Storm Arcana

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Tag: Marvel Fanfare (Page 1 of 2)

Marvel Fanfare Portfolio by Rick Leonardi

Iron Man by Rick Leonardi

Rick Leonardi is an artist whose issues of The Uncanny X-Men, Cloak & Dagger, The New Mutants, Spider-Man 2099, Nightwing and Batgirl have made him a fan favorite.  I vividly recall seeing his cover of The New Mutants #50 on the stands at a store in Rocky Mount, NC known as the Booktrader.  This new and used bookstore trucked mostly in romance and science fiction novels, but had a healthy selection of Marvel and DC comics to lust over.  I was instantly taken with the cover of Magik fighting for control of the other-dimensional Limbo from S’ym and a horde of demons.

The Rick Leonardi portfolio I am spotlighting today comes from the back pages of a 1982 issue of Marvel Fanfare (#12).  Leonardi’s emphasis was on flying characters and he paired many of them with gorgeous renderings of aircraft.  Iron Man starts things off, but we also get to see some of my all time favorites as interpreted by Leonardi, including Thor, Angel, the Silver Surfer, and Storm!

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Wolverine by Brent Anderson

Wolverine by Brent Anderson

Wolverine is the best there is at what he does, and what he does is kill people. This image by Brent Anderson from an old issue of Marvel Fanfare (I am not sure of the number, sorry) portrays Wolverine as a harbinger of death, with his trademark claws cross-hatching his face. I love the shadowy specter behind Logan and I am partial to seeing our ‘ol Canuck in his brown and orange costume (designed by John Byrne). Simply splendid splash page.

Marvel Fanfare Portfolio by Carl Potts

The Hulk by Carl Potts

We recently celebrated the amazing Thor illustrations by Charles Vess from Marvel Fanfare #20. That same issue also contains some gorgeous artwork by Carl Potts featuring the luminaries of the Marvel Universe of 1985 such as The New Defenders, Doctor Strange, and Power Pack!  That’s his rendition of the Hulk above.  Run, puny humans, run!  Let’s take a look at the rest of the “Pottspouri”, shall we?

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A Mighty Thor Portfolio by Charles Vess

Heimdall by Charles Vess

In honor of the upcoming Thor movie starring the hunky Chris Hemsworth (for which I am salivating in a fashion most unbecoming), I am ecstatic to share these amazing images of the gods of Asgard by Charles Vess with you, dear reader!  These beauties come to us from the back pages of Marvel Fanfare #20 from the ancient year of 1985!  Above, we view the greatness that is Heimdall, guardian of the Rainbow Bridge Bifrost.  Heimdall is played by Idris Elba in the movie, a casting move that caused a tiny l’il tempest in a teapot.  Check out the rest of Vess’ amazing artwork after the jump.

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Daredevil by Paul Smith

Daredevil by Paul SmithHave you been reading the recent Shadowland storyline running in various titles starring Daredevil?  Writer Andy Diggle has been putting Matt Murdock through his paces lately (does the guy ever catch a break?) and now it seems ol’ hornhead has completely lost it.  I was looking through some Marvel Fanfare issues and thought it would be fun to celebrate the man without fear with this Daredevil image by artist Paul Smith.  Enjoy!

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: Ken Steacy

Cloak & Dagger by Ken Steacy Marvel Fanfare  #23

Cloak and Dagger strike a pose reminiscent of Dirty Dancing in this illustration by designer Ken Steacy. Perhaps Dagger took ballet before she ran away with Cloak? I don’t remember their origin clearly.  I do like Cloak’s stoic stance in contrast to Dagger’s pirouette.  You get a sense right away that these two are partners even if you aren’t familiar with their relationship.  

Power Pack by Ken Steacy Marvel Fanfare #23

Power Pack wrecks a diner!  Steacy does a great job communicating each character’s personality through body language and props.  The dragon detail in the background is amazing! I wonder if that man looking over the booth is Steacy or a friend he drew in the picture.  Steacy’s attention to detail can even be found in his signature which is stylized to fit the Asian restaurant theme.

Guardian by Ken Steacy Marvel Fanfare #23

Guardian from Alpha Flight flies high!  Salute!  I’m going to take a wild guess and place this image before the time that good ‘ole James Hudson blows up (the first time).  Oops! Spoilers from the 1980s!  I like this image.  It’s clean, slick and powerful.  I like the juxtaposition of the planes with Guardian, but I wonder if instead of flying with them, he’s really just in their way.

Fantastic Four by Ken Steacy Marvel Fanfare #22

The Fantastic Four are a family that just happens to be the world’s most amazing superheroes too!  Here we get a small slice of home life as Reed and Sue return from a night out and find their son Franklin perched on the Thing’s knee.  Franklin is, of course, reading about his family’s adventures in a comic book!  How meta, yes?  Check out Sue’s hair!  That is a serious 80s flashback!

Doctor Strange by Ken Steacy Marvel Fanfare #23

Doctor Strange enters a strange dimension where everything has turned into a slick advertising campaign!  Okay, that might not actually be true, but that’s what it looks like to me.  From the hyper-stylized face of the woman in the background to the pattern on the green suit of the man in the foreground, this world looks like a Nagel painting got smashed up with Lisa Frank stickers and an Atari video game.  The good Doctor’s expression is one of bewilderment as if even he cannot fathom this strange ad world.   I enjoy Steacy’s take on Doctor Strange.  He really nails the cloak details and the image on his shirt.  The hair is a bit too slick for my tastes, but that’s my only quibble. 

You’ve seen Ken Steacy’s take on mohawk Storm, right?

Marvel Fanfare Monday: Colleen Doran

Medusa and Black Bolt by Colleen Doran

This Marvel Fanfare Monday we celebrate the lush linework of Colleen Doran!  The pinups presented today were scanned from Marvel Fanfare #38.  In that issue, Colleen Doran also illustrated a backup story written by Jo Duffy featuring Dazzler and Rogue.  It is a gem of a tale in which Rogue steals a musician’s power to play backup for Dazzler so they can save the day (naturally).  It’s a bit like the X-Men meet Gem and the Holograms.  I enjoy Colleen’s pencils on anything, whether it’s her creator owned epic saga A Distant Soil, art for Sandman, Lord of the Rings, or Legion of Super-Heroes.  I found an article about her from Comic Book Resources, but be sure to check out her blog as it is chockfull of amazing things to read!

Above we have a lovely portrait of Medusa and Black Bolt, King and Queen of the Inhumans.  Rarely is Black Bolt shown in such a relaxed manner.  It is particularly bittersweet to see the happy couple so in love after reading War of Kings, Marvel’s cosmic crossover saga, just a week or two ago.  Don’t want to spoil anything for those of you who haven’t read the series yet (I definitely recommend it), but let’s just say these two characters won’t be lolling about in the flower garden together anytime soon.

Balder by Collen Doran

Balder the Brave from Thor is in deep reflection looking every bit the noble born warrior that he is.  I love everything in this image, down to the smallest of details (for which Doran is famous)!  Balder had his own mini-series in 1985 the contents of which have just been published in a premier hardcover.  You can’t go wrong with this book, dear reader.  The amazing Walt Simonson wrote and drew the entire thing!

Longshot by Colleen Doran

Longshot is one of my top 5 favorite blonde crushes in the Marvel Universe and I absolutely adore how Colleen Doran portrays him in this image.  I always loved Longshot’s joyful naivete combined with his beginner’s mind approach to life.  Drawing him surrounded by nature makes a lot of sense to me as does having butterflies fly all around him.  They would be a great spirit totem for such a free spirit!  And say what you want about the mullet, but I like it here.

Magik by Colleen Doran

I saved my favorite image for last as it features Magik, teleporting sorceress of the New Mutants (easily my favorite member of that group with Danielle “Mirage” Moonstar and Doug “Cypher” Ramsey)!  This is one of my favorite pinups of Illyana Rasputin of all time because amazing attention is given to the character in every way!  The stance suggests her mastery, her expression shows her strength, the artifacts represent power and every bit of arcane design gives the reader insight to the complexity that is Magik!

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!

Marvel Fanfare Monday: Kevin Nowlan

Welcome to Week Two of a month long celebration of artists and their work from Marvel Fanfare, a comic that ran from 1982-1992!  Today’s featured artist is the amazing Kevin Nowlan!  Feast your eyes on his rendition of Doctor Strange (click on the above image for its full size glory) as Stephen fends off a horde of demonic creatures!  Those spindly spell-casting fingers certainly suit the wizardly might of Stephen Strange (and also a surgeon) but also take note of the musculature of his legs (there’s a reason why these guys wear tights, folks)!  The flow of the cape gives the piece movement and the detail of  the cape’s trim is staggering!  Nowlan is able to simultaneously ground the good doctor in the mundane here and now while propelling him into the fantastic future!  A gorgeous piece of work from Marvel Fanfare #45!

Nowlan DaggerDagger (of Cloak & Dagger fame) kicks off our Kevin Nowlan Portfolio featuring a bevy of beautiful Marvel superheroines.  His style features elongated anatomy in which legs and arms go on forever and faces have a distinct profile, oftentimes with exaggerated noses and cheekbones.  His style has changed quite a bit since he drew these pinups, but his level of detail and slender lines are very much still Nowlan hallmarks.  The flowing hair and closed body language in the above image give the figure a sense of vulnerability.  I like to imagine that Tandy is missing Tyrone and isn’t sure how to carry on without him.  Usually shots of heroines from behind can come across as exploitative, but here her back is turned in a way that reflects her fragile emotional state.  The streaming hair simply adds to the wistfulness.  Dagger and all of the images below are from Marvel Fanfare #18.

Nowlan PhoenixPhoenix bursts forth in all of her cosmic power!  Fiery, focused and fierce!

Nowlan She-HulkThe bird’s eye view that we get of She-Hulk makes me feel like a member of the paparazzi about to smashed!  Nice tan line, Jennifer!

Nowlan Black WidowBlack Widow poses in a portrait with her totemic namesake, looking cool and collected as befits a spy of her caliber.  For the record, this is not my favorite Black Widow costume, but I like the simplicity it affords Nowlan’s drawing.

Nowlan NovaNova, former herald of Galactus and one time girlfriend of the Human Torch, smiles serenely at the viewer in a rare moment of repose.  It is a rare moment of peace for a character that never found any in her adventures.  The current status of Frankie Raye (Nova’s human name) in the Marvel Universe is deceased.

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