Personal art completed with graphite and charcoal on toned gray sketch paper.
Personal art completed with graphite and charcoal on toned gray sketch paper.
In celebration of seeing Wonder Woman, I decided to share this piece I drew back in 2012, during my first semester of college. It was the first project my drawing class had been assigned. The task was to draw something we felt represented ourselves, our style, and our inspiration. I chose to recreate a picture done by Jim Lee, one of my favorite DC Comics artists.
Wonder Woman has always been more than just a comic book character to me. Outside of my mom, she was the only real female figure I had. And she taught me many things. True strength comes from within, not from your muscles. No matter what size I am, I can still do anything I set my mind toward. All I need is love, compassion, and the courage to be myself. And lastly, I don’t have to be Wonder Woman to be a wonderful woman.
I won’t lie. I cried quite a bit when I saw the Wonder Woman movie. One of my childhood icons was now more than animated character or a drawing on a page. She was on a big screen in live action. She became real. That movie was everything I could have asked for and more. I was so happy to see my hero, that I couldn’t help but cry.
This is one of the things I love about books/comics/TV shows/video games/movies, etc. Usually, everyone finds their hero. That one character that stands out the most to them. The one that connects with them the most. People learn from these characters, are inspired to be their best by these characters. The list could go on.
I know there’s a difference between the real world and fantasy. I am not blind to my everyday responsibilities. But whether it’s reading a book or comic to forget myself for a little while, whether it’s playing a video game to release my frustration, whether it’s writing stories or poems to vent my feelings, fiction does help me get through this thing we call life. Just as music does. Just as chatting with family and friends does. And Wonder Woman? Well. She’s an aspect of fiction that’s helped me the most.
“Has anyone looked at the river’s dark waters and wondered how inviting they might actually be?” I asked no one in particular. None of my characters answered me. They didn’t have anything to say this time. So I pulled onto the exit ramp and finished my drive to riverfront. When I parked, I could vaguely see, across the street, the water’s reflection in my headlights. A deep breath turned everything off. Long strides guided me to the bank. The river flowed about ten feet below.
I didn’t know how many times I had come to this spot. Whether it was to clear my mind, enjoy the day, or find inspiration for my work. I even made the mighty river a character. I liked to think Jormungandr, the great serpent, resided beneath the surface. So many times had I come to him for advice. Tonight, he was silent. It was if he knew my true intentions. My alterior motives.
Sighing, I sank to my butt and drew my knees to my chin. Never taking my eyes off the body of water. Jorg, you there? The river remained still, but I imagined a giant black snake head rising. His gazed pierced my soul. Yes, fleshling. My eyes watered. I’m done. A tongue flicked in and out. Again? This time it’s for good. I mean it. What happened? I buried my head in my arms. I’m selfish, uncaring, hurtful. I don’t think. I never think. I just ruin everything. No one would miss me. I’m not good at life.
His head came closer. Eyes bearing into me even more. Who is? We’re allowed to make mistakes. We learn and move on. I sniffed. Wouldn’t it be ironic if I was eaten by the Devourer, the one I gave to this river? I’m not eating you. You jump, and I’ll spit you right back out. My head lifted as I glared. Why won’t you help me? Can’t you see I’m broken and can’t be fixed? His acidic laugh drowned the rushing river. No one is broken beyond repair. Not even me. Think about those you would leave behind– I did. They’re better off without me. All I do is make things worse. He shook his head. If you did, they would never be around you. Think about your work. All those characters who will never see the light of day because you’ll be gone. No one will be able to meet them. They’ll never exist and be lost. Don’t you want them among the world?
I sighed once more. They’re not even that good. I startled when someone suddenly yelled my name. Jormungandr vanished to the back of my mind. My name sounded again. I glanced over my shoulder. It was my love. He sprinted toward me. Slid next to me and enveloped me in his arms. He buried his head on top of mine. “I thought I was too late. What are you doing out here?” I stared at the water before bursting into tears. “I don’t know.” He took my face in his hands, pressing his lips against my forehead. “Do not take yourself away from me. That is a hole the world could not fill.”
My eyes squeezed shut. I trembled but allowed myself to be held. Finally buried my head in his chest. “I can’t keep making everyone’s lives worse.” “You don’t, hun. You don’t. You make it better. Each person brings their own challenges. Do you love me less for my imperfections?” His question caught me off guard. “No.” He held me tighter. “Then why would I love you less for yours? How about we get you home, okay? Can we do that?”
Opening my eyes, I saw Jormungandr again. The snake gave a nod. Go. Be loved. Remember I will not eat you. You have too much potential for something so trivial. I swallowed as he merged with the river. Nodded. “Yeah. I’ll go home.” I was helped to my feet. Led back across the street. I looked behind me. Jorg had said his peace. He offered no protest with my decision. His image had vanished. He would not take my life. All that remained were lethal dark waters.
In the beginning, there was darkness. It was, after all, the Underdark. We were always on the run–my parents and I. You see, they had fallen out of their queen’s favor because they couldn’t have children of their own. There were always spiders chasing us. Always. Did I mention my first parents were drow? Anyway, that was the beginning of my life–running, fighting, darkness. I eventually had enough and ran away, went topside. Didn’t expect much. Especially since I only spoke Undercommon. Turned out, I understood Common and Elven. That was how I pieced together I was half human, half elf. That, and that’s what everyone told me I was. The developing years rendered me in no better shape than when I was with the drow couple. I bounced from home to home, place to place, staying with whoever would take me in. The families weren’t the problem–I was. I became rather aggressive over the years. Often hurting the other kids. Then I’d be sent away. Oh, and everyone was scared of my bright silver eyes. I always liked my eyes. Mainly because I could freak people out. There was this one time I set up a–okay, okay, back on topic. I never meant to hurt anybody. It was just, I felt like there was a force inside me. I always felt the darkness. Still do. I figured it was because I was raised by drow. Now, I’m not so sure. I mean, I don’t have any drow blood in me. You see, I get very angry very quickly. Many times, abnormally so. And when I start to get beyond control, my scars on my chest plate start glowing and burning. First time it happened, I thought I was going to die. It scared the life out of me. I became accustomed to it as I grew. When I was old enough to realize I could survive on my own, I took that chance and ran. Went to a town never been to before. Started begging, stealing, the lot. Whatever I could do to make it to the next day. Eventually took on teaching myself how to fight. I joined underground fist battles, trying my hand and winning some coins. Got beat more times than I’d like to admit, but I learned quickly. Developed my own style. It also turned out I had a natural knack for weaponsmithing. Made a pair of short swords and added them to my attire. Also acquired sweet red and black leather armor. That compliments my deeply rich red hair quite nicely, I must say. As I went about my adventures, I got called many things–thief, beggar, stray, waif, demon-girl, half-blood, the list goes on. I was mostly called a rogue. I remember swiping some bread, and this old lady screeched, “Stop stealing our life, rogue!” Her scream was hilarious. But she called me rogue as if it was my name. I mulled it over for a bit. It fit, had a nice ring to it. Besides, I never liked any of the names my foster families had ever given to me. Don’t even remember them. So I became Rogue.
But that became my life. Stealing, running, fighting. Surviving. Occasionally, something…weird would happen. I’d be fighting somebody intensely, get pushed past my limits, and a very tiny voice in my head would call upon something. My scars start glowing and burning, then! Darkness. I black out. It’s happened about, oh, four or five times. Here’s the weird part. The opponent would be gone. Vanished. Poof. No trace, no nothing. And I’d be completely unscathed except for the scars dully aching. No cuts, slashes, bruises, nothing. Not even from the previous battle. And I’d still have everything on my person. Weird, right? After the first time that happened, rumors spread. That I turned people into pure darkness. Or incinerated them or something. And after the first time, I completely went off on my own. Took shelter in the forests and survived off the land. Helps being part elf. I try to stay away from people because, frankly, I don’t know what happens when that happens. I’m kinda scared to find out. But anyway, that’s pretty much my life so far. As far as personal details go, I’m a female half human, half elf, as previously stated. I have bright silver eyes. As previously stated. My hair is deep red–as previously stated–and falls to my lower back, with a black streak like a silvermark by my face and jagged, black ends. I stand 5’8′, weigh 120 pounds, and my skin is slightly tan from being outside all the time. And I also have the scars right underneath my collar bone. One goes horizontally in a rather jagged fashion, while the other is a straight vertical line down the middle. Annnnd…that’s pretty much it. Think I covered everything. So. Anything else you need to know?