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AlphaFlight.net - An Alpha Hint Of Sorts...?
  • An Alpha Hint Of Sorts...?

    In this weeks Axel-In-Charge column at Comic Book Resources, Marvel's Editor In Chief is asked a question about the future of Alpha Flight and gives an answer that might not be as simple as it initially looks...
    ...(but probably is)







    Taral-DLOS says, "With Puck in Uncanny X-Force, Northstar in Astonishing X-Men, and Omega Flight featuring in Avengers #10, I'm hoping for a revival of Alpha Flight. I'm hoping for a Marvel NOW (phase 2) Alpha Flight series, and for you to continue putting 1983 Alpha Flight books on the Marvel/Comixology app (the first 8 issues are there; but please more!) So my question is: will Alpha Flight be coming back in 2013/14?"

    Alonso: No immediate plans for a new "Alpha Flight" series, Taral-DLOS…at least in its last incarnation.
    Comments 41 Comments
    1. Flightpath07's Avatar
      Flightpath07 -
      Well!

      Seeing as how their "last incarnation" was fairly close (debatable, I am sure, but still close) to its original makeup...

      ...the devil's advocate says that means any plans on a new AF series would then be involving other characters/ideas/premises than what was last presented.

      I'm not saying that is absolutely, 100% true; merely reading a bit into the statement by Alonso.

      I am also not saying that tweaking the last incarnation of Alpha Flight (to what degree, i don't know) would be either good, or bad.

      In all, the only thing that got me down, was "no immediate plans".

      The rest, I can live with; because I have no choice. So I will.

      This article/quote interests me, but probably only because I care about Alpha Flight, rather than it being interesting in and of itself (or even informative).

      No offense given, so none taken, please. I am merely stating the obvious; I want Flight back, and Marvel isn`t (currently) giving them to me, and this article gives a little hope (but only a little, mixed with nervousness and trepidation and angst).
    1. Mokole's Avatar
      Mokole -
      An olive branch to AF fans, maybe, over the years of lack of trust that time would give the book traction to sell?
    1. Flightpath07's Avatar
      Flightpath07 -
      I hate olives.
    1. Mokole's Avatar
      Mokole -
      Even Olive Oyl?

      I wonder if they're maybe going back to Alpha/Beta/Gamma with Hudson running H, and a new person or even the synthoid idea brought back for Guardian??
    1. Phil's Avatar
      Phil -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mokole View Post
      the years of lack of trust that time would give the book traction to sell?
      It's not a lack of trust though - the recent series underperformed and didn't sell. Less than Vol's 1, 2, 3 & Omega Flight. And Marvel put a hell of a lot of advertising behind it.

      Fans complained that the reasons 2-3 & OF didn't sell was because it wasn't the classic team. This was and still failed. If I was EIC I wouldn't launch a new series now either.

      The reason I picked up on this for an article was purely for that last line: "at least in its last incarnation."
      This makes me think that perhaps there's a more Omega Flight type thing in the works, maybe not a title but showing up somewhere ala Avengers #10 (but with a bit less death)
    1. -K-M-'s Avatar
      -K-M- -
      Yeah sadly Marvel tried to make Alpha Flight work, and we can only blame the consumer I really wished it sold a lot better, no clue why it dropped so much.
    1. Alphan East's Avatar
      Alphan East -
      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      Fans complained that the reasons 2-3 & OF didn't sell was because it wasn't the classic team. This was and still failed. If I was EIC I wouldn't launch a new series now either.
      Phil, you are absolutely correct on this.
      I was one of those fans that was waiting for the original team to get another shot at a series, and when it happened I was hoping it was here to stay.
      The story was good, the art was incredible, all the characters we had clamored for were back... this should have worked. I still don't understand why the sales fell.
    1. Legerd's Avatar
      Legerd -
      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      It's not a lack of trust though - the recent series underperformed and didn't sell. Less than Vol's 1, 2, 3 & Omega Flight. And Marvel put a hell of a lot of advertising behind it.

      Fans complained that the reasons 2-3 & OF didn't sell was because it wasn't the classic team. This was and still failed. If I was EIC I wouldn't launch a new series now either.
      The real reason Vol. 4 failed is because Marvel writers have spent over thirty years poisoning the AF waters. I don't think I need to rant about how badly the team has been written since the late 80's/early 90's, and that has been the version we continued to get ever since.

      EDIT TO CLARIFY: I'm not saying that was what we got in Vol. 4, just that Vol.'s 2, 3, OF, and other Marvel titles still portrayed the team this way, and I think that had an impact on readers' interest in Vol. 4..

      You're 100% right Phil, an AF book isn't going to sell now. Most fans nowadays don't know the original series having only read more recent titles where the team is written as jokes/cannon fodder/victims. Marvel needs to first spend the time laying the groundwork. You have to make readers at least like the characters if you expect them to buy the comic, and you do that by giving them guest spots in other titles (and not as jokes/cannon fodder/victims), including the team in big events, having fan favourite characters refer to them positively (no more "they got Alpha Flighted"), showing them as being powerful/smart/competent, and most importantly Marvel employees have to talk positively about them (hell, they have to talk about them, period) in interviews.
      If they do all that for a couple of years, then an AF book might sell. But honestly, I think it will take far longer to wash the crappy version readers have been fed for decades out of their mouths than whatever time frame Marvel's plan for the team has.
    1. Flightpath07's Avatar
      Flightpath07 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Legerd View Post
      The real reason Vol. 4 failed is because Marvel writers have spent over thirty years poisoning the AF waters. I don't think I need to rant about how badly the team has been written since the late 80's/early 90's, and that has been the version we continued to get ever since.

      EDIT TO CLARIFY: I'm not saying that was what we got in Vol. 4, just that Vol.'s 2, 3, OF, and other Marvel titles still portrayed the team this way, and I think that had an impact on readers' interest in Vol. 4..

      You're 100% right Phil, an AF book isn't going to sell now. Most fans nowadays don't know the original series having only read more recent titles where the team is written as jokes/cannon fodder/victims. Marvel needs to first spend the time laying the groundwork. You have to make readers at least like the characters if you expect them to buy the comic, and you do that by giving them guest spots in other titles (and not as jokes/cannon fodder/victims), including the team in big events, having fan favourite characters refer to them positively (no more "they got Alpha Flighted"), showing them as being powerful/smart/competent, and most importantly Marvel employees have to talk positively about them (hell, they have to talk about them, period) in interviews.
      If they do all that for a couple of years, then an AF book might sell. But honestly, I think it will take far longer to wash the crappy version readers have been fed for decades out of their mouths than whatever time frame Marvel's plan for the team has.
      I agree.

      In many ways, it is almost a shame that Alpha Flight wasn't retired by Marvel; by which I mean, killed in an honorable way, saving the earth from destruction or something. At that point, there might be some demand (and interest) in putting together a new team (Omega/Alpha/whatever) that defended Canada, one that might be able to get its own title and hold on to it.

      As much as I love the original Flight characters, I am growing weary of seeing them ignored or made jokes of, or just plain ol' poorly-written.

      Perhaps a new Omega Flight appearing in the pages of Avengers is just what Doctor Flightpath ordered? Who knows, it may be a precursor of things to come.
    1. Phil's Avatar
      Phil -
      Quote Originally Posted by Legerd View Post
      The real reason Vol. 4 failed is because Marvel writers have spent over thirty years poisoning the AF waters.
      I think poisoning is slightly extreme as that implies it was done on purpose and no company wants their money making products to fail intentionally.
      I do agree that there was a lot of bad judgement made when trying to find a unique selling point/voice for the team, but that's easy with hindsight.
    1. Le Messor's Avatar
      Le Messor -
      Quote Originally Posted by -K-M- View Post
      Yeah sadly Marvel tried to make Alpha Flight work, and we can only blame the consumer I really wished it sold a lot better, no clue why it dropped so much.
      I think we can blame more than the consumer. Besides the points (which I agree with) that others have made, that Marvel have been undermining their reputation for ages, there's also the way Marvel are flooding the market with about fifty-two books a month. And only three characters. People following the X-Men, or Spider-Man, or whoever, their budget is already gonna be stretched real thin... That's even if Alpha Flight is visible in the shuffle.

      I don't even know what titles Marvel is producing right now.

      Also, with Volume 4, I just found it so angry that I had hard time reading it. I kept thinking these characters were mad at me for daring to commit the crime of not being a minority. That isn't the Alpha Flight series I fell in love with.
      Even if it hadn't been downgraded to miniseries before the first issue was even out, I would not have continued reading it.

      So there are problems that go beyond the consumer, methinks.

      ~ Le Messor
      Tatum: Just think, if they make a movie about all this, who would play you?"
      Deputy Dwight "Dewey" Riley: I see you as a young Meg Ryan, myself.
      Sidney Prescott: Thanks, Dewey, but with my luck I'd get Tori Spelling.
    1. Phil's Avatar
      Phil -
      But this is the issue; if the 10 of us that are active on this forum all want something different out of AF then how the hell are Marvel supposed to write a title for over 100,000 to buy? They're destined to fail.

      Short of just republishing the Byrne stuff they cant win. And judging by TPB sales, not even that is relevant anymore.
    1. Flightpath07's Avatar
      Flightpath07 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      But this is the issue; if the 10 of us that are active on this forum all want something different out of AF then how the hell are Marvel supposed to write a title for over 100,000 to buy? They're destined to fail.

      Short of just republishing the Byrne stuff they cant win. And judging by TPB sales, not even that is relevant anymore.
      A fair point.

      Which is why, when we ask for Alpha Flight, we get "Captain WolverSpiderMutantAvengerWoman, the billionaire playboy from Asgard" instead. In every comic.

      Which goes to my previous point:
      In many ways, it is almost a shame that Alpha Flight wasn't retired by Marvel; by which I mean, killed in an honorable way, saving the earth from destruction or something. At that point, there might be some demand (and interest) in putting together a new team (Omega/Alpha/whatever) that defended Canada, one that might be able to get its own title and hold on to it.
      I hate to say it, but i'll throw this question out there; anybody else wishing Alpha Flight had stayed dead (circa their off-panel deaths)?

      Maybe we need to just petition Marvel for some more Canadian heroes, new and old, to appear (favourably) in other titles. Eventually, some brilliant writer (like Mr. Byrne) might be able to make them into a team, or write an ongoing or mini about one of them that would sell. Who knows?
    1. Phil's Avatar
      Phil -
      Quote Originally Posted by Flightpath07 View Post
      Which is why, when we ask for Alpha Flight, we get "Captain WolverSpiderMutantAvengerWoman, the billionaire playboy from Asgard" instead. In every comic.
      It shouldn't be about us asking though.
      And again, faced with a known quantity that sells that means you get to actually feed your family, or something that might/will most likely fail, nine times out of ten you've got to take the safer option.

      anybody else wishing Alpha Flight had stayed dead (circa their off-panel deaths)?
      I don't, I really enjoyed CW:AF and liked Vol.4, and I've enjoyed Puck in Wolverine & UXF.
      Although on a similar note I'm glad Bendis killed them because it took away the whole Vol.3 time-placed doubles thing and it actually stirred up some passion for the team.

      Maybe we need to just petition Marvel for some more Canadian heroes, new and old, to appear (favourably) in other titles. Eventually, some brilliant writer (like Mr. Byrne) might be able to make them into a team, or write an ongoing or mini about one of them that would sell. Who knows?
      Petitions don't work though.
      And it's not just Canadian heroes.
      How many successful new characters/teams have Marvel had since Deadpool back in the early 90's?
      Runaways is pretty much it. Young Avengers to an extent, but they're not exactly original creations.
    1. Le Messor's Avatar
      Le Messor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      How many successful new characters/teams have Marvel had since Deadpool back in the early 90's?
      Runaways is pretty much it. Young Avengers to an extent, but they're not exactly original creations.
      Which goes back to my earlier comment about flooding the market with comics about the same handful of characters; it doesn't help give the boutique characters a chance.
      Which goes back to your earlier comment about publishing the tried-and-true 'these characters will put food on my table' vs. new ones that take a risk.

      ~ Le Messor
      "The manner of giving is worth more than the gift."
      ~ Pierre Corneille
    1. Le Messor's Avatar
      Le Messor -
      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      But this is the issue; if the 10 of us that are active on this forum all want something different out of AF then how the hell are Marvel supposed to write a title for over 100,000 to buy? They're destined to fail.
      That's why they need to recapture the magic of the Byrne era. If they got that, all ten of us would buy it, right?
      And that's enough to sustain a series. Right? Right, guys?

      ... Guys?
    1. Flightpath07's Avatar
      Flightpath07 -
      [QUOTE] How many successful new characters/teams have Marvel had since Deadpool back in the early 90's?
      Runaways is pretty much it. Young Avengers to an extent, but they're not exactly original creations. [\QUOTE]

      Which is why I so enjoy the smaller comics companies; they take risks, because they will fail if they don't.

      I'm not dissing Marvel per se, just agreeing with you, Phil; they do what they have to in order to put food on their table.

      Which, in so many ways, means the same tired-old stuff, with no likelihood of any risk-taking or newness of thought until their share of the market crashes.
    1. Legerd's Avatar
      Legerd -
      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      I think poisoning is slightly extreme as that implies it was done on purpose and no company wants their money making products to fail intentionally.
      I do agree that there was a lot of bad judgement made when trying to find a unique selling point/voice for the team, but that's easy with hindsight.
      While I don't think Marvel writers were writing AF with the thought "Bwa ha ha, this story will surely ruin the team forever more!" I do think that some of them didn't like the characters, or at least didn't care for them, and chose to write them badly as a joke. By "poisoning the waters" I just mean that whether they meant to or not, over the last thirty plus years the writers have turned many readers off AF with such poor portrayals of the characters. And it's not the company doing it (yes I use the name Marvel, but that's just because I don't/can't list every individual I'm referring to) it is individuals at the company who may not be considering the impact of what they have written. I mean, honestly, do you really think Bendis was worrying about if his story in Avengers #16 was going to impact badly on Marvel's bottom line when he wrote it, or went on to make up phrases like "Alpha Flighted"? Of course not, but he has had a negative impact on readers and what they read. People like me stopped buying Marvel comics. People who were new to AF saw them as a joke and won't go out of their way to buy a book with them in it. Writing like that had nothing to do with finding a voice or a unique selling point for the team, it was Bendis making a bad joke without thought for its consequences. Or worse, he did it with the intention of pissing off AF fans, 'cause what are we going to do other than scream ineffectually online?

      Quote Originally Posted by Phil View Post
      But this is the issue; if the 10 of us that are active on this forum all want something different out of AF then how the hell are Marvel supposed to write a title for over 100,000 to buy? They're destined to fail.

      Short of just republishing the Byrne stuff they cant win. And judging by TPB sales, not even that is relevant anymore.
      I don't think Marvel has to do anything overly strenuous to sell AF, as I've always contended they just have to write the team well. If they present them for a couple of years as competent heroes then readers will accept them as such. Continue to write them as jokes and of course no reader will give a damn about them.
      And while you're right that Marvel will of course make more money publishing the "tried and true" titles over the risky ones, they are also moving in ever tightening circles with the former. How long before too many people are sick of the same stories being retold using the same few characters and stop buying? What will Marvel do to bring new readers in then? If the company doesn't broaden the choices they offer their audience then readers are going to leave/not return.
    1. Le Messor's Avatar
      Le Messor -
      About a week ago, a new restaurant opened up in town (my town, about a block from my workplace).
      They gave food poisoning to roughly 140 customers - nearly everyone who ate there. Salmonella from bad mayonnaise.

      My point?
      'Poisoning' doesn't have to be deliberate, let alone a business decision.

      ~ Le Messor
      "Just to the south of them, the new Socket was like a titanic concrete bunker, the new elevator cable rising out of it like an elevator cable ..."
      ~ Kim Stanley Robinson, Green Mars
    1. Phil's Avatar
      Phil -
      Quote Originally Posted by Legerd View Post
      I mean, honestly, do you really think Bendis was worrying about if his story in Avengers #16 was going to impact badly on Marvel's bottom line when he wrote it, or went on to make up phrases like "Alpha Flighted"? Of course not, but he has had a negative impact on readers and what they read. People like me stopped buying Marvel comics. People who were new to AF saw them as a joke and won't go out of their way to buy a book with them in it.
      It was actually the opposite; people saw AF as a joke after Vol.3 and it was Bendis killing them that brought them back in the public eye and had long-term X-fans who hadn't touched Vol.3 rekindling their love for the team and expressing anger at the team being killed off which helped contribute to the decent sales that Omega Flight had.