An Emma Frost Salon
by Ken Kneisel
Welcome to White Queen Wednesday, gentle reader. Today I would like to spotlight this ebullient X-Babies commission drawn by Juvaun “JJ” Kirby featuring Emma Frost and lots of other mutants besides.
Even as a cute little moppet, Emma still has attitude to spare. I love her self-satisfied smirk.
Everything about this amazing commission is just adorable. From the wind-up Nimrod toy to Nightcrawler perched atop Colossus’s shoulder to pouty emo Rogue, even those disgusting space roaches the Brood manage to look downright cuddly!
Here is a comparison between the original black and white linework and finished color art.
Juvaun “JJ” Kirby is actually one of my very favorite artists, although he hasn’t drawn an awful lot of comics. He drew a couple of X-Babies one-shots for Marvel called Murderama and X-Babies Reborn, along with some Backlash and DV8 back in the 90s and more recently the New Dynamix miniseries for Wildstorm. His artwork is incredibly dynamic and expressive and I hope to see him draw more comics someday!
Thank you for joining me for this fun little lighthearted edition of White Queen Wednesday, gentle reader. I will be back next week with more to discuss.
An Emma Frost Salon
by Ken Kneisel
Welcome once again to White Queen Wednesday, gentle reader. This subject, the Hellions, has been a long time coming. Let this be an introduction to the team if you have never heard of them before, and if you have then this will act as a refresher course. Between their debut and tragic wholesale slaughter at the hands of Trevor Fitzroy and his Sentinels, the Hellions made precious few appearances in a comparative handful of stories. But today we celebrate the brief lives of Emma’s gang of menacing young punks.
It’s interesting to note that, while Emma’s Hellions and their opposite numbers among Professor X’s New Mutants were undoubtedly rivals, they also shared a lot in common as teenage mutant misfits and frequently socialized at least as much as they engaged in battle. Emma often threw school dances or parties and invited the New Mutants to fraternize with her Hellions. These interactions produced a few lasting friendships and even loves.
By contrast with Professor X’s more peaceful exhortations, Emma taught her Hellions how to dominate their would be human oppressors and exploit their individual mutant talents for their own personal gain. As the White Queen, Emma sometimes gave lip service to the concept of the Hellions as mutant pawns or merely assets of the Hellfire Club. But, in her own arbitrarily mindblasting way, Emma truly was devoted to her students and seemed to want to teach them how to not just survive but thrive in a world that hated and feared them. If Emma Frost is Lady Gaga, the Hellions were her beloved Little Monsters.
Catseye was disarmingly cute and had a particular childlike manner of speaking which might have made her seem a little slow, although she had a photographic memory and was probably one of the brightest Hellions. Emma found her as an orphaned alley kitten in the streets of New England and taught her that she was a mutant girl who could transform into a cat and not the other way around. She was probably my favorite Hellion if only for her striking pastel purple visual. I just love her look and I always wanted a little Catseye doll so I could brush her flowing violet mane like a My Little Pony.
Empath was Emma’s emotion manipulating protege, frighteningly sadistic and vindictive. His name might have been Empath but he wasn’t terribly empathetic. He could control the emotions of others, a power which he recklessly abused to often terrifying effect. Emma and Empath had a pretty screwed up relationship. It seemed that he was her prize pupil but at the same time he also harbored a treacherous streak so that Emma had to watch her back around him.
Roulette was the blonde bad girl of the Hellions. Her luck changing disks provided her target with a temporary dose of good luck or bad luck, but more often than not she chose to use her bad luck disks to cause mischief just for the sake of it. She was also not opposed to using her bad luck disks on her own teammates when she was bored simply to start trouble.
Jetstream was exceedingly proud and arrogant, always eager to test his human rocket powers against those of his rival New Mutant Cannonball. Cannonball might have been the faster of the two, but Jetstream achieved more precision thanks to his cybernetic enhancements.
Tarot was able to physically manifest images from her tarot deck for use in combat. She was also able to use her tarot cards to divine the future and seemed to base her decisions around them, which sometimes made Emma wary as it threw Tarot’s true loyalties into question.
Thunderbird II joined the Hellions to take revenge on Charles Xavier because he blamed Professor X for the death of his older brother John Proudstar AKA Thunderbird I. Like Emma, James eventually reformed and joined up with X-Force and the X-Men. I will talk a little bit more about him in his own installment of White Queen Wednesday.
We were also introduced to two brand new Hellions just before the team’s demise. Beef and Bevatron had super strength and electricity generating powers respectively, but not a lot of personality between them.
I really loved the Hellions. It must also be said that I always felt like the Hellions uniform was more than a little gay, pink and purple with a low cut V-neck and little triangle motif. I liked that too.
Thank you for joining me for this examination of the lives of Emma’s original class of mutant students, gentle reader. Do you have a favorite Hellion? If so then I would love to know what you liked about them and why, so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.
Before I comment on today’s featured artwork, I would like to take a moment and thank you, dear reader, for taking the time to read this blog! Whether you are a Facebook friend, a Twitter follower, or a diehard X-Men fan, I appreciate you stopping by! I especially would like to thank those of you who take the the time to leave comments! Thank you to Ken Kneisel, Cynjon, Akeeko, Astra, Scarlett, Ted, Ingonyama, Phil Green, Jake Fritch, Emily Stackhouse, Ryan Haupt, Gregorio, Jeysu, DAX!, Cassandra, Norah, Aaron Frey, David Salomon, CHUNK, Diego Gomez, Kevin Patterson, Juba Kalamka, Mrs. Finney, Afghanant, Yabette, CGeezy, Greg, Cosmic Falcon, Simonn, Wubing, Richard MacKinnon and anyone else who I am forgetting! Your interaction with stormantic means a lot to me!
That said, let’s reminisce about the All New, All Different X-Men, back when the new characters were still mysterious and fresh!
It is strange to me to “hear” Storm calling someone a “fool,” especially Colossus, but she was quick to judge Piotr’s actions in this page’s first panel from Giant Size X-Men #1. I like to think that since all life is precious to Storm and she thinks Colossus is being rash that she couldn’t help but call him a fool in a mothering kind of way. It’s cool to see Thunderbird and Cyclops team up because I like how Thunderbird is having the same negative thoughts about their situation except he’s actually stating his misgivings while Cyclops keeps them to himself. I really liked Thunderbird and his death had a big impact on me when I read these stories as reprints in Classic X-Men. Artwork by Dave Cockrum.
Unlike the original 5 students of Xavier’s the new crew already know how to use their powers, needing little in the way of training. Working together as a team, well that’s another story. I love this page from Uncanny X-Men #98 because it shows the reader that Storm is quite capable of utilizing her powers in amazing and effective ways. ”…I have total control over my abilities…’” she tells Cyclops after she wreaks havoc on a Sentinel. I miss seeing Storm portrayed like she is in panel 4, with her hair and cape flowing upwards. And just like the page before, this one ends with Cyclops freaking out. I never get tired of Cyclops losing his cool. Artwork by Dave Cockrum.
This is the first page of Marvel Team Up #100 which tells a story from Storm’s past involving the Black Panther. This is the little tale that rationalized Marvel’s decision to wed Storm to the Black Panther. Artwork by John Byrne & Bob McLeod.
When Marvel and DC Comics decided to merge their respective universes into one, they created Amalgam Comics. This issue starred Storm as Wonder Woman and was written and drawn by John Byrne with inks by Terry Austin. I enjoyed the story which placed Ororo on Paradise Island as a sister to Diana. It’s worth checking out if you come across it. I do like the combined visual of Ororo’s trademark cape and Diana’s accoutrements.
Kitty and Storm have a heart to heart–in the sky, naturally–after Storm changes from den mother to punk rocker. It looks like artists Paul Smith is the artist of this issue of Uncanny X-Men #180, but it is actually John Romita, Jr. inked by Bob Wiacek. I remember reading this issue and realizing I had never read an exchange like this one in a comic book before. It brought me to tears thinking about the concepts Ororo and Kitty were discussing. I had only read about identity, change and love like this in novels before. Interpersonal relationships like this one were what kept me enthralled with the X-Men for a long time.
Neal Adams is one of comicdom’s greats. No two ways about this, folks. You might know him from his Green Arrow/Green Lantern work or his early X-Men work or even from his belief in the expanding earth theory. Or maybe this is your first exposure to this comics master. Well, no matter. Check out his wikipedia page or his personal site for amazing work and bibliography. Today’s Storm Sunday showcases Neal’s art from Giant Size X-Men #3 (a sort of untold tale of the All-New, All-Different crew).
Thunderbird (the Native American with the headband on), Sunfire (with the topknot and Rising Sun motif), Nightcrawler, Colossus and Storm battle each other (but mostly (Wolverine) in the Danger Room. I like Adams’ inventive panel layout in the above page and I like how Storm’s powers are depicted in contrast with the extreme closeup of her face in the last panel. Storm’s emotional distress practically radiates off the page. But, really, what the hells is she wearing? That pantsuit is horrific.
Wolverine shows off his hairy muscles and takes a walkabout. You don’t need the dialogue to appreciate his cocksure attitude. You can almost hear him saying, “Thanks for the workout. Just so you know, I’m going out and I’m taking the franchise with me.”
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