There’s a Storm Coming


Storm in Mohawk Glory

Storm has always been one of my favorite X-Men. She’s a respected leader, a cunning fighter, and controls the damn weather. Hell, at one point in her life she was worshipped as a goddess! Storm has such a regality to her, yet she’s not afraid to get down and dirty when the situation calls for it. She’s one of the most important characters in the Marvel Universe.

We talk about the importance of diversity and representation in media, and Storm was, for the longest time, one of the few examples of a minority character that achieved major success and status among comic book superheroes. Storm is one of if not the most recognized black superheroes ever created. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until 2014 that Storm received her first solo ongoing series, which has since ended. You can find her currently once again leading the X-Men in the series Extraordinary X-Men by Jeff Lemire and Humberto Ramos.

One of Storm’s most iconic looks comes from the 1980s, where she donned black leather and a striking mohawk. It was during this period of time that she temporarily lost her mutant powers, but she wasn’t going to let that stop her from being the hero and leader she could be. This look was a reflection of Storm’s attitude, and everyone took notice. In honor of 1980s mohawk Storm, I have a new Storm art print in my Etsy shop. This piece was originally a commission, but making it reminded me just how much I love Storm, and now it is available to all my fellow Storm fans. Enjoy!

And We’re Back

A scene of clarity from Napa back in January.

A scene of clarity from Napa back in January.

Hello again, blog. Are blogs still a thing? All I know is I’ve been putting off updating and writing this post for too long. I think we’re all guilty of saying we’re going to do something but we never do for whatever reason. All talk, no action. But nothing happens when you take no action. You can talk all you want about all the things you want to change about yourself and your life, but if you don’t go out and actually do something your words mean nothing. You think you’re happy but deep down you know you still feel unfulfilled. So this post is me taking action, moving on, and getting better.

Over one year ago my father suddenly passed away. One day, without warning, he was gone. I didn’t get to say goodbye. I didn’t get to tell him I loved him one last time. I didn’t get to tell him how much I respected him. I’ve been carrying the weight of that loss and those things I didn’t get to do for the last year, and I suppose I always will a little bit. It’s only recently that I realized that holding on to those regrets was also holding me back from being the best version of myself. I told people I was strong, but I also got lazy and complacent, and blamed it on mourning. Somehow I forgot the example of real strength that saw in my dad.

Last September I married my best friend and started on a new path in life. My wife is quite possibly the best person in the whole world, hyperbole notwithstanding. She’s challenges me to be a better person because she knows I can be a better person. Sometimes it’s hard to admit but she knows me better than I know myself. But I am incredibly blessed to have her in my life. I draw so much strength from her when I feel like I have none of my own.

It’s been an emotional journey for me this past year, which brings me back to this blog post. I need to write more. I need to read more. I need to create more. I need to challenge myself more. I want to use this blog again to keep myself accountable to my goals; to take action, move on, and get better. There will be more new art on my Etsy shop, and eventually another Etsy shop focused on design/invitation work. My wife and I have a financial services business where we teach financial literacy to everyone, and I want to grow that business so that we are no longer beholden to a job. I’ve seen so many examples of strong people, from my dad, my mom, and my wife, but now it’s really time to be just as strong myself.

Back from the Galaxy

Sort of. But shame on me for being absent over here. It’s been quite a busy summer, but I thought it was time to chime in with even a small update. And that update is:

Guardians of the Galaxy was freaking amazing. Seriously.

It has easily become my favorite Marvel Studios film, and it might just be better than the Avengers. Expect a GotG art print sometime soon, I am that inspired.

Not So Amazing Spider-Man 2

So I saw The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I had really high hopes for it, mostly because I was pleasantly surprised by the first movie. Alas, if you’ll excuse the pun, it was a tangled web of a movie. My thoughts are best expressed in the following tweet:

Sigh. It’s really a shame, too, because I absolutely love Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker, and Emma Stone is just wonderful as Gwen Stacy. They have such a natural chemistry, and it’s no coincidence that the movie’s best scenes were those featuring Gwen and Peter. Also, Spider-Man’s action sequences were fun to watch. But ultimately there was just too much going on, and a few too many ridiculous moments that did not make sense.

So pour one out for the web-slinger, and let’s all hope that one day we see Spider-Man in an Avengers movie.

Ms. Marvel in the Making (also, Diversity)

photo (3)

I truly believe Ms. Marvel is one of the most important new comic book series to come around in a while. The more different kinds of stories there are featuring different characters with diverse backgrounds (made by diverse creators) means there are richer stories that even more people can relate to. This is a good thing.

So many different people read comic books, and everyone wants to feel like they can see themselves in them. I know that when I was a kid (and even still now) I got super excited whenever an asian superhero showed up in the book I was reading. The world, and more specifically the United States, has never been just one kind of people. This has never been a more important or relevant issue because diversity is growing, and the media we consume and enjoy must reflect that. If you’ve got a problem with that, evolve. Comics are for everyone.

So my enthusiasm for the new Ms. Marvel of course means I must draw the new Ms. Marvel, as  you can see. Expect a full color print sometime soon, too. #KamalaKorps

Winter (Soldier) Is Coming

Winter Soldier

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is an amazing movie. Yes, you’ve heard all the praise before, but really, it’s that good. It’s not just a super-hero movie; it is also a wonderful spy-action-political-thriller very much in the vein of the Bourne films. What the Phase 2 Marvel movies are showing us is that super-heroes can be used to tell excellent stories in other genres, which is also very much true in the comic books they were born from. I mean, who would think that a movie about a man with super-powers from the 1940s, would have much to say about the state of surveillance, national security, and preemptive warfare today. I haven’t even mentioned how awesome Black Widow and Falcon were, both of whom need solo movies. In the end, The Winter Soldier leaves me very excited for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Bring on the Guardians of the Galaxy!

I was so excited, in fact, that as you can see above I drew the Winter Soldier himself. He is just the most badass badass ever, no hyperbole. This will eventually by a finished print available in my Etsy shop, so be on the lookout for it!

I Dream of Video Games

I’ve always wanted to do art for video games. As someone who used to draw out their own Super Mario Bros levels, it’s been ingrained in me. It hasn’t quite happened yet, but it’s still a goal. Lately more than ever, though, I’ve been doing a lot of random character concepts and whatnot. Thought I’d share some here.

Level 2 Boss photo 2

Level 2 Boss, Level 5 Boss

Mega Man remains one of my all time favorite game series (though my skills have greatly deteriorated with age), and a big part of why is the bosses. Bosses are wonderful, especially when bosses go all out. So these are some random bosses I created in the spirit of Mega Man, Level 2 Boss aka Blade Arms and Level 5 Boss aka Fire Arms. Wouldn’t it be great if there really was a video game featuring these two meanies? Let’s make it happen.

Hello Again

It’s me, Darren.

And it was about time for a gritty reboot of my blog/website. Well, perhaps not quite so gritty, but a reboot nonetheless. Thanks for continuing to follow my art by way of pop-culture adventures. Welcome to level two.