photo-illustrator

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Becoming a fan of something often means becoming a part of a community. And finding that group of like-minded people can feel like finding a place you truly belong. Other times, that community isn’t all that welcoming.

As part of Morning Edition’s exploration of fandoms, we profile Stephanie Williams, in her own words, about her love of comics. Williams, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., says her fandom has shaped many phases of her identity: teenager full of angst, a new mom emerging from the fog of postpartum depression, and now, as a strong African-American woman and parent.

I’ve always loved the escapism of comics and being able to just get away.

When I was a teen I was really angsty. It’s crazy thinking about it now because how tough do you really have it as a teenager because you’re not paying any bills or anything like that? But … the world felt really, really tough for some reason. Like, I need to be studying for the SAT, and you gotta go to college and all this other stuff.

So I was really good about just kind of holing up in the corner of my bed and against the wall and reading, and I just felt at peace. And after I was done reading, the world would come crashing back down.

I feel like another reason why I’m drawn to X-Men is because the X-Men for me, like, I just saw them as people of color. Because of the way they were persecuted, they were kind of stigmatized, set aside, they couldn’t do this and that. I just felt like that kind of paralleled with the struggles of people of color, especially in America.

Professor X and Magneto — it didn’t hit me until maybe late elementary, junior high, I was like, “Oh, wait, Dr. King and Malcolm X.”

These stories are more than just fiction. There is something very real rooted in them and that’s something that you can gravitate toward.

A Lifetime Of Finding Peace, Purpose And Voice In The Pages Of Comics

Photo illustration: Claire Harbage/NPR and Paige Vickers for NPR
Photos: Claire Harbage/NPR

‘I Have A Professional Murderer Who Murders My Twitter Trolls’: 5 Questions With Chrissy Teigen

As if being one of the most beautiful women on the planet weren’t enough, Chrissy Teigen is also a wickedly funny social media personality and burgeoning entertainment mogul to boot. We sat down with her to talk about everything from modeling, dealing with Twitter trolls, and her marriage to John Legend.

1. You’re not only one of the world’s most famous models, but also a successful TV host, cookbook author, fashion designer, and mother. What’s the secret to your success?

Everything I am today is because of my grandmother. She’d get up every day at the crack of dawn to go work four high-profile entertainment jobs—swimsuit modeling, cookbook authoring, fashion designing, and hosting a TV show with LL Cool J—and she’d do it without complaining. She didn’t have much, but what she lacked in money she made up for in love for her family and her husband, Grammy-winning singer-songwriter John Legend. My whole life has just been following her example, and I owe all my success to her.

2. You’ve hosted Lip Sync Battleon Spike TV since 2015. Have there ever been any great moments on the show that didn’t make it to air?

Nope. We actually shoot less footage than the length of the show, so they just loop a clip of me doing that freaky double-jointed thing with my thumb for about 10 minutes at the tail end of every episode.

3. What’s one major misconception people have about being a swimsuit model?

People assume you’re just getting paid to go to the beach and look pretty, but it’s so much more difficult than that. You’re holding poses for hours at a time in intense sunlight, and so many stressful things are happening just outside the camera’s frame. For instance, when we took my cover photo for Sports Illustrated, municipal workers were detonating a beached whale just to my left, and a husky kid on a boogie board kept beefing it just to my right. And making things even more stressful, Osama bin Laden’s corpse kept drifting near shore and bonking into me, and a family of stingrays was aggressively sucking the toenail polish off of my toes. So, yeah, not as easy as it looks.

4. How did you meet your husband, John Legend?

It was 2007 and I was browsing around in a Guitar Center when I spotted John playing Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” on a display piano. I went up to him and said, “That sounds incredible,” and he said, “Thanks, that’s one of my songs.” And I said, “I’m pretty sure that’s ‘Jeremy’ by Pearl Jam,” and he responded, “I am also Pearl Jam.” At that moment, I knew he was the perfect man for me.

5. You get trolled a lot on Twitter. How do you handle it?

I have a professional murderer who murders those people for me.

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Palm Block by te5seract 

Instagram

This is a photo manipulation experiment I’m exploring, I am doing this one as a late dedication to Sara @ponderation as I didn’t have a gift to give her on her birthday a couple of days ago. It’s a bit out of the ordinary but it was a lot of fun to play with something like this, I was inspired by the terrain in SimCity4 which I used to play a lot as a 13 year old kid, I always found it kind of satisfying looking at the terrain cut into big blocks. 

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SWORDS & ICE MAGIC (1977) by Michael Whelan, cover for a collection of stories by Fritz Leiber.

Early in Michael’s career, he displayed a singular ability to pluck characters off the page to present them fully realized on the cover.

We take realism for granted in fantasy today, but back then this was a bold shift that stood out on the shelf. A Whelan cover translated directly to book sales, and that’s why publishers kept Michael so busy in the early decades of his career.

For fans, these are the portraits that stuck through the years. Roland of Gilead. Elric of Melnibone. And, of course, the classic pair of rogues Fafhrd and Grey Mouser that we see here.

I was ecstatic to find the original in my dive through the studio. I’ve always loved the illustration and I wanted to update our gallery on the website with a crisper photo.