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Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

Old 08-16-16, 12:11 AM
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Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

I've been collecting Marvel omnibus collections, but I'm limiting the collection to silver age and key runs up to the mid-80s. I'm not sure about Alpha Flight, though, and I'm looking for recommendations. I've not read any AF, but I have enjoyed Byrne's FF and She-Hulk. Would you guys say AF fits the criteria of a key run from the 80s? Other 80s omnibus collections I have are Simonson Thor, Byrne FF, Stern ASM, Miller DD & Electra, Michelinie Iron Man, and Claremont/Byrne UXM (guess that is mostly 70s though). Here's the issues collected in the AF omnibus:

X-MEN (1963) 109, 120-121, 139-140; INCREDIBLE HULK ANNUAL 8; MACHINE MAN (1978) 18; MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE (1974) 83-84; INCREDIBLE HULK (1968) 272, 313; ALPHA FLIGHT (1983) 1-29; X-MEN AND ALPHA FLIGHT (1985) 1-2; X-MEN/ALPHA FLIGHT (1998) 1-2; MATERIAL FROM MARVEL TEAM-UP ANNUAL 7

The omnibus contains 1248 pages and is up for preorder at DCBS for $50. Any advice is appreciated, but please no spoilers Thanks!
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Old 08-16-16, 12:41 AM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

I'm in the same boat, not really having read much Alpha Flight but being a big fan of Byrne's FF and X-Men. I actually bought the recent Byrne Universe Omni thinking it might have some AF in it, but no. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get AF, though, if only to see funky characters in Byrne's great art.

I have a lot of the same ones you do: Simonson Thor, Byrne FF, Miller DD and DD supplement, Claremont-Byrne X-Men (not all the Omni yet, but TPB).
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Old 08-16-16, 01:53 AM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

This is just one stranger's opinion but Byrne's Alpha Flight seemed like second-rate material at the time. I don't think it's anywhere in the same league as his X-Men or Fantastic Four work. It always felt so detached from the greater Marvel Universe since the group consisted of obscure characters. It was my impression that Marvel let Byrne do anything he wanted with those characters, unlike his more well-known runs on other books.

I say this as someone that loves much of Byrne's work. I would have spiced up the Alpha Flight line-up with at least one or two X-Men. They should have put Wolverine in charge of the team at the beginning.
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Old 08-16-16, 07:38 AM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

Bynre's Alpha Flight was a good comic and I wouldn't call it second-rate material. Second-rate characters, sure, but the material is quality through and through. Byrne will get you emotionally connected to the characters, most of them anyway, and you'll find yourself feeling for them before the book is over. It might not be the best work he ever did but it's still good and it's Byrne through and through. If you're a fan of his work, I say go for it.
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Old 08-16-16, 08:07 PM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
This is just one stranger's opinion but Byrne's Alpha Flight seemed like second-rate material at the time. I don't think it's anywhere in the same league as his X-Men or Fantastic Four work. It always felt so detached from the greater Marvel Universe since the group consisted of obscure characters. It was my impression that Marvel let Byrne do anything he wanted with those characters, unlike his more well-known runs on other books.

I say this as someone that loves much of Byrne's work. I would have spiced up the Alpha Flight line-up with at least one or two X-Men. They should have put Wolverine in charge of the team at the beginning.
Ugh no, we don't need every team to have Wolverine (and/or Spider-man). I might be the minority here but even as a kid I liked books that focused on the non major superheroes precisely because anything could happen. As such, I was a huge fan of Byrne's Alpha Flight, and it really felt like anything could happen. I mean all of them, Box, the twins, Puck, Guardian, Marina, Shaman, Snowbird, they were all screwed up in various ways, and at times it felt like the team was just going to break up. It was because of his run that I kept up with AF far longer than the title deserved (though I still love Madison Jeffrey as box and the Purple Girl era).

I'm not sure how his run holds up today, but if you're a Byrne fan (of his work in that era), I think you'll probably enjoy it, especially if you don't know what happens. I don't think it's as Classic a run as Simonson Thor, Miller DD, Claremont/Byrne Uncanny or Byrne FF, but that's rarified air. I will admit, though, I bought the first few volumes of the Classics TPB maybe a decade or so ago and never got around to reading it. But that's also true of my Michelinie Iron Man.

Shoot now I'm tempted by this omnibus I didn't even know existed. And I've been so good lately about avoiding buying more omniboo.

Last edited by fujishig; 08-16-16 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 08-16-16, 08:49 PM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

Alpha Flight was always one of those books that I imagined I'd like if I ever gave it a full chance. I remember buying the first issue as it came out, but can't remember if I read it. It was one of the free #1s on Comixology, so maybe I'll give it a read and see what I think. I probably own most of their earlier appearance there too.
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Old 08-17-16, 01:36 AM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

It was a decent run as far as 80's stuff goes. What ever happened to John Byrne though? Did he drop out of the comics field entirely. I haven't heard of him doing any projects in years.
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Old 08-17-16, 01:49 AM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

Originally Posted by movieguru View Post
It was a decent run as far as 80's stuff goes. What ever happened to John Byrne though? Did he drop out of the comics field entirely. I haven't heard of him doing any projects in years.
I think IDE picked up his creator owned series like Next Men, but it's been a long time since he's done anything for Marvel or DC. I just remember seeing his art on his Wonder Woman run, where the characters were gaunt, and thinking that he either really went downhill or that he really needed an inker other than himself (like Terry Austin) to do his stuff. Maybe it's that they save all their stuff for creator owned things, or maybe time has just passed them by in terms of superheroes, but there's been very little output from guys like Claremont, Byrne, and Miller that I've really enjoyed within the past decade or two.

When he did Alpha Flight, I seem to remember he was pulling double duty with FF, so the guy was super prolific.
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Old 08-17-16, 07:53 AM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

I think most creators outgrow superheroes long before fans do.
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Old 08-17-16, 09:57 AM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

Byrne still does stuff for IDW. He does a lot of Star Trek, as well as some creator owned series. He has stated many times over that he won't work for Marvel or DC ever again. I don't recall why he stopped working for DC (he was still doing work for them as recently as 2006 I believe), but I know he had a big time falling out with Joe Quesada at Marvel.

I'm pretty sure he still loves superheroes in theory, but dislikes where the industry has gone. He has very specific ideas about how the big-two should handle their characters and needless to say, it doesn't really jibe with what's out there today. Without going into too many specifics, his basic feeling is that comics were ruined when publishers started catering towards the long-time adult collectors and the direct sales market.
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Old 08-17-16, 10:44 AM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

Byrne has done some terrific "Star trek" stories based on the original series , -he really has a feel for it. His more recent efforts were "Photo-Novels", manipulating photos to tell original stories, rather than drawing them.
While it was more of a "B" series to me in its day, "Alpha Flight" will probably read pretty strongly in retrospect, if you're a fan of a certain age.

Last edited by DWilson; 08-17-16 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 08-17-16, 11:59 AM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

He's probably right about that, though I don't think comics would have survived without the direct market.
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Old 08-17-16, 12:03 PM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
Alpha Flight was always one of those books that I imagined I'd like if I ever gave it a full chance. I remember buying the first issue as it came out, but can't remember if I read it.
I bought the first 10 issues and pretty much quit after that. The art was good but the stories were average at best.
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Old 08-17-16, 12:22 PM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
He's probably right about that, though I don't think comics would have survived without the direct market.
Maybe, maybe not. I think his point is more that once the comic industry turned its focus to the direct market, and thus abandoned other forms of distribution, that they turned what was once a mass market product into a niche product. He's of the opinion that comic books should be accessible to everyone, whether that refers to the physical availability of the books themselves, or the content within.
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Old 08-17-16, 12:41 PM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

The only Alpha Flight comics I've ever owned or read are the early ones that guest-starred Wolverine. Probably jot the best way to judge the series.

But I remember looking at Alpha Flight back in the 80s and wondering why this thing was even being published. Double ditto Power Pack...
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Old 08-17-16, 12:44 PM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

One other Byrne tidbit: he claims that he never had any interest in doing an Alpha Flight series and that the only reason he agreed to do it was because Marvel was going to do it with or without him and he didn't want anyone else to do the book.
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Old 08-17-16, 01:40 PM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

Originally Posted by rocket1312 View Post
Maybe, maybe not. I think his point is more that once the comic industry turned its focus to the direct market, and thus abandoned other forms of distribution, that they turned what was once a mass market product into a niche product. He's of the opinion that comic books should be accessible to everyone, whether that refers to the physical availability of the books themselves, or the content within.
The price of comics should be included with this argument. They went after the collectors and abandoned the kids and teenagers on a budget. Comics today are ridiculously over priced and if you compare 70's or even 80's prices to the cost of inflation it looks even worse.
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Old 08-17-16, 02:55 PM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

The comic book companies had a sweetheart deal for those racks, but that came with the same thing magazines go through, which is returnability. Basically if they don't sell that month, the covers get ripped off and they get sent back to the publishers for a refund. Note that comic stores aren't able to do that. I think sooner or later they would have been pulled from newsstands anyway as they would have to re negotiate rack space.

Archie has some kind of grandfathered deal with stores which is why they still have that premium position at checkout.

I actually thought his argument was in writers writing strictly towards the ever narrowing bands of fans, making a lot of comics impenetrable to outsiders, even if prices were lower. We've had this discussion earlier, but several of us give comics to our kids and relatives, which makes it basically free to them, and it still doesn't hold their attention. I'm (foolishly) grooming my daughter to love comics, but even I was shocked when we bought a Steven Universe issue which had half a story (to be continued) and filler on the backside which was basically a preview of another comic. It had 20 pages of Steven Universe, which isn't bad, but it was 3.99 retail and they couldn't even have a complete story when this is based on a show that consists mainly of 10 minute episodes?

I bought a Disney Princess issue from a different publisher which was basically a bunch of comic strips, which at least told complete stories, but that also was padded with a preview in the back. Geez.
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Old 08-17-16, 03:17 PM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

Yeah, I don't think you'll ever see Byrne again on a Marvel or DC book. I actually liked Byrne more as an artist than as a writer. I always liked how he drew most characters. Looking back, his Superman is the lasting image I have of the character.
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Old 08-17-16, 04:19 PM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

While Alpha Flight was a team book, very little of the series was team based, at least from I recall reading. Most stories were about the individual characters having solo adventures, although there was a storyline reason for that.

The Alpha Flight team only comes together for 2 crucial stories (you'll figure it out when/if you read them), but I found them to be up there with Byrne's better 80's output.
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Old 08-17-16, 04:31 PM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
I actually thought his argument was in writers writing strictly towards the ever narrowing bands of fans, making a lot of comics impenetrable to outsiders, even if prices were lower.
It's all of the above. Like I said before, it's about accessibility, both in terms of the physical books and in terms of the content.

By the way, I'm not saying I agree or disagree with him either way. I will say though that comic book shops can be fairly intimidating to the uninitiated.
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Old 08-17-16, 05:32 PM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

Originally Posted by rocket1312 View Post
It's all of the above. Like I said before, it's about accessibility, both in terms of the physical books and in terms of the content.

By the way, I'm not saying I agree or disagree with him either way. I will say though that comic book shops can be fairly intimidating to the uninitiated.
Oh they're intimidating to the initiated. I feel uncomfortable going to ones I haven't been before at times.
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Old 08-17-16, 05:58 PM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

Heck, I feel uncomfortable going into my regular shop.
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Old 08-20-16, 02:44 PM
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Re: Recommend Byrne's Alpha Flight Omnibus?

Thanks for all the replies. I decided to go ahead and take a chance on it. I just placed my preorder for it and the DD 1 omni (Kirby cover).
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