A to Z Challenge - A is for...

Comic books! Okay, technically C is for comic books, but I'm going to spend the next month blogging my way through the alphabet and talking about comic series, characters, or creators along the way.

So, where was I?

A is for...

...Alpha Flight

The Alpha Flight team was created in the late 70s by legendary X-Men artist John Byrne. Initially, the Canadian super-team were introduced to battle the X-Men and take their Canadian berserker - Wolverine - back home to Canada, however, a few years later, Marvel approached Byrne to write and draw the team in their own ongoing series.

Thirty years ago, whilst on vacation, in Florida, in a mall, in a bookstore, I found a selection of Marvel comics on a rotating wire rack near the back of the store. It was here I picked up the first comics of what would become a thirty year collection. One of those comics was Alpha Flight (volume 1) #45.

What I enjoyed from the get-go was the hugely diverse and exciting group of characters in the team. Heather MacNeil-Hudson (Vindicator), wife of the original leader of the group, took over leadership after he was killed. Walter Langowski (Sasquatch) ended up being killed by a fellow team member only to have his spirit rescued and then placed in the body of a female. Jeanne-Marie Beaubier (Aurora) suffered from multiple personality disorder, while her twin brother, Jean-Paul Beaubier (Northstar), was for all intents and purposes gay - although he was not "openly gay" until issue #106 due to Marvel's reticence. Northstar was Marvel's first openly gay character and one of the first in American comics. Also on the team were Narya (Snowbird) an Inuit Demi-god, Dr Michael Twoyoungmen (Shaman) a First Nations mystic, Roger Bochs (Box), a double amputee who invented a suit of armor to get around in, and the acrobatic dwarf Eugene Judd (Puck) - although it was revealed that his size was due to a curse which both reduced his size and lengthened his life.

Despite the interesting cast, Alpha Flight was canceled at issue #130. A few short-lived series didn't get much attention after that, but Alpha Flight can now be found in Captain Marvel (volume 9) based on a space station...protecting Earth from alien invaders. :D

Before I finish, I just wanted to make a mention of the creative teams who worked on Alpha Flight and to suggest that you pick up a few issues (issues can be found for very little $$).

As for the creative types, John Byrne started the ball rolling and then swapped jobs with the Incredible Hulk's Bill Mantlo. Mantlo is not a well known name but one of his earlier creations is probably well known to you - Rocket Raccoon.

Interestingly, June Brigman was the artist when I started reading Alpha Flight, so the diversity of the team carried over to the creative side too. Other notable artists who stepped in after Byrne were Mike Mignola (creator of Hellboy) and Jim Lee who rose to prominence after Alpha Flight when he got the X-Men gig. He later left Marvel, with other highly sought after artists, to form Image comics. He is now the co-publisher of DC comics.

So check out some Alpha Flight if you get the chance.

Come back tomorrow for B!



  1. Now see? Was that so terrible? Yes, but you can do it 25 more times. I wonder what B will be for...Movies?!



  2. and you said you couldn't do it! ;)

    @dSavannahCreate from
    #AtoZChallenge2016 theme: dSavannah Defects

  3. Oooh. I think I'm going to like your abecedarium!

    @mirymom1 from
    Balancing Act

  4. Cute theme :) I have not heard of Alpha Flight, but it does sound like an interesting comic book and had a bit of a run before it got canceled.

    Good luck with the challenge!


  5. I love superheroes but never been called to read comics so I'll read your blog this month to catch up on all the things I don't know!! Great theme and look forward to reading more. :-)

  6. Cute theme!
    As a collector's item, I'm wondering if these comics are highly priced? Probably...
    Enjoy the A to Z Challenge!
    Writer In Transit


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