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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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 and STORM, WonderCon 2010.
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.
Storm battles a Malice-possessed Dazzler on the cover of The Uncanny X-Men #214 (pencils by Arthur Adams, inked by Barry Windsor-Smith).
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!
Compare the above image with the version he drew for me at San Diego in 2008:
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.
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.
I first discovered Craig Hamilton in issue #40 of Marvel Fanfare and instantly fell in love with his rendition of Storm! I remember being a bit confused because this story was not presented in Uncanny X-Men and yet was still part of continuity (It actully explains an untold story before Storm lost her powers and features the nasty Mystique). I was a bit upset that there hadn’t been some kind of note in the letters page of Uncanny X-Men to inform me about this extra feature! I started to get a bit paranoid that perhaps other stories of Storm were being told elsewhere as well! This image is the back cover of Marvel Fanfare #40, probably because Storm’s story is told second. The first story features Angel and is written by Ann Nocenti and drawn by David Mazzucchelli! That cover really caught my attention due to Mazzucchelli’s bold linework and since Angel is my favorite character after Storm I immediately grabbed it! After flipping through it and discovering Storm’s story and Hamilton’s amazingly lush and detailed artwork, I was in heaven! I felt like this issue had been created especially for me!
Tomorrow I will share with you, dear reader, the cover and one page from Nocenti and Mazzucchelli’s Angel story as part of Marvel Fanfare Monday! This new feature will only be up for the month of September (Yes, we are starting a day early! How generous is that?!) as I celebrate the month of my birth! Go Virgo!
If you like this image enough to want it in its original form, click on this smaller image to enlarge it.
Check out this splash page! Having Storm’s face hidden in shadows really adds to the mystery and grandeur of the character! The shape of the clouds imply so much movement, giving a kinetic quality to the overall story.
The mutant goddess descends ever so gracefully from the sky! Check out the closeup of Ororo’s face! The level of detail is simply breathtaking!
Storm enters a club to meet with the nefarious Mystique about Rogue. Mystique’s trap for Storm is already set before Ororo even walks in the door. She knows Storm is too noble to do anything less than what is right and unfortunately that is why Mystique has the upper hand in this story. I’ve always liked Storm’s feud with Mystique and am sad that Mystique has become more of a foil for Wolverine these days. I’m not going to post any more pages but it is worth your while to check out this underrated issue for yourself!
This week’s pinup is ripped from the pages of Marvel Fanfare #23 and is drawn by Ken Steacy! Storm is the epitome of severe style in this image, sporting a sliver of hair and some rather dangerous nails (I think this is the first time I’ve seen Ororo drawn with claws more befitting Tigra or Catwoman). I also think this is the first time that an artist imagined Storm in the salon where she got her hair cut. Although this image tells a wonderful story, there’s no way that this is how it happened in the comics. This looks like a very American salon and Storm was in Japan when she changed her look. Also, conceptually I think it is smart to have a framed photo of Storm on the wall to compare and contrast with the makeover, but there’s no way the salon just happened to have a framed photo of her on their wall. However, it works because Steacy didn’t simply leave the picture framed on the wall, he drew it broken with cracks in the wall and bits of broken glass on the ground. The scissors flying down at an angle on the wallpaper really work for me as a design element because they speak to the action of what has happened. This implied violence is in direct opposition of having Storm nonchalantly relaxing on the seat (not actually in it). However, I have a hard time believing that Storm would eat fast food, even just a soda. But overall, the whole scenario gives the character a sense of naughty fun that certainly captures the influence that Storm was getting at this time in the comics from Yukio. All in all, this a lovely portrait of Storm, speaking volumes about the character and the times in which she was being written (1985).
The above image is a pinup from a Marvel Fanfare issue by Bret Blevins (artist on The New Mutants from 1987 – 1989). I love the quiescent mood he’s established with this piece. Storm has taken off her gloves to hold a dove, finding a moment of peace for just a moment as the moon bears witness. I enjoy the kinetic elasticity of Blevins’ characters (especially when he draws Magik). The features of his characters are more elongated and exaggerated, like one would more normally find in animation. I remember receiving the cover of The Uncanny X-Men #219 in the mail and kind of freaking out about the cover. The X-Men looked so crazy, like evil crazy. The issue tells a story from Havok’s point of view and has a very “what is real?” and “what memories of mine are true?” kind of vibe (Psylocke, under Storm’s orders, erases Havok’s mind to protect the secret that they aren’t really dead like the world, at the time, believes). Blevin’s exaggerated bodies and and facial expressions really enhanced the mind trip aspect of the reading experience for me. You can check out what Bret has been up to recently on his blog, where he showcases many of his sketches from life model drawing.
Here’s the same image in its gigantic scanned glory in case you want to add it as your wallpaper. I think it’s a lovely image that really captures the earth goddess aspect of Ororo.
Nobody brings the spooky and the sexy the way Dan Brereton can! This image of Storm and Rogue from their punk rock days is a true gem! Those eyes! Those curves! Those amazing eyebrows that go on forever! Okay, I have to admit, I love Dan’s work. There’s just something simultaneously ethereal and hard-edged about his lush paintings. His characters have a strong presence that feels both realistic and animated to me. Rogue looks like she’s ready to fly out of the picture and throw you around (And who would mind, really?).