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…
Tag: Rachel Grey
Today we celebrate the artwork of Yildiray Cinar, an artist from Istanbul, Turkey. Although Cinar works for DC Comics (currently penciling The Legion of Super-Heroes), today we look at the art of many (and I mean many) Marvel characters he drew for Rittenhouse Archives. Usually, Storm Sunday focuses solely on our weather maven (and she’s in here, I promise), but she’s going to share the spotlight with her Marvel Universe compatriots. I will list the names of the characters for the uninitiated, but comments will be sparse as we let the art speak for itself! If you have a favorite, let me know in the comments. Let’s go!
I was a bit surprised to realize that I have not dedicated a Storm Sunday to the amazing linework of Olivier Coipel, an omission that will be corrected today! You’ve seen this variant cover of X-Men #1 (Volume 2)in all of its colored glory, now feast your eyes on the original pencils featuring Storm, Pixie, Wolverine, Emma Frost, Jubilee and Cyclops. Coipel never fails to make Storm look like a supermodel!
I recall finding Uncanny X-Men Annual #11 at a book trader (when it was new on the stands) and jumping up in glee at the image. Alan Davis was already a favorite illustrator of mine and seeing Wolverine, Storm and Psylocke featured so prominently made me squeal. I had a similar reaction a week ago when I discovered that the art for this Annual actually had separate pieces! So cool to find this out years later. Above, we witness our heroes fighting Horde, an alien warlord who made the X-Men travel to the Citadel of Light and Shadow where they had to fight against their hearts’ desires. However, this is not the complete cover. The background artwork was drawn separately and is featured below.
Paul Smith is a god. There, I said it. Seriously, his lines are clean, his characters solid and his style has a fluidity perhaps only seen in Cliff Chiang today. Smith’s Uncanny X-Men run illustrated some great Chris Claremont stories and is fondly remembered by fans and critics alike. Today we take a look at some of his classic images of Marvel’s mutants.
Above, the whole gang is comin’ atcha with Wolverine (naturally) leading the charge. Smith left his mark on some of these characters, especially the female X-Men. Smith had the challenge of softening Rogue’s look while still maintaining her rough edges (she was in transition between bad girl to hero), while conversely he had to harden Storm while still retaining her feminine mystique (who was leaving some of her earth mother behind to become a better leader). Also, Kitty was growing up a bit as an X-Man and Smith designed costumes for her that spoke to her spunky spitfire personality as well as her playful sensibility. And Lockheed the dragon, well, no one draws him better than Paul Smith (although Art Adams comes close).
That’s not to say that Smith didn’t lend his amazing talents to the male characters of the team as well as well. Smith’s Colossus was quite the gentle giant, Wolverine looked like a scrapper with the outfits to match, and one could actually believe that Cyclops was once nicknamed “Slim” due to the narrow athletic build Smith gave him. The above sketch to a lucky Leo conveys the individuality of each X-Men member to which I am referring. Facial shapes and structures are unique to each character (not just hair and costumes). No one even has the same eyebrows! I love this image because it reminds me of the family dynamic the X-Men once had. Paul Smith took the Cockrum and Byrne illustration styles and made them his own.
I believe this above image was a commission for a fan and if so, what a great piece to have in one’s collection! Just as Paul Smith made the X-Men his own, his work on Doctor Strange is classic! In this image, Colossus asks Doctor Strange for assistance in finding his little sister, the New Mutant Magik!
A sweet sketch of lovebirds Kitty and Piotr. I love this costume for Kitty, probably because the V’s look nice with her curves and I have always loved billowy sleeves on her. I think they give her phasing abilities a pleasing visual.
This X-Men Unlimited cover told the story of Kitty coping with the death of Colossus (don’t worry, he got better). Who better than Paul Smith to provide the cover? His run on the X-Men depicted the struggles of their once new relationship and Kitty’s challenges at becoming an X-Man despite the naivete of her youth.
Ah, the infamous mohawk! This look still polarizes fans of Storm and although it too, passed into obscurity for quite some time. Recent art from Kaare Andrews’ Astonishing X-Men has depicted Storm rockin’ the ‘hawk once again. However, no where else in Storm’s appearances does she have the ‘hawk, so it remains to be seen if this is in continuity or whether Marvel simply is ignoring it altogether.
I chose to include this image because I love how Smith drew Storm in reverse mode. Storm is technically bodiless in this part of the story and is learning the story of the outer space dwelling Acanti, so drawing her in a more ethereal mode certainly works here.
Storm feels a bit shut out of Kitty’s life in this page from Uncanny X-Men #167. The Kitty/Ororo dynamic would eventually change even more as their daughter/mother relationship shifted as both women transformed into warrior versions of themselves. Check out panel two with Sikorsky speaking like Yoda and Moira MacTaggert calmly informing the X-Men that they are going to transplant Xavier’s mind into a cloned body of himself. Too bad they didn’t do the same for her when she contracted the Legacy Virus (a disease that was only supposed to plague mutants and Moria is a human). *shakes head*
Smith covers Uncanny X-Men years later, featuring Storm with Rachel Grey/Summers (Marvel Girl/Phoenix) and Tessa/Sage.
A sketch of Rogue and Storm (who appears to be wearing an amalgam of a few different versions of her costumes).
Next week, Storm Sunday will look at more Paul Smith X-Men goodness!
An Emma Frost Salon
by Ken Kneisel
Welcome to White Queen Wednesday, gentle reader. Can we talk for a minute about how much I love X-Women? This special one-shot by veteran X-Men writer Chris Claremont and Italian artist Milo Manara was years in the making. True to the title, there is nary a male mutant in sight and Cyclops or Wolverine’s names aren’t so much as uttered even once.
The lack of hard continuity markers lends a feeling of timelessness to this tale, but the clandestine globe trotting nature of this “gal-pals only” adventure pleasantly calls to mind that late 80s Australian Outback X-Men era I loved so much as a child. Not just because Milo Manara’s gaggle of mutant girlfriends are equally as lovely as Marc Silvestri’s X-Women ever were, but when I read the part where the girls all pull Storm up onstage to sing Proud Mary I was reminded of a similar scene from Uncanny X-Men #244 where the X-Ladies took a night out on the town and wound up dragging Storm onstage to dance with a male stripper at a Chippendales or something. Which made me realize that we’re dealing with almost the exact same cast from that issue and era if only you swap out Kitty Pryde for Dazzler. But otherwise Storm, Rogue and Psylocke are all here.
While the other girls have fun in the sun on an invite only vacation to Rogue’s inherited villa on the Greek island of Kirinos, Emma spends the majority of this issue bound to a chair and locked in a bootleg Cerebra helmet, out of sight and only visible by Kitty Pryde through her mental rapport with Rachel Grey.
Although Emma does not show up in a speaking role until the last few pages of the story, her presence weighs heavily over this conversation between the X-Ladies once Kitty Pryde begins piecing together the plot.
Speaking candidly among close friends, Rogue and Kitty hold a little Emma Frost hate parade and Rogue even drops the B-word. But the situation is somewhat defused when Storm points out that whatever other issues the girls might have with Emma, she IS an X-Man now.
It really makes me smile to see Storm sticking up for her brand new bestie Emma Frost like that!
I’m also glad that Rogue only seems to have a problem with Emma’s well documented attitude and didn’t stress the fact that Emma used to be a villain, because I was so ready to get all in Rogue’s face and remind her who started out as a straight up terrorist. (That would be Rogue.)
After being bound and blindfolded for so much of the story, Emma unleashes a little pent up aggression on her captor. Baroness Krieg is flash frozen thanks to Storm’s weather manipulating powers, which is when Emma takes her cheap shot.
Unnecessary perhaps, but oh so satisfying.
When Emma notices that the sucker punch broke one of her immaculately manicured fingernails, she mercilessly kicks her opponent while she is down.
While Emma only has a handful of lines in this issue, I feel they succinctly convey the essence of modern Emma Frost.
Two pages later, Emma is still enraged over her broken nail.
It’s nice to see Rogue has come around and finally been won over by Emma as well.
Having been rescued and accepted by her once doubting female teammates, Emma and the girls party it up and make the most of the rest of their vacation.
This issue also answers the question of which X-Woman ever wears underwear, in case you were wondering. Of course it’s SPOILER ALERT! Kitty Pryde. Sometimes. Like maybe one time.
Until next week, gentle reader.
I am so excited about this project! It looks like a lot of fun and frankly, I am looking forward to finally seeing a master of erotic art properly illustrate Claremont’s bondage obsessions (and other associated tropes). In related Claremont news, did you know that the x-scribe will be writing a new New Mutants Forever title?