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Thread: From an old issue of Marvel Age about Bill coming on Alpha Flight.

  1. #1
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    Default From an old issue of Marvel Age about Bill coming on Alpha Flight.

    Here is the full Bill Mantlo interview:
    One of the biggest surprises of the year is that Bill Mantlo and Mike Mignola, the creative team on THE INCREDIBLE HULK, and John Byrne, writer / artist of ALPHA FLIGHT, are switching assignments.
    Starting with HULK #313 and ALPHA FLIGHT #28, John will be bringing you the adventures of Marvel’s anti-social green goliath and Bill and Mike will be chronicling the exploits of Canada’s greatest heroes. We collared Bill Mantlo in the offices one Monday afternoon shortly after we heard the news, to find out what’s in store for the northern stars.

    I know it’s a little soon for you to have worked out all your plans, Bill, but can you tell us anything about what’s coming up in ALPHA FLIGHT?

    We have a lot of ideas. We’re not sure exactly how soon each idea is going to be put into the process. Essentially, my feeling about ALPHA FLIGHT is that John did a spectacular job.
    That’s straight from the shoulder – I think it’s some of the finest writing I’ve read in a long time. But I think you had to read it consecutively. You had to sit down as I did, and read ALPHA FLIGHT #1-20, in order to get a grasp on the organic maturation of his characters. It was extremely difficult to follow what he was doing on ALPHA FLIGHT from issue to issue, because he never really concentrated on the team. He concentrated on individual members and their problems. And after awhile, even I, who read it religiously, lost track completely of who was in the book and who was a member of ALPHA FLIGHT, and what the team was.

    Our first job is going to be to pull the team together, to give them a reason for existence, a location, a headquarters. Probably they will be funded by the government.
    Whether that is a generous gesture on the part of the government, or whether there is some subterfuge involved in forming this team again, is something that we’re going to develop.
    Once they’re held together as a team, they will act as a team. If one of them has a problem, that problem will involve the whole team, instead of specific individual adventures as you’ve seen in the first two years of ALPHA FLIGHT. The whole team will go solve Snowbird’s problem, or find out what Snowbird’s problem is. The whole team will go on a Puck adventure, instead of Puck going off and leaving the team at home.

    Some characters will remain, some characters will go. I think John has already dealt with Sasquatch – he will not be returning. Northstar will probably meet his demise, as something from his past surfaces. Snowbird is going to think that she’s dying, but that’s actually a prelude to some major changes in her life and character. A major villain, tentatively called Pestilence at this point, is going to be introduced. I don’t think the book has had a major villain except for the Master. We’re not sure what to do bout Marrina. We’ve got a lot of plans for Box, the robotic member of Beta Flight.
    He’s going to be reintroduced.

    I want to deal with Beta and Gamma Flight, and Omega Flight, find out who these people are, and . . . Where is the government raising these people with bizarre powers, and what is it raising them for, and what does it mean that now they’re re-funding Alpha Flight? Is it because they’re using Alpha Flight as a control group, or do they want to study Alpha Flight and find the secret to their powers and create new super heroes, or what? We don’t know. That’s all stuff we want to find out.

    They will become more closely linked to the Marvel Universe, in that there will be a few cross-overs. There’s already an ALPHA FLIGHT / X-MEN project in the works that Chris Claremont and John Byrne did. We will pick up on elements of that, and may have them meet other Marvel heroes, although not too many.
    There’ll be an international sense. The book has been predominantly located in Canada so far, with one or two trips to the United States. But Canada is closer to, say, the Soviet Union or Greenland or Europe than we are, in many ways. You go right over the top of Canada to shoot an ICBM from the United States to the Soviet Union. We’ll probably do stories that deal with that notion of pan-globalism, and how Canada’s tied up with the international scene.

    So there’s a lot of ideas – we just haven’t put them into specific stories yet. Guardian will be back, in some form. Not the Guardian you know and love, but . . .
    That’ll be a big development certainly. I think that’s where we’re going. In fact, we’re here today to discuss the nuts and bolts of what happens now, to discuss the cross-over where John and Mike and I will actually switch titles, our first issue of ALPHA FLIGHT will hit. Apparently the book is doing remarkably well, and has a loyal following. I’d like to win back people who bought a team book, and then saw it devolve into individual stories, and I’d like to win new readers who might not like super hero books, but are going to find that this is a different kind of super-team book. It’s not THE AVENGERS or THE FANTASTIC FOUR or THE X-MEN. It’s a completely different slant towards telling super hero stories.

  2. #2
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    Here's some stuff I found interesting...

    Some characters will remain, some characters will go. I think John has already dealt with Sasquatch – he will not be returning. Northstar will probably meet his demise, as something from his past surfaces. Snowbird is going to think that she’s dying, but that’s actually a prelude to some major changes in her life and character. A major villain, tentatively called Pestilence at this point, is going to be introduced. I don’t think the book has had a major villain except for the Master. We’re not sure what to do bout Marrina. We’ve got a lot of plans for Box, the robotic member of Beta Flight.

    He had plans to kill off Northstar about something from his past (probably HIV?)... But that would have been a slow death.
    And Snowbird is going to think she's dying? I don't remember this being laid out? (I mean other than her being pregnant)
    And Marrina... Well, the folks over in Avengers took care of that.

    Interesting that he had "loose" plans from the start to get rid of some members - not by just having them leave, but an actual plan to kill them.



    I want to deal with Beta and Gamma Flight, and Omega Flight, find out who these people are.
    They will become more closely linked to the Marvel Universe, in that there will be a few cross-overs.


    I don't recall any cross overs? Well, other than the Infinity stuff?

    There’ll be an international sense. The book has been predominantly located in Canada so far, with one or two trips to the United States. But Canada is closer to, say, the Soviet Union or Greenland or Europe than we are, in many ways. You go right over the top of Canada to shoot an ICBM from the United States to the Soviet Union. We’ll probably do stories that deal with that notion of pan-globalism, and how Canada’s tied up with the international scene.


    Interesting that other writers after him did this - with the globe trotting thing (which I never cared for).

    So there’s a lot of ideas – we just haven’t put them into specific stories yet. Guardian will be back, in some form. Not the Guardian you know and love, but . . .
    That’ll be a big development certainly. I think that’s where we’re going. In fact, we’re here today to discuss the nuts and bolts of what happens now, to discuss the cross-over where John and Mike and I will actually switch titles, our first issue of ALPHA FLIGHT will hit. Apparently the book is doing remarkably well, and has a loyal following. I’d like to win back people who bought a team book, and then saw it devolve into individual stories, and I’d like to win new readers who might not like super hero books, but are going to find that this is a different kind of super-team book. It’s not THE AVENGERS or THE FANTASTIC FOUR or THE X-MEN. It’s a completely different slant towards telling super hero stories.

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    Some of that tells me it was doomed from the start. He didn't understand the characters because he didn't read it at once?
    Not a problem for me.

    He wanted to take away from the 'Solo Alpha Flight' feel? That was one of the things I loved, one of the things that made the book unique (though I know Mantlo wasn't alone in disliking that aspect).

    I think if I'd read that before the change-over, I would've been filled with a sense of oncoming doom.
    Now I shall sing the Doom Song... doom-doom, doomy doom doom...

    ~ Le Messor
    "I went to school with a kid who was so smart, the only time he got an answer wrong, they had to go back and change the question."
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    Those were some dark years. Waiting years for the team to get back together.
    You are witnessing the death of a dream...

  5. #5
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    When you say waiting for the team to come back together, Bill, do you mean like what - uh, funny enough - Bill (M) said?

    About how the original series focused on individual characters - and not a lot of "Alpha Flight" as a team? Or do you mean, after Bill (M) did all that he did - waiting for the Alpha Flight team you knew (the core) to come back together?

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    The Eclectic Opinionator Alpha Flight
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    Now that the 10 original core members have died at least once, maybe the only thing left to do is give the original characters back to John Byrne...if he wants them.
    The Mostly-New, Mostly-Different AF1

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    We've all wanted that for a long time, Garry.

    ... except Byrne...

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    Depending on what Gary means, I don't want that.
    If Byrne were to 'own' the characters then we'd never see anything of them again...

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    Yeah, I thought of that meaning, but I went with the 'Byrne drawing / writing them again' meaning, because that could be good. Does anybody have the number for 1984 Byrne?

    ~ Le Messor
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    The Eclectic Opinionator Alpha Flight
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    Default "Hook, Line, and Sinker"

    Marvel has early Alpha Flight [1979 to 1983]; the Byrne era [1983 to 1985]; the Mantlo era (the longest of era of them all); the Hudnall era (trying to make lemonade out of lemons)...

    Marvel has New Avengers # 16, with the whole-sale slaughter of Alpha Flight and Mailman Mike given the "Guardian" suit.

    Marvel has "Heather" blasting the brains out of her cousins (volume 4) and "Mac", Aurora, Judd, and Snowbird (!) robbing a bank.

    Marvel now has Carol Danvers leading Alpha Flight...

    It seems to me, and I may be wrong, that Alpha Flight is already gone.
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  11. #11
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    Tawmis wrote,
    I want to deal with Beta and Gamma Flight, and Omega Flight, find out who these people are.
    They will become more closely linked to the Marvel Universe, in that there will be a few cross-overs.


    I don't recall any cross overs? Well, other than the Infinity stuff?
    They had the crossover with the Avengers when Namor was going to marry Marrina.

  12. #12
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    Yeah, in the non-literal sense, more as in Guest Stars there was X-Men in #33-34, Avengers and Doctor Strange in #36.
    And as Mike mentioned #39 crossed over with Avengers #272.

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    Marvel has New Avengers # 16, with the whole-sale slaughter of Alpha Flight and Mailman Mike given the "Guardian" suit.

    Marvel has "Heather" blasting the brains out of her cousins (volume 4) and "Mac", Aurora, Judd, and Snowbird (!) robbing a bank.

    Marvel now has Carol Danvers leading Alpha Flight...
    Personally I don't have a problem with any of this.
    I much prefer it to Volume 3 and a lot of Mantlo's stuff.

    It seems to me, and I may be wrong, that Alpha Flight is already gone.
    Again, personally I'd say that the team is the most alive and prominent than it's been in decades.
    I may be in the minority on that though.

  14. #14
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    It's bitter sweet.

    So... I am a huge Adam-X fan (initially because he stomped Cable and X-Force in his first appearance), later as clues to the Shi'ar tie in came in (I love me some Shi'ar, especially Deathbird... Er... what was I saying? Oh yes!) So, after Fabian was dropped from X-Men, and after Adam-X got a few more appearances (in X-Force and Captain Marvel)... he vanished into the ether... much to my dismay. Then during the Dark Avengers storyline, he came back for a few appearances - mostly a mockery of himself (way, over the top dialogue, using swords, which he had never done, and doing away entirely with his costume, to a shirt and jeans)... and despite the utter mockery, I was still - somehow - happy to see him. Because it proved that he was a part of the Marvel Universe (despite the push years earlier to bury him). He appeared again (back in costumes) when Juggernaut was given the power of the Norse god of Fear or whatever - and was the only one able to actually cut Juggernaut (though it didn't help - made matters worse, really).

    So it's a little like that... despite the slaughtered characterization... you're still kind of happy to see your characters you love being used... even if way out of character... It's like an abusive relationship. It hurts, but you still want more.

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    Oh it's definitely not that for me.

    I genuinely like Volume 4 and think it's the best 'Flight since Byrne.

    And I really like the Space aspect and elevated status & respect in Captain Marvel.

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