Storm Arcana

Intuitive Visionary Coach & Founder of Arcana Academy

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Storm Sunday: John Romita, Jr.

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Happy Sunday, dear reader!  Today we take a look at the artistry of John Romita, Jr.!  Above we see the original artwork for the cover of Uncanny X-Men #185 in which former bad girl Rogue absorbs Storm’s powers.   This cover is misleading as the Storm actually allows Rogue to borrow her powers with her permission.  This issue was quite the shocker as Rogue’s criminal past catches up to her.  Storm saves Rogue from being shot by Henry Peter Gyrich who is armed with a power-nullifying gun (created by Forge).  Storm’s powers are stripped from her and she falls into the Mississippi River and is saved, interestingly enough, by Forge.  This begins one of the most unhealthy and codependent relationships in comics.  Romita has a great handle on fashion and his depiction of Storm’s punk look is on target.  Romita’s take on 1980’s fashion is evocative of the trends of those times, so one has to take that into consideration when judging Rogue’s costume.  However, one of the best looks Romita gave Storm predates this comic by 5 issues…

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White Queen Wednesday: Xenogenesis

An Emma Frost Salon
by Ken Kneisel

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Welcome back to White Queen Wednesday, gentle reader. This week I am celebrating Emma’s appearance in the new Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis miniseries, the first issue of which is scheduled to be released today and should be available for sale in finer funnybook stores everywhere even as you read this!  All artwork presented here is by the amazing Kaare Andrews.

This miniseries represents a radical visual departure from the team’s current design, although in rebelling against their most recent looks many of the team have simply reverted back to their roots. Emma in particular is simply rocking a slightly more covered up version of her Frank Quitely designed latex cutout club kid stripper ensemble complete with sky high platform boots. If she had to trade in her trademark stiletto high heels for something, I’m glad it was at least ridiculously impractical platforms and not boring flats or short pumps. I’m also thrilled that Emma finally ditched her matronly cape for a look that I feel is more befitting her playfully sexy personality.

While Storm seems to have adopted a look very reminiscent of that mid to late 80s era when I first discovered the X-Men and comic books in general and thus holds a special sense of nostalgia for me. From her punky mohawk and big hippie feather earrings to all those skinny belts and chunky boots over a black bodysuit, Storm is rocking that mid to late 80s look hard. Her outfit is strikingly similar to the styles sported by Storm herself along with Rogue and Shadowcat back then, particularly during the Mutant Massacre and Fall of the Mutants storylines, with their multiple crisscrossing skinny belts and chunky leg warmer looking boots.

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I love this page from the preview for this first issue over at Comic Book Resources. You know better than that, Logan. Emma always wears what she likes no matter what the occasion!

I literally laughed out loud when Scott told Ororo that she’s been spending too much time with Emma. Hopefully sometime soon we will get to see some more of that time they are spending together. STORM and I both simply adore the way Warren Ellis handles this new friendlier dynamic between Storm and Emma. In fact if I recall correctly it was one of the first things we really bonded over, along with our general love of the X-Men, when I first met STORM at the Isotope a few years ago.

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Emma doesn’t appear to be too thrilled with getting mutant baby vomit all over her decolletage on this cover of the second issue.

These paramilitary fatigue style uniforms, or at least something similar, were actually introduced in the very first issue of Warren Ellis’s Astonishing X-Men and worn for a few pages before being promptly discarded in favor of more traditional supersuits all around. So it’s interesting to see them returning to this look. Everyone but Emma, of course.

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Now here’s a striking and eye-catching cover! There’s definitely something bizarrely kinky about this image, but that’s par for the course with Emma I suppose. The sultry way that Emma is eating those sticky syrupy pancakes is certainly suggestive. This cover just brings to mind so many questions. Why pancakes? Is Emma going to spank Scott or is she simply using him as a human chair? I guess we’ll find out in the third issue!

It is a little odd that this new miniseries is being released before the last arc drawn by Phil Jimenez, Exogenetic, has even finished. But such confusing scheduling snafus are to be expected these days.

I hope you’re as excited for Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis as I am, gentle reader! Go out and pick up a copy for yourself and share your thoughts about the first issue in the comments. I look forward to comparing our reactions!

Storm Sunday: Colleen Doran

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Ororo Munroe sketch by Colleen Doran.

One of my favorite creators is Colleen Doran (of A Distant Soil fame) and I was elated when I realized that her booth this year at WonderCon was near Writers Old Fashioned!  The close proximity enabled me to take time to speak with her several times about her upcoming work on Girl Comics #4 and her artwork for Gone to Amerikay and Stealth Tribes (with Warren Ellis)!  I missed her panel, but I did get one on one time with Colleen in which we exchanged stories and experiences.  These moments are some of my favorites from that weekend.

Of course, I am elated to have a Colleen Doran sketch in my art collection!   I love her lines.  They have inherent grace and fluidity without compromising the realistic solidity of the character.  She makes Ororo look glamorous, serene and yet still edgy.

Thank you, Colleen for being such a warm and personable creator and an overall inspiration in both personal and professional spheres.  I look forward to the next time our paths cross.

Colleen Doran & STORM

Colleen Doran and STORM, WonderCon 2010.

Storm Sunday: Barry Windsor-Smith, Part III

BWS-StormSketch
Today brings Barry Windsor-Smith Week full circle as we take another look at the legendary artist‘s take on Storm.  The above image is from 1984, the same year that brought us Lifedeath.  There’s a rough masculine energy about this portrait that resonates with the powerless Storm from this era.  Ororo had gained a fighting edge in order to become a better leader for the X-Men and at times, she found herself mirroring Wolverine’s lust for battle.  I must admit I had a hard time accepting this version of Storm.  The art of BWS was radically different from the more polished superhero art to which I was accustomed.  Also, the story of Lifedeath had a lot more talking than the typical superhero slugfests I had read until then.  The themes of identity and responsibility felt very adult to me, like suddenly comics had deemed me more mature and spoke to me as such.

It might have appeared to some readers (as it did to me) that Storm had lost her femininity when she lost her powers.  I know my younger self wanted the compassionate self-styled goddess back.  However, the vision of BWS promoted Storm’s warrior self as she had to deal with what it meant to be simply human.  BWS’s darker artwork, with all of its cross hatching and expressive lines, recreated Storm from the ground up.  Perhaps the results weren’t palatable to some, defied expectations of many, and incorporated elements that were unfamiliar to all, but this was a seminal moment for comics storytelling.  Storm, the X-Men and the comics world at large would never again be the same.
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Storm battles a Malice-possessed Dazzler on the cover of The Uncanny X-Men #214 (pencils by Arthur Adams, inked by Barry Windsor-Smith).

Stormwatch: Xenogenesis

Astonishing!

Oh, yes!  The mohawk is back, baby!  A three-issue Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis mini by Warren Ellis and artist Kaare Andrews debuts in May!  Read all about it on Comic Book Resources!

Heroic Tarot: Valentine’s Readings for Couples!

A Hug Before Dying

Ah, love!  What an emotion worth celebrating!  However, this is the time of year in which stores are stacked to the ceiling with pink and red merchandise, reminding people that they must prove their love with material things.  Instead of Walgreen’s teddy bears and hearts of chocolate, why not get you and your loved one a couple’s tarot reading?  I am well versed in handling the concerns of  partnerships of all kinds and would love to do a reading for you and yours.  And if you are not in a partnership this Valentine’s Day, consider getting a reading for yourself!  Exploration of one’s relationship with one’s self is always worth reflection.  Email HeroicTarot*at*gmail.com to set up an appointment.

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X-Men Art Card Gift Certificates (like those above) can be purchased at Swankety Swank.

Betsy & Doug = Love
If only Psylocke and Cypher had had a tarot reading.  Then they might have had some insight into their relationship.

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It’s Art!  It’s a Gift Certificate!  It’s Art!  It’s a Gift Certificate!

Kickin' the Cowgirl Boots, but not the Cajun.

May true love find you all!

Storm Sunday: Franchesco!

Franchesco, X-Women Color

Today’s Storm Sunday would not have been possible without the help of Comics Historian Extraordinaire Ken Kneisel!  Ken forwarded me a link to the Deviant Art site of an artist named Franchesco, and thus was history made!  All I can say about the above image is WOW!  Hellooooo, X-Ladies!  I would like to personally thank Franchesco for putting Storm front and center and surrounding her with all of the women of the X.  I think it is also a very nice gesture that he included Jean Grey by having Storm “holding” the holoempathic crystal ball.  Gone, but not forgotten indeed!  (Click on any image to see them larger)

Franchesco, X-Women B&W

Here’s the black and white version of the same image, showcasing Franchesco’s sleek and ornate lines.  I like what he does with fabric and hair.  Everything seems larger than life, almost fantastical.  There’s not a lot of characterization going on here, it’s more like the X-Women have become glamorous Strepford Wives lined up in a never ending crowd, but he’s got Emma practically bursting at the seams and Rogue seems more than a little bit coy, and that I like.  Besides, I didn’t choose to spotlight Franchesco because I was looking for personality in his depiction of women.  I wanted to share his work because I found it otherworldly in its depiction of beauty.  His aesthetic is strong and you can tell that he enjoys creating his work.  This is a celebration of the super feminine, sparkling like the Fourth of July–Hey!  Where’s Jubilee!  (Grrrr…)
Jean Greys by FranchescoFor you Jean Grey fans, here’s every incarnation to be had!  They’re all screaming for some reason, but it is fun to check them out and name their place within comics continuity.  There’s X-Factor Jean!  Marvel Girl Jean!  Black Queen Jean!  Phoenix Jean!  And so on…

Storm as Phoenix by Franchesco

Speaking of Storm and Jean, Franchesco was the artist for What If? #79, which asked, “What If Storm Had the Power of Phoenix?”   Here’s the cover of that issue by Mike Wieringo.  I like what he did with the tiara to reflect the styles of both Storm & Phoenix.

She-Dragon by Franchesco

Here’s She-Dragon #1 (One-Shot) Written by Erik Larsen and drawn by Franchesco.  The aforementioned Mr. Kneisel remarked to me that she bears more than a passing glance to a certain Wind Rider during the X-Men Asgardian Wars.

BOOM!

There is a definite correlation between the hairstyles and the wings, that is true.  However, I think She-Dragon’s attire was heavily influenced by a certain She Devil (with a sword).

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Hello, chain mail bikini!  The above art is by Frank Thorne who is known for popularizing Red Sonja.  She was quite the pin up girl in the 1970s alongside Storm.  Storm & Red Sonja

In fact, check out this image by Dave Cockrum in which Red Sonja & Storm change costumes!  Click on it to read the word balloons.  Dave had a great sense of humor!

Thanks to Ken Kneisel for today’s post suggestion and be sure to check out Franchesco’s Deviant Art page!  He has a lot of amazing art, including Wonder Woman, The Defenders, Teela and his own voluptuous creations!  His site is a lot of fun, too!  Cheers!

Storm Sunday: Cameron Stewart

Thanks to Robot6@ComicBookResources.com for posting the link to Cameron Stewart’s blog in which he shares some sketches he drew for fans during his Eurotour 2009!  His rendition of Storm is super-amazing!  He totally captures her punk attitude and fashion perfectly! 

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Compare the above image with the version he drew for me at San Diego in 2008:

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Stormwatch: “Th-This Ain’t Metal, This Iz Adamantium!”

I am totally off my rocker for this amazing artwork by Corey Lewis for Strange Tales #3 from Marvel Comics!   Many thanks to Robot 6 at Comic Book Resources for featuring this preview!
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The X-Men as a band is a great concept and I am loving who Corey picked. Of course the amazing thing about this story is that it features Longshot searching for Dazzler! It’s exciting to see such a great talent taking one of my favorite eras of the X-Men and making it so contemporary and fresh! Let’s just say that this mohawk Storm has a very special place in my heart already!

Storm Sunday: Arthur Adams, Part V

Wow.  This is the fifth time I’ve specifically blogged about Arthur Adams.  I hope you will indulge me, dear reader, because I simply cannot get enough of his artwork!

The above image of mohawk Storm is interesting to me due to its depiction of extreme light and shadow.  Storm appears mentally focused on the the flare as it creates a beautiful contrast of light and dark.  I find the three dimensional aspect of this sketch to be amazing.

I chose to share this sketch because Adams has not drawn Storm with the full mohawk he made famous (like the first image), but instead chose to draw a thinner, more subdued mohawk. It reminds me of how Barry Windsor-Smith used to render Storm.  There’s quite a difference in this sketch and the one before it and I’m going to guess and say that this one was first.  I love them both for different reasons.  In the first image, Storm seems intent, focused and her clothes and hair have a lot of tiny Arthur Adams details.  In this one, Storm seems more at ease and her design is a bit more streamlined.  The feathers in the hair are a nice touch.

The interior frontispiece of Classic X-Men #10 shows a young Ororo relaxing before she resumes her adventuring.  This image shows Storm in her natural habitat, full of grace and surrounded by beauty.

This is the original art for the 1991 Marvel Super-Hero trading card.  This is one of the few instances that we see Storm sporting a short cropped hairstyle.  I love Adams’ sleek handling of this costume.  However, I prefer Storm with a long mane.  It’s more dynamic with her power set.

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