I’m a big Storm fan. Like diehard. Like I collected all her mini-series and have a special collection of variants of just her. She’s my favorite super-hero as I’ve noted before. This particular cover is actually my all-time favorite comic book cover of all time. ALL TIME. Over the years I’ve been making sure I pay close attention to how women are posed and placed on comic book covers: turns out I’ve been giving it more than earlier on then I thought. This particular comic was in my first comic book collection and I could recall exactly why I loved it so much: Storm is drawn in a striking, unforgettable way. She stands one hand grasping a dagger up in the air and the other near her hip. Clad in what’s left of her bikini-like costume she stands tall and unopposed: she is beautiful, deadly to be admired and feared. Pitor and Kurt stand in the background while she takes up space unapologetically.
She is the central figure. She is the most important. It’s all about her! As she asserts her dominance as disembodied raised fists join her to rally her on as their leader. In this particular comic, Storm fights Callisto, leader of the Morlocks the renegade band of misfits mutants who make their way of life underground in order to save her fellow X-Men comrades who came to the rescue of one of their own, Warren aka Angel. She challenges Callisto as leader of the X-Men even while not being 100 percent as she is afflicted by the fever and sickness brought on by Plague, a mutant under Callisto’s rule. Ororo succeeds in defeating the Morlocks’ leader and by their rules she stands as their new leader. I had already wanted to be like Storm as a child but this surely was one of the defining moments that solidified that desire. On the cover she is victorious. Gorgeous. And Fearless in this moment. And she is certainly NOT the one (to fuck with, mind you). “REIGN STORM” in unique font can be found on the lower half of the cover: which sums all of this up this: This is Ororo Munroe’s party. We’re just here to watch her shine.
Not too long ago I was telling some friends of mine of an incident that happened to me while I was at a bank waiting for an ATM: this stranger, a man complimented me and told me I was beautiful. In the next breath, he asked if I was mixed. As in mixed race, as in biracial or multi-racial. I deal with street harassment quite often so I was on guard with this soft-spoken man even before he gifted me this “compliment”. (Word to the wise: DON’T DO THIS. IT’S NOT A COMPLIMENT.) After I thanked him he blind-sided me with the question about being mixed. I am not ignorant to the fact that Black people are everywhere in the world. I’m also not ignorant that America has a population that is rapidly moving towards more interracial marriages and unions. Lastly, I’m not ignorant to the Afro-Latinx folks who live throughout Cali, especially Southern California where I make my home.
I was just emotionally exhausted when he replied to my bewildered expression that ”You just don’t look Black. Your features don’t look Black.” Beyond the “Why can’t Black Women just be beautiful, desired, sought after-and just be Black-without folks assuming we have to be mixed to validate those qualities” question which ultimately leads to the “Why can’t Black Women just BE?” I thought about what images in the media and what types of Black Women this man was used to seeing and interacting with (must be mad limited). I thought about even now, but especially how as a child I craved to find images of Black women real and fictional, looking like they could take on the world and win.
I suppose that’s why this comic book cover resonates with me so much even years later. Storm is, for the most part in my opinion all of the above and more. She’s serving us sexiness, power, attitude and the ability to get shit done. She’s worthy of all the praise, has a seat at the table and surely ain’t here for your mind games. She’s a leader and she’s a friend. Teacher. Lover. Royalty. And Everything in between. Even in a world that hates her (as a mutant, as woman, as a person who is Black and has heritage belonging to the African Diaspora) she won’t be easily defeated. I wanted to be like her and I KNEW she was Black as a child. There was NO question. She was a Black Woman and I wanted to be like her and still do. That’s what this comic book cover means to me.