Storm Arcana

Intuitive Visionary Coach & Founder of Arcana Academy

Tag: Black Queen

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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White Queen Wednesday: Selene

An Emma Frost Salon
by Ken Kneisel


Good afternoon, gentle reader. Today I direct your attention to “The Sport of Queens”, a short story from X-Men Unlimited #33 written by Will Pfeifer and illustrated by the legendary Esteban Maroto who I am primarily familiar with for having previously drawn a lot of Vampirella comics back in the Seventies. This story stars Emma Frost during her time as the White Queen of the Hellfire Club and her rival Black Queen, the immortal sorceress and psionic vampire Selene.

As the story starts, Selene has grown bored with the obscene wealth and privilege associated with Hellfire Club membership when Emma espies a brutal brawny Hellfire Club guard on the monitor screen who captures both her and Selene’s attention.


Emma proposes a gentlewomanly wager to cure Selene’s boredom. Emma bets Selene that she can’t compel the guard to declare his love for her before Emma. The ground rules are set, no magic and no mutant powers are to be used, and the game is on!


Emma and Selene both ask Chet, the burly Hellfire Club guard, out to dinner and take him to fancy restaurants that he could never afford. They also show him Hellfire Club secrets and give him access to some of the extraordinary conspiracies that the Club has a hand in.


When they both discover that their competitor is playing dirty, they swear that the gloves are off and they will each do whatever it takes to win.



Naturally this means that Selene and Emma both cheat and break the ground rules by using their sorcery and mutant telepathic powers respectively on poor unsuspecting Chet.

I love Emma’s dramatic gown in this panel, with it’s personalized crowned E and WQ logos which stand for Emma and White Queen of course.


Speaking of lovely and dramatic gowns, I also love the formal evening wear sported by Emma and Selene in these next few panels with their matching but not identical dresses and Selene’s long black feather cape complimenting Emma’s sweeping white fur. It really gives a sense of the debauched decadence of Emma’s old Hellfire Club days.


Emma and Selene’s rivalry has a definite Betty and Veronica kind of vibe in this story with their petty squabbling over a boy’s affection. Although I don’t recall any Betty and Veronica stories that ended with Archie’s head exploding from combined magical and telepathic backlash.


As our tale ends, Emma cleverly asserts that she won the wager since the bet was that Selene could not convince Chet to declare his love for her first and he won’t be declaring anything to anyone in his present state. I like how Selene is at first infuriated by Emma’s temerity but that quickly gives way to a grudging respect and camaraderie between the two villainesses.



Well that’s all for this White Queen Wednesday, gentle reader. I hope you enjoyed this look back at one of the ways Emma kept herself entertained during her tenure with the Hellfire Club. Until next week…

Mutant Watch: I Can’t Wait For These Comics!

The Scarlet Witch is one of my favorite Marvel Super-Heroes and I am so excited about her return being written by the creator of the Young Avengers Allan Heinberg and drawn by Jim Cheung!  I am in a highly excited state of anticipation for this story!
Wolfsbane returns to X-Factor! There’s gonna be drama! ‘Nuff said!
Wolverine must complete a task set forth in Nightcrawler’s will.   I am curious at to what it might be.  Ought to be interesting (RIP Kurt).
Uh oh. Are Emma and Namor gonna get together? It is a fascinating prospect and could shake up the X-Men leadership status quo.
Milo Manara's X-Women
Words cannot express how amped I am to read Milo Manara‘s adaptation of a Chris Claremont script featuring the women of the X.
I am loving the New Mutants title and am excited about what’s next on the horizon for Xavier’s gifted youngsters.  Part nostalgia for sure, but also very fresh and current in relation to what’s going on in the X-titles.  The X-Men are in it deep these days and the New Mutants are front and center.  Good stuff.
The junior X-Men get their own Forever title! I am so excited about Selene being featured in this title! She’s my favorite Hellfire Club member and one of my favorite Marvel baddies! I look forward to her leadership of the New Mutants!  This cover by Bill Sienkiewicz is amazing!
Another cover variant of New Mutants Forever #1 (by Al Rio).

What’s this? Spider-Man is not a mutant! So true, but I couldn’t pass up sharing this amazing cover from Amazing Spider-Man #641 with you, dear reader!  What an inventive use of color and negative space!

Storm Sunday: Steve Lightle


Today we appreciate the slick lines of Steve Lightle on a few covers of Classic X-Men (later renamed X-Men Classic).  Lightle was cover artist for this title during 1989 and 1990.  He worked on a run on Legion of Super-Heroes and Doom Patrol, but he is primarily known for his cover work.  There’s an interesting interview with him here.  Click on images to see them larger.  Above, Classic X-Men #40.


Wolverine gets a free flight courtesy of the Black Queen.  Another Mistress of Darkness drawn by Steve Lightle is Umbra, shown here.  Above, Frontispiece for Classic X-Men #40. 


Phoenix knocks out Professor X while the team looks on in horror.  Another amazing team shot by Lightle is here.  Above, Classic X-Men #42 


Above, X-Men Classic #48.  Looks like another fun time in Man-Thing’s Nexus of All Realities.  Amazing wallpaper of Cyclops by Steve Lightle here.  The site says it is art by John Byrne, but that is incorrect.  It’s totally Steve Lightle.  And so is this cover for X-Men Adventures!


This comic came out after the success of the 90s X-Men cartoon!  I hope you’ve seen enough art to appreciate Lightle’s smooth lines and extreme shadowing.  His dynamic use of blacks and whites makes him a superb choice for covers.  He’s definitely an artist worth looking into!

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.

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