Storm Arcana

Intuitive Visionary Coach & Founder of Arcana Academy

Tag: Angel

STORM’s Dark Heart Art: Defender, Distortion & Cacophony

Dark Hearts Defender

This Thursday March 4th, 2010 is Divisadero Artwalk!  It’s always a grand time seeing all the folks visiting all of the businesses along Divisadero Corridor.  If you missed out on Swankety Swank’s Dark heARTs event, you still have a chance to experience the art that graces the walls!  Many of the pieces are reasonably priced (including mine).

Among the pieces on view at Swankety Swank are six paintings by yours truly.  The above piece is titled “Dark Hearts Defender” and features an Angel action figure crucified to the painting.  My paintings start as collages, composed of images I find interesting and then painted over multiple times.  I enjoy this process because I am fascinated with texture and I never know what images will still be seen when the painting is finished.  I used oil paint, oil crayons, stencils, and spray paint to achieve the final look of “Dark Hearts Defender.”  This piece is a 30″ across and 24″ tall masonite board with a hanging frame attached to the back.  Click on any of the images in this post for a larger view.

Distortion

Sometimes my process takes me to dark places.   I was listening to Nine Inch Nails’ “Pretty Hate Machine” album while spraypainting on handfuls of actual nails and screws on the painting.  After I sprayed the nails, I lifted the painting and let the nails and screws slide down the board, leaving trails through the paint.  This is my favorite from this set as I am happy with how the light has to fight through the darkness.  It makes the images that can be seen all the more special.  This piece is titled “Distortion” and is 30″ x 24″.

Hearts A'Flutter

“Hearts A’Flutter” has a more joyful appearance, but contains images of super-heroes fighting (Mary Marvel is in the upper right corner battling a giant robot hand as it attempts to crush her; Below her to the middle right is the Red Bee wrestling a shark!).  This whole painting was originally covered in superhero collage images.  Then I painted around and over the images with oil paint.  Next, I placed tarot cards over the areas I thought worked best.  Then I spray painted over them, blacking out the rest of the board.  I used heart stencils to cover the black areas to make it look like the hearts were consuming the images.  I limited my color palette to red, black and silver at this point.  Dimensions: 30″ x 24″ on masonite board.

Cacaphony

“Cacophony” was approached in a similar manner to “Distortion,” but I used silver spray paint over the black and left more images viewable.  That’s Airboy smack dab in the middle.  I had a lot of fun using the stacks of nails to create a visual representing conflict.  This painting has more texture areas than some of the other pieces due to a thicker application of oil paint.  Its dimensions are also 30″ x 24″ on masonite board.

La Charme

This piece, titled “La Charme,” has undergone many transformations before it settled on its final form.  I was interested in building up texture with collage and found objects (a combination of glitter, plastic gems and false eyelashes) before I painted the piece with nail polish and acrylic paint.  I imitated Jackson Pollock‘s process with the nail polish and applied the acrylic in washes.  This painting is 12″ x 12″ on stretched canvas and the heart centerpiece was added near the end of the process.  I was interested in creating the illusion of a heart shaped confectionery with the same appeal of a small cake.

8 of Hearts

I explored my intention of creating a confectionery illusion as a painting much more with this piece, titled “8 of Hearts.”  The small cakes were originally sponges cut into the shape of hearts and red acrylic paint was applied generously on top of them.  This was after I glued them around the found objects already on the painting (there’s Snow White and Dollywood magnets, plastic gems and the metal balls from nail polish bottles embedded in the piece).  Candy sprinkles were added after I sprayed a layer of lacquer over the red paint and then sealed with lacquer as well.  The red heart cakes are about an inch thick.  Like “La Charme”, this piece went through many iterations before it became the mostly pink, white and red painting you see now.  It is also 12″ x 12″ on stretched canvas.

All of these pieces can be viewed in person at Swankety Swank (289 Divisadero St, between Haight & Page) and are for sale at very reasonable prices.

My Favorite Dead Marvel Characters: Darkstar

One of my favorite series is The Champions. Yeah, it didn’t last very long (17 issues), but it had the most eclectic lineup! I mean, Ghost Rider, Black Widow, Angel, Iceman and Hercules! How many other comics had a demi-god, a Russian spy, a supernatural biker and two mutants? None. This lineup is replaced as my favorite much later by The New Defenders which had Angel and Iceman plus Beast, Valkyrie, Moondragon, Gargoyle and Cloud (as well as appearances by Hellcat and Son of Satan). You can Google all of those peeps on your own, dear reader, but here’s two amazing covers by Kevin Nowlan to whet your appetite.The above image is by John Byrne and George Tuska. If you scroll on down, you can see the full page that it’s taken from. You gotta love how Darkstar is just tossing the clothes to the ground while she changes in mid-air. Um, girl, your powers are summoning palpable darkness, remember? You don’t have to do that. You could summon a disk of darkforce and toss your clothes in the Darkforce Dimension or teleport there yourself and come back in costume. I bet Laynia’s just flustered by Ghost Rider’s rudeness. She’s certainly internalizing in this panel.

Darkstar first appeared in The Champions #7 (written by Tony Isabella & drawn by George Tuska) along with a task force from the USSR (consisting of her brother Vanguard and Ursa Major) to bring Black Widow back to their homeland. Instead, she turned her back on the Soviet Super Soldiers and joined the Champions. From the moment I first saw her wield her darkforce powers I fell in love with her just like Iceman did. Things didn’t work out for Laynia and Bobby, but astute readers already know about Iceman’s difficulties in sustaining a meaningful relationship (see Judy Harmon from his first appearance, Zelda, Lorna Dane, Opal, and recently Mystique).

Anyway, this post is supposed to be about Darkstar. Why do I love her? Well, first of all, there’s her power set. Her mutant connection to the Darkforce allows her to create energy, to make that energy solid, to teleport and to fly. She’s like a Green Lantern without the ring and Nightcrawler without the stench. Second, I love the tiara. Darkstar joins the list of tiara wearing characters that are near and dear to me such as Snowbird, Storm, Scarlet Witch and the Enchantress. Third, her relationship with her brother Vanguard is intriguing. I liked to think about what it would be like if I was able to be a superhero with my sister. Their relationship seemed really solid to me. Fourth, the color of hair is unique. I used to draw with Prismacolor pencils and the closest color I could find when I drew Darkstar was called ecru. Not white, not blond, but something else altogether. It’s even more fascinating when you realize her brother has red hair. Fifth, the costume. It’s clean, simple and elegant. The star design is classic. They really messed it up when they made it all bubbly later on (with the white color instead of the ecru that matches her hair).     

I wish I could find some scans of Darkstar as drawn by Marc Silvestri from The X-Men Vs. The Avengers mini-series. That was a great mini until Silvestri was taken off of issue 4 to work on Uncanny X-Men. No offense to the artist that pencilled that last issue, but I had fallen in love with those pencils and it hurt my adolescent heart a little to see him go. He just made Darkstar look so, what’s the word, witchy. I like it when energy directing characters have really interesting Dr. Strange-ish spell-casting hands and Silvestri does that really well (He would go on to refine what I’m talking about with Storm, Dazzler and Madelyne Pryor, especially in Inferno).
Well, the title of this post says the most important thing about Laynia that really sucks. She’s dead. For years I’ve made sure I picked up any comic book that Darkstar and her Soviet friends made an appearance in and I was so excited to hear that she was going to be a member in the X-Corporation and written by Grant Morrison, no less. And then in some really murky artwork, she’s possessed by an entity and killed by a pompous French assassin named Fantomex. Seriously. I mean, I couldn’t even tell what was happening in those pages. And they buried her in Paris! I know that’s the division of X-Corporation that she was working for, but why wasn’t her body sent to Russia? Where was her brother?
Someday I will have to search out this Contest of Champions limited series and and see how Darkstar fares against her opponent. Anyone got any reading copies they don’t want anymore, let me know. Oh look, there’s the back of Israel’s champion, Sabra (she’s the one that looks like she’s a mass of blue quills). This cover’s composition is not the best. Of all the perspectives that could have been drawn, we have to look over the shoulder of the robed figure (Death?)

So here we learn that Ghost Rider might have Asperger’s Syndrome. I love how Angel is making excuses for him. It was interactions like these that made reading The Champions fun.

So, now that Laynia has been replaced by a redhead, the likelihood of seeing the original Darkstar return from her unceremonious death is close to nil. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this week’s Wolverine: First Class (#7) has a tale featuring Darkstar and her brother Vanguard in part one of a two part story! So, thank you Fred Van Lente!

It still sucks that any stories about Laynia will have to be set in the past though. I guess I’ll have to go reread her old adventures. Anyone got a complete run of The Champions?

Storm Sunday: Craig Hamilton

I remember picking up an issue of Marvel Fanfare simply because it had Angel on the cover and being pleasantly surprised to discover that the second story starred Storm! The first story was written by Ann Nocenti and drawn by David Mazzucchelli and the second one was written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Craig Hamilton. It featured a punk rock mohawk Storm meeting with Mystique to discuss Rogue’s future. The story took place before Storm was hit with the neutralizer that stripped her of her powers (which was meant for Rogue). In fact, we learn that Mystique (through the help of her partner Destiny) knew that whoever tried to help Rogue (who had run away to Mississippi) would suffer the fate meant for her. Mystique, of course, did not reveal this to her hated enemy Storm. I remembered loving the art and wished I could find more than just pinups (like this one of Scarlet Witch & Vision) in the back of future Marvel Fanfare issues. My online searches did not come across much online presence for Craig besides this Art Gallery and this YouTube video interview.

The above drawing is unique because it’s a marker sketch and it shows Storm in an evening gown with opera sleeves like you’d expect from the Black Queen. The addition of the punk bracelets is a nice touch because it adds an edgy element to the elegance of the fashion. I also like how Craig chose to title it “Ororo” instead of “Storm,” making this drawing more of a character study than superhero portrait.

The Uncanny X-Men by Michael Cho

I came across this super cool image of the first five X-Men (plus the Professor, natch!) a while back and had to share! You can see it colored in red on Michael Cho’s blog here.

Gay, Gay, Gay

So, I’m still reeling from my first San Francisco PRIDE Weekend and now everything I look at has a prismatic glow to it. In honor of this life-changing event, I’d like to share some comic images that I’ve come across that seemed pretty gay to me. They’re kinda tame by some folks standards, but I’m warning you now that the image drawn by Amanda Conner might not be safe for work or whatever.
First we start off with a pretty in pink Star Wars trinity. Isn’t Darth Maul cuh-yute?
And this is supposed to be Angel and Xander (you know, from Buffy).
Batman and Superman have a moment. Just breaks my heart. Alfred is so supportive, isn’t he?
And another Superman and Batman moment, with a bit more hanky panky. You gotta love Amanda Conner. She is a force of awesome unto herself!
And for good measure, here’s Northstar, Marvel’s very own pointy eared French-Canadian mutant homosexual. He makes everything gayer, even without his crazy twin sister, Aurora.

The 2nd “Wolverine & The X-Men” Trailer

[brightcove vid=1624825722&exp=1620640979&w=486&h=412]

Now THIS looks exciting! All of my fears about Storm being a no-show are gone and I think this may be my favorite cartoon incarnation of our lovely weather goddess ever! I dunno yet, tho. Won’t know until I hear her voice actor. And how ’bout that roundhouse kick that Shadowcat shows off after phasing through some guy? Sweet! I’m a big fan of the lineup overall, although I wish there was one more female character (maybe Rogue will eventually join?). Feels like a good blend of the original five (sorry, Jean *snif*) and the All-New, All-Different crew (sorry, Banshee *cries*). It’s also nice to see Emma Frost immortalized in cartoon form as a heroine. She had a small cameo in the very first X-Men cartoon movie “Pryde of the X-Men,” but she looked pretty bad. I mean, well, everyone did. This, however, looks amazing! I am going to have to fight for a seat at San Diego to see it!

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