Storm Arcana

Intuitive Visionary Coach & Founder of Arcana Academy

Tag: Kitty Pryde

Heroic Tarot Tuesday: Major Arcana X-Men, Part VIII

Kitty Pryde by Kevin Wada

8 Strength: Kitty Pryde

“Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong.” ~Leo Buscaglia

Today we continue our look at the Major Arcana of the Tarot through the lens of Marvel’s X-Men comic book characters! Thus far we have discussed Professor X as the MagicianStorm as the High PriestessJean Grey as the EmpressCyclops as the EmperorNightcrawler as the HierophantRogue as the Lovers, and Wolverine as the Chariot! Today we showcase the intangible Kitty Pryde as Strength!

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Storm Sunday: Brent Anderson

Every Sunday, I celebrate my favorite character ever by focusing on an artist, an era or aspect of Ororo Munroe, aka Storm, of the X-Men!  Today we look at the work of Brent Anderson!  As always, click on the images if  you’d like to see them larger!!

X-Men Index

The first time I saw the cover of the Official Marvel Index #9A  I was mesmerized!  I was in awe of the sheer amount of characters who fill up the page and spill around to the back cover!  I was inspired by how the personality of each character shines off the page!  Nightcrawler is playfully hanging from the X-Men logo and tweaking Wolverine’s mask, Kitty Pryde is kneeling oh so cutely in front of everyone, Cyclops has his hand placed firmly on Professor X’s shoulders reassuringly, and Colossus stands proud and confident.  It’s a great change of pace to see Wolverine being annoyed on a cover instead of posing menacingly.  There’s more to Logan than kicking butt and this image is proof!  I was also impressed at how lithe Storm looks.  There’s more than a hint of John Byrne‘s style in the image, but Brent Anderson makes it his own by physically elongating the characters with a soft, perhaps one could say lush, linework.  Byrne’s figures at this time were a bit more rounded, his Storm and Phoenix more bubbly in their babeness (Not a word, I know, but roll with me here).  I think it really helps that Terry Austin (longtime collaborator with John Byrne) inked this image.  The slender Storm figure in this image is not at odds with Byrne’s style.

God Loves, Man Kills

Brent Anderson is perhaps best known among X-Fans for penciling the X-Men graphic novel, God Loves, Man Kills. This book is a great example of the themes of prejudice and persecution that Chris Claremont made famous in the X-Men.  Anderson’s art depicts the human side of Marvel’s mutants brilliantly.  His facial and figure work give the story’s philosophical underpinnings emotional depth.  This is a classic for many reasons and make no mistake, Anderson’s art is equally as important as Claremont’s writing.
Uncanny X-Men Annual #5
You probably already know that the Skrulls are scapegoats for everything evil in the Marvel Universe, but there was also a time when the Badoon were used as the “We can kill them ’cause they’re evil” bad guy standin (The Badoon are actually older than the Skrulls!).  I don’t believe any Badoon were killed in this issue, but they were a great plot device to bring the X-Men and the Fantastic Four together, so that’s good.  I’m super into how Anderson drew Storm on this X-Men Annual #5.  Her gestures are regal and strong and her hair just goes on and on like it should.  The unstable molecules of her costume are working overtime to make her cape stretch that large!  That’s a mighty Colossus paired up with Mr. Fantastic’s giant fist and Anderson’s  Wolverine looks ferocious!  I think that many fans of Anderson’s work are partial to his rendition of Nightcrawler and from this cover it is easy to see why!  Kurt looks simply dynamic!

Uncanny X-Men 160In issue Uncanny X-Men #160 the demon lord Belasco shows up to menace Colossus’ little sister Illyana.  He kidnaps her and she ages seven years into the teleporting demon sorceress we know and love today as Magik!  I never grow tired of covers with a giant hand attacking a team of heroes and this cover is no exception!

Brent AndersonI found this image of a recent Kitty Pryde commission floating around the internet and was happy to see that the date is so recent! I bet Brent gets a lot of requests for his work from this era! If you are unfamiliar with Brent Anderson, check out his website which has a great gallery of his work from Astro City, Green Lantern: Legacy, Strikeforce Morituri, Batman and Gen13! There’s also a great sketchbook you can order from his site as well!

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!

Storm Sunday: John Byrne, Part II

After Dave Cockrum, John Byrne is the artist who really shaped the way the X-Men looked in their All-New, All Different incarnation! He started on issue #108 in 1977 and worked his magic for many years. In fact, John Byrne’s influence can still be felt from his runs on The Fantastic Four, Captain America, The Avengers. So, what better way to celebrate the man and his legacy than the above image which combines all of the just mentioned titles into one happy Marvel “photo op” ?

From left to right, Kitty Pryde (perhaps around this time she was Ariel or Sprite) is being balanced by Beast, that’s the Human Torch flying above them, next to Beast is Captain America, Colossus, Cyclops, the Invisible Woman, Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Ms. Marvel, Scarlet Witch with Nightcrawler in front, Storm, the Thing, Professor X is seated in front, behind him is the Vision and next to him is Wolverine and of course, that’s everyone’s friendly, neighborhood Spider-Man above them!
A lovely pencil sketch of Storm by Byrne. His rendition of the wind rider just bubbles over with circular design. From the curls of her hair to the oval cutouts in her boots, this Storm is one curvy woman and I love it! She looks healthy, sexy and powerful. I especially love how high Byrne drew her hair, like it’s almost made of clouds. And check out that profile! This should be the model sheet from which other artists draw inspiration!
 John Byrne drew a run of The Avengers (#181-191) while pencilling X-Men. Here we have the hex-casting Scarlet Witch with Storm! You gotta love those boots with the low heels, so late seventies!
 Hipalicious Storm in the clutches of energy stealing Sauron during one of the X-Men’s many visits to the Savage Land. Remember, Storm was fulfilling the token girl role on the team here and although her character was draw with a lot of sex appeal, she was still being portrayed as the naive “stranger in a strange land” character.
Storm talks to her plants in her attic apartment, a character trait that really endeared me to her. I was jealous that she got to make it rain inside. Check out Banshee an Moira being all lovey-dovey. *sigh* I love that couple.

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

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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!

Wolverine & The X-Men Trailer

So Comic Book Resources has had the trailer for the upcoming Wolverine & The X-Men cartoon up for a while and while I love it (I mean, really, really love it), I’m a bit irked at the lack of Storm promo scenes. I had to watch it frame by frame to see Angel carrying her to actually get a glimpse of her costume. At least she’s featured prominently in the team photo images, but I would’ve like to see Ororo whip up some lightning just once.

There’s so many characters! I love Kitty Pryde’s look and it looked like Cannonball was standing next to her in a quick shot that pans across the team, but it might’ve been Iceman (but Bobby’s not a blond, folks!) Nice to see Nightcrawler too! And Scarlet Witch and Polaris! Woo Hoo! Looks like Emma Frost is featured prominently. That could be pretty cool, especially if we get to see the beginnings of her and Cyclop’s romance. I bet Jean Grey fans are disappointed though. This will be the first X-Men cartoon without her. She’s shown briefly in the very beginning when something strikes her and Xavier down. Then Xavier is okay and Jean’s nowhere to be seen. *sigh*
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