how to become a superhero

over a month ago, i tweeted about how i would fashion some wolverine claws out of plexiglass. a friend of mine, abu, was having a superhero costume party (where i met SG) and he was going as wolverine. i, of course, took this as an opportunity to get away from my boring science and math classes for getting some creative injected in my otherwise creative-less life.

i spent several days drawing up all kinds of sketches and plans, some even including degrees of angles (what the frak?). my original plans involved the use of some wood and a mat board, which abu and i got from a local art store. abu later expressed his doubts in using the mat board so i sought the help of an industrial designer friend of mine on the best way to approach this. he recommended using polythyrene and said that i can probably get some scraps from one of the plastics companies in town and that maybe they’ll have other recommendations for the kind of material to use. so armed with my backpack and sketchbook, i marched into regal plastics the next day in between classes.

one of the many sketches i made, but certainly the most hilarious

one of the many sketches i made, but certainly the most hilarious

 

i explained to the man behind the counter what the situation was and he said that polythyrene would be too flimsy for what i was trying to do and that he’d recommend that i use plexiglass, of which they have a lot. thus began an adventure that took me to home depot, a place that cuts plastics and plexiglass, hobby lobby, bering’s hardware and a 4 AM visit to my parents’ house to get one of my art tool boxes. in the meantime, abu’s homework was to figure out a way to drill into plexiglass without cracking it. 

(side note: everyone that i talked to from all of these places was so nice and helpful but none was more helpful than the man from bering’s hardware. we spent a good 45 minutes walking around the store and formulating a plan on the best way to do this. he was almost as enthusiastic about this project as i was. i should go back there and show him the finished product)

so that thursday, i got to abu’s place and after an hour or so of some test drilling and sawing (that summer of jewelry making and metalsmithing actually came in handy), we quickly realized that doing this the rock-your-socks-off way would take more time than we realized so i re-explained my original plan of using the mat board to abu and of course, he had no other choice but to accept it. actually, we had to put our ideas together because i have to give him credit for wanting to use the hanger wire. we ended up working on the claws until after the sun set which was actually pretty nice since we were in his backyard and the weather wasn’t too shabby.

enjoy the photos!

 

we used my wood for sanding and hanger wire to attach the claws

we used my wood for sanding and his hanger wire to attach the claws

 

 

this is what you get when wolverine actually ages.

this is what you get when wolverine actually ages.

 

 

the planning was my job, the grunt work was his

yeah i was playing on my iphone... the planning was my job, the grunt work was his

 

 

we double layered the mat board for the claws.

we double layered the mat board for the claws.

 

 

grr! grr...? arf!

grr! grr...? arf!

 

 

aww, i made the little prince do some manual labor. he's a flimsy little guy.

aww, i made the little prince do some manual labor. he's a flimsy little guy.

 

 

i let him do all the spray painting, i wasn't going to get my outfit covered in paint.

i let him do all the spray painting, i wasn't about to get my outfit covered in paint.

 

 

see how dark it was when we finished?

see how dark it was when we finished?

 

 

yeah i don't know why the wood pieces were positioned differently...

yeah i don't know why the wood pieces were positioned differently...

 

wolverine and storm

as leader of the gold team, i outrank wolverine... but he's some sort of maverick. he's john mccain. also, too, does that make me sarah palin?

 

 

yeah i just wanted to show off my storm costume.

yeah i just wanted to show off my storm costume. in yo face, halle berry!

 

 

super tiny because it was nabbed from abu's facebook

nabbed from abu's facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

maybe i can talk abu into dressing up as wolverine again for a midnight showing of x-men origins: wolverine… or maybe we can just get the bobo leaked version and have our own private opening night with 200 of his closest friends.

speaking of the wolverine movie, i was a little peeved that the storm cameo that we saw in the trailer was cut out of the final edit. boo hiss.

 

 

wolverine

x-men origins: wolverine

ororo munroe, will you marry me?

lately, i seem to be having to explain to people about my life–my background, motivations, interests… whether it’s with people i’m newly getting to know or current friends i’m getting to know better, people have been reciprocating by wanting to get to know me better. while i hate the part of this scenario where i’m expected to spew out facts about myself, i always seem to find a way to talk about one of the greatest loves of my life: storm of the x-men.

it is no secret to my friends that i have held a certain amount of fanaticism about storm for nearly most of my life. once in the 8th grade, my friend thuy bought me a storm doll (complete with the white costume and alternative green “african-inspired” outfit). heck when i worked at schipul, one of my co-workers attempted to give me the nickname of storm. i think you’ll be glad to know that i nipped that one in the bud… what my friends probably don’t know is why it is, above any other superheroine, that i love storm so much.

it all began when i was about 8 or 9 with the classic pryde of the x-men movie/pilot and its companion arcade game. between the two featured female x-men on the team, i of course would choose the one with beautiful long hair, the flowing cape and the black tiara (she also had a wand in the arcade game, if i remember correctly). i suppose i was too girly to find any interest in dazzler with her pixie cut. anyway, how could i not love her? she could fly!

it wasn’t until a year later when the famous x-men cartoon made its debut that i was able to indulge myself in some more of this white-haired goddess. i still remember seeing night of the sentinels for the first time and watching storm raise her hands in the air and transform from her pink civilian outfit to her white storm costume, shoulder armor and all! can i just say that brown boot/trouser/pink blazer combination is just too fashionable for a cartoon character?

as i got older and became more socially aware, i began to really appreciate storm for what she represented. even before i knew it, storm was iconic for the very things that made her unique. she was a minority of several kinds–a woman, black, african, an immigrant and a mutant. storm is the most recognizable black superhero and one of the most recognizable superhero characters. as a person of color, that speaks to me in a way that no other female superheroines can.

perhaps the most personal reason i have for my admiration of the character is one that arose not because i grew older and became socially aware but because i grew more mature and became more self-aware. storm’s mutant ability of atmokinesis is directly linked to her emotions. in order to master these abilities, she had to learn to master her feelings, to control her emotions so that they do not overwhelm her. this sense of balance is something that i’ve been trying to maintain my entire life. too often, i let my emotions get the better of me despite the fact that my brain knows the disastrous results that can occur. not only do i seek to have balance in terms of my emotion, but i look for balance in almost every aspect of my life: spiritually, socially, in my identity. i may just be the classic libra in that regard. ororo munroe is someone who struggles with these same issues or she risks destroying the entire eastern seaboard.

to me, ororo munroe symbolizes the very person i wish to be: a woman of strength, beauty, intelligence, kindness, balance, humility. she has the power of the elements at the tip of her fingers and yet she chooses to commune with nature as a friend would with another. through overwhelming circumstances, she made it through, not unscathed but unmatched. in the battlefield, ororo may be storm but in spirit and in character, she is a force of nature.

update (7/19/10): storm did have a wand in the arcade game.