Cover to Alpha Flight (vol. 1) #1 by John Byrne
|Schedule||Ongoing (vol. 1–3)|
Limited (vol. 4)
|Publication date||(Vol. 1) August 1983 – March 1994|
August 1997 – March 1999
(Vol. 3) May 2004 ��� April 2005
(Vol. 4) July 2011 – January 2012
|No. of issues||(vol. 1)|
130, 2 annuals
20, 1 annual
|Main character(s)||Alpha Flight|
John Byrne (1–28)
Michael Mignola (29–31)
Jon Bogdanove (32)
Sal Buscema (33–34)
Dave Ross (35–44)
Jim Lee (51–62)
Hugh Haynes (65–68)
John Calimee (69–71, 73-76, 78-82, 84-85)
Gerry Talaoc (72)
Huw Thomas (77)
Jim Sherman (83)
Mark Bagley (86)
Michael Bair (87-91, 93-95, 97-100)
Dan Reed (92)
Michael Adams (96)
Tom Morgan (101-105, 107-109)
Mark Pacella (106)
Craig Brasfield (113, 121)
Pat Broderick (110-112, 114-120, 122-124)
Jim Reddington (125)
Dario Carrasco Jr (126-130)
John Byrne (1–14)
Gerry Talaoc (29–38)
Whilce Portacio (39–54)
Al Milgrom (58–65)
Lee Ann Garner
|Alpha Flight Classic Volume 1|
(vol. 1 #1–8)
|Alpha Flight Classic Volume 2|
(vol. 1 #9–16)
|Alpha Flight Volume 1|
(vol. 3 #1–6)
|Alpha Flight Volume 2|
(vol. 3 #7–12)
|Omega Flight: Alpha to Omega|
(Omega Flight #1–5)
|Alpha Flight by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente Volume 1|
(vol. 4 #0.1, 1–4)
Created by John Byrne, the team first appeared in X-Men #120 (April 1979). The team was originally merely a part of the backstory of the X-Men’s Wolverine but, in 1983, Marvel launched an eponymous series featuring the group, which continued until 1994, lasting 130 issues as well as annuals and miniseries. Three short-lived revivals have been attempted since, most recently an eight-issue limited series in 2011–12, after the resurrection of the team in the one shot comic Chaos War: Alpha Flight during the Chaos War event.
Though reluctant to take the job, John Byrne wrote and drew the series for 28 issues before handing it off to another creative team. During that time, the series storylines generally dealt with the personal problems of one or two characters at a time, seldom bringing all the members together or confronting problems outside the team itself, an approach which drew some criticism.
Byrne left, trading titles with then-Incredible Hulk scribe Bill Mantlo, who stepped in to become the series's longest-running writer. Later writers on Alpha Flight include James Hudnall, Fabian Nicieza, Scott Lobdell, and Simon Furman. Byrne's successor as penciler was Mike Mignola, and subsequently Dave Ross, another Canadian, though he claims that his nationality was not a factor in his being chosen for the series, and that Marvel even sent him a box full of Canadian reference material after he was given the assignment.
In Alpha Flight #106 (1992), writer Scott Lobdell was given permission to have the character Northstar state, "I am gay." As the first major, openly gay character created by Marvel Comics, Northstar generated significant publicity in the mainstream press and Alpha Flight #106 sold out in a week, despite the fact that the series was not a very popular title. It is the only comic book issue to have been inducted into the Gaylactic Hall of Fame. The event was also controversial, and almost no mention was made of his sexual orientation for the remainder of the first Alpha Flight series.
The issue of Alpha Flight in which Northstar came out was hugely popular and the New York Magazine reported that a store in Bleecker Street in New York City resorted to making customers who wanted to buy a copy of it to buy a second comic. This was criticized but outside the law. Later they made a policy that everyone who bought a copy had to buy an issue of the series The Punisher War Zone as well. The store claimed they did this to prevent hoarding of the comic. The policy was in effect for thirty minutes till the store was all sold out. In the end they received only one complaint.
Alpha Flight continued for 130 issues, and introduced dozens of characters and villains. The series ended in 1994.
In 1997, Marvel relaunched the series with different characters. The series was written by Steven Seagle, then known mainly for his work for DC Comics' Vertigo line, with art mostly by Scott Clark and Duncan Rouleau. One issue, #13, featured guest art by Ashley Wood in an unusually conventional style for him, but still very distinctive for a Marvel superhero comic. This series ended in 1999 after only twenty issues and an annual.
The focus of this series was on Department H's consistently hidden agenda and Alpha Flight's reluctance to comply thereto.
Despite initial positive buzz, the series never took off and the conspiracy plotlines were downplayed for the remaining six issues of the series. The series ended with issue #20 with most of the major storylines unresolved.
Volume 3: "All-New, All-Different" Alpha Flight
In 2004, Marvel started a new volume of Alpha Flight, with the "All-New, All-Different" prefix.
The first six-issue story arc, which shows Sasquatch attempting to construct the new team, is called "You Gotta Be Kiddin' Me".
The second six-issue story arc, entitled "Waxing Poetic", saw the return of some original team members as both the original versions visited in the past, and temporal copies brought to the present.
The series was canceled with issue #12.
Alpha Flight: True North
In June 2019, Marvel Comics announced that Alpha Flight would return in a one-shot titled Alpha Flight: True North featuring the original lineup (with the exception of Aurora) and written by Canadian writers Jim Zub, Jed MacKay and Ed Brisson to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the company.
Their appearances have been collected into a number of trade paperbacks:
Alpha Flight Volume 1
- Byrne, John (2007). Alpha Flight Classic – Volume 1. New York: Marvel Diamond distributor. 224 pages. ISBN 0-7851-2746-1. (Collects Alpha Flight #1-8)
- Byrne, John (2011). Alpha Flight Classic – Volume 2. New York: Marvel Worldwide, Inc. 296 pages. ISBN 0-7851-3125-6. (Collects Alpha Flight #9-19 and X-Men #109)
- Byrne, John (2011). Alpha Flight Classic – Volume 3. New York: Marvel Worldwide, Inc. 280 pages. ISBN 0-7851-6292-5. (Collects Alpha Flight #20-29 and Incredible Hulk (vol. 2) #313.
- Claremont, Chris; Raab, Ben; Cassaday, John; Smith, Paul (2011). X-Men: Alpha Flight. New York: Marvel Worldwide. 280 pages. ISBN 0-7851-5513-9. (Collects X-Men & Alpha Flight #1-2, X-Men/Alpha Flight (vol. 2) #1-2, X-Men #109, 120-121, 139-140)
- Claremont, Chris; Smith, Paul; Adams, Arthur (2010). X-Men: Asgardian Wars. New York: Marvel Diamond distributor. 248 pages. ISBN 0-7851-4148-0. (Collects X-Men & Alpha Flight #1-2, New Mutants Special Edition #1, X-Men Annual #9)
Alpha Flight Volume 3
- Scott, Lobdell (2004). Alpha Flight – Volume 1: You Gotta Be Kiddin' Me. New York: Marvel Comics. 136 pages. ISBN 0-7851-1430-0. (Collects Alpha Flight (vol. 3) #1-6)
- Scott, Lobdell (2005). Alpha Flight – Volume 2: Waxing Poetic. New York: Marvel Comics. 144 pages. ISBN 0-7851-1569-2. (Collects Alpha Flight (vol. 3) #7-12)
- Oeming, Michael Avon; Kolins, Scott (2007). Omega Flight: Alpha to Omega. New York: Marvel Publishing. 128 pages. ISBN 0-7851-2441-1. (Collects Omega Flight #1-5)
- Koslowski, Rich; Di Vito, Andrea (2008). Weapon Omega. New York: Marvel Diamond distributor. 128 pages. ISBN 0-7851-3415-8. (Collects material from Marvel Comics Presents (vol. 2) #1-12)
Alpha Flight Volume 4
- Pak, Greg; Van Lente, Fred (2012). Alpha Flight by Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente Volume 1. New York: Marvel Turnaround distributor. 120 pages. ISBN 0-7851-6282-8. (Collects Alpha Flight (vol. 4) #0.1, 1-4)
- "FAQ". Byrne Robotics. Archived from the original on 2013-01-26. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
- Power, Paul (October 1986). "Dave Darrigo & Dave Ross (part 1)". Comics Interview (39). Fictioneer Books. pp. 20–27.
- Beek's Books — Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Superheroes, Rzero.com, retrieved March 21, 2009
- Furey, Emmett (July 17, 2007). "Homosexuality in Comics — Part II". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- Colón, Suzan (November 18, 2008), "Don't Mask, Do Tell", The Advocate (1019), p. 18, archived from the original on October 25, 2008, retrieved November 30, 2008
- "Op-Ed: The Comics Break New Ground, Again". The New York Times. January 24, 1992. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- Kelly, Mark R. (2002), 2002 Gaylactic Spectrum Awards, Locus Publications, archived from the original on 2006-11-15, retrieved 2008-11-13
- Masaki, Lyle (November 15, 2007). "The Seven Biggest Gay Moments in Marvel Comics History". AfterElton.com. Archived from the original on August 14, 2009. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
- "Comic Store Policy No Laughing Matter". Page 10. New York Magazine. February 10, 1992. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
- Jason Brice. "TAG TEAM REVIEW: Alpha Flight #1 Review – Line of Fire Reviews – Comics Bulletin". Web.archive.org. Archived from the original on July 2, 2011. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
- "Marvel's Next Big Thing: Alpha Flight". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
- "Return to the Great White North With 'Alpha Flight'". June 19, 2019. Retrieved September 7, 2019.