Marvel Fan Art Interview For Black History Month – John Gallagher!

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In honor of black history month, I wanted to tailor a fan art collection and interview on some of the fantastic black superheroes we have in Marvel. I wish there were more people of color in comics or in my favorite genres of sci-fi and fantasy for that matter, but that lack of representation is being chipped away at. Even if the process can seem slow from the readers or viewers perspective.

John Gallagher is a very prolific entertainment illustrator from Continue reading

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Fan Focus – Scarlet Witch

Long (long) overdue post celebrating the fanart of Wanda Maximoff aka The Scarlet Witch. I wanted to post this before Avengers: Age of Ultron came out but life happened as it so often does.

The Scarlet Witch was introduced in X-Men #4 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in March, 1964. Here she shows up with her twin brother Pietro (Quicksilver) as part of a new group of villains, the subtly named Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Interestingly her costume is green though her headpiece already has its iconic (Magneto-esque) shape.

X-Men #4. March, 1964 Front Page.

X-Men #4. March, 1964 Front Page.

The daughter of Magneto and Magda has been featured in the Marvel universe for over fifty years, battling her probability altering powers and contending with her and her brother’s tragic past.

Vision and Scarlet by Bill Mantlo and Rick Leonard 1982

Vision and Scarlet by Bill Mantlo and Rick Leonard 1982

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has now given us a reinvented Scarlet Witch. Unsurprisingly doing, so has its proponents and detractors. Personally, I crushed hard on Elizabeth Olson‘s Wanda. The old House of M tragedy, while huge for its time is now a depressing slog for a first time read and I would much, much rather have a new, fresh take on the character. Also Wanda’s story has been pretzel severely with Magneto now not being her father, Pietro may or may not have been her lover, she may or may not actually be a mutant at all and Magda (her mum) may or may not be still alive. /wince

The new Wanda Maximoff and her twin brother Pietro who, spoiler alert, croaks in Avengers: Age of Ultron, are now from the made up Russian mainland-esque Sekovia. This doesn’t preclude Romano ties, and I hope they didn’t drop those entirely but so far there’s been no mention of such a tie-in.

Her powers are presumably a result of Hydra experimentation which she and Pietro volunteered for and this is a young, untried woman still feeling her way into the world.

Her look too has received a much-needed modernization with bordeaux colored leather tops or flaring coats and lovely boho silver rings and dark makeup. Best yet is the choreography Joss Whedon invented for the role. Her hands and arms move with a clawing yet dance-like quality that is subtly unsettling and beautiful all the same!

Video compilation via Marvel & DC Heroes – L Picture Avengers

But who was the original Scarlet Witch and what did she look like?

Scarlet Witch is a mutant who can tap into mystic energy for reality-altering effects. Additionally being born on Mount Wundergore has given her magic abilities which she later trains with her mentor, the witch Agatha Harkness. A little bad, a little good as is so often the case with Marvel characters, Wanda has certainly led a life with ample reason for stepping off the straight and narrow.
Pregnant with Wanda and Pietro, Magda — flees to Mount Wundagore in Transia after seeing her husband Magneto use his magnetic powers.

Scarlet Witch - Ultimate Power #6 by Greg Land. September, 2007.

Scarlet Witch – Ultimate Power #6 by Greg Land. September, 2007.

Mt. Wundagore was the prison of the Elder God Chthon, and the children are brought into the world in the middle of his attempt to escape.
Cthon altered Wanda later, giving her the ability to use magic in addition to her mutant abilities, preparing her to become his vessel when she reached maturity, a vessel with both mutant and magical powers. In a panic that Magneto might discover the children, Magda flees yet again and subsequently dies of exposure to the elements.

Scarlet Witch and Ms Marvel by Mike Mayhew. ROUGH STUFF #8 cover. April, 2008

Scarlet Witch and Ms Marvel by Mike Mayhew. ROUGH STUFF #8 cover.
April, 2008

A quick aside, google Mike Mayhew covers for an absolute deluge of gorgeous!

The twins are placed in the care of the Romani Django and Marya Maximoff, who raise them as their own children. The kids are forced to flee a mob when Wanda uses her powers to protect herself and accidentally causes a fire that kills their adoptive Roma mother. After which Magneto picks them up for his newly formed Brotherhood.

Scarlet Witch Variant cover for Ultimates 3 #3 by Fran Cho. Jan 30, 2008

Scarlet Witch Variant cover for Ultimates 3 #3 by Fran Cho. Jan 30, 2008

Her redemption from not just her own very real guilt but Magneto’s later manipulations and Cthon who repeatedly sticks his oar in, is a long, bitter and dark story. And that’s not even going into the tales about just how close she and Pietro were presumably. Let’s just say Cercei and Jamie didn’t invent the tales of incest. Neither did comics of course!

But comics are just for kids, right?

 

'House of M' by Joe Quesada and Danny Miki. June, 2005

‘House of M’ by Joe Quesada and Danny Miki. June, 2005

Now that you are armed with some of Marvel’s iterations of what Wanda Maximoff has looked like over the decades, it’s time to have a look at the offerings of fan artists!

Gallery

Scarlet Witch Commission by Artgerm

Scarlet Witch Commission by Artgerm

Scarlet Witch Commission by Artgerm

I love Artgerm’s take on Wanda. Just a little muted and faded in the colors which draws the eye especially in a vibrant collection like this one. And her eyes are just spectacular with hints of humor and seriousness.

 

Scarlet Witch portrait by Xia Taptara

Scarlet Witch portrait by Xia Taptara

Portrait of Scarlet Witch by Xia Taptara

Xia Tapara’s portrait has such a feel of reality to it you could almost believe a real Wanda had sat for it. Her features are a lot more exotic than she is usually shown with which I can’t help but appreciate a lot. After all, a Romano mother and Central European father there ought to be more character to her face than American Everybody-looks-the-same beauty standards.

Please note that Xia use the portrait above for a step-by-step guide of how to paint Marvel faces! Do visit!

Scarlet by Xia Taptara

Scarlet by Xia Taptara

Scarlet by Xiaman

If you liked the portrait above by Xia, this piece of a much younger Wanda should blow your mind. Fantastic energy and liveliness and my gosh her hair!

And you can see a lot more of Xia’s amazing work by following the link above to his deviantART gallery.

 

Scarlet Witch Commission by Aethibert and Giuliapriori

Scarlet Witch Commission by Aethibert and Giuliapriori

Scarlet Witch By Aethibert Colors By Giuliapriori
Aethibert and Giuliapriori’s Scarlet Witch is pinker than you’ll be used to seeing her but the fae-like quality of her features makes this portrait very memorable. Aethibert has a vast gallery of superhero fanart which is definitely worth a visit!

 

Scarlet Witch by Claudia-SG

Scarlet Witch by Claudia-SG

Scarlet Witch by Claudia-SG

This is a wicked, wicked Wanda created by Claudia-SG on deviantART. In fact if I didn’t know any better I would almost say that was Cat Woman dressed up for Halloween! /fans herself

 Scarlet Witch painting by diablo2003

Scarlet Witch painting by diablo2003

Scarlet Witch painting by diablo2003

While we are on the topic of Wicked Wanda… This very smoking piece is an acrylic wash painting which was later enhanced in Photoshop. With a costume like hers it really is hard to not portray her as a pinup. Sorry, bad pun there.

 

Scarlet Witch by KevinTUT

Scarlet Witch by KevinTUT

Scarlet Witch by kevinTUT

It is important to remember Wanda didn’t just struggle with her powers but with her morality. Kevin’s Wanda is powerful, implacable and not very friendly! Gotta love her!

 

 Wanda, the Scarlet Witch by flipation

Wanda, the Scarlet Witch by flipation

Wanda, the Scarlet Witch by flipation
Flippation’s Wanda isn’t the cool, controlled professional so often portrayed, which I think shows his love for a character who is always one oupsie away from unmaking all of reality.

 

Witch by Irvintustin

Witch by Irvintustin

Scarlet Witch by irvintustin
Here is a very interesting piece that brings 1950s Americana posters forcibly to mind. Not simply in the dusty pinks and reds but also with her gorgeous curves. Wanda was never a woman who was supposed to have a starvation-gap between her thighs and Irvin celebrates that with this portrait!

Scarlet Witch by gammaknight

Scarlet Witch by gammaknight

Scarlet Witch by gammaknight

Gammaknight’s Scarlet Witch line art brings us back to her earlier iterations but her features here are cuter and almost cat-like.

Wanda Maximoff by niabolla

Scarlet Witch Wanda Maximoff by niabolla

Let us end with a return to Elizabeth Olson’s Scarlet Witch here depicted by niabolla in full glorious rage. It’s ok to fan girl at fan art!

A special thank you to Calvin’s Canadian Cave of Coolness for supplying me with additional beauty for this post and points to think about! Also that is the best blog name – EVER!