• Interview - Michael Avon Oeming - Launching Omega Flight

    This interview was originally published 01/12/07 leading into the launch of Omega Flight. Michael Avon Oeming shares his thoughts on his upcoming Omega Flight series. He discusses a variety of subject of concern for "Classic" Alpha Flight fans, and new fans to Omega alike.

    Michael Avon Oeming
    AlphaFlight.net: Hi Mike, Thanks for taking time out of your busy day. These days it certainly looks like you are one of the busiest people in the industry.

    Oeming: I doubt it! You see how much I sleep. If I was serious about work, I would cut that **** out.

    AlphaFlight.net: Thinking back, what was you first exposure to Alpha Flight?

    Oeming: Hmm, I had to be looking through a friends collection when I was a kid. I certainly remember when I first started liking Mignola's work, his covers caught my eye. There was and still is nothing like it on the shelves...

    AlphaFlight.net: What was it that really stood out for you from those early days?

    Oeming: Puck! A superhero little dude, but he was all kick ass. That and Sasquatch. I liked that it always felt different. As great as X-Men and Avengers could be, they all felt like variations on the same theme, but Alpha
    Flight always felt a little different. Maybe it was because it was more about individuals functioning within the team or the fact that it embraced Indian culture. I loved that. I want to do lots more with First Nations people at marvel comics.

    Classic Alpha Flight
    AlphaFlight.net: If you were to assemble the "Essential Alpha Flight" books, what would we be looking at?

    Oeming: Probably the first year. They weren't always told in the best ways, but the heart is there, the concept. At least for me.

    AlphaFlight.net: Both the Steven Seagle and Scott Lobdell re-launches fell under heavy criticism, though they were very different from each other. How did you feel about these runs? Might we see any open plots from these books being used?

    Oeming: Man, I don't know. I think I liked where Lobdell started, but then it just became SOOO wacky it was like one drinks too many Well written, but just on another planet. For me, Flight is always about mythology. Not in that "super heroes are modern mythology" kind of way, but the roots of the team are steeped in it, so its hard for me to see it played as a typical superhero book or even a funny book. Weird, yes, funny, no.

    AlphaFlight.net: After two failed re launches, classic fans feel that a lack of original characters and content is a largely to blame. Do you consider this sentiment to be at all fair or accurate? How do you think Omega can avoid this "curse"?

    Oeming: No, it has nothing to do with the lack of original characters. There is a hard core base for Flight, but not enough to sustain a book, where other people will see those same characters and "I never read them before, why would I read it now?" I have to admit, Marvel has relaunched some books where I felt the same way. I wont name names, but I look at it and thought "I never liked it before..." kind of like Mushrooms. I don't care how good they are made, I just don't like them and I'm done trying them.

    The book has to stand on its own merit, good stories, art and support from the company and fans. Its really that simple.

    AlphaFlight.net: It was in February 2006 that Mark Millar first told AlphaFlight.net that Marvel was looking at a "High Profile Alpha Flight re-launch". Were you in the picture at that point?

    Oeming: I think so, its hard to remember that far back. Almost a year, wow. Also, deals come and go and usually fall through, so I never count on something until it happens. "hey Mike, want to draw/Write "X" book? Sure, I say, but then I forget about it unless it happens because there's a million reasons projects fall through or dramatically change.

    AlphaFlight.net: How were Mark Millar and Brian Michael Bendis being involved in the conceptualization of Omega Flight. What was the series of events that lead to the Marvel giving the series' go-ahead?

    Dead Alpha Flight
    Oeming: The "Hawkeye syndrome"! Kill off a character that people ha vent cared about for a while and suddenly it stirs up childhood memories of why they loved these characters and there's a demand for it. I hope somebody kills off Brother Voodo, I'd kill to write a series about him!

    AlphaFlight.net: How did "death" of Alpha Flight in New Avengers fit into the picture?

    Oeming: Clearly, that was kick off of the whole thing. Before that, I had pitched Marvel an Alpha Flight series, but they weren't interested in even seeing it, Flight was dead in the water, no one wanted to touch it at that time.

    AlphaFlight.net: So why "Omega Flight"? Historically the name has been associated with villains. Omega Flight has until now been Alpha Flight's greatest enemy team.

    Oeming: It was a signal to readers and retailers that this isn't your dad's Alpha Flight- this isn't that food you tried several times and didn't like- this is something new. It also felt like Alpha Flights "last/Omega" Chance... at least for awhile.

    AlphaFlight.net: You've stated in the past that Omega Flight was going to be an easy book for new readers to jump into the Flight Path, what will Omega Flight have to offer the "Old School" Alpha Flight fans?

    Oeming: Lots. Lots of homages, the original flight haunts the new flight, almost litterally

    Master Of the World from Alpha Flight
    AlphaFlight.net: You've expressed interest in using some classic Alpha Flight villains, such as The Great Bests, and The Master. What is it about these characters that interests you for Omega Flight? Are you considering the use of any other familiar Alpha Flight antagonists?

    Oeming: Again, they go back to the roots of Flight. The Master could be really cool. The Great Beasts are all that mythology stuff I love. Old sleeping gods and all that.

    AlphaFlight.net: We can assume that Omega Flight has some government sanctioning, can we expect Department H to be involved?

    Oeming: Yes, heavily involved in the Government, but as for Department H... we'll see

    Scott Kolins Sasquatch pencil art
    AlphaFlight.net: From the pages Marvel has shown from Omega Flight #1, we see that Sasquatch has survived the "battle" with The Collective. Other than Walter, with we see anything from any of the other characters who fell in that fight?

    Oeming: If we stick around long enough, I'm sure its a possibility. Its Marvel Comics, hell has no door

    AlphaFlight.net: Omega Flight artist Scott Kolins informed AlphaFlight.net that there were "some major changes that you'll be hearing about soon" that effected the direction of things, or at the very least effected issue #2. Is there anything you can tell us about this?

    Oeming: You talking to me?

    AlphaFlight.net: You've done some work with Kolins in the past, but this is your first full length series. Do you find that changes the nature of your work together? What are his rolls in the collaborative process?

    Oeming: Its funny, Scott and I have shorthand creativity now, and I kept leaving directions out of the script because I knew Scott would know what to do with it and I didn't want to step on his toes, but my editor didn't know what the hell was going on in those panels. Scott and I work so well together, we have that creepy twin thing where I don't have to tell him what to do, he just knows. But as my editor says, I have to fill the rest of the team in on what the hell we're thinking. The only other person I have that with is Bendis on Powers.

    AlphaFlight.net: Of the characters in Omega Flight, who are you enjoying writing the most?

    Oeming: Wow, its hard to say. Either Sasquatch (as Walter!) or Talisman. US Agent is fun because he's a smart ass with a heart of gold.

    AlphaFlight.net: Thanks for your time Mike, here's looking at a long, prosperous series!

    Oeming: Thanks man! I wanted to mention I have an email newsletter that can be joined by emailing me at Oeming@aol.com and I have a new creator owned series coming out this summer from Image called the Mice Templar!
    Comments 7 Comments
    1. -K-M-'s Avatar
      -K-M- -
      It still angers me how Marvel screwed over Scott Kolins and Mike. Both of them are so greatly talented and I wished they actually got a chance to fully tell their story and got to go in the direction they wanted.

      I was a fan of both before Omega Flight and will be in whatever their future projects are.
    1. Mokole's Avatar
      Mokole -
      Funny how Voodoo is now Dr. Strange's replacement....
    1. cmdrkoenig67's Avatar
      cmdrkoenig67 -
      Not anymore...Voodoo's series has been cancelled. Stephen Strange will be back before you know it.

      Great interview with Mr Oeming!

    1. Flightpath07's Avatar
      Flightpath07 -
      I wonder how difficult it was for Mike and Scott to do those interviews, knowing what big Flight fans we are and that if we knew what they knew about it having been made into a mini from an ongoing series, we'd be royally pissed. And how difficult it must have been for them to not show their disappointment in those interviews, too.

      Poor buggers. I agree, they got shafted. if it weren't for the god-awful inclusion of Pointer on that team, I would've seriously dug their style on the ongoing series. Besides, they probably would've brought back a few of the dead Flight members by now, or brought in other Flighters we haven't seen in forever (or who have since been systematically killed off).
    1. Ben's Avatar
      Ben -
      In the next few days I'll add the "post cancellation" interviews with them, and with Andy Schmidt.
    1. Flightpath07's Avatar
      Flightpath07 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Ben View Post
      In the next few days I'll add the "post cancellation" interviews with them, and with Andy Schmidt.
      Awesome! Thanx, Oh Fearless Leader Type Person.
    1. Le Messor's Avatar
      Le Messor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Flightpath07 View Post
      If it weren't for the god-awful inclusion of Pointer on that team, I would've seriously dug their style on the ongoing series.
      Yeah, me too!

      - LM
      "Generally speaking, you aren't learning much when your lips are moving."