Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fan Expo 2011 photos

Finally got around to transferring my photos over to my laptop. Enjoy!

Working hard on my prep...
In the middle of saying something really important...
Chris Claremont
Fred Van Lente
Dale Eaglesham

The Panelists
And yes, there was more to the Fan Expo than just my panel...
Me and Bill Sienkiewicz
Are those storm troopers?
Robert Englund and Lance Hendrickson

Darth Vader and my daughter, Claire

1980 - Evolution of a cover - Uncanny X-Men #138

Monday, August 29, 2011

Alpha Flight panel transcript - Aug 26/2011

With Fred Van Lente, Dale Eaglesham, and Chris Claremont

I made my moderating debut with this panel. And I felt it went rather well. Thanks to Kevin Boyd of Fan Expo for the opportunity.

 Here are some highlights from the panel:

- Vindicator was originally labeled Major Mapleleaf, but that name had already been taken

- Claremont: “John [Byrne] was very interested in creating characters and conflict that originated from the Great White North. Alpha Flight really came about from Giant Sized X-Men where Professor X convinces Logan into to take a walk, which some might consider desertion, from the Canadian Armed Forces.

- Claremont: “Barry Windsor Smith walked in one day with 60 pages of original art for Wolverine’s origin and Marvel Comics, being one never to turn down 60 pages of original art from one of the best artists in the modern history of the business, jumped into it with both feet. I was more interested in the time at being totally solipsistic and jumping on Barry with both feet. Writers always have this problem with artists when they turn out to have brains when you lease expect it. The idea was to create a sense of mystery about who Logan was and broaden the base of the X-Men oeuvre to establish the characters and conflicts as international as possible.”

- When asked if he had any interest in writing Alpha Flight in 1983, Claremont said: “A writer can have a lot of interests. But these were John’s primary creations, he came up with the concepts, so there was never a question. If he wanted a collaborator on it, I would have been happy to do it. But this was his ballpark from the get go. ”

- When asked about the possibility of Wolverine returning to Alpha Flight after Guardian’s death in Alpha Flight #12 (1984), Claremont: “No. It’s not like John killed off Guardian and then had to figure out what was going on. That only happens with Phoenix. Byrne knew full well when he did the dirty deed that he was going to set up Heather Hudson to take his place as it was logical and unexpected. But that doesn’t prevent Marvel from teasing the Living Daylights from as many readers and retailers as they could at the time.”

- Lente: “One of the things that John Byrne did that was so brilliant was that he broke up the team in the first issue. And they all went on their separate adventures and you had a couple of issues about Northstar and Aurora, a few issues about Puck and Shaman and the whole gang, and with this new series, we were going to bring them all back together as that super-hero team.

- On writing Alpha Flight compared to Herc, Lente said: “It’s definitely been a challenge. I definitely have an admiration from people like Chris who do team books on a regular basis as I’m used to writing a book with a singular character and it seems we have 17 different storylines going simultaneous as we have each character trying to make their own mark and trying to integrate them as a whole. It is a huge challenge, I’m not going to lie to you, but it’s a fun challenge. It helps that I have a co-writer. Greg and I each have our own pet characters.

- What makes the Alpha Flight team unique? Lente said: “Well, they are Canadian. What’s neat is that you have a Captain America/Iron Man character in Guardian/Vindicator, the twins who are Quebequois and mutants, you have a Hulk-type in Sasquatch, you have the mystic stuff and mythology with Shaman and Snowbird, and they are all incredible diverse in the modern sense in that you have a high female membership, you got the first major gay character at Marvel, you have first nation characters, and you have an alien. You have a hug amount of diversity going on there and that to me is what makes them super cool.

- I really like the idea of pitting Alpha Flight against the government as they are Canada’s team and now Canada is against them. Lente said: “That was the hook that sold Marvel on the series, that you have this team of Captain Americas and their country totally turns against them. Now they’re outlaws and their being forced to do more and more outlaw things and that’s a fun place for these characters to be. And you’ll be seeing them become almost guerilla fighters and a fun way to do metaphors for loyalty to country and people. Even though it’s set in Canada, people from around the world can relate to these issues.”

- What does the H in Department H stand for? Lente: “I always thought it was Hudson? I always thought that was the official explanation.”

- Can you tell us a bit more about the inverted Canadian flag? Eaglesham: “I don’t think I developed that symbol enough. It was intended to be a tag that you would put on a building as an insult, as a statement of what the freedom fighters thought of the government and how they’ve turned Canada upside down.”

- On Alpha Flight’s return from the dead, Lente: “Yeah, it’s really complicated. We try not to reference it in the series so we don’t confuse the heck out of everybody.”

- On the collaborative process with Byrne, Claremont said: “There were no scripts. For the writer to break down the storytelling was essentially like a scriptwriter telling a director what angles to shoot from. It may work, but from Stan Lee’s point of view, you were wasting a resource and it might be far more adventurous and more dynamic for the writer to trust the artist and see what they could come up with. And then the writer would fill in the dialog to balance out any glitches in terms of what was visually established or to present those aspects of character and interaction that were not readily or immediately graspable from the picture, you could go into subtext and get deeper into dialog. And from that perspective, back in that day it was revolutionary, as the key was me sitting down with John and figuring how we get through these 17 pages, where do we begin? What’s the image that starts it off? How do we fit the pieces together?”

- A fan asked Claremont what he thought distinguished a Canadian superhero from an American superhero, to which Claremont replied “Eh?”.

- Gary Cody’s speech in Alpha Flight #1 was lifted almost word-for-word from Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau during the October Crisis in 1970.

- Lente: “At one point they weren’t going to give us Puck. And suddenly we got Puck and that’s why suddenly appears in issue #2, but that’s cool. The way he was reintroduced, it was sort of a lucky accident.”

Sunday, August 28, 2011

2011 - Alpha Flight now an ongoing series!

Announced at Fan Expo 2011 - The 8-issue Alpha Flight series has been converted to a regular ongoing series.
“The situation in Canada goes from bad to worse,” co-writer Fred Van Lente forecasts. “This requires intervention from its neighbor to the south, in the form of the Avengers.” And Wolverine... “Alpha Flight finds out they're [part] of a super team they weren't even aware of—the Commonwealth of Heroes."

“Our story has remained the same and will hit a massive climax in issue #8,” confirms co-writer Greg Pak. “We now have the real estate to spread out some of our characters’ subplots and give them room to really breathe. And we're really opening things up with a big, big idea we've been mulling over with issues #9-12.”
“With an eight-issue [limited series], the main focus was seeing the fascist government take control turning our heroes into outlaws and seeing their struggle to survive,” editor Mark Paniccia says. “Now we can seed a whole new set of awesome subplots and bring in other teams and characters and let the book continue to rock.”

Happy 94th Birthday Jack "The King" Kirby!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Marvel Comics' November 2011 Solicitations - Marvel 1980s Goodness

Marvel has finally released it's hardcover and trade paperback soliciations...


Good ninjas never die, let alone the baddest one of all! Fan favorite Frank Miller ushers his awesome assassin through good and evil and life and death and rebirth and more! Who is the otherworldly entity in pursuit of the presidency? When has Elektra met her greatest triumphs and tragedies? Why did she die, and how did she return? Collecting ELEKTRA: ASSASSIN #1-8.
272 PGS./Explicit Content ...$24.99


The Hobgoblin lives! Rising from the legacy of the Green Goblin, Spider-Man’s most enduring foe, comes the deadly Hobgoblin! His true identity is one of the most complex mysteries Spidey has ever faced. Featuring the Black Cat, the Kingpin, Madame Web, Mary Jane, the Prowler and more! See Spider-Man’s earliest battles with one of his deadliest foes! Collecting AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #238-239, #244-245 and #249-251; and PETER PARKER, THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN (1976) #43, #47-48 and #85.
200 PGS./Rated T ...$24.99

Fan Expo Day 2 tomorrow - My Alpha Flight panel

If you're in the Toronto area tomorrow, be sure to make your way to Fan Expo and my Alpha Flight panel.

FRIDAY, 1 PM - ROOM #717
An examination of the creative team process of creating a comic book. In this "how to" workshop writer Fred Van Lente and artist Dale Eaglesham will be discussing their collaborative work on the latest incarnation of Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight (published by Marvel Comics). Chris Claremont will be on hand to provide insight on the creation of the original Alpha Flight team in the pages of Uncanny X-Men. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

1990 - X-Men: X-Tinction Agenda Hardcover

X-Tinction Agenda Hardcover
304 pages
Written by Chris Claremont, Louise Simonson
Art by Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Jon Bogdanove, Rick Leonardi, and Guang Yap.

Here's a closer look at this hardcover. Extras include:
- Several pages from the previous TPBs that help transition material
- TPB covers
- House ad and in-store wanted poster

Sunday, August 21, 2011

1980s Comics that need to be collected

Preferably in some hardcover format and not in the Essentials format.

  • Strikeforce Morituri
  • Rom (probably never due to rights)
  • Amazing Spider-Man (Stern & Romita)
  • Incredible Hulk (Mantlo and Buscema)
  • Micronauts (including X-Men vs Micronauts, but probably never due to rights)
  • Ka-Zar (Jones and Anderson)
  • Captain America (DeMatteis and Zeck)
  • Spider-Woman
  • Jack of Hearts
  • Last Galactus Story
  • Daredevil (O'Neil and Mazzuchelli)
  • Amazing Spider-Man (DeFalco/Frenz)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Marvel Masterworks #175 - Uncanny X-Men Announced

For full details see

Marvel Masterworks #175 will reprint Uncanny X-Men #160-167, X-Men Annual #6 and material from Special Edition X-Men #1 & Marvel Treasury Edition #26-27.

But here are some lovely preview images showcasing Dave Cockrum, Brent Anderson, and Paul Smith. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

1984 - Cloak and Dagger Portfolio

Rick Leonardi, Terry Austin and Glynis Wein - Cloak and Dagger Portfolio (Marvel Press, 1984).

Marvel Press released this 1984 portfolio of 10 full-color plates that celebrated Cloak and Dagger's origin and unique powers. Each plate measured 11" x 17".


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