Storm Arcana

Intuitive Visionary Coach & Founder of Arcana Academy

Month: August 2010 Page 1 of 2

Storm Sunday: Adam Hughes, Part III

Storm by Adam Hughes Adam Hughes is often called a modern master for his depiction of beautiful women and this post is just one more testament to his artistic abilities!  Whether he’s rocking the covers on DC Comics (like Catwoman, Power Girl or Wonder Woman),  commemorating the many girlfriends of Spider-Man or illustrating pop culture icons (like She-Ra, Chun Li or Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Adam Hughes brings the goods!

The above incredible image of Storm is from Adam’s Deviant Art site and the note from Allison Sohn reads, “Another piece from Adam’s upcoming sketchbook. The amazing thing, I think, about this piece is that there is no real color used. Adam rendered this one with both warm and cool gray scale markers. Together, they read like desaturated color.”

storm2Storm and Jean Grey from the Grant Morrison era.
The winsome Wasp kicks off this collection of Adam Hughes Women of Marvel art cards, followed by Storm (the next three), The Invisible Woman, Mary Jane Watson/Parker (the next three) and ending with Polaris!  Fantastic illos of these awesome characters!
storm3Have you read the WildC.A.T.s/X-Men crossover?  Adam Hughes did the interiors for issue #3 and his cover featuring Voodoo and Wolverine is simply stunning!
XbabesPhoenix takes center stage flanked by Rogue (also here) and Psylocke (also here)!  Be sure to check out this amazing Kitty Pryde sketch and this Black Queen illo (Jean Grey) for more X-Women goodness!

Spotlight on Paul Smith

Paul Smith WolverinePaul Smith was the artist on Uncanny X-Men from 1982-1983 and his clean lines and sharp design sense have endeared him to many comic fans.  Today we celebrate his rendition of many amazing characters from Marvel and DC Comics!

Above, we have a scan of an original Wolverine drawing from the ol’ Canucklehead’s entry in The Official Handbook of the Marve Universe!

Paul Smith Doctor Strange

Here’s a lovely Doctor Strange image, also from TOHOTMU.  I know I cannot be the only person who loves seeing art on the original drawing pages.  There’s something authentic and beautiful about art before the days of Photoshop.  Smith’s Doctor Strange is a lesson on how to depict such a visually complex character with ingenuous economy.

Paul Smith Mystique

Shape-shifitng bad girl Mystique is up next, reminding us what a simple yet elegant costume she used to have. I prefer this version of Raven Darkholme to her running around naked.

Paul Smith - Wolverine Pryde Spidey Commission

This action packed commission features Spider-Man fending off Wolverine, Kitty Pryde and Lockheed the dragon!  Good luck with that, Spidey!

Paul Smith DC Big 3

The Holy Trinity of DC Comics gets the Paul Smith treatment!  I love his versions of Wonder Woman (nice costume!), Batman (really looks like a detective) and Superman (who is a bit older looking than I normally think of him, but it works).  I can totally see this moment being taken from an awesome Elseworlds tale.

Paul Smith CatBatInk

Batman discovers Catwoman in the middle of a heist!  Selina is certainly holding that drill with an air of authority (You gotta love a woman with power tools)!  Who knew that she brought kitties with her on her escapades!  I certainly admire Smith’s take on this classic era, but my eyes keep going back to the safe door and how wonderfully designed it is.  So awesome!

Paul Smith Watchmen

The Watchmen!  I think Dave Gibbons would be honored to see this version of the iconic characters of his and Alan Moore’s seminal work!

Paul Smith JLA

I’ve always loved it when the Justice League of America is presented as a gathering of friends as well as a team of crime-fighters.  This image nails both aspects of the JLA perfectly!

Paul Smith Cyclops

Cyclops is seriously smashing stuff so hard that it doesn’t even exist anymore!  Smith’s illustration of Scott Summer’s Jim Lee designed costume is aces!

Paul Smith Gambit on XMenUniverse6Cover

Gambit,as featured on the cover of X-Men Universe #6, looks rough, tough and ready to tumble!  One of my favorite aspects of Smith’s art is his presentation of hair.  Gambit looks like he’s been running some product through those locks to get that bad boy look.


The Vision has the abilities to be solid as diamond or as intangible as a ghost.  Both powers are inherent in this amazing character study.  Spooky closeup of the android as the shadows play across his face.

Paul Smith Ka-Zar

Savage Land jungle lord Ka-Zar and his loyal sabretooth tiger Zabu pose for a peaceful moment while on patrol.


Great character studies of Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and (my personal favorite) Alan Scott.

I hope you have enjoyed these beautiful pieces of artwork by Paul Smith!  For more by this legendary artist, check out Leave it to Chance and Kitty Pride: Shadow and Flame. Cliff Chiang has an amazing homage to Paul Smith’s era of the X-Men on his blog (definitely peruse it for some jaw-dropping art).

White Queen Wednesday: Sara Pichelli, Part II

An Emma Frost Salon
by Ken Kneisel

pichelli1 Good afternoon, gentle reader. I imagine you might still be reeling from the unanticipated deluge of White Queen Wednesdays last week, so this week I will keep it brief. You might recall that I quite liked artist Sara Pichelli’s depiction of Emma Frost from the Pixie Strikes Back miniseries. So you can imagine my delight to discover that I had been gifted with her Women of Marvel variant cover for Uncanny X-Men #527, thanks to my awesome friends at the Isotope Comic Book Lounge! I love Emma’s expressive pose here. It looks almost as if our ice queen is overcome by emotion with her hand on her chest like that.

Before I leave you, here is a rather bizarre commission sketch by Sara Pichelli which features Emma Frost.


It appears that Emma and Storm (wearing their outfits from Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis) along with She-Hulk and Mockingbird have run into some trouble with Red She-Hulk.

That wraps up this White Queen Wednesday, gentle reader. I hope you join me again next week for more discussion of Miss Emma Frost.

Robot 6 Asks STORM: What Are You Reading?

I am tickled many shades of pink, mauve and fuchsia today as the newest installment of What Are You Reading? on Robot 6 at Comic Book Resources has me as a special guest!  Check it out and find out what Tim O’Shea, Sean T. Collins, Tom Bondurant and Yours Truly have to say about the latest and greatest in comics today!

STORM Sunday: Snap Judgment’s Superheroes: Origin Stories

Last WonderCon, NPR Producer Stephanie Foo had one question on her mind:  What was the first superhero that you created?  She asked this question to many comic book artists and I was one of them.  I found it rather serendipitous that she wanted to know about the heroes I created as a kid as I am drawing them now as an adult for my self-published memoir fantasy comic Princess Witch Boy!  A week later, Stephanie wrote me, asking for images from my childhood of Replica, Velvet and Galaxy Runway and I was super psyched to share them with her and thereby the world!  Isn’t the internet still a marvel at which to be in awe?!

I found Stephanie’s project to be quite extraordinary and I was excited that the pop culture zeitgeist of comics had reached National Public Radio in such a way as to warrant its own segment, but I had no idea about the level of comic brilliance in which I would be included!   I have been a fan of David Mack ever since my first issue of Kabuki and the art of Paul Maybury is super inspirational (I’ve even blogged about him)! I adore Miriam Libicki and have much love for my fellow compatriot in Writers Old Fashioned Stephenny Godfrey!  In fact, all of the creators involved are amazing and everyone shares some great stories!   Listen to the interviews and watch the artist slideshow which compares the artists’ childhood drawings with their adult work.  Episode 107 of Snap Judgment has more stories tied to the theme of Superheroes: Origin Stories.

I thought it might be fun to show you the images that Snap Judgment shared paired with their modern day representations.

Galaxy Runway

This was the first image I ever drew of Galaxy Runway. Eagle-eyed comic readers (or longtime fans of this blog) might recognize Gigi’s pose from a certain Classic X-Men issue that I used to trace over many many times.  You see, dear reader, that my Arthur Adams obsession is intricately interwoven with my adolescence.  There’s just no escaping it.  Who would want to?

Galaxy Runway & Mishkiva by STORM

And here’s Galaxy Runway as she appears today, fresh from her adventures in the back pages of SwankSpeak!, the magazine of San Francisco boutique/gallery Swankety Swank.  Gigi (her first name) is joined by her travelling companion Mishkiva.  Expect to see more of her soon as a new issue of SwankSpeak! will be coming out at the end of September.  At the end of this year, I have plans to share the collected Galaxy Runway strips online.


This is the first drawing I made of Replica, shape-shifting super-spy of the Interstellar Data Coalition.  She was traced from a drawing of Susan Storm, the Invisible Woman of Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four.  The image was from The Official Marvel Comics Try-Out  Book.

Princess Witch Boy #2 by STORM

This is Replica’s modern version as seen in Princess Witch Boy issue #2.  The cover above is from a Team Valor limited edition which has sold out.  A new run (with a new cover and more interior art) will be on sale at San Francisco’s Alternative Press Expo this October and available for purchase online after the convention.

Storm Sunday: Chris Bachalo, Part II

Storm and Gambit Variant 1I’ve blogged about him once before, but news about the upcoming X-Men: Curse of the Mutants – Storm and Gambit One-Shot has me so excited for more Chris Bachalo goodness that I had to share!  Thanks to Comic Book Resources for the preview!  The image you see above is the Variant Cover. The regular cover can be viewed here. I don’t much care for it  because the characters seem a bit static and there’s too much focus on the vampires and not Storm and Gambit.  I am, however, loving Bachalo’s Storm posing as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (does that make Gambit Spike or Xander?).  The vamps are all skulls in the background, and the image squarely featuring our lead characters.  The extra touch of our heroes’ names in blood below is a final crowning achievement!  This cover is simply bad ass!
Storm and Gambit 3 It’s great to see Storm and Gambit together again on their own adventure. Of course, it was Storm who brought Gambit to the X-Men after he met her when she was regressed to adolescence by Nanny and the Orphanmaker (Uncanny X-Men #266). So, sending the X-Men’s thieves on a mission to steal Dracula’s headless body is pretty smart writing, in my humble opinion. Add to that mix the fact that Storm was once under Dracula’s thrall (and Gambit hasn’t been exactly himself lately either) and this comic has the makings of a potentially very interesting story.

Storm and Gambit 2

Bachalo’s depiction of Storm (and Valkryrie) lead me to think he likes his women to wear hoop earrings!  That’s just an observation, not a criticism.  He certainly draws them well enough!  I do miss Storm’s lightning bolt earrings a little bit though.  Aside from that picayune detail, I am captivated by the sizes that Bachalo is choosing to make his panels from page to page.  There is a cinematic quality going on here that really grabs me and prepares me for upcoming action.
Storm and Gambit 4Like this scene, in which another X-Plane bites the dust, much to Storm’s chagrin. Surely she knows by now that such an occurrence is a tradition for the X-Men.  It wouldn’t be a real adventure if the transport didn’t get demolished!
Storm and Gambit 5Judging from this page alone, it looks like Gambit will be playing the comedic partner to Storm’s more serious role.  He has that luxury as he is not the leader.  Also, he met her when she was a child and his perspective of her will always be tinged by that.  I would think it would be hard for Gambit to reconcile the grimmer aspects of Storm with the younger amnesiac version of her self.  I do like this relationship that Gambit has with Storm because I think  it brings out her more human side.  We get to see Gambit crack the sometimes stoic veneer of Storm and glimpse the woman Ororo.Storm and Gambit 6

And the game’s afoot!  I love how Bachalo’s version of Gambit has not a hint of fuchsia on him (the all black outfit is fitting for a thief) and Bachalo’s Storm is still rockin’ the one piece bathing suit while covering her legs and wearing very sensible all-terrain shoes!  I am very much looking forward to this One-Shot!

Living the Lyrics: Woyaya by Book of Love & Love and Longing by stellastarr*

I’ve been home for a few hours after performing this evening at The Out Far Bazaar at SupperClubSF.  Swankety Swank and an awesome crew of many of our featured designers were featured in A Swankety Swank Fashion Faerie Tale penned by Yours Truly!  I got to perform two lip syncs to start the show and then I narrated in between fierce fashion runway moments by some of the most innovative handcrafted clothing artists in the Bay Area!  Everyone who modeled brought their best runway character for the fairy tale, bursting with creative energy as they worked the catwalk!  Many folks who saw the performance asked me to reveal the names and bands of the songs to which I performed and I thought this would make a great Living the Lyrics post.  I also think it would be fun to share the fairy tale that I wrote up for the event, even though it might lose something in translation from live performance to blog post.  The songs alone are worth sharing.  I will post the script and music relatively soon (hopefully with some pictures–mayhap a video?).
For now, here are the two songs I performed back to back last night.
The Book of Love song has been a favorite of mine for years.  In fact, Book of Love is in the deepest core of my heart thanks to encountering “Boy” and “I Touch Roses” during adolescence.  I learned about them the same year that I found Classic X-Men #3 on a comics spinner rack in a Kroger grocery store.  They are my favorite band ever.  No matter how bad a mood I am in, they make me smile.  Without fail.
The stellastarr* song is much more recent, perhaps it came to my notice a year and a half ago.  I wanted to perform in dandy circus ringmaster drag, so it was important that the songs feature male vocalists.I first heard a stellastarr* song last year when I worked at the Wak Shack Salon and we let our musical enjoyment be dictated by the whims of Pandora.  So, I guess that this shows that sometimes that can work out okay.  I like the Love and Longing song because I think it speaks of heartache and loss, but also to the nature of compromise within a relationship.  It’s hopeful in a strangely passive way.  Your mileage may vary.

Woyaya by Book of Love

Play song from

We are going, heaven knows where we are going,
but we know within.
and we will get there, heaven knows how we will get there,
but know we will.
yes we will get there, heaven knows how we will get there,
but know we will.

It will be hard we know
And the road will be muddy and rough,
But we’ll get there, heaven knows how we will get there,
but we know we will.

We are going, heaven knows where we are going,
but we know within
and we will get there, heaven knows how we will get there,
but know we will.

It will be hard we know
And the road will be muddy and rough,
But we’ll get there, heaven knows how we will get there,
but we know we will.
woyayadiyaya, woyaya,woyayadiyaya,woyaya, woyaydiyaya,woyaya,woyayadiyaya.

Love and Longing by stellastarr*

Tomorrow morning isn’t far.
I will be interesting
When you’re alone and feeling bored.
I watched a city cry,
I thought I lost you in the fall.
I thought of everything…
I cannot lose you anymore.

So won’t you stay?
I’m drowning in the rain.
Darling say the words
And I will stay.
I’m drowning in the rain.
Darling say the words
And I will…

Stay the night.
I’m just the trouble that you need,
I’m just a year away
From when the future swallows me.
And when you’re left behind
It takes a lifetime to be seen.
’cause something happened here,
Somehow we’re younger in our dreams.

So won’t you stay?
I’m drowning in the rain.
Darling say the words
And I will stay.
I’m drowning in the rain.
Darling say the words

And I will stay.

You’re different
And all the rest are the same
Oh, you’re different
And all the rest are the same
Stay the same.

Now something happened here
It’s not a worthless cause
And I said so I can,
So I can stay…I’m drowning in the rain.

Darling say the words
And I will stay.
I’m drowning in the rain.
Darling say the words
And I will stay.

So, whatcha think?  Did you like the songs?  Are you already familiar with Book of Love and want to share your secret love for them?  Know other stellastarr* songs that you think are totally more awesome than Love and Longing?  Holla at me in the comments!

White Queen Wednesday Extra: EmmaWatch November

An Emma Frost Update
by Ken Kneisel


One more for the triple threat, gentle reader! Marvel’s solicitations for items scheduled to ship this November were released yesterday, including one surprising and fairly significant Emma Frost related development that I am excited to share with you. Emma will guest star in Young Allies #6 for a confrontation with her former student Angelica Jones, also known as Firestar! The issue is described thus:

“Emma Frost guest stars! Just as the Young Allies have found themselves thrust together, the Uncanny X-Men’s devious Emma Frost threatens to pull them apart! Are her plans for former pupil Firestar sincere…or sincerely evil?”

Judging from the cover illustration by Takeshi Miyazawa, Emma exudes her trademark haughty and self-satisfied attitude as always, but Firestar doesn’t look too terribly excited to see Emma again. It’s been quite a while since their last encounter in Generation X #59, just over ten years our time while a significant amount of time has passed in the Marvel Universe as well. When last they met, Firestar was a member of the Avengers and Emma was still headmistress of her Massachusetts Academy which she had reopened under the auspices of Professor X. Back then, Firestar reluctantly accepted Emma’s remarkable transformation from villain to hero based solely on the fact that Professor X vouched for her and had entrusted her with a new crop of mutant students. But Angelica swore that she would keep an eye on Emma just in case she returned to her evil roots. These days, Firestar is running with the Young Allies and Emma is co-leader of the X-Men and self-appointed spokesperson for the entire mutant race along with her boyfriend Cyclops.

Based on recent events, I can only imagine that Emma might approach Firestar with an offer to join her fellow mutants on Utopia, the X-Men’s island sanctuary just off the coast of San Francisco. Just as I imagine that Firestar might refuse and will most likely have a few choice words for Emma as well, possibly regarding unresolved issues from Emma’s past as a villain when she attempted to brainwash young Angelica into becoming her personal assassin and bodyguard. Or perhaps not. Either way, I am eagerly anticipating this reunion and look forward to discovering the status of Emma and Angelica’s relationship in the current state of affairs.

Incidentally, stormantic favorite Art Adams provides a hot and bubbly variant cover image of Firestar for this issue.


He also drew eye-catching variant cover portraits of Magik and Captain America too.


Who is that masked girl behind Spider-Man? No, it’s not Stature of the Young Avengers, much as she might resemble her. Apparently she is Emma Frost, although not the same Emma you or I might be familiar with. This Emma is not an X-Man or White Queen but resides in the Marvel Adventures Universe in her costumed identity as the Silencer. I’ve never read Marvel Adventures Spider-Man, but apparently she is close friends with Spider-Man’s girlfriend Sophia Sandoval and used her telepathic powers to discover Spider-Man’s secret identity while attempting to come between him and Sophia. Although unlike our Emma’s successful courtship of Cyclops, this Emma wound up arrested for her trouble. But it looks like she is back.


Now here is the Emma Frost we are all familiar with, at Cyclops’s side and surrounded by all her fellow X-Men teammates. This is the only other cover on which Emma appears this month, and I actually really like this team shot. Mainly because it really feels like a cohesive team where each member has their own individual role to play, and not just a random assemblage of every vaguely mutant-related character you could imagine.

Well anyway, that’s all for the extras and updates today, gentle reader. I mainly just wanted to let you know about that upcoming interaction between Emma and Firestar and how excited I am to read it. I will meet you here again next week with more to discuss on the subject of Miss Emma Frost.

White Queen Wednesday Extra: January Jones

An Emma Frost Update
by Ken Kneisel



Hello again, gentle reader. Remember when I told you that Alice Eve had been cast as Emma Frost in the upcoming X-Men: First Class film? Well you can forget all about her. Because it is now being reported that January Jones from the AMC television series Mad Men, which I have never seen but a lot of my friends seem to love, has been chosen to portray Emma Frost in this movie.



January joins the large and swiftly growing cast of James McAvoy as Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Caleb Landry Jones as Banshee, Lucas Till as Havok, Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Kevin Bacon as a so far unspecified villain (possibly Sebastian Shaw?) and Oliver Platt as The Man in Black, whoever that last one is supposed to be.



As I said, I’ve never watched an episode of Mad Men and I don’t recognize her from anything else, so I am completely unfamiliar with this actress. But based on these photos from GQ and Vanity Fair, I feel like January Jones might do an adequate job playing Emma Frost. A few of the GQ photos at least establish that she looks good in white lingerie, which I imagine must be absolutely essential to the role. I am certainly excited to find out if Emma is characterized as a heroine or villainess in the upcoming film, and furthermore who she is affiliated with!



What do you think of this casting, gentle reader? Do you have any particular actresses in mind that you think would do our Emma justice on the silver screen?

White Queen Wednesday: Adam Hughes

An Emma Frost Salon
by Ken Kneisel


Greetings, gentle reader. This White Queen Wednesday, I shine the artist spotlight on Adam Hughes. Well known for his dazzling depictions and convention sketches of curvy superheroines, Hughes recently posted this amazing illustration of Emma Frost and Jean Grey on his DeviantArt page.

Emma and Jean are wearing their costumes from Grant Morrison’s New X-Men era and this art was originally commissioned as a cover for Wizard magazine during that time, although it has also been used on some Marvel merchandise as well. Here’s a comparison of the black and white line art and finished color piece.


Adam Hughes also provides an interesting insight into his perception of Emma’s particular psychology.

“Oh, a note on Jean’s finger touching Emma’s boob… in my mind it was less about Jean copping a feel, and more about Emma being a pushy Personal Space Invader. She’ll go into your mind with no reservations whatsoever, and she’ll stand way too close when she knows it makes you uncomfortable.”

I hadn’t even noticed that little detail until he pointed it out! Speaking of which, Emma certainly can be said to have invaded Jean’s personal space when it comes to Cyclops, inserting herself between them when she saw their marriage falling apart.

While we’re on the subject, here is another simply amazing piece of Adam Hughes artwork featuring Emma wearing her original White Queen costume from the Hellfire Club.

This piece was translated into a breathtaking statue by Sideshow Collectibles.



On his DeviantArt page, Adam Hughes has also shared some other outstanding illustrations and sketches of a few of our other favorite mutant ladies like this daring Psylocke, an incredible Kitty Pryde who looks so three dimensional that it’s almost as if she is walking right out of the page towards you, a smashing Rogue and a fiery Jean Grey from her brief stint as the pre-Selene Black Queen.

I hope you enjoyed these brilliant shots of Emma Frost by Adam Hughes, gentle reader! I will be back next week to talk more about Emma.

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