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Joe Friday 21/04/06
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  1. #1
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    Default Joe Friday 21/04/06

    Lots of Alpha related stuff this week

    NRAMA:Last week we you told us there won’t be a new Alpha Flight launching from Civil War. Some Marvel creators such as Mark Millar and Brian Bendis have been pretty straightforward in interviews and message boards saying there will be. Can you clear this up?

    NRAMA: Well, that cleared that up…[laughs]…

    Some readers just assumed you were simply joking last week… our theory is there will be a Canadian super-team launching post-Civil War, but perhaps it won’t be launched under the title “Alpha Flight”?

    What can you tell readers?


    NRAMA: ALPHA FLIGHT

    Best suited for ongoing solo, limited series, or cast member(s)?


    andso on...
    Del

    Driftwood: Well, I got about a foot and a half. Now, it says, uh, "The party of the second part shall be known in this contract as the party of the second part."
    Fiorello: Well, I don't know about that...
    Driftwood: Now what's the matter?
    Fiorello: I no like-a the second party, either.
    Driftwood: Well, you should've come to the first party. We didn't get home 'til around four in the morning... I was blind for three days!

  2. #2
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    Just pasting this again:

    Best suited for ongoing solo, limited series, or cast member(s)?

    JQ: All three with some spackle and a new coat of paint.

    Why it worked/didn’t work in the past:

    JQ: Alpha flight launched with arguably the biggest superstar in comics of the time, so it has a strong pedigree. What also made it interesting and different was the approach to team story telling. It was unique for its time juxtaposed to everything around it.

    What it would need to work today?

    JQ: It would need a new hook. Just being the Canadian super team isn’t going to be enough. Outside of the characters and the location, what makes this different than every other Marvel superteam? That’s the question that has to be answered. What Byrne did back in the day was he took a different approach … a new Alpha Flight would need no less.

    Odds of seeing a new starring project in the next 2 years:

    JQ: Any day now, but don’t hold your breath.
    As expected Joe's just going to mess with us until the time is right to reveal more info.

  3. #3
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    My guess is that if Joe has something thats "Alpha Flight" material, you probably won't see it until the San Diego Comic-Con this summer.

    MM

  4. #4
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    While as always I abhored the elusiveness... and perhaps this is an element of my endless hopefulness on the issue... but I think I agree with Joe on the issue... I'm agreed that the Canadian element isn't the central, most defining element of Alphan success... its the unique composition and hook behind them... and I'll note he says "just"... which implies (at least to me and my hopeless ideals) that the Canadian element would still remain with any such team. I think that Alpha Flight stands for more than just Canada, or more than just a system of values... they're unique in so many different ways. Interesting also that this is the only one he didn't give a number percentage on. Oh Joe, you scallywag.
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  5. #5
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    What can you tell readers?

    JQ: What I can tell readers is that they’re just going to have to take me at my word for now, there will not be an Alpha Flight and they’re going to love it!
    So it won't be called Alpha Flight but there will be a book like Alpha Flight, just not that title or the team name will be different. Lends credence to "Alpha Flight's Last Battle" in NA #16-17.

    In other words, Millar and Bendis are telling the truth that "Alpha Flight" will be relaunched right out of 'Civil War', but Quesada is telling the truth that it won't be called "Alpha Flight". So it will be a new team concept and a new team name, but what and how remains to be seen. "The Deserters"?

    Well, at least we know something related to Alpha Flight is on the way, just not called Alpha Flight. Patience, maybe next week, next month, this summer we'll get the news. No later than September is my prediction and gut feeling.

    OR when Ben is allowed to fill in the blanks, which I'm guessing will be August
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  6. #6
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    I didn't see him as saying anything, just more humorous mocking jabber... I don't think there was any meaning behind his words, just that he wasn't going to tell us anything.
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  7. #7

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    no. i really do believe there will be no new alpha flight title, but the characters will be featured in a new series.

    possibly a avengers international, don't forget that avengers will have a disassambeled storyline going and with the registration act heroes will be looking to have a different base of operations.

    i'm betting a avengers international, similiar to justice league international.


    just my guess.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by varo
    i'm betting a avengers international, similiar to justice league international.
    Doubtful, since the JLI rapidly devolved into the same pathetic "comic relief" that failed to fly with the last AF title.

    I was under the impression that rather than overpopulating the Marvel U, the current trend was to actually reduce the number of active characters...
    "You cannot win, mailman Mike. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine."


  9. #9

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    not sure if you guys saw this at the end of the interview.

    JOE FRIDAYS: WEEK 47
    This week Joe Quesada talks about product placement in comic books, "clears" up last week's Alpha Flight comment, tackles a few other topical questions and yes, we follow-up on last week's examination of Marvel stars of the past, and Joe gives his thoughts on a few more characters...

    Plus, just a smattering of some new Marvel artwork [key at the end of the Q&A]...

    Newsarama: Joe, last week we were so absorbed in our exchange about characters, we overlooked what seemed to be the first mention of the fact Salvador Larroca will be illustrating Warren Ellis’ upcoming “New Universe” re-launch-vamp newuniversal. But our always-astute readers picked up on it for us…

    Can you confirm and perhaps tell us a little more about the project – when does it launch for example?

    Joe Quesada: Yeah, that was my goof; I accidentally slipped up with the Salva thing. Yes, Salva will be working with Warren and redesigning the world that is the New Universe or newuniversal as Warren renamed it. More to come.

    NRAMA: And any art to show readers?

    JQ: No, unfortunately not yet. That’s the problem with my slip up, it’s always best to make these announcements and do it with art. Salva is still finishing his X-work and hopefully with the next few months we’ll have tons of his beautiful work to show off.

    NRAMA: This week the Wall Street Journal reported on what seems to be a new growing trend - product placement in comic books. Many fans have noticed the Nike “swoosh” displayed prominently over the last few months in various Marvel titles, and you’ve just signed a new product placement deal that will see Dodge’s new car the Caliber show up in titles over the next 4 to 8 months, according to the Journal….

    JQ: Yeah, seems like comics are getting more and more mainstream attention from all side these days. What I get a chuckle out of is that when Jimmy [Palmiotti] and I first started Marvel Knights we went to then Marvel management with this crazy idea. During our days working on Ash I would always put funny signage on billboards and I would sometimes use corporate logos and imagery if it added a sense of realism to the characters and scene. I remember one scene in particular in which Ashley Quinn wore a “Geek Squad” t-shirt. At the time, I didn’t know what Geek Squad was but I used the shirt because it was helping to convey something during the scene.

    I also noticed that many artists were using real-world billboards in their backgrounds so it just occurred to me that we’re already doing it but we’re doing it for free. So, Jimmy and I sat and discussed this with a few folks who just felt that no one would pay us to do it. I just felt it was a natural extension of what companies were doing within movies and TV, why not comics? Needless to say, the idea died on the vine that day but now here we are today.

    NRAMA: For sure readers are savvy enough to know as Editor-in-Chief and Chief Creative Officer, you don’t make these deals, so maybe you can explain what your role is when it comes to promotions like this?

    JQ: No, I don’t make these deals just as I don’t sell the ads that go into our books. My role - editorial’s role - is to facilitate and help the ad department.

    Now, let me state for the record that when we all spoke about this idea as a company, one of the things that we all agreed on was that if we did the product placement that we would only do it in a way that was unobtrusive to the story and does not affect, change, or derail a story in any which way. So, to me in many ways, this whole product placement isn’t really a change in the way that we artist do business since for the most part we’re always sticking stuff in the backgrounds anyway.

    NRAMA: So exactly what is your input in terms of how these deals are executed in the actual comics? Do you choose which books they will appear in? Work with artists, your editors, and your advertising department to actually decide how and where the products will be “placed”?

    JQ: Actually we discuss it a bit during a Senior Editor’s meeting and it’s pretty footloose and fancy free. Dan Buckley may say that we need six placements for a particular product in six different titles. He would ask if anyone has room and then we just take volunteers as they come. It’s pretty low-key with no pressure.

    NRAMA: Addressing your “unobtrusive” remark from a few moments ago, in the same Wall Street Journal article, Chuck Rozanski, founder of Mile High Comics, perhaps the (or at least one of the) largest comic book retailer in the country, was somewhat critical of the trend. He essentially argued that comics are supposed to be escapist/immersive environments, and the prominent real-world product placement may work towards drawing readers out of the fictional world.

    JQ: Chuck of course has his opinion as do I and I respect what Chuck has to say because this is truly a subjective thing. This is one of those cases where you can’t argue right or wrong, it’s just a matter of personal opinion. All I can say about the matter is that this is the world that we live in. Product placement can be found on TV, in movies, in video games, in music, it’s everywhere that I look to escape.

    Also, Marvel has always had the real-world and popular culture affect our comics. It’s always been there. Perhaps it’s the fact that we’re getting paid for it that’s bothering some people now?

    I use to draw a can of Coke in a scene just to add an element of realism, characters would drive real world vehicle, I never get a letter. Now that perhaps we’ll get paid for rendering that can that seems to be problematic for some people. By the way, Coca Cola people, are you listening?

    On the bright side, the real world is finally looking at comics and considering us a medium that actually reached people and speaks to them. That’s a good thing gang! Slowly we are moving out of the entertainment ghetto.

    NRAMA: Certainly by our own experience, we’ve noticed our readers discussing the Nike placements, which means they’re talking about something other than the stories and the environment.

    So no concerns they can be distracting to the reader?

    JQ: Nope. A couple of weeks ago they were talking about cigarettes.

    NRAMA: Well, on the subject of reader satisfaction, over the past few months, something that has been noticeable is the shift in the volume of titles that Marvel has been rescheduling. There are obviously a few holdouts to this, but has there been a shift in the scheduling process that has gotten things back on track?

    JQ: This has been going on for longer than just a few months, we've been working very hard to improve upon this, but David Gabriel can really speak more to this.

    David Gabriel: Retailers asked us last year to fix a few things, and one of the biggest problems was with shipping schedules. We made a few internal adjustments and had more people keeping an eye on things, and it is a weekly struggle but it's something that you just have to keep on top of. It's nice to see that many people are starting to notice the strides that have been made. Shows that we are listening to retailers!

    NRAMA: Beginning in June, some titles are going to start a two-month back-up feature starring the “Masked Marvel”, by Karl Kesel and David Hahn. We haven ’t heard much in the way of detail on this, can you fill us in a little on who this character is and why he’s being introduced this way?

    JQ: Okay, let me be honest - it’s not Speedball. It’s a concept that Karl came up with that we thought was just dynamite and really fun, so stay tuned.

    NRAMA: Last week we you told us there won’t be a new Alpha Flight launching from Civil War. Some Marvel creators such as Mark Millar and Brian Bendis have been pretty straightforward in interviews and message boards saying there will be. Can you clear this up?

    JQ: Absolutely, none of us are lying and that’s the absolute truth.

    NRAMA: Well, that cleared that up…[laughs]…

    Some readers just assumed you were simply joking last week… our theory is there will be a Canadian super-team launching post-Civil War, but perhaps it won’t be launched under the title “Alpha Flight”?

    What can you tell readers?

    JQ: What I can tell readers is that they’re just going to have to take me at my word for now, there will not be an Alpha Flight and they’re going to love it!

    NRAMA: Joe, fans really responded to last week's discussion on Marvel stars of the past and your thoughts on them, and we wanted to follow-up with some macro subjects that stemmed from the reader reaction.

    JQ: It was fun to do, but I have to admit, really exhausting.

    NRAMA: First of all, several readers responded that you didn’t “get” (to bluntly paraphrase) titles like the original New Warriors, which some readers feel wasn’t about a hook or unique reason for being, but simply very strong characterization.

    JQ: Sure, you can say that about any title, they all need great characterization, that’s one of the basic components of great storytelling. But that’s not the whole of what makes a truly great story.

    Look, when someone created for the first time the idea of the superteam, that in itself was a new a viable concept by which to revolve a story around. Then when someone thought up the idea of a team of young superheroes, that in itself was something unique because now you’re spinning-off of the idea of the former but adding the hook that these are heroes with teen issues. So, today I feel compelled to ask the harder question, what does a title like New Warriors offer that takes the idea of young superheroes and spins it in a different way?

    Great characterization isn’t enough in my book - great characterization should be a given. But for a book to be a slam-dunk hit, today’s reader - you folks - expect more. That’s why I approved the most recent New Warriors mini-series by Zeb Wells and Skottie Young … at least it took the idea of the New Warriors and placed them in a unique setting.

    I also received a few emails from folks saying that I don’t “get” this or I don’t “get” that. Here’s a shocking truth for all of you … sit down … wait for it...I don’t “get” everything! But, just because I may not “get” something or to phrase it a bit more accurately, I’m not into the project, the character or the genre doesn’t mean that I won’t publish it if we get a great idea.

    Every person reading this interview - without exception - every one of us has our likes and dislikes. Some of us like sci-fi, some fantasy, some crime noir, some romance and we do it all to varying degrees. Am I a huge fan of the cosmic stuff? I was when I was a kid, I loved it back then, I grew up with a lot of the early Marvel Cosmic stuff. As an adult my interests have shifted, but that doesn’t impede upon my ability to approve a project like Annihilation and all of its subsequent titles.

    You also have to remember, that I have an incredibly talented and brilliant editorial staff and they all have different likes and dislikes as well. Associate Editor Andy Schmidt came to me with the concept behind Annihilation. Not personally having the passion for that stuff didn’t keep me from seeing that Andy was burning up inside to do this project. He showed us the eye of the tiger and the project got approved, and what do you know, it’s a huge hit.

    The only time that I will step into a project like that with comments is with respect to story structure and clarity, because genre aside, all the same rules apply. Outside of that, go with God and make great comics!

    NRAMA: Joe, just to play out the argument, some readers feel, “there are no bad characters, just bad writer/creators.”

    JQ: Right, and did anyone bother to read how I prefaced the whole thing last week? I said, “Okay, now before I answer these questions let me just preface this. These answers are given knowing the current state that a character is in now. In other words, all of this can change depending on the climate of the Marvel Universe and what kind of pitch we have in. If you would have asked me about Moon Knight two years ago, you would have gotten a different answer than a year ago when Charlie Huston dropped out of the sky and into our world. So, everyone, please keep that in mind.”

    So, I’m in agreement - with enough thought, with enough hard work and creativity, with the right creative team, you can take an idea and spin it into gold. But you can’t fix every broken property solely with great characterization unless the problem has been bad characterization all along.

    NRAMA: Do you think there are any characters or concepts that even a Millar, Bendis, Gaiman, JMS, etc… couldn’t make compelling and marketable with the right artist?

    JQ: It doesn’t even have to be those guys, it can come from anywhere - a great idea is a great idea. The real trick is in knowing it when you hear it.

    NRAMA: Be that as it may, It’s no secret that there are creators that are simply more marketable than others. There are very good creators in this industry whose names alone just don’t move books. So is there effectively two standards for creators in terms of characters/concepts?

    JQ: The easy fix for a maligned character is a superstar creative team. The problem with that is that if the superstar team just does the broken character as is, when they’re gone, it will only be a matter of time before you have the same problem. Luckily, the reason 90% of the superstar creators in our business are superstars is because they can take a broken property and spin it on its ear and rejuvenate it.

    That said, if I was left with the choice of a superstar creator doing the same old thing on a Speedball mini-series versus a great-but-less-marketable-creator taking Speedball into a new direction that I think is going to make the character a major player, I’m going with the better idea. It’s also a good thing for the less marketable creator because many a superstar’s career is built upon taking broken ideas and making them brilliant, so it’s also great for the creator.

    By the way, R.I.P. Speedball.

    NRAMA: Oh great, here we go again…[laughs]…

    Okay, so just to finish this subject off, would a Spider-Woman, for example (whose history is maybe somewhat comparable to some characters you named as best suited for supporting roles) be a different story for anyone but Brian Bendis, in terms of launching an ongoing series?

    JQ: Funny, you should mention that because I never quite “got” Spider-Woman, primarily because her origin was beyond convoluted, I mean it was ridiculous. So with Bendis, two things happened. He had the passion for this character (and by the way, it wasn’t like I had a line up of guys who were dying to work on Spider-Woman), and Brian had a huge plan to reinvigorate her and most importantly clean up her origin so when the smoked cleared at least we had a character that you could put your arms around.

    NRAMA: All right then… this all said, readers would love to see more of your thoughts on other Marvel stars of the past.

    JQ: Oy, the last batch took me three days to get through. Okay, lets give it a go, but how about we do it in smaller doses. Rather than the do as many as we did last week, lets spread it out across a few of these interviews.

    NRAMA: Joe, over the past few months, something that has been noticeable is the shift in the volume of titles that Marvel has been rescheduling. There are obviously a few holdouts to this, but has there been a shift in the scheduling process that has gotten things back on track?

    NRAMA: Fair enough, readers will enjoy that…

    CLOAK & DAGGER

    Best suited for ongoing solo, limited series, or cast member(s)?

    JQ: With the right pitch, definitely a limited and even possibly an ongoing.

    Why it worked/didn’t work in the past:

    JQ: Cloak & Dagger had a cool look, interesting powers, and a unique perspective when it came out. But we have to be honest with ourselves, while they are remembered affectionately, they never really had a successful run as an ongoing comic. This doesn’t mean it’s not possible, we just have to take a deeper look into their character.

    Personally, the fact that Tyrone had a stutter is really interesting to me, I don’t know if I would have cured it. While this happens in real life, it would be so much more interesting to see him have to deal with it or have it reoccur at inconvenient times.

    During House of M, I loved the way that Brian and Olivier wrote and drew Cloak, he was creepy and cool as all heck. If I remember correctly, he didn’t even say a word. I would use that, I would use the fact that his stuttering has returned and while the world views him as silent and scary the truth of the matter is that you just have a kid who is too shy, embarrassed, scared, what have you, to talk.

    Also, it’s a shame that they later made them mutants. I’m sure this was to jump on the hot mutant bandwagon and try to soak up some of those X-Men readers, but it obviously didn’t work.

    What it would need to work today?

    JQ: This is a concept that needs a writer who can reach into the heart of these characters and bring us along with them. There’s an interesting Cloak and Dagger idea out there, and I’m still waiting for it.

    Odds of seeing a new starring project in the next 2 years:

    JQ: 50%

    NRAMA: HOWARD THE DUCK

    Best suited for ongoing solo, limited series, or cast member?

    JQ: Cast member and limited series.

    Why it worked/didn’t work in the past:

    JQ: I love Howard, he is truly one of those great pop icons that so many of us in comics remember fondly, and those on the outside unfortunately remember as a crappy movie. Howard was ahead of his time, especially for a mainstream Marvel title. It’s truly difficult to try to put your finger on what was great about Howard because I personally feel that he was one of those ideas that was extremely creator-centric. Steve Gerber gave him a voice and it’s just no more complicated than that.

    What it would need to work today?

    JQ: I don’t know. Outside of Gerber writing it, I don’t know if Howard would work today. By “work”, I don’t mean would he be relevant or have something to say, I mean would he sell enough books to warrant a series.

    Odds of seeing a new starring project in the next 2 years:

    JQ: 5%

    NRAMA: ALPHA FLIGHT

    Best suited for ongoing solo, limited series, or cast member(s)?

    JQ: All three with some spackle and a new coat of paint.

    Why it worked/didn’t work in the past:

    JQ: Alpha flight launched with arguably the biggest superstar in comics of the time, so it has a strong pedigree. What also made it interesting and different was the approach to team story telling. It was unique for its time juxtaposed to everything around it.

    What it would need to work today?

    JQ: It would need a new hook. Just being the Canadian super team isn’t going to be enough. Outside of the characters and the location, what makes this different than every other Marvel superteam? That’s the question that has to be answered. What Byrne did back in the day was he took a different approach … a new Alpha Flight would need no less.

    Odds of seeing a new starring project in the next 2 years:

    JQ: Any day now, but don’t hold your breath.

  10. #10

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    not sure if you guys saw this at the end of the interview.



    NRAMA: ALPHA FLIGHT

    Best suited for ongoing solo, limited series, or cast member(s)?

    JQ: All three with some spackle and a new coat of paint.

    Why it worked/didn’t work in the past:

    JQ: Alpha flight launched with arguably the biggest superstar in comics of the time, so it has a strong pedigree. What also made it interesting and different was the approach to team story telling. It was unique for its time juxtaposed to everything around it.

    What it would need to work today?

    JQ: It would need a new hook. Just being the Canadian super team isn’t going to be enough. Outside of the characters and the location, what makes this different than every other Marvel superteam? That’s the question that has to be answered. What Byrne did back in the day was he took a different approach … a new Alpha Flight would need no less.

    Odds of seeing a new starring project in the next 2 years:

    JQ: Any day now, but don’t hold your breath.

  11. #11
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    When he talks about 'hooks'...

    X-Men hook - They're mutants (of course, what is the hook for all the other X-Men team books, then??)

    Avengers hook - They're the A team, most powerful usually but notably not mutants much

    Thunderbolts hook - Years ago they were bad guys

    Runaways - Kids of bad guys

    Young Avengers - 'Kids' of Avengers

    Fantastic Four - They're a 'family' who got their powers by accident

    Excalibur - Relatives of X-Men

    New Warriors - Uh, street fighters?

    Alpha Flight - Canadian, motley crew of heroes from all avenues of paranormals, protecting the North

    I'm not sure how Alpha's hook is worse than most of the rest.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mokole
    What can you tell readers?

    JQ: What I can tell readers is that they’re just going to have to take me at my word for now, there will not be an Alpha Flight and they’re going to love it!
    So it won't be called Alpha Flight but there will be a book like Alpha Flight, just not that title or the team name will be different. Lends credence to "Alpha Flight's Last Battle" in NA #16-17.

    In other words, Millar and Bendis are telling the truth that "Alpha Flight" will be relaunched right out of 'Civil War', but Quesada is telling the truth that it won't be called "Alpha Flight". So it will be a new team concept and a new team name, but what and how remains to be seen. "The Deserters"?

    Well, at least we know something related to Alpha Flight is on the way, just not called Alpha Flight. Patience, maybe next week, next month, this summer we'll get the news. No later than September is my prediction and gut feeling.
    If there's to be a relaunch without the name "Alpha Flight" with another new freakin' team concept, then Joke Quesada hasn't learned a damned thing from the past two attempts to revive the series...and I won't "love it", as he seems to believe.

    What's so wrong with a well-written, interesting, action-packed and fun series without a flippin' hook or gimmicks? The first series was a success...130 issues, 2 annuals and a cross-over or two of success. It can be done again.

    Dana

  13. #13
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    When he talks about 'hooks'...
    I didn't think by hook he meant the same thing as the general concept behind the series, but rather the plot hook. What story draws them back into mainstream attention? That is also why for those sections he said that he is waiting for certain hooks, the right hooks, that will bring them back in. Their composition isn't the hook, but rather their goal or their conflict is.
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  14. #14
    Semper ubi sub ubi Alpha Flight
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmdrkoenig67
    If there's to be a relaunch without the name "Alpha Flight" with another new freakin' team concept, then Joke Quesada hasn't learned a damned thing from the past two attempts to revive the series...and I won't "love it", as he seems to believe. Dana
    I can live without the team being called Alpha Flight, mostly due to the fact it doesn't really mean anything nor does it sound heroic (like the Avengers, the Defenders, the Fantastic Four for example), however, if Marvel just throws a bunch of heroes together (whether known or unknown) who have nothing to do with the team then once again they'll mess up an excellent book. But, even JQ must have heard our outrage over the last two series' right? He must know that to reform the team without the originals being there won't work, nor will a "humourous" take on the book. I mean, he must know... right?

    Quote Originally Posted by cmdrkoenig67
    What's so wrong with a well-written, interesting, action-packed and fun series without a flippin' hook or gimmicks? The first series was a success...130 issues, 2 annuals and a cross-over or two of success. It can be done again.

    Dana
    Damn straight! That's how AF (or whatever it's to be called) should be treated. I'll wait and see on this one since I don't believe TPTB at Marvel can be THAT stupid as to repeat the mistakes of the last two series'. Besides, maybe we'll like what they come up with, eh?

    You are a stupid seal with a small rooster. Translate that into french and you'll get it.

  15. #15
    Harvester of Sorrows Department H
    Le Messor's Avatar
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    I've given a lot of thought to this topic, not just in relation to Alpha and comics, but TV series as well. What do the successful ones have in common, that the less successful ones don't?

    Obvious:
    Good writing / craft
    (Marvel tends to ignore this one in favour of something far more subjective; 'A popular series has mutants, ergo mutants are popular, let's shove them all our books'. Deeply flawed reasoning, yet temptingly easy. Pity it misses the point).
    That said,
    A good concept.
    A 'visionary' creator: Chris Claremont, Gene Roddenberry, George Lucas, J. Michael Strazinsky, Joss Whedon. Joss Whedon is my master now.
    Interesting, enjoyable, -relatable- characters.

    Less obvious:
    A hook.
    This is something that makes it sing, makes it dance, makes it stand out from all the others; A school for superheroes (X-Men); A team that's never teamed up (Byrne's AF); The cheerleader can kick the horror monster's butt (Buffy); 'Wagon Train to the stars' (Trek).
    But, possibly the most important thing:
    A theme. Something we can all relate to, or get aboard with.
    Trek: Optimistic future, humanity's getting better. (Star Wars may be similar.)
    X-Men: Isolation / bigotry.
    Buffy: Feminism.

    Very few of the successful / cult series lack these. Dr Who is about the only one I can think of (created by committee, no issue, poor craft. Maybe B5, though it had the visionary creator).

    Alpha never had a central theme. It was only truly succesful when the visionary creator had the book. It lost a lot of quality right after that, too. (Regained some of it later--far too late).

    - Le Messor
    "At age 4 success is not peeing in your pants.
    At age 12 success is having friends.
    At age 16 success is having a drivers license.
    At age 35 success is having money.
    At age 50 success is having money.
    At age 70 success is having a drivers license.
    At age 75 success is having friends.
    At age 80 success is not peeing in your pants."

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