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USAgentfan


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 2,623


This thread is really a continuation of a conversation Ive been having elsewhere and spawned out of a largely unrelated topic but its so far down the page that it would be unreasonable to think anyone else could contribute to it, so I'm starting a new thread in the hope that I can get other people input on the discussion.

So, as the title says: Will we ever see a successful incarnation of Alpha Flight again? Can we?

To provide some history, Alpha Flight was first launched as a solo series in 1983. The book was piloted by John Byrne and ran for a total of 130 issues until its cancellation in 1994 - pretty good run by anyones standards.

The book was relaunched circa 1997 with a less than successful run of just 20 issues and was relaunched again in 2004 with an even less successful run of just 12 issues.

In 2007 most of the original team were killed in the New Avengers story 'the collective', Marvel then announced the imminent release of a brand new related title 'omega flight'. Originally this title was supposed to be an onging but prior to its release it was cut back to a five issue mini series with no real explanation ever being provided to the fans.

Prior to the launch of Omega flight Marvel had announced that this would be the last opportunity for the forseeable future for the Alpha Flight concept. Thus far they appear to have been good to their word as the team has officially disbanded and there have been no other attempts to revive the concept.

In the 16 years since the end of its first and most successful run the concept has spawned just 37 regular issues with the occasional guest appearence elsewhere.

I'll leave my own feelings aside for the timebeing because for the moment I'm more interested in the thoughts of others regarding whether they feel the concept can ever be successful again and if so how? If not then why not? Is the team high profile enough? Does it bring something to the table that other titles dont? Does the predominantly American audience want to read about a super team in a foriegn country, even a close neighbour like Canada? What appealed about Alpha Flight to make it a success in the first place and can that be replicated now or have times simply changed? Would you buy an Alpha Flight book if it were a choice between Alpha and the other team books currently availible? Are other concepts such as the X-Men, Avengers and Thunderbolts simply 'better' in principle than Alpha or is it the result of other factors that make those books successful whilst Alpha languishes in cancellation? Do Alphas characters (even the dead ones) appeal to a modern audience? Why/why not?


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mjyoung





    Quote:
    This thread is really a continuation of a conversation Ive been having elsewhere and spawned out of a largely unrelated topic but its so far down the page that it would be unreasonable to think anyone else could contribute to it, so I'm starting a new thread in the hope that I can get other people input on the discussion.


In all honesty, it's also two guys argueing about Alpha Flight. \:\)


    Quote:
    So, as the title says: Will we ever see a successful incarnation of Alpha Flight again? Can we?


Will we? Maybe, but I would guess it's unlikely. Too many factors are against it, and likewise too many things would have to fall into place first.


    Quote:
    I'll leave my own feelings aside for the timebeing because for the moment I'm more interested in the thoughts of others regarding whether they feel the concept can ever be successful again and if so how?
    If not then why not? Is the team high profile enough? Does it bring something to the table that other titles dont? Does the predominantly American audience want to read about a super team in a foriegn country, even a close neighbour like Canada? What appealed about Alpha Flight to make it a success in the first place and can that be replicated now or have times simply changed? Would you buy an Alpha Flight book if it were a choice between Alpha and the other team books currently availible? Are other concepts such as the X-Men, Avengers and Thunderbolts simply 'better' in principle than Alpha or is it the result of other factors that make those books successful whilst Alpha languishes in cancellation? Do Alphas characters (even the dead ones) appeal to a modern audience? Why/why not?


The most important thing for the title is that it has to fit a niche that no other title does. Lobdell tried to make the team a humor book. Seagle tried to make the team a conspiracy/suspense book. I don't know what niche is needed in order to survive, but there is one out there somewhere. Other concepts such as the X-Men, Avengers, and the Thunderbolts are better simply because they are definable. Avengers are the A-list heroes, Thunderbolts reformed villains, the X-Men are mutants, etc. Alpha Flight is just the Avengers in another country, which isn't a good niche/definition. Why would anyone choose to read AF over the Avengers?

One factor that helps success are popular creators. A high profile creative team is also going to be needed, but I don't see why any high profile creator would want to work on the title. No big name seems to talk about their love for Alpha Flight, no classic stories to remember. This seems to be the reason why the first series lasted for so long. It was also really hard for a book to be canceled during that time period because sales were so high for the entire market.

Americans also don't want to read about international teams. What's the most popular American television show taking place in Canada? I can't name any.

I don't think the characters are fundamentally flawed, but some aren't very interesting. Lobdell and Seagle tried to fix this by either drastically changing the characters (savage Sasquatch, robot teen Guardian) or introducing new characters. It would be best to concentrate on a core group of characters, drop some of the uninteresting ones, make some of the uninteresting ones interesting, etc. I always though the idea of Guardian not wanting to be a hero was a good idea, but it's never played up. Membership also seems to be limited to just Canadian characters, which also makes it hard to have interesting characters added to the team. I can't think of any Canadian characters that aren't a part of the team in some capacity.




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Nighthawk




I didn't really collect the earlier issues of Alpha Flight vol. 1 until around issue #100 or so. I picked up an issue here and there before, but I liked the series. Being an avid X-Men, Defenders, and FF fan I didn't always have the money to pick up Alpha Flight back in the day. If the right characters were in the team (many of the original team), I would pick it up. I would prefer another Alpha Flight series to so many Avengers titles, and the Thunderbolts have changed so many times it's practically unrecognizable. Maybe someday soon we'll get another Alpha Flight series.


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TheForgottenOne




If there was demand once, there can be again. Demand isn't something that just appears and disappears. It's something that's created with good ideas and what not.

There's not the same demand for Spawn or Darkness that there once was, but they're still around (think Darkness is still around).




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Sleepwalker




I think its totally possible. I think most series just need a chance to get a fan base under it. I personally think a series that just focused on the international teams...Alpha Flight, MI:16, Winter Guard, etc would probably be the best way to start the launch of the new books. People want the characters, they just can't support a base. Continually. Also, i think tha tthe "world shrinking" via technology over the past 2 years has probably made some lands seem less intriguing, and therefore he teams seem redundant.


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dingomonkey




Alpha Flight had a pretty unique angle in the beginning in that Department H was essentially Canada's superhuman military program. I don't think there was anything really like it in 1983(Project Pegasus maybe? SHIELD?). Unfortunately the military industrial complex angle just kind of faded in and out. Plus writers adding more layers on the whole Weapon X program concept sort of stole the thunder from Department H. I'm not sure where a new paramilitary type of superteam would fit today, but it's a shame they didn't do more with that concept back in the 80's. The team's mission is what made it potentially unique and cool. Not the fact that the characters were Canadian, and that's where I think the series lost it's way. It's also why i think it's a shame that Omega Flight didn't really work out because that series just may have had the perfect tone/formula for a successful Alpha Flight book. Alas, it wasn't to be \:\(


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The Black Guardian

Moderator

Location: Paragon City, RI
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008



    Quote:
    Why would anyone choose to read AF over the Avengers?

I really couldn't care less about niche this or niche that. I read books for the characters in them. I'd read 10 different Avengers books doing basically the same thing, if I liked the characters.

If there were an Alpha Flight that was serious and had the original members plus maybe two new ones, and no guys dressed like Mounties, I'd read it. Bring the Plodex back as a serious threat. Use lots of magical stuff in the Canadian woods. Ship Logan up there permanently.


    Quote:
    What's the most popular American television show taking place in Canada? I can't name any.

Flashpoint (averaged 9 million viewers last season)? Degrassi?

I'm a big DaVinci's Inquest/City Hall, ReGenesis, Cold Squad, and Tom Stone fan. I'd be open to a CSI: Vancouver. And I still want them to bring back Forever Knight (rat bastards)!!!

Besides, Canada's like the 52nd state... after Puerto Rico. It's not really that international.




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katefan




I would say not. After Captain Britain and MI13's failure as well as the early cancellation of SWORD, and repeated failures to relaunch The Defenders I do not think there is a market at this time for a new team. Perhaps if a big name like Mark Waid or Grant Morrison were involved then there might be. There are people who will buy titles just for the writer alone. In fact, I would say Alpha Flight's initial success was due to John Byrne's popularity at that time.

How the series survived the years immediately after he left, I have no idea. I recall those first stories and they were garbage, and while Mike Mignola has a strong following today I look at his early stuff on AF and it's crap.

Perhaps even a signature name is not enough. Bendis' Spider Woman was a huge flop despite his so-called golden touch. Perhaps if instead of Alpha Flight they called it Northern Avengers, then that might sell.


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USAgentfan


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 2,623


Lots of opinions and theories thrown about in a relatively short time, so cool.


    Quote:
    I would say not. After Captain Britain and MI13's failure as well as the early cancellation of SWORD, and repeated failures to relaunch The Defenders I do not think there is a market at this time for a new team. Perhaps if a big name like Mark Waid or Grant Morrison were involved then there might be. There are people who will buy titles just for the writer alone. In fact, I would say Alpha Flight's initial success was due to John Byrne's popularity at that time.


I'm glad someone mentioned MI13.

In fairness I'm not a massive Alpha fan but as a UK based reader I was a huge Excalibur fan and as a also had a great fondness for MI13.

The biggest problem I could see with MI13 is that whilst it has an appeal to a British audience - being writen by a British writer, starring predominantly British heroes, being set in the British Isle and having a real feel of and making plenty of nods to old Marvel UK characters and titles such as Deathshead, Motormouth and Killpower - I cant see any real reason for anyone apart from the British to like it.

MI13's appeal is simply too narrow in my opinion. I'm pretty sure the writing has to be considered excellent by any objective standard but is excellent writing alone enough to carry a title if enough people just dont know or care about the characters or the locale? Does the same apply for Alpha?


    Quote:
    Perhaps even a signature name is not enough. Bendis' Spider Woman was a huge flop despite his so-called golden touch. Perhaps if instead of Alpha Flight they called it Northern Avengers, then that might sell.


Sadly I think plastering the word 'Avengers' accross the front page would work at least a little but wouldnt that be a rather cynical move and could we really call it a successful Alpha Flight franchise if it was taken under the Avengers umbrella? Would that really be any different than if the roster just moved south of the border and joined the Avengers proper?


    Quote:
    I think its totally possible. I think most series just need a chance to get a fan base under it. I personally think a series that just focused on the international teams...Alpha Flight, MI:16, Winter Guard, etc would probably be the best way to start the launch of the new books. People want the characters, they just can't support a base. Continually. Also, i think tha tthe "world shrinking" via technology over the past 2 years has probably made some lands seem less intriguing, and therefore he teams seem redundant.


Traditionally 'anthology' series that share the page count amongst several characters or teams dont do very well - look at the likes of Marvel Team-up and Marvel Comics Presents. In fairness I liked both of the most recent volumes of those titles because they appeal to me personally but judging by how poorly they performed they dont appeal to a wider audience. Objectively would fans really go for a title that spotlights several teams instead of concentrating on just one or is that spreading things just a little too thin?


    Quote:
    If there was demand once, there can be again. Demand isn't something that just appears and disappears. It's something that's created with good ideas and what not.



    Quote:
    There's not the same demand for Spawn or Darkness that there once was, but they're still around (think Darkness is still around).


Now besides the fact that I disagree with the opinion that demand is somehow eternal and never really goes away, this comment contradicts itself in saying that if there was demand once there can be again but at the same time suggesting demand might not be what it once was.

Why I actually disagree is because there are probably dozens of examples of titles just like Alpha Flight that once upon a time were pretty successful but have struggled in recent years to make the kind of impact they once did.

Take the likes of She Hulk, Dr Strange, Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider, the Invaders, Namor, New Warriors, Moon Knight and Guardians of the Galaxy to name just a few. Each of these titles enjoyed prominant runs in the past but since the early 90's none of them have been able to enjoy the same level of success they once did despite in most cases several attempts at doing so. Why?

'Bad writing' may have played a part in some cases - because god knows theres been some - but can we say that about Dan Slotts or Peter Davids She-Hulk or Huston and Bensons Moonknight or Abnetts Guardians of the Galaxy? These books appear to have actually been very well written for the most part but still couldnt sell. So if the quality of the writing isnt in question could it be that these characters just dont have the appeal they once did? I'm tempted to believe yes and that like everything else in the world comics are subject to changing trends and demands.


    Quote:
    I didn't really collect the earlier issues of Alpha Flight vol. 1 until around issue #100 or so. I picked up an issue here and there before, but I liked the series. Being an avid X-Men, Defenders, and FF fan I didn't always have the money to pick up Alpha Flight back in the day. If the right characters were in the team (many of the original team), I would pick it up. I would prefer another Alpha Flight series to so many Avengers titles, and the Thunderbolts have changed so many times it's practically unrecognizable. Maybe someday soon we'll get another Alpha Flight series.


I'm trying to avoid the old 'I like/dont like Alpha Flight therefore I would/wouldnt buy it'.

Whilst I personally probably would at least try a new volume of Alpha Flight I'm more interested in how the comic reading public at large could be expected to react. Would a new Alpha title carry enough appeal to draw in enough readers to make it sustainable if not massively successful?

Thunderbolts has never been a massive draw like the Avengers or the X-Men, its been cancelled once, flirted with cancellation several times and has indergone several core changes however it has been around pretty much constantly since its 1997 debut.

You mention T-Bolts as being pretty much unrecognisable and frankly youre correct but is that really a bad thing? Hasnt the advantage of a book like Thunderbolts always been the fact that the loss of a core member need not be fatal because it pretty much has Marvels entire stable of villains from which to pick a replacement? Does that versitility give Thunderbolts a resiliance and adaptability to a changing market and changing demands that other minor franchises like alpha flight dont enjoy?


    Quote:
    In all honesty, it's also two guys argueing about Alpha Flight. \:\)


And now its half a dozen guys arguing about Alpha Flight which was the entire point of the new thread!


    Quote:
    Will we? Maybe, but I would guess it's unlikely. Too many factors are against it, and likewise too many things would have to fall into place first.


You mention finding a 'niche' but what niche could an alpha book fill? Surely the success of books like the Avengers and the X-Men isnt so much that they found a 'niche' (as in a distinct segment of the market) but in the fact that they managed to appeal to a wide segment of the market? Is a 'niche' enough to make Alpha sustainable or does it need to learn to have broader appeal? Is that possible?

I agree that a high profile creative team would help although I also agree with your statement that there doesnt appeal to be a high profile team out there with any real love for the concepts who would want to pilot another attempt at a book. For the record I thought the team of Oeming and Kollins was pretty high profile - not Millar and Hitch high profile but about as high profile as an Alpha Flight franchise could perhaps expect - but certainly a talented duo.


    Quote:
    Americans also don't want to read about international teams. What's the most popular American television show taking place in Canada? I can't name any.


I honestly didnt know the answer to that for sure. It was my guess that Americans wouldnt want to read about an international team although by that reasoning I as a Brit shouldnt want to read about an American team like the Avengers (ignoring the fact i have no choice in what is an American industry). Is that the general consensus amongst American fans?


    Quote:
    I really couldn't care less about niche this or niche that. I read books for the characters in them. I'd read 10 different Avengers books doing basically the same thing, if I liked the characters.


I see alot of sense in that. As much as I like certain books I also like certain characters and have followed them around where ever they have gone - for example I followed the USAgent through Captain America, WCA, Force Works, New Invaders, Omega Flight and Mighty Avengers. If he appeared as an Power Pack ongoing I'd probably follow him there too.

Like the USAgent however are there enough people who actually like Alphas characters to allow the book to be a success even if those fans follow the characters everywhere. With the best will in the world the fact that I love USAgent as a character isnt going to be enough to get us an Agent ongoing book, hes not Wolverine or Spidey - hell, hes not even Captain America.

I read a thread elsewhere where someone asked what made lame villains lame and there were some very good responses explaining why some characters just arent as interesting as others. Is it the case that Alpha Flight just arent very interesting, exciting or dynamic when you get right down to it?



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mjyoung





    Quote:

      Quote:
      Why would anyone choose to read AF over the Avengers?



    Quote:
    I really couldn't care less about niche this or niche that. I read books for the characters in them. I'd read 10 different Avengers books doing basically the same thing, if I liked the characters.


I'm sure we all have personal preferences on what we read and why we do so. But for a book to be commercially successful, it has to appeal to a wide consumer base. The purpose for the book is always going to be more important than the characters or the creative team, but the second two features there will certainly bring recognition to any title.

The character driven titles are really a thing of the past for the most part. People are much more likely to follow something else today, such as creative teams. The era of people buying every Wolverine appearance is over.


    Quote:
    If there were an Alpha Flight that was serious and had the original members plus maybe two new ones, and no guys dressed like Mounties, I'd read it. Bring the Plodex back as a serious threat. Use lots of magical stuff in the Canadian woods. Ship Logan up there permanently.


With the exception of Wolverine, that series would still fail.


    Quote:
    Besides, Canada's like the 52nd state... after Puerto Rico. It's not really that international.


There is trouble with Canadaian "imports" coming down to the US, which is why I mentioned the Canadian based television shows. Why would anyone read Alpha Flight over the Avengers? It's the same concept (countries best superheroes), with less popular and less interesting characters.


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Dr. Awesome




Yes, it could be revived.

If a writer would go back to what made the original Alpha Flight unique, this concept could be successful. John Byrne created a bunch of characters made to battle the X-Men, and turned them into something great.

The attempts to revive the team failed because they strayed too far from the Byrne stories. Seagle's run just didn't catch on (and I actually thought his run was pretty solid), while Lobdell's run I dropped a few issues in (I never did like his writing).

Of course, the big issue now is that much of the original team is quite dead. If there were to be a new book, you'd have Sasquatch, Northstar, Aurora, Talisman and Madison Jeffries. I just don't see fans buying this Collective guy as the new Guardian. Would you bring some characters back from the dead (like Puck)?

It becomes a question of who you'd have on the team, and how you'd approach it.


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Mikel Midnight


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,557



    Quote:
    Of course, the big issue now is that much of the original team is quite dead. If there were to be a new book, you'd have Sasquatch, Northstar, Aurora, Talisman and Madison Jeffries. I just don't see fans buying this Collective guy as the new Guardian. Would you bring some characters back from the dead (like Puck)?


I am a massive opponent of the Revolving Door of Death and it's the best way to make me NOT want to buy a book. Go through all the earlier teams, pick out who is still alive, and toss them together.

Ultimately however, I buy books for the writer, and there's the challenge. And given the repellant nature of Omega Flight, it ought to a non-American.


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The Black Guardian

Moderator

Location: Paragon City, RI
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008



    Quote:

      Quote:

        Quote:
        Why would anyone choose to read AF over the Avengers?

      I really couldn't care less about niche this or niche that. I read books for the characters in them. I'd read 10 different Avengers books doing basically the same thing, if I liked the characters.

    I'm sure we all have personal preferences on what we read and why we do so. But for a book to be commercially successful, it has to appeal to a wide consumer base. The purpose for the book is always going to be more important than the characters or the creative team, but the second two features there will certainly bring recognition to any title.

My point was that the purpose need not be unique. It need not have a niche. JLA and JSA exist together. People watch the CSIs, NCISs, Criminal Minds, which all do basically the same thing. Nobody's really concerned with "niche."


    Quote:
    The character driven titles are really a thing of the past for the most part. People are much more likely to follow something else today, such as creative teams. The era of people buying every Wolverine appearance is over.

Without character-driven titles, there will be no more comics... at all. Characters are what drive all fiction.


    Quote:

      Quote:
      If there were an Alpha Flight that was serious and had the original members plus maybe two new ones, and no guys dressed like Mounties, I'd read it. Bring the Plodex back as a serious threat. Use lots of magical stuff in the Canadian woods. Ship Logan up there permanently.

    With the exception of Wolverine, that series would still fail.

Nah.


    Quote:

      Quote:
      Besides, Canada's like the 52nd state... after Puerto Rico. It's not really that international.

    There is trouble with Canadaian "imports" coming down to the US, which is why I mentioned the Canadian based television shows. Why would anyone read Alpha Flight over the Avengers? It's the same concept (countries best superheroes), with less popular and less interesting characters.

Why have so many people continued to watch Flashpoint?
Why is there a choice of one or the other?

Interest is wholly subjective thing. To be honest, I think the Alphans are more interesting. Big deal if the Avengers are more popular. That is completely irrelevant to whether or not an Alpha Flight book can be popular enough.




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USAgentfan


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 2,623




    Quote:
    Of course, the big issue now is that much of the original team is quite dead. If there were to be a new book, you'd have Sasquatch, Northstar, Aurora, Talisman and Madison Jeffries. I just don't see fans buying this Collective guy as the new Guardian. Would you bring some characters back from the dead (like Puck)?



    Quote:
    It becomes a question of who you'd have on the team, and how you'd approach it.


I dont advocate resurrecting those characters killed by the Collective and remember that other members such as Diamond Lil and Wildchild have also since died whilst others were depowered during M-day which really doesnt leave you many to chose from as far as ex Alphas are concerned.

Omega Flight of course had a predominantly American roster which irked alot of people although I recall one quote from the series that I consider significant - the fact that Alpha Flight was never about being Canadian but about doing your best for Canada. With that in mind could a non-Canadian roster work? Would people still buy it, or is a team based in Canada just something Americans would show little interest in?

Are people going to line up to buy a roster containing Sasquach, Northstar, Aurora, Maddison Jeffries and Talisman?




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English Fiend





The original members of Alpha Flight weren't killed by the Collective. During the third run of Alpha Flight the original team during an adventure on the Plodex homeworld remained behind while the newer members of the team returned to earth. At the end of the series, during a time travel storyline, the new team brought membersof the old team forward through time from the momewnt of Guardians original supposed death.

It is this team from an alternate past that was killed by the Collective. The original team of Guardian etc are all still on the Plodex homeworld.

So bringing back Alpha Flight is quite easy. The problem is getting a creative team that can do them justice and create stories wqe want to read.



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mjyoung





    Quote:
    I'm sure we all have personal preferences on what we read and why we do so. But for a book to be commercially successful, it has to appeal to a wide consumer base. The purpose for the book is always going to be more important than the characters or the creative team, but the second two features there will certainly bring recognition to any title.



    Quote:
    My point was that the purpose need not be unique. It need not have a niche. JLA and JSA exist together. People watch the CSIs, NCISs, Criminal Minds, which all do basically the same thing. Nobody's really concerned with "niche."


They each tell different stories. Look at the Law and Order series. And I wouldn't say that any of those shows are critically acclaimed, which is part of the definition of success I assumed we were going for. Besides those television shows are dictated by several things that don't really fit comics. The JLA and the JSA are different titles. The JSA was built recently as a legacy title, while the JLA is billed as DC's big guns.


    Quote:
    Without character-driven titles, there will be no more comics... at all. Characters are what drive all fiction.


I would argue that stories drive all fiction.


    Quote:
    Why have so many people continued to watch Flashpoint?


I wasn't sure that they did. Flashpoint came on at Fridays on CBS, and Friday nights are the time period that either shows go to die or where unpopular shows are put on the schedule. It's also not a regular series for CBS, being an import, and it's not on their regular schedule, nor are future episodes announced at this point.


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mjyoung





    Quote:
    MI13's appeal is simply too narrow in my opinion. I'm pretty sure the writing has to be considered excellent by any objective standard but is excellent writing alone enough to carry a title if enough people just dont know or care about the characters or the locale? Does the same apply for Alpha?


MI13 failed for two reasons. The first was because of the story structure, where the story arcs had to be tighter. You simply can't have a 5 issue story about Plokta and expect to keep fans interested. The second reason was because the main character, Captain Britain, wasn't made to be that interesting, no spotlight was put on his personality, and he didn't have any interesting relationships.


    Quote:
    Traditionally 'anthology' series that share the page count amongst several characters or teams dont do very well - look at the likes of Marvel Team-up and Marvel Comics Presents. In fairness I liked both of the most recent volumes of those titles because they appeal to me personally but judging by how poorly they performed they dont appeal to a wider audience. Objectively would fans really go for a title that spotlights several teams instead of concentrating on just one or is that spreading things just a little too thin?


No they wouldn't, which is why anthologies fail. You are paying full price for only 8 pages of story that you really care about.


    Quote:
    'Bad writing' may have played a part in some cases - because god knows theres been some - but can we say that about Dan Slotts or Peter Davids She-Hulk or Huston and Bensons Moonknight or Abnetts Guardians of the Galaxy? These books appear to have actually been very well written for the most part but still couldnt sell. So if the quality of the writing isnt in question could it be that these characters just dont have the appeal they once did? I'm tempted to believe yes and that like everything else in the world comics are subject to changing trends and demands.


I think it's a mistake to assume it wasn't the writing. With all of these books, I can tell you (objectively) major flaws in the writing. For instance, Slott's She Hulk was critically acclaimed, and people loved the book with its mixture of comedy, law, and superheroes. So how did PAD follow that up? But removing the law and humor elements and just making it a title about She-Hulk. That's not appealing.


    Quote:
    Whilst I personally probably would at least try a new volume of Alpha Flight I'm more interested in how the comic reading public at large could be expected to react. Would a new Alpha title carry enough appeal to draw in enough readers to make it sustainable if not massively successful?


Agreed, this is a much better discussion.


    Quote:
    You mention finding a 'niche' but what niche could an alpha book fill? Surely the success of books like the Avengers and the X-Men isnt so much that they found a 'niche' (as in a distinct segment of the market) but in the fact that they managed to appeal to a wide segment of the market? Is a 'niche' enough to make Alpha sustainable or does it need to learn to have broader appeal? Is that possible?


I don't know what purpose Alpha Flight would need, but it would have to be two things
a) good - a purpose that enough people want to read about and is interesting enough
b) unique - a purpose that is, for the most part, unique enough as to not be copied or be a copy of.


    Quote:
    I agree that a high profile creative team would help although I also agree with your statement that there doesnt appeal to be a high profile team out there with any real love for the concepts who would want to pilot another attempt at a book. For the record I thought the team of Oeming and Kollins was pretty high profile - not Millar and Hitch high profile but about as high profile as an Alpha Flight franchise could perhaps expect - but certainly a talented duo.


A creative team with maybe a 40K max potential? With an even lower max depending on the title. An AF title with Oeming and Kollins wouldn't last long. Kind of shocking the drop that Kollins has taken over the last few years.


    Quote:
    I honestly didnt know the answer to that for sure. It was my guess that Americans wouldnt want to read about an international team although by that reasoning I as a Brit shouldnt want to read about an American team like the Avengers (ignoring the fact i have no choice in what is an American industry). Is that the general consensus amongst American fans?


I think so. And part of the reason is because American entertainment and culture is so well known throughout the world. How many Americans can name a BBC show? Probably very little. How many Brits can name an American show? Almost all.




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TheForgottenOne






    Quote:
    They each tell different stories. Look at the Law and Order series. And I wouldn't say that any of those shows are critically acclaimed, which is part of the definition of success I assumed we were going for. Besides those television shows are dictated by several things that don't really fit comics. The JLA and the JSA are different titles. The JSA was built recently as a legacy title, while the JLA is billed as DC's big guns.


That's not quite true. There are often shared stories of someone with muliple personality syndrom or stockholm syndrom. THe victim who turns out not to be a victim at all. Terrorism. There's bound to be a lot more. Usually the twist comes from the characters themselves. Goron using his skills to work things out, Benson and Stabler bouncing ideas off each other and relating it all back to sex, Brisco bitching about everything. The only fundamental difference other than characters is that SVU starts out with something sexual or child related then works it's way into something else. So really Black Guardian is right on both accounts.





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USAgentfan


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 2,623


A bigger problem is that really theyre all still rather boring and even if the original cast can be brought back I'm not sure that the comic reading public at large will really give a damn in a world dominated by a dozen Avengers and X-Men titles with frankly more dynamic rosters.


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Being the HUGE Alpha Flight fan I am let me get into this conversation since I do in fanfic and also drop by alot on (.net)

I think the problem with AF is that people always want the original Byrne team. They always want the originals and expansion of characters gets short focused. The AVengers expanded. The X-Men added Wolverine Storm and Banshee after the XFactor team left and even morphed into something more then that through the years. Thing is what characters and direction to you want to use. AF was one of the 1st series to "kill off" their leader and had the 1st gay hero. It might shock some people that I say this but how bout we be the 1st comic to keep people dead and build off that

Most people know the Department H came from Guardian but it was so wicked over the years that it a shame to be even associated with the Department. In the early years of AF, AF wasnt the government or Department H run team. They flocked on their own to disasters and it really turned after issue 70 of vol1. Vol2 (which I liked) wanted to take a different directions like any writer would and get deeper in Department H but everyone screamed for the originals who didnt appear till later when the series ended and then BAMF...Dept H is dissolved into nothing offpanel. And it should be kept that way, a seperate entity from AF at the last.(Did you know Seagle actually wanted Gentry to be the real Guardian from vol 2, holla)

Vol 3 was a joke and OF was just something to satisfy us AF fans but I hated it. Marvel writers do tend to kill off AF characters recently cuz they have more shock value but not big enough to say, Oh my god, Nightcrawler died.

You can still have some characters ont he roster that would satify the AF fans. Sasquatch, Jeffries (I hated Lil died recently), Talisman, Snowbird make a solid core of true AF. Nemesis will never die and that could be a resurected Heather Hudson but I wouldnt keep bringing the others alive. Northstar is happy now in XMen cuz his sister is safe but we all know he follows his sister. If you want to follow Seagles idea, Mac Hudson is still alive as Gentry. The suit can be handed to anyone. You can make a new good Guardian as a government liason much how USAgent was with West Coast Avengers. Everyone else is Blist survivors at this point who wouldnt draw much attention:Manikin, Persuassion, Goblyn, Ghost Girl, Flex, Ouija, whose status' are unknown.We can try to add Elsie Dee and Alfred. But try to expand after you focus on the core concept of the group

PS: AF also did win the Bendis poll for which series would you want brought back recently


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Dr. Awesome





    Quote:
    Are people going to line up to buy a roster containing Sasquach, Northstar, Aurora, Maddison Jeffries and Talisman?




Well, I would! Then again, I've bought everything else Flight-related, so I'm probably not a good representative sample of the casual comic-reading public.

Back in the day we had plenty of team books: Alpha Flight, Defenders, New Warriors, Power Pack and even Wolf Pack for a brief, awful instant. All those books are gone.

Now Marvel team books fall under two families: Avengers and X-Men. (Fantastic Four is an exception: it is the lone book in its family).

The trick is to introduce Alpha Flight--regardless of its team members--in a way that doesn't repeat those of books in already established families. If I want to read a gritty book where the team members kill, I go to X-Force. If I want to see heroes in training or discovering their powers, I go to Avengers Academy or Secret Warriors.

Each book has its niche. Alpha Flight has to find its niche again.

What can a new Alpha Flight book accomplish that an already-existing team book doesn't? And would such a book appeal to a wide readership?

I feel a great writer could take Sasquach, Northstar, Aurora, Maddison Jeffries and Talisman, and perhaps a few others (maybe even a character like USAgent, who would be an unlikely fit, but a writer looking for a challenge could do it) and make an amazing Canada-based super team.


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Clea Lover

I love Alpha Flight...but



There are a lot of problems with this book that are inherent to the book itself.

1). Canada...Not that I'm knocking Canada but Marvel comics are in NYC and they always seem to be isolated from all the action.

2). Too many magical characters. With Sas, Snowbird, Talisman, Shaman and sometimes Witchfire these characters lead to magical story lines which IMHO never seem to sell very well. (Dr. Strange and Dr. Fate always get cancelled)

3). Guardian. Is he Alive, Dead, A robot, a clone? He died in the first couple of issues of the launch and has been a mess ever since. He is supposed to be Canada's Captain America but has had more convoluted story lines than Ms. Marvel.

Yes everything I have said is debatable but these are my reasons for having dropped this book more than once


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USAgentfan


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 2,623


The main problem as I see it is that even Alphas biggest characters such as Sansquach, Guardian, Vindicator, Puck etc arent a big draw. When you start going on about the second stringers such as Flex, Ghost Girl, Windshear and so on most people quite understandably say "who?".

The Avengers are 'Earths Mightiest Heroes' and as such have always had the pick of Marvels top heroes to add to their roster and that gives them instant marketability. Struggling for sales? Easy, put spiderman and wolverine on the team - at least thats what Bendis did. The X-men can choose from all the mutants and the Thunderbolts can choose from all the villains.

Alpha cant do this - it has a group of barely known heroes to draw upon. Sure it could innovate some new ones but whats the chance of a brand new hero or brand new team selling? The entire roster of the team for Vol 3 was innovated but sucked in a big way.


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TheForgottenOne






    Quote:
    Without character-driven titles, there will be no more comics... at all. Characters are what drive all fiction.


This is so true. I forget who they are, but there was some wolf pack group of famous writers and one of them said that characters are the most important cause they're the ones that people relate to. I take it a step further and say that people don't randomly pick comics to see SOMEBODY fight SOME villian or one of the other finite scenarios that get recycled, they specifically pick up Spider-man comics to see Spider-man fight Venom or the Lizard. The joy of stories is seeing how Captain America would deal with a alien scenario as opposed to Ironman's reaction in which case the character is still more important.

This is something Marvel doesn't seem to get which is why, IMO, the events and Bendis stuff never really lives up to the hype.


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mjyoung





    Quote:

      Quote:
      They each tell different stories. Look at the Law and Order series. And I wouldn't say that any of those shows are critically acclaimed, which is part of the definition of success I assumed we were going for. Besides those television shows are dictated by several things that don't really fit comics. The JLA and the JSA are different titles. The JSA was built recently as a legacy title, while the JLA is billed as DC's big guns.



    Quote:
    That's not quite true. There are often shared stories of someone with muliple personality syndrom or stockholm syndrom. THe victim who turns out not to be a victim at all. Terrorism. There's bound to be a lot more. Usually the twist comes from the characters themselves. Goron using his skills to work things out, Benson and Stabler bouncing ideas off each other and relating it all back to sex, Brisco bitching about everything. The only fundamental difference other than characters is that SVU starts out with something sexual or child related then works it's way into something else. So really Black Guardian is right on both accounts.


Wait, what? The stories told in L+O are different across the franchise, even without considering the actual crimes (which would apparently be different based on the show: sex, major crimes, etc) or characters.

Without having intricate knowledge of the shows: Criminal Intent puts focus on the crimes as they are planned and committed, leading to the investigation. The original L+O splits the crime into the investigation and prosecution of the crimes. SVU seems to be more character driven. I'm sure there are lots of other differences. I'm guessing that the show runners just don't create a script and change the characters based on whatever show it's going towards.

CSI seems to be the same way, which different tones for the series.




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the problem really is that everyone keeps referring to the Byrne era. you know why the Byrne era was so successful, cuz they werent the government team back then. they just happened to be a team of superheroes that lived in Canada. You know Wolverine and Deadpool are Canadian but they dont go tooting the flag.One of AFs biggest issue vol 1 issue 12, the death of Guardian. That battle took place in New York. Back then they also went to Atlantis, the Savage Land and Asgard. After around issue 80 til its cancelation of vol 1, the team was heavily pictured as being a Canadian government team. Vol2 continued that and so did Omega Flight. WHy would anyone call the Canadian super team when they can get the UN team in the Avengers?

A government Canadian team has such a narrow aspect to it. I assume most comic buyers are in the US and do we really care or believe what happens on Victoria Island? At least in space we can imagine and wonder on space and magic comics but like I said, after issue 80 it was all Canada except for when they went on the World Tour meeting other government heroes.

Also, though Puck, Vindicator and Guardian may not be the heavy hitters, they are the heavy hitters int he hearts of Alpha fans. Their popularity may be cuz of that. You know Guardian took on Galactus and won


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USAgentfan


Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 2,623



    Quote:
    the problem really is that everyone keeps referring to the Byrne era. you know why the Byrne era was so successful, cuz they werent the government team back then. they just happened to be a team of superheroes that lived in Canada. You know Wolverine and Deadpool are Canadian but they dont go tooting the flag.One of AFs biggest issue vol 1 issue 12, the death of Guardian. That battle took place in New York. Back then they also went to Atlantis, the Savage Land and Asgard. After around issue 80 til its cancelation of vol 1, the team was heavily pictured as being a Canadian government team. Vol2 continued that and so did Omega Flight. WHy would anyone call the Canadian super team when they can get the UN team in the Avengers?


The Avengers have never sold based on being the 'U.N team' and the choice between a Canadian government team and a U.N team is a choice no fan has ever made because who the team is sanctioned by has never really been that important to either set of fans.

Now I would agree that continually stressing the Canadian-ness of Alpha Flight may put non-Canadian fans off. The problem is that the leader of the gang wears a Canadian flag, you have a big furry guy named after a mythical Canadian beast, a little guy named after and who acts like a piece of sports equipment from Canadas national sport, a woman named after Canadas famous Northern lights, likewise another hero named after the Northern Pole star, even the term 'Snowbird' is a word used to describe the likes of Canadians who rather than spend their time living in a cold climate like Canada move around to live in warmer locales, so whichever way you cut it Alpha Flight just scream "Canada!" - its built into their very character design and because of that i find it very difficult to believe that the idea of them being Canadian wasnt a very intentional action.

Sadly that same design somewhat restricts their use in current day comics in the same way the Winter Guard will always be inherently Russian and therefore lack any real appeal for the American and international comic reading audience.


    Quote:
    Also, though Puck, Vindicator and Guardian may not be the heavy hitters, they are the heavy hitters int he hearts of Alpha fans. Their popularity may be cuz of that. You know Guardian took on Galactus and won


A characters popularity isnt about punching out Galactus because if that were true the Fantastic 4 would be top of the pile having done it about a dozen times.

Additionally, alpha Flights popularity amongst Alpha Flights fans isnt in question. Thats like saying Darkhawk fans like Darkhawk. The problem seems to be that there simply arent enough alpha Flight fans to make the book a sustainable success and the question is then how do we make the idea appeal to non-Alpha fans?




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Jamie Braddock has the British flag on his chest and he is a pretty popular character. You may say that Joseph Chapman is the actual symbol of the UK since his name is Union Jack but Jamie still has the symbol much like the Hudson's do. Guardian isnt called Captain Canada or Major Maple Leaf. You can have the symbols and people still like you


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Boring is a matter of the writer. Fred Ven Lente has wrote ALpha Flight characters real well recently in Hercules and the Wolverine oneshot recently. I actually think some of the X-titles suck. New AVengers as well. Personally, I think GoTG and Initiative have been one of the top 4 books out consistently over the last year or so


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Spidey2099




Funny I had the same idea about bring Heather back as Nemesis.

The truth is there's a lot of things holding Alpha Flight back.
The name of the book is a classic but is dated.
The Canadian Factor. We just don't have the level of crime up here as there is in the States. There's never going to be a CSI: Toronto.
The original characters were classic but now there's a giggle factor:

James Hudson died and they couldn't leave it alone. It's become a joke how many times he's returned from the dead. The leadership was never stable. They didn't have a Cyclops or Captain America. They had a widow secretary. The Vindicator/Guardian switcharoos didn't help.
Marrina was a green alien and had webbed fingers... Oh and she could swim.
Puck can't be taken seriously today.
Aurora's multi-personality disorder became so complicated, how can she not be confind to a home?
Box I had no legs.
Is this a Superhero team or the special olympics?

They overplayed the flawed heroes thing.

What was their purpose? To save Canada? From what? The Great Beasts? Perfect! Let's go with tha... oh government conspiracy? Sure let's play that angl... You want them to fight random D-list X-Villains? OK... Wait let's stop the villain fighting and have them constantly fight amongst each othe... Oh hell, let's just send them into SPACE!!

JUST PICK A DIRECTION!

Also you're only as good as your villains:
Master of the World. Canada's version of Magneto... Without the powers. Check.
Dream Queen. check.
Uh... That's. About. It.
OH! OMEGA FLIGHT I - Lame knock offs!
OMEGA FLIGHT II - Lamer knock offs!
OMEGA FLIGHT III - Circus Freaks!

You're only as good as your supporting cast:
Manikin - Had potential but always lame. Never got the name.
Windshear - They needed a black guy.
Goblyn and her teleporting sister! - ...
Stictch - ...
Murmur - ...
Yukon Jack! - ...
Major Mapl... yeah, I think I'm done.
Flex - Can manipulate his body into sharp metal!? Wow he potential! Wait he shapes his hands into large knives and only paddles you with the brawd side?...
Madison Jefferies - Wait a sec, this guy basically has the powers of Magneto but can also control plastic and glass along with metal? So much potential, so much potential... Let's put him inside a Robot!

The only way Alpha Flight would work today is if you change the name to Averngers North. Get Wolvies son Daken on the team to bring in the readers. Bring Heather back as Nemesis, back to kill Michael Porter so she can rest in peace with Mac. but instead become Michael's guardian (see what I did there?) so she can stay among the living to be with her daughter. As long as Porter lives, she lives. Northstar and a cured Aurora would bring in readers. Get a new Sasquatch. Walter could find out he's dying of cancer from the radiation his first experiment. Try to cure himself with a similar machine, have someone (Agent Jeff Brown from Omega Flight? Gentry?) try to stop him, there's an explosion and have them become the new Sasquatch. Maybe with black fur. Have Walter stay on as a tech guy. Merge Snowbird;s spirit into Talisman. Combine powers.
Make Jeffries the new Guardian. Not the old suit but a new less Canadiana one. He has the powers of Guardian but can also do the Magneto thing. Very powerful.

Give them a purpose! Give them great villains! No X-men sloppy seconds or evil wax figures...

Most importantly have them appear in the major Events like Invasion, Siege, etc. Let Marvel Readers know they are relevant!


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theforgottenone




Well I've been watching all three for years and I'm telling you that the differences come mostly from the characters. Ci begins with the crime being commited, true, but the fact of the matter is that the same basic stories get recycled between them.


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