Ah, love! What an emotion worth celebrating! However, this is the time of year in which stores are stacked to the ceiling with pink and red merchandise, reminding people that they must prove their love with material things. Instead of Walgreen’s teddy bears and hearts of chocolate, why not get you and your loved one a couple’s tarot reading? I am well versed in handling the concerns of partnerships of all kinds and would love to do a reading for you and yours. And if you are not in a partnership this Valentine’s Day, consider getting a reading for yourself! Exploration of one’s relationship with one’s self is always worth reflection. Email HeroicTarot*at*gmail.com to set up an appointment.
X-Men Art Card Gift Certificates (like those above) can be purchased at Swankety Swank.
It’s Art! It’s a Gift Certificate! It’s Art! It’s a Gift Certificate!
May true love find you all!
Every Friday at Swankety Swank, I perform Tarot Readings with an X-Men playing card deck. This deck was bought in the early 90s and contains artwork from the comics of that era, much of it by superstar artist Jim Lee. Wanting to do something more with the deck than play solitaire, and recognizing that playing cards are descendants of Tarot without the Major Arcana, I began to investigate how I might use the deck for Divination. I have been reading the Tarot since I was 16 and am well versed in the traditional symbolism. As an X-Men fan, I am familiar with their pop culture mythology. I found that the combination of Super-Hero iconography with the traditional Minor Arcana resulted in multiple levels of meaning to explore. As I compared the meaning of the cards to the characters placed upon them, I discovered serendipitous connections.
For example, Cyclops makes sense as all four Kings (each character embodies the same four cards of each suit) because he is the primary leader of the X-Men. However, depending on where he lands in the spread, he also invokes the energy of the Emperor. For her compassionate nature and story of sacrifice, Jean Grey represents the unconditional love of the Empress. Also, as the representative for all of the nines in the deck, she is also a symbol of attainment and renewal, which relates to her connection to the Phoenix Force. The villains of the cards include Mr. Sinister, Apocalypse, Sabretooth, and Magneto. They represent constricted energy and serve as shadow guides. Toad and Arcade are the Jokers of the deck and represent the Fool, but in a misguided fashion.
After experimenting with meanings for each card and character, I went to work on what kind of spread I would use for the deck. I used traditional layouts like the Celtic Cross for some time before creating a spread consisting of 9 cards in an “X” formation. The first four cards are placed in a square and represent You, Your Environment, Your Challenge, How to Overcome the Challenge, respectively. After the dual meanings of traditional Minor Arcana and Super-Hero are discussed, the Client is asked to pull four more cards that go out from the original four. These four bring more characters to the Client’s story and expand upon the themes and questions already present. Finally, after much investigation of the four corners, a card is placed in the middle of the spread, completing the “X” and therefore, the reading. More discussion is had and a final conclusion is determined.
One does not have to have a background in Tarot nor the X-Men comics to have an X-Men Tarot reading. If you possess knowledge in one or the other, that certainly adds to the experience, however it is not required and in some cases it is better if you come to the reading with a beginner’s mind. Regardless of your comics or Divination expertise, an X-Men Tarot reading can bring the gift of reflection into your or a loved one’s life.
The photo above shows an example of the “X” spread. You can see a powerful Professor X ties this reading together. As the Ace of Spades/Swords, he represents a powerful new idea taking effect! This is doubly powerful as Professor X is a telepath and the realm of the mind is his particular playground.
Original watercolor paintings of the X-Men are available when you purchase a Gift Certificate for a loved one. What better way to show them you care than by artwork and a personal reading?
Magickal Mutant & Sacred Super-Hero candles are a great way to activate your own personal super-hero energies! Select a hero that resonates with your Tarot Reading or choose another character! These meditative candles are also a great gift idea!
Call Swankety Swank to make an appointment for your X-Men Tarot reading !
We kick off today’s rather eclectic Storm Sunday with an image of our weather goddess drawn by Jim Lee. I chose it because Ororo’s sporting the short cut that Lee gave her after her time as a Genoshan captive. I adore Lee’s run on the X-Men and I’ve always thought he did right by her, artistically speaking. Those shoulder engines though? Utterly ridiculous. I think they were for some space mission, but I’m not sure. Anyway, love the blue and gold costume, love the short “blonde” waves.
Brian Hurtt brings the punk rock Storm in a fierce black and white image. Don’t mess with Ororo, she might cut you! I love the intensity of emotion in Ororo’s face and her ready to tumble stance. My only criticism is that her feet are too small in proportion to the rest of her body and the thick boots only draw attention to them. Other than that, I love this drawing and you might consider checking out Brian’s blog for awesome renditions of characters like Brother Voodoo and John Constantine!
I’ve included an animation cel from the 90s X-Men cartoon for nostalgia’s sake. I used to watch the heck out of this cartoon back then! I loved how Storm was prone to speech making before she knocked out a bad guy with her weather patterns. Her voice actors (Iona Morris & Alison Sealy-Smith) were also really amazing. I wonder how they’ll compare to Jill Scott when she voices Storm for the upcoming Black Panther cartoon!
I found this parody piece while searching the net for Bruce Timm. He drew this page for Amazing Heroes #15. Seems that Chris Claremont tropes have been a source of amusement for far longer than I thought. Click on this image and the one below to view them larger.
Timm also drew this header for the Amazing Heroes news section. The lineup is a diverse group of characters including (from left to right) Doll Man (in the bottom corner), Sgt. Rock, Blackhawk, Doc Savage, Morbius the Living Vampire, Mr. Fantastic, Archie Andrews, Wolverine, Silver Surfer, Cerebus, The Punisher and Black Canary (the only woman present who just happens to be fixated on her nails *rolls eyes*). What’s interesting is how early this image predates the Archie Meets The Punisher comic! The above image is from 1982 and the Punisher/Archie crossover took place in 1994! See you next Sunday!
My first print run of Princess Witch Boy totaled 200 issues and I sold most of those copies at last year’s Alternative Press Expo. Tonight I have finished adding the last touches on a second print run of 250. One hundred and one of those 250 are a special variant batch. I have used red staples and a cardstock cover on this new run, added spot color on a specific page, and decorated the covers with faerie dust (it’s not just glitter, keep reading). The result is quite satisfying and I am looking forward to debuting them at the event at Wicked Grounds tomorrow (today, really, but who looks at the time?).
The House of Major Production (that’s me!). This is how the magick gets done!
I colored three panels in the middle of the story with Prismacolor pencils in all of the 101 variant issues. Pink for the brain, magenta for the heart and yellow for the soul. Don’t you just love things taken out of context?
You gotta have friends. The generous Mr. Ken Kneisel was kind enough to help me in the production of the second run and stapled all 250 issues for me! Thanks, Ken! (Doesn’t his new haircut by Heather from the Wak Shack look sharp?)
This is where the faerie dust comes in. See, glitter is great, but when combined with the ashes from 8 years of bonfires that took place at a Radical Faerie Sanctuary the energy is so much more potent! This faerie dust is from the combined 8 batches that I made after attending gatherings with very magickal beings. I danced around all of those fires and I know the intention that went into those times. This dust is very much a part of my magickal toolbox, like Dr. Strange’s Cloak of Levitation is to him. It was with a lot of joy and love that I added this dust to my comics. I want to the energy of those times at the sanctuary to make its way out into the world. Any more information than that about the sanctuary and I’d be telling secrets. If you need to know more I suggest you do some research on the Radical Faeries. Please don’t consider me snarky as I am simply being protective of a gentle counter culture.
If glitter is not your thing (I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t be, but different strokes, etc) there are 150 issues without the spot color and faerie dust blessing. However, they do have cardstock covers and red staples! I was so excited to find red staples! How cool is that?
You can order your own copy of the special variant edition of Princess Witch Boy on my Etsy site!
The gorgeous image of Storm before you was rendered by the pencils of Paul Abrams. Somehow both lush and bold, Abrams’ lines depict a Storm who looks like she sat for a portrait but couldn’t help making the winds toss her hair around for dramatic effect. Serene and sensuous, this Storm is simply amazing.
This beautiful Paul Abrams sketch of Storm is for sale on his site for only $85.00! Now you gracious readers know a great gift idea for Yours Truly! Seriously, you must check out Abrams’ site for more beautiful art that you could have for your very own! Abrams’ has drawn almost character you can think of (And he takes commissions)!
Another gorgeous pencil rendering by Paul Abrams! Check out the level of detail in this drawing! (Click on this image and the ones below for a larger format).
X-Treme X-Men Storm looks commanding and regal in this image. Abrams knows his characters!
An inked version of Classic Storm.
And finally, a variation on the image with which I began this post. Lovely. Why doesn’t this guy have his own Wikipedia page?
February 6, 2010
seven to eleven
Live Wind Player Justin Timothy
Live Electronic Music with Stevedood
Cocktails for the Night:
“The Dark Heart”
“Do What Thou Wilt”
“Light As a Feather”
Experience the Magick of the House of Swankety Swank!
Dress in Your Dark heARTs Best!
Art on View until February 28, 2010
289 Divisadero St. @Haight
The following is an invitation from the lovely and talented Serena Valentino:
Wicked Grounds invites you to join us for an afternoon social that you do not want to miss, a gathering of local artists, writers and comic creators coming together at San Francisco’s first and only Kink Cafe, Wicked Grounds, located at 289 8th Street @ Folsom in San Francisco at 2:00 PM, Saturday January 30th.
So please join Justin Hall, Tristan Crane, Ted Naifeh, STORM, Greta Christina, Serena Valentino and the lovelies at Wicked Grounds, to have a cup of tea or coffee as well as some of their other scrumptious offering while you sample our creative wares Saturday, Jan 30th. We will all have an assortment of our work available for purchase, and we will of course be available to sign them, that is, if you fancy that sort of thing.
__Justin Hall__ is an award-winning comic book creator best known for his series True Travel Tales, Glamazonia the Uncanny Super Tranny, and the gay porn Hard To Swallow Comics. His work has appeared in the Houghton Miflin Best American Comics, Boy Trouble, Best Erotic Comics, and the S.F. Bay Guardian, among others.
__STORM__ is a San Francisco based writer, artist, oracle & doll shaman. He sells funny books at the Isotope Comic Book Lounge & reads X-Men Tarot at Swankety Swank. His one of a kind art dolls and mini-comic Princess Witch Boy are for sale at http://www.facebook.com/l/1f79f;stormantic.etsy.com. STORM believes that in a perfect world, Iman would have played Ororo Munroe in the movies. Visit his blog at www.stormantic.com.
__Serena Valentino__ has been weaving tales that combine mythos and guile for the past ten years with her work on the comic book series GloomCookie and Nightmares & Fairy Tales published with SLG Publishing. Nightmares & Fairy Tales: 1140 Rue Royale has earned her critical acclaim in both the comic and horror domain, where she is known for her unique style of storytelling, bringing her readers into exquisitely frightening worlds filled with terror, beauty and extraordinary female protagonists. Among her other projects, Serena is currently writing a horror screenplay with writer/director Phil Flores (of the Butcher Brothers), as well as three new graphic novels, Enchanted, Blackbird the Pirate Queen and Hells Café and has writtena novel for young adults for Disney Press based on the Wicked Queen from Snow White entitled Fairest of All, now available in all major bookstores. Visit her website serenavalentino.com
__Tristan Crane__ is a San Francisco based writer and photographer. Tristan’s writing has appeared in the recent ‘Comic book Tattoo’ project from Image comics, his first book ‘How Loathsome’ was released in 2004 to many reviews and general muttering; a second graphic novel, ‘InVisible’ with artist Rhea Silvan was published by Seven Seas early in 2009. As a photographer, Tristan specializes in erotic portraiture, bondage sessions, documentary-style photojournalism, and enjoys collaborating with a wildly diverse cast of models.
__Greta Christina__ is editor of the annual “Best Erotic Comics” series, published by Last Gasp Books and Comics, where she has worked for seven years. She has been writing about sex since 1989, and has had sex writing appear in numerous magazines, newspapers, and anthologies, including Ms., Penthouse, On Our Backs, AlterNet, and three volumes of “Best American Erotica.” She blogs about sex, atheism, politics, and other polite dinner- table topics at the cleverly- named Greta Christina’s Blog, gretachristina.typepad.com.
After making a name for himself drawing Serena Valentino’s Gloomcookie in 1999, __TED NAIFEH__ went on to produce several popular all ages comics. The spooky adventure series Courtney Crumrin follows a grumpy little girl whose great uncle Aloysius draws her into a dark world of witchcraft and creatures that go bump in the night. Courtney Crumrin has been optioned by Dreamworks to be made into a motion picture. Polly and the Pirates tells the tale of prim and proper Polly Pringle, who gets kidnapped by pirates, only to discover her own natural, possibly inherited propensity for swashbuckling. Ted also lent his artistic skills to a comic adaptation of the videogame Death Junior, about a little boy whose father is the Grim Reaper. More importantly, Ted co-wrote and illustrated How Loathsome with Tristan Crane. A stylish, sexy exploration of the alternative lifestyle underground of San Francisco, How Loathsome explores gender, community, and how they affect identity. Currently, Ted is illustrating The Good Neighbors, an urban fantasy YA graphic novel series by New York Times best-selling author Holly Black, about a teenage girl who realizes that she’s half faerie. Volume 3 of the series will appear in October, 2010.
I am a huge fan of Tom Spurgeon and of his blog, The Comics Reporter and I follow it regularly. Mr. Spurgeon (I feel weird calling him Tom) is articulate, reflective and intelligent and is perhaps the only true reporter left in comics journalism, in my humble opinion. I recently found an amazing radio episode from The Author Meets The Critics mentioned in one of his posts that features Al Capp and Dr. Frederic Wertham debating about the Schmoo (a creation from Mr. Capp’s ‘Lil Abner comic strip). If you click on this page and then scroll down halfway until you see The Author Meets The Critics 481010 29m59s The Schmo.mp3 then you can listen to this amazing radio episode! It is so awesome (and strange) to hear the voices of these influential men! Thank you, Tom Spurgeon for posting this link!
Dolce & Gabbana’s Fashion Show Winter 2011 is now on their site. You can view their Men’s Line here. I was hypnotized by the runway video and I love the clothes, but I have a hard time reconciling the inspiration for the line with the company itself. Is Dolce & Gabana mining the imagery of the middle working class for super expensive clothes? Is it really a celebration of “Heritage” as their backstage signs say or is this the theater of the rich? Can it be both? Perhaps nostalgia mixed with couture? Watch it and let me know what you think. Either way, I want those outfits. Thanks toDan’l Linehan for alerting me to this show.
I recently read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art and was dumbfounded by its simple yet profound contents. Anyone who claims to be an artist or wishes to be one needs to read this book. You will be amazed and it will change the way you see your artistic process forever. Bold statements to be sure, but meant wholeheartedly, just like the title. Many thanks to Kirsten Baldock for lending me this book
Today’s Storm Sunday would not have been possible without the help of Comics Historian Extraordinaire Ken Kneisel! Ken forwarded me a link to the Deviant Art site of an artist named Franchesco, and thus was history made! All I can say about the above image is WOW! Hellooooo, X-Ladies! I would like to personally thank Franchesco for putting Storm front and center and surrounding her with all of the women of the X. I think it is also a very nice gesture that he included Jean Grey by having Storm “holding” the holoempathic crystal ball. Gone, but not forgotten indeed! (Click on any image to see them larger)
Here’s the black and white version of the same image, showcasing Franchesco’s sleek and ornate lines. I like what he does with fabric and hair. Everything seems larger than life, almost fantastical. There’s not a lot of characterization going on here, it’s more like the X-Women have become glamorous Strepford Wives lined up in a never ending crowd, but he’s got Emma practically bursting at the seams and Rogue seems more than a little bit coy, and that I like. Besides, I didn’t choose to spotlight Franchesco because I was looking for personality in his depiction of women. I wanted to share his work because I found it otherworldly in its depiction of beauty. His aesthetic is strong and you can tell that he enjoys creating his work. This is a celebration of the super feminine, sparkling like the Fourth of July–Hey! Where’s Jubilee! (Grrrr…)
For you Jean Grey fans, here’s every incarnation to be had! They’re all screaming for some reason, but it is fun to check them out and name their place within comics continuity. There’s X-Factor Jean! Marvel Girl Jean! Black Queen Jean! Phoenix Jean! And so on…
Speaking of Storm and Jean, Franchesco was the artist for What If? #79, which asked, ”What If Storm Had the Power of Phoenix?” Here’s the cover of that issue by Mike Wieringo. I like what he did with the tiara to reflect the styles of both Storm & Phoenix.
Here’s She-Dragon #1 (One-Shot) Written by Erik Larsen and drawn by Franchesco. The aforementioned Mr. Kneisel remarked to me that she bears more than a passing glance to a certain Wind Rider during the X-Men Asgardian Wars.
There is a definite correlation between the hairstyles and the wings, that is true. However, I think She-Dragon’s attire was heavily influenced by a certain She Devil (with a sword).
Hello, chain mail bikini! The above art is by Frank Thorne who is known for popularizing Red Sonja. She was quite the pin up girl in the 1970s alongside Storm.
Thanks to Ken Kneisel for today’s post suggestion and be sure to check out Franchesco’s Deviant Art page! He has a lot of amazing art, including Wonder Woman, The Defenders, Teela and his own voluptuous creations! His site is a lot of fun, too! Cheers!
The title says it all. The lovely and talented Jill Scott will be voicing the character of Storm in the new BET Black Panther cartoon. I am excited about this for two reasons. One, who knew that Storm would be included in the Black Panther cartoon? It was my understanding that the cartoon would only explore T’Challa’s story from the beginning of Reggie Hudlin’s run on the comic. Two, Jill Scott rocks! For a lot of reasons. She a super-hyphenate. Singer-Poet-Actress and now Voice Actor! She has an awesome voice and I look forward to her interpretation of Ororo. Let’s just pray that she ends up with a good story with which to work!
Help your friends and lovers find their inner superhero!