I started Great Bear Comics 2 years ago today, and each year, I try to make June an eventful month. I’ll soon be posting about my experiences attending Denver Comic Con, Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (this upcoming weekend), and the Denver Zine Fest (which I’ll be tabling). For now, though, let’s get into this year’s festivities – namely a drawing, comic, or illustration a day.
While attending DCC, I was inspired to do some fannish illustrations – beginning with this one. As a young comics reader, I was a big fan of the X-men and of Wolverine and Storm in particular. But it always bothered me that Storm was so often drawn as being little different from any other comics character – despite her being a Kenyan and American woman who grew up in Cairo in the 1970s (or thereabouts). I especially hated that her clothes and body were so often drawn poorly – and I remember ranting with my fellow comics-reading sister about how shitty that was (especially since Ororo is such an international and multifaceted character, or at least seemed to be for two kids growing up in Michigan).
Since then, I’ve been reading many of the older comics with Storm – and another thing has struck me as odd. Namely, that she and so many other superheroines are so often drawn as more akin to super models than the badass people they are, especially when they’re supposed to be kicking ass rather than modeling clothes. How are gigantic heels and shoulder pads combined with a skin-tight uniform of ‘unstable molecules’ remotely appropriate for saving the world? Much less doing so in a rainstorm? So I sketched a few ideas for what Storm probably should have looked like in the 1980s – at least according to me.
So, here’s my version of Storm as a young woman in the 1980s; given her character’s history, I’d place this somewhere around 1983. I drew her based on many references – she has Lisa Bonet’s free-flowing 1980s hair and pants, with face structure drawn from photo references of Kenyan and Kenyan American women, and a jacket inspired by an awful one that Oprah wore around the same time. Overall, you’ve got the pants and shirt for someone like Ororo who doesn’t like clothes (because a nudist seemed more likely to me to wear light and flowy clothing than skin-tight stuff), the leather jacket for her emerging badass side, and the Kenyan hair piece to help her stay grounded in her family history.
Here’s the original version:
Here’s the touched-up version:
If you like this illustration, let me know, and I’ll do some more variations on well-known comics characters. And if there’s someone in particular you’d like to see me draw (or some particular iteration of them), comment and let me know.