Storm Arcana

Relationship Coach & Master Tarot Teacher.

Tag: Clea

The Alchemy of Super-Heroes & Tarot

Spider-Man & Doctor Strange Team-Up for Tarot!

“Alchemy is the art of manipulating life, and consciousness in matter, to help it evolve, or to solve problems of inner disharmonies.”    ~Jean Dubuis

I have been fascinated by both super-heroes and the Tarot since I was thirteen years old.  I loved to immerse myself in Spider-Man’s ongoing dilemmas and the soap opera sagas of the X-Men.  I also felt a strong connection to the richly detailed figures in the Tarot.  Now that I am older, I have more clarity in how these two subjects relate to one another.  Let us explore these worlds of wonder together!

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Spotlight on Doctor Strange with Michael Golden & Frank Miller!

drstrange portfolio - golden 003

Michael Golden is one of the comic industry’s greats and his depiction of Doctor Strange (among many other characters) is seminal.  A master illustrator, he is often cited as one of Arthur Adams’ influences.  He is also the co-creator of the X-Men’s Rogue!  Today we celebrate a few of his Doctor Strange images from a portfolio he created in the early 1908s.  Above, we have a lovely image of the good Doctor with his disciple and lover Clea!  The detailed designs in this drawing are breathtaking and remind me of J.H.Williams III’s later work on Promethea!

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Clea and Doctor Strange by Arthur Adams

clea & doctor strange

Clea and Doctor Strange are out of this world (literally) in this illustration by Arthur Adams.  Love Clea’s tights and the use of stars.  And who else draws stalagmites this cool? Or, rather, who actually draws stalagmites at all?  Pretty cool.

Marvel Fanfare Monday: Steve Leialoha, Mike Mignola, Charles Vess & Bill Sienkievicz

Marvel Fanfare Monday was supposed to only run during the month of September, but I simply cannot keep some of these pinups to myself!  Therefore, dear reader, here are four more amazing drawings from Marvel Fanfare!  Enjoy!  As always, click on the images to view them larger.

Clea by Leialoha Marvel Fanfare 45

Clea, lover and disciple of Doctor Strange, as drawn by Steve Leialoha in Marvel Fanfare #45.  Looking a bit bemused or perhaps concerned, Clea flies through the dimensions with grace and beauty (She definitely spends more time on her hair than the rest of us).  I have always loved the circles on her Steve Ditko designed tights.  Her costume is pure geometric perfection and Leialoha has certainly showcased it well in this image.  However, as much as I lam loving Clea, my eye is more drawn to the alligator-like creature floating above her.  That detail, the costume and the hair keep me coming back to this piece again and again.

Nightmare by Mignola Nightmare, ancient enemy of Doctor Strange, by Mike Mignola.  This is the perfect Marvel character match for the creator of Hellboy and B.P.R.D.  Nightmare is serving diabolical times ten with his shadow sunken face, evil grin, and skull collection.  His dilapidated mount only adds to the creepy factor.
Black Bolt & Medusa by Charles Vess Marvel Fanfare #45 Charles Vess paints a lovely portrait of Medusa and Black Bolt, Queen and King respectively, of the Inhumans.  This image is taken from Marvel Fanfare #45, long before the recents calamitous events of the War of Kings event.  Here are happier times, indeed.  Medusa’s billowing hair whipping at the clouds is an amazing design element and I like where Vess chose to place the sun because I see it as illuminating the heart chakras of the characters.  The sun is highlighting their solar plexuses.Magik by Bill Sienkievicz Marvel Fanfare #45 I saved my favorite for last.  This is Magik, little sister to Colossus and member of the New Mutants team (Kinda like Junior X-Men, but lately really stepping up).  Magik is a sorceress in charge of a demon realm which is the nexus of her teleportion powers.  Teleporting is her mutant power.  This image is by the critically acclaimed Bill Sienkievicz from Marvel Fanfare #45.  Go read Elektra: Assassin right now.

Marvel Fanfare Monday: Terry Austin, Sandy Plunkett, Mike Zeck & Rick Leonardi

Marvel Fanfare Monday was only supposed to last through September, but I simply cannot pass up the chance to share some more pinup gems with you from that short-lived series!  As always, click on an image to see it larger!Cloak & Dagger by Terry Austin Marvel Fanfare #18 Terry Austin gives us a serious take on Cloak and Dagger (not that they were really ever happy go lucky) with this image from Marvel Fanfare #18. I like how he uses the white of Dagger’s outfit as a design element that contrasts with the darkness of Cloak’s hand.   This is simplicity and elegance in one amazing portrait.

Punisher by Zeck Marvel Fanfare #45This Punisher pinup by Mike Zeck from Marvel Fanfare #45 spotlights Frank Castle posing in front of a wall of graffiti.  Zeck is often remembered fondly for his work on Punisher as well as “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” and Secret Wars (he and Rick Leonardi designed the black Spider-Man suit).  I loved his work on G.I. Joe as well!

Scarlet Witch by Sandy Plunkett Marvel Fanfare Sandy Plunkett‘s rendition of Scarlet Witch is beyond fierce!  Surrounded by animals in the wild, she is a force with whom to be reckoned!  This image is from Marvel Fanfare #45, the all pinup issue!

Colossus by Rick Leonardi Marvel Fanfare #45Colossus is bursting through Russian words in this image by Rick Leonardi (also from Marvel Fanfare #45).  There’s an amazing gallery of his art here.  I especially love Leonardi’s work on The Uncanny X-Men, New Mutants and Cloak and Dagger!

Check back next Monday for more pinups from four different Marvel Fanfare artists!

Marvel Fanfare Monday: Craig Hamilton

Craig Hamilton knows characters.  His portraits of superheroes pare down each character to their most classic elements.  Take Dark Phoenix for instance.  The dramatic arrangement of her arms is perfect for a character of her tumultuous history.  The weight of her power bears down heavily on her as her fiery aureole majestically engulfs her.  This is a woman consumed by her own intensity.

Click on any of the images to view them larger!  Then you can better enjoy Hamilton’s amazing linework!
Nightcrawler is a charming man despite his unusual appearance.  He channels his hero Errol Flynn in this image with a swashbuckler bent to his body language (The hoop earring is also a nice touch).  I love the added detail of the fading smoke from his recent teleportation.
The Scarlet Witch and the Vision used to be quite the power couple before a few dismantlements (him) and mental breakdowns (her) left their relationship in shambles.  I prefer to think of these characters in their classic forms from this time.  Wanda is looking confident but contemplative (a far cry from her recent depictions) and the Vision stares with glowing eyes that reveal his android nature.  I love that Hamilton chose to emphasize the etherealness of both characters by having Wanda floating and the Vision phasing.
Hamilton’s version of Cloak and Dagger is stunning, truly representing the core essences of Tandy and Tyrone’s struggle with their respective super-powered polarities.
Lockheed hovers above the intangible Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat).  Kitty has always struggled with a costume that works for her and most people do not refer to her by her Shadowcat codename since she has gone through so many, so it seems appropriate to have her depicted in regular clothes for her portrait.

Colossus shows off his organic steel muscle definition in a rare display of exhibitionism.  Usually, Piotr is quiet and reserved, slow to anger but a powerhouse when tested.  Colossus (alongside Nightcrawler and Storm) are among the most unique and iconic of the All-New, All-Different character designs.
Ka-Zar, Shanna the She-Devil and Zabu relax in their Savage Land home.  There’s a little something for everyone in this amazing illustration.  Ka-Zar isn’t usually depicted so beefy, but I have no complaints.  Everything about this piece from character to composition works for me.

I saved my favorite for last because it showcases everything I love about Craig Hamilton’s work.  Not only is he true to the characters’ designs and histories, he creates the most beautiful arrangements in which to place them.  The multiple layers of setting (rain on the window, the windowpanes, the figures,the fabric & the smoke from the incense burner) give the artwork depth and density which an esoteric character like Doctor Strange really needs.  Also, Hamilton excels at presenting the natures of the relationships of characters to one another.  Clea is Doctor Strange’s disciple, but she is also his lover.  Even if this is your first time viewing these characters you can tell that they have something very special together.

The spotlight shines on another amazing artist on next week’s Marvel Fanfare Monday!

I ♥ Doctor Strange!

One of my favorite characters of all time is Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme!  Recently, Dr. Strange has fallen on hard times.  And while it is incredibly frustrating for me to read writer Brian Michael Bendis’ current dismantling of the good doctor in the Avengers titles, I have decided to celebrate the character the way I shall always remember him.  That is, you know, supreme!

Above we see Geof Isherwood‘s delightful rendition of Stephen.  You can practically hear the rustle of the Cloak of Levitation and the crackle of magical energy!  I also like how muscular Stephen’s legs are!  They are a great contrast to his extra flouncy sleeves.  The gestures are spot on and Stephen looks like a force to be reckoned with!  Love love love this image! 

 Alan Davis gives us a sleek (as his is way) look at the Sorcerer Supreme fighting some tentacles.  How Chthulu of him!  Stephen is focused, but not stressed.  He looks in control.  I like the extra elongated sharpness of Stephen’s cloak and the immensity of his Eye of Agam0tto.  All the better to see you with, my dear!

 Frank Brunner draws Stephen like no one else!  His pencils are so detailed as to leave nothing to the imagination!  His work on Dr. Strange shall always be my favorite for sheer lushness!  Here the skull of death hovers over our mystic as he advances to his next challenge.

More Frank Brunner goodness (as if you weren’t already convinced of his artistry)!  Here we have the Holy Trinity of The Ancient One, Stephen and Clea!

And here’s Paul Smith’s take on the Master of Mystic Arts.  Smith’s Strange is taller, more gaunt and looks a bit older than some rendtions (but truer to his first appearance as we shall see below).  I almost called Stephen haggard, but that’s not very nice, so let’s move on.  Nice background design elements on this page!

Finally, the man in his first appearance as designed by his creator Steve Ditko!  I guess the title of Master of Black Magic was too occult for some folks, so Sorcerer Supreme was coined later.  Besides, the alliteration is catchier, in my humble opinion.  Alliteration always makes things better.  Dr. Strange looks pretty old here. Those sunken cheekbones indicate he’s certainly no spring chicken.  His tunic skirt is short, his little pointy collar picks up the “v”s in his eyebrows and widow’s peak as well as the spirit emblem on his chest.  And that’s a pretty hefty Eye of Agamotto, too!  

So you see, dear reader, how accurate Paul Smith’s rendition  really is.  Even though other depictions have Stephen as being more physically demonstrative, I prefer him being thin and lanky.  It simply makes more sense to me.  Of course, it also my opinion that we need no other Sorcerer Supreme aside from Stephen and that’s not what’s happening these days in the Marvel Universe.  

Yes, I’m a bit bitter.  I’m still upset about Scarlet Witch’s character assasination (especially after Kurt Busiek redeemed her so gracefully) and the death of the Wasp in Civil War.  So this new storyline where Stephen is cast as a failure leaves me unhappy.  Of course, there are many stories that depict the hero of magick that I love, so it is obviously time to get those comics out of their polybags and reread them.  

If you like the artists represented above, I heartily suggest you check out their websites and their work!  By the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak, make it so!

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