Mutants (written by Zeb Wells).
Here’s Cannonball, the other co-leader of the team, blasting off in the forest. I love the composition of this piece. The tree branches serve as a framing device, spotlighting the kinetic powers of good ol’ country boy Sam Guthrie.
Magik stands defiant, fighting demons in Limbo with her soulsword. McLeod gave Illyana Rasputin a fierce demeanor befitting her warrior self.
Speaking of hotheads, here’s Sunspot, also known as Roberto DaCosta making a Sentinel into scrap metal. Chec
The above image is a commission by Bob McLeod that I found while lurking on the X-Men Message Boards of Comic Book Resources. There’s always some interesting discussions to be found there.
Check back for more amazing pinup goodness as I post my favorite artists drawing my favorite characters from the pages of Marvel Fanfare!
I’ve been thinking about the Wolverine & The X-Men cartoon and its brief flirtation with the pairing of fellow X-Men Storm and the Angel. As Angel is my favorite male team member of the X-Men (and was my first superhero crush), I am more than intrigued by the idea. I like the possibilities that the interaction of an untouchable goddess and a milliionaire playboy could bring. Storm could teach Angel something about being more grounded, and Angel could help Storm loosen up a little. When you see them flying together in the “Guardian Angel” episode, there’s something majestic about these two beautiful people simply enjoying their powers. You won’t get any more spoilers than that from me! You’ll have to watch it for yourself!
In the comics, this relationship was briefly touched upon in a backup tale in a Classic X-Men issue which shows playboy millionaire Angel (Warren Kenneth Worthington III) aggressively hitting on Storm (Ororo Munroe) who is new to the United States and the superhero biz (as well as interpersonal relationships). They never date, but they do share a lot of adventures together, many of which take place in the Savage Land. Besides, at this time, Angel is still crushing hard on Jean Grey and flips out on Wolverine for hitting on her. Oh, the drama!
Help your friends and lovers find their inner superhero!