Storm Arcana

Intuitive Visionary Coach & Founder of Arcana Academy

Tag: Aurora

I ♥ The Official Handbook Of The Marvel Universe

Black Queen by Mark Beachum

I used to pore over copies of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe for hours at a time as a youth.  To tell the truth, I still do.  However, the new updates are not quite as special to me as the original handbooks.  The art featuring the characters in the new books is rarely actually new and if it is, then it is the same artist featuring most of the characters.  Older handbooks had some of the best artists selected from Marvel’s Bullpen and often featured the characters the artists were associated with at the time.  Comic book panels depicting key scenes or costumes were accompanied by text that detailed at length the history, powers and skill sets of each character.  Nowadays, the text has to abbreviate so many years of continuity that the narratives often lose a sense of wonder (becoming mere lists of pivotal moments instead of a soap opera-like story) and the accompanying art in the character’s biography is shrunk to the point of being ridiculous.  All that said, I still adore the art from many of the Handbooks back in the day and wanted to share some of my favorites in all of their black and white glory!

First up is the decadent and diabolic Black Queen Selene of the Hellfire Club.  Energy vampire, sorceress and manipulator of inorganic matter (she could animate the very floor to wrap itself around a victim), she possessed a wit and cunning only matched by very few (I would count White Queen Emma Frost and the Enchantress among them).  Mark Beachum drew this amazing image and my adolescent self will always be indebted to him for the wild places my imagination took me upon its repeated viewing.

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Storm Sunday: Yildiray Cinar

storm by cinar

Today we celebrate the artwork of Yildiray Cinar, an artist from Istanbul, Turkey.  Although Cinar works for DC Comics (currently penciling The Legion of Super-Heroes), today we look at the art of many (and I mean many) Marvel characters he drew for Rittenhouse Archives.  Usually, Storm Sunday focuses solely on our weather maven (and she’s in here, I promise), but she’s going to share the spotlight with her Marvel Universe compatriots.  I will list the names of the characters for the uninitiated, but comments will be sparse as we let the art speak for itself!  If you have a favorite, let me know in the comments.  Let’s go!

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Alpha Male: Northstar

David Yardin Northstar

Northstar (Jean-Paul Beaubier) debuted as a member of Canadian super-team Alpha Flight in Uncanny X-Men #120.  He is now a full-fledged member of the X-Men and is also one of the first comic book characters to be openly gay.  Whether he is the first or not depends on whether one counts creator intent versus actual in-comic revelation.  Creator John Byrne has said that he meant for Northstar to be gay from his inception in 1979 (but then Marvel Editor Jim Shooter had a no gays policy in Marvel Comics).  Northstar didn’t actually come out until 1992 in Alpha Flight #106.   The portrait above is by extraordinary artist David Yardin.

Northstar John Byrne

Comicvine has a intensive summary of Northstar’s history, comics fan Eric A. Diaz waxes rhapsodic about the mutant speedster on Gayscape, and Uncanny X-Men.net has a great entry about Jean-Paul (including a costumes checklist).   Above, Northstar looks appropriately pleased with himself (the character has a history of being smug) in a fan commission piece by character creator John Byrne.

John Byrne Northstar457

This illustration by John Byrne was used for Northstar’s entry in The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (an invaluable resource for learning about the decades of Marvel character history).  You can also read more about Northstar and the behind the scenes stories regarding his depiction at Lonely Gods (scroll down until you see Jean-Paul).

northstarswimsuit1994

P. Craig Russell created this amazing artwork for a 1994 Marvel Swimsuit Special.  Strangely enough, the final result was altered before publication. Compare the original above with this image.  The one you see here is more playful, almost a little goofy.  It is rare to see Northstar at ease.  The final result is a more serious portrait, devoid of humor and whimsy.

northstar_beefcake

Joe Phillips shows the sexy side of Northstar in this commission piece from 2009.  It would be nice to see more of this aspect of Jean-Paul’s personality in the mainstream comics.  Tim Fish recently explored Northstar’s personal life in Nation X #2 (and talked about it for Comicus).  Marvel has a great post about it with selected art.

Northstar by Dave Ross

Dave Ross drew a more beefcake version of Northstar, who also looks more contemplative than usual.  Jean-Paul is not usually depicted as thoughtful or deep, but there’s always room for improvement!

Northstar_1_COVER by Dario Carrasco Jr and Mark McKenna

Here’s the cover to Northstar #1 by Dario Carrasco, Jr. and Mark McKenna.  Interestingly enough, Marvel chose not to mention Northstar’s sexuality at all in this four issue mini-series.  I remember being extremely disappointed in this series especially after the coming out hype from the Alpha Flight series.

Northstar and Aurora by Tom Burgos

Aurora is twin sister to Northstar and has an equally complicated character history as her brother.  Their storylines are often about each other (Northstar spent a lot of time searching for Aurora).   Check out this bio about Aurora.  The above image of the French-Canadian siblings is by Tom Burgos.

Mark Brooks Northstar & Aurora 382

Mark Brooks drew the Beaubier twins for X-Men Annual #1.  It was a monumental storyline  for the twins by Mike Carey, restoring them to their most basic character templates.  Check out a preview of the comic on Comic Book Resources.

Mark Brooks Northstar & Aurora prelim 380

Another Mark Brooks portrait of Aurora and Northstar, this one a preliminary sketch.

Northstar by j. bone

Toronto based illustrator and comic book artist J. Bone draws an awesome Northstar!  Jean-Paul looks beefy, but streamlined; cocky, but also heroic.  I say let him draw the character regularly.  Fans of more manly beefcake should check out Bone’s blog Man’s Adventure.

For more about gay characters in comics check out this Comics Alliance article, Prism Comics, and the Gay League!

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