Do not be the slowest zebra.
I was looking through my friend’s comic collection, and she showed me Storm by Eric Jerome Dickey. Eric Jerome Dickey! I used to love his books. (Did you know they are considered erotica? It makes total sense now that I think about it.) My friends and I read his first five novels way back when I was in my early 20s, so I also have fond bonding memories of his books.
So, yes, Eric Jerome Dickey wrote a graphic novel about Storm from the X-Men, appropriately titled Storm. It tells of her romance with Black Panther, before they are married.
What I Liked
– I loved the artwork. Really sharp and crisp, great use of color, very expressive. (The artwork is by David Yardin and Lan Medina.)
– Because the book is about Storm growing up in Africa (I forgot to write the country down in my notes, but I am pretty sure she is in Egypt), it operates as a pre-origin origin story. What I mean is that it’s not about how she came to join X-Men or how she goes from Ororo to Storm. It’s about what it meant for her to be a young girl (she’s twelve when the story starts) living on the streets who can sometimes make freaky things happen with the weather. I think that’s great because you don’t really need to know anything about the character to get into the story.
– There’s quite a bit about loyalty and family in here that’s handled in an interesting way. Family means different things, and measures of loyalty are not always what you expect. I really enjoyed seeing that explored.
– T’Challa (Black Panther) and Ororo are fully drawn characters, and though the book explores their epic (and pretty instantaneous) love, a lot of the conflict comes from Ororo’s relationship with her adoptive street family.
– You really get a sense of the inherent badassery that is to come from Storm.
What I Didn’t Like
– Okay, my biggest issue with the book is with the sex. I have nothing against sex in novels, and it’s handled really tastefully in terms of the art (i.e., it isn’t graphically depicted or anything). My real problem with it is that Ororo is twelve, but she is drawn like a woman.
I found an interview with EJD, and this is how he describes Ororo:
I know that she’s a very beautiful woman as an adult, but I wanted the 13-year-old whose body is going through changes and does not think she’s attractive; who hasn’t come into her beauty yet; where every other girl for some reason looks better to her,” he said. “I think Ororo is 5’11” so, make her too tall for her age, make her lanky; make her… not quite comfortable with her own body yet.
Which works! And there is a lot of emphasis in the book about the changes her body is going through, how she has just started her cycle, etc. And she is drawn as he describes throughout.
(Also, he says in the interview thirteen, but she is twelve in the book.)
Except when it’s time for the sexing. Then, her body is very mature, and she looks older. And I get it. I do. It is kind of weird to think about a twelve-year-old with a twevle-year-old’s body having sex. BUT THAT IS THE STORY. I would have preferred that there was some continuity there because, hey, that is the story you are telling! Do not make her look sixteen or seventeen (or even older it can be argued) when she is twelve because, oh, it is time for sex now and we can’t have the lanky teenager doing that.
And, yes, I know there are very developed teenaged girls out there. I worked at a middle school and several of the girls had more voluptuous and mature bodies than me. And some of them were even having sex. BUT THEY LOOKED TWELVE/THIRTEEN.
Which leads to another dislike.
– Time. I have no idea when this story happens and how that affects the age Ororo decides to have sex. There are other pregnant girls in the story, and Ororo seems to know that it’s because they went off with boys, but I don’t know if this is just accepted because it’s a culture thing (meaning the street culture she lives in) or if it’s because of the timing of the story. Again, I have known pregnant teens (one of my classmates was pregnant in eighth grade and one of my middle school students was pregnant as well), but both of those cases were abnormal, and so it’s something I would like a little context for within the story.
The sex stuff isn’t my only time complaint. I would also like to know because I needed to be grounded in the story. Is the technology in the story very now or is it advanced for its time, etc.? At times the story seemed very now, and other times it felt like it was set in the past.
In conclusion: Sex blunder aside, I really enjoyed the story and, again, loved the artwork.
POC Reading Challenge: 15/15