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CSBG Archive

The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – Super Quick Alpha Flight Turnaround

Every week, we will be examining comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today, based on a suggestion by reader Scott D., we look at one of the quickest turnarounds you’ll ever see from the introduction of an idea to the abandoning and forsaking of said idea.

Going into Alpha Flight #66, Bill Mantlo’s last issue on the title, Alpha Flight was in disarray. They were trying to split from the government, but the problem was that they didn’t have enough money to support such an endeavor.

One member who could have helped the team gain financial independence was Sasquatch, who was quite wealthy in his human identity of Walter Langkowski. However, he currently was living as a woman in the body of his former teammate Snowbird (seriously, don’t ask) and his estranged wife had him declared legally dead so he could not access his money.

Luckily, in #66, he was able to discover some money in a fit of anger…

That seemed to be Bill Mantlo’s way of setting things up for incoming writer James Hudnall to address the team’s financial problems.

The next issue, though, Hudnall declined the offer.

You see, Alpha Flight had had a few encounters with the villainous Dream Queen, who tormented them with realistic nightmares…

Well, in Hudnall’s first issue, Alpha Flight #67, he wrote off Sasquatch’s financial discovery as one of those nightmares.

So the idea lasted less than a full issue! Quite a quick turnaround!

Alpha Flight #66, by the way, was a very bizarre issue. I addressed it in a old edition of Meta-Messages. Check it out here.

Thanks to Scott for the suggestion! If YOU have a suggestion for a future Abandoned An’ Forsaked, let me know at bcronin@comicbookresources.com


Small correction; it’s Snowbird, not Songbird.

Well, color me confused: I didn’t even know Sasquatch had an ex-wife. Looking at the Marvel wiki, it seems that Veronica was still legally his wife at the time he died, which explains how she was able to access his money. (I don’t know how Canada does it, but in the states, an ex-spouse tends to lose inheritance rights unless she’s specifically named in the will.)

Is it a coincidence that all three times Sasquatch lashes out at his ex-wife, the blow hits/passes through that area of her body?

Small correction; it’s Snowbird, not Songbird.

Oops, thanks for the catch! Corrected it. And I also corrected the “ex-wife” bit. Thanks, Adam. Even though he CALLS her his ex-wife, yeah, they were still legally married.

There’s a passing reference in one of the Byrne issues to Walter Langkowski having a kid with his ex-wife as well. Was that was ever picked up on again? I’ve only read the Byrne issues, so I’m largely ignorant of what happened with Alpha Flight since then.

Wow, that’s some ugly-ass art, especially on the second page of #67. No wonder a buddy of mine called the book “Awful Flight.”

After Byrne, Alpha Flight had a either poor artist or artist that did not fit the book. Mike Mignola drew a number of issues. Unfortunately, his style did not fit the book at all.

I can see why the new writer wanted to abandon Mantlo’s set-up, as Sasquatch just happening to find a gold deposit at the exact moment she’s despairing over her lost wealth is too much of a contrived coincidence, even for a superhero comic.

Hudnall quickly got rid of Purple Girl, changed Walter back to male and go rid of the two members of beta flight…I forgot what their names were. Lots more overturning than what you showed here.

I never liked Hudnall’s Marvel stuff. But then again, I didn’t much care for Mantlo’s Alpha Flight. So I guess it’s a wash for me.

Hudnall quickly got rid of Purple Girl, changed Walter back to male and go rid of the two members of beta flight…I forgot what their names were. Lots more overturning than what you showed here.

This column is not just for things overturned, the event has to be specifically written over as if it never actually happened. Hudnall did not say that Purple Girl didn’t exist or that Sasquatch was never a woman, so those examples do not fit this column. I have been considering a similar column for stuff like that, though.

i have to agree that alpha flight got a little weird when matelos plans were abandoned including sasquash being in snow birds body and losing his estate to his ex wife when if he was declared dead unless she was named in his will she would lose all rights to the estate. plus all the stuff being just nightmares

Wasn’t it about that time that Mantlo had disputes with marvel management ?

Wich led him to enter law school, and write for DC comics.

the artists on mantlo’s Alphas were = Mantlo, Bog’, S.Buscema, Dave Ross, all inked by G. Tallaoc whom some may not like … (his inking always reminded me of his stunt on Unknown soldier)

Portacio came as the inker over dave ross.; and we had , Brigman , Jim Lee ( his firts marvel assignement) and Hugh Haynes, Jim lee was the regular artist and was soon inked by Milgrom, and for 66 and 67 ..hugh haynes does draw .;and tallaoc does the inking… so that may be strange to some.. but reading them , and taking time for the art.. sis something to do

(later on with Hudnal, came calimee)

they arent bad comics.. only comics with no real direction ( we could “feel” the tantrums between mantlo and the editors while reading those stories.. )

Re: Brian Cronin — If you do a column like you mentioned I recommend starting with how Erik Larsen wrote out the cast of an entire volume of Alpha Flight in a flashback panel in Wolverine. Although to be fair, said cast was not… great to begin with (even if I share the hometown of one of them).

Have a good day.
G Morrow


December 5, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Wasn’t it about that time that Mantlo had disputes with marvel management ?

Wich led him to enter law school, and write for DC comics.

The absolute best part of that is that, according to Jim Shooter, Mantlo had actually gotten Marvel to pay for law school as part of their continuing education program, and then upon graduation immediately used the legal knowledge he’d gained to threaten to file a lawsuit against Marvel.

Not sure if he ever went through with it or not, but it was all around the same time as the end of his Alpha Flight run (late 80’s).

Why Mantlo took on AF in the first place is beyond me. I was a big fan of the books he created (Micronauts, ROM) but working with someone else’ creations always spelled of hackwork. AF was a particular challenge because it was a book “off the beaten track” of the Marvel Universe (re: New York City) and was harder to keep afloat by borrowing concepts and creations from other books (although he did his darnedest with Purple Girl, Sentinels attacking et al). The only storyline that he wrote on the book that wasn’t atrocious was the Pestilence storyline. AF was a book that required a lot of universe building and real creation, and Mantlo clearly wasn’t interested in investing that kind of energy and commitment. He didn’t even understand the culture and country where the book was set. Sadly, the book deteriorated even further after he left. Only Byrne has been able to deliver the goods on that book.

Mhind, Byrne had no interest in Alpha Flight, and wanted to write the Hulk, so he asked Mantlo to switch with him. Byrne being the star he was at the time, I’m betting that Mantlo got some help with his decision from upper management. I was a big fan of Byrne at the time, but it was obvious to even my teenage self that Byrne was phoning it in on Alpha Flight. Even 80’s phoned in Byrne was entertaining, but his Hulk issues were great, and it shows what he can do when he cares about the book he’s writing. Mantlo was a very good writer, but I agree, he wasn’t right for Alpha Flight, I do wish they could have found a writer that suited the book, and wanted to write it.

Ugh, poor Alpha Flight. Post-Byrne, it went from one horrible creative team to another. Simon Furman and Pat Broderick actually had a good run toward the end, but by that point it was too late…

Penny Sautereau

February 9, 2014 at 3:59 pm

It always bothered me later when a writer who was openly transphobic about how much WANDA Langkowski creeped him out basically undid one of Comics’ only trans characters with a two panel finger snap hand wave for NO other reason than “Dudes shouldn’t be chicks”. SO many young trans people loved Wanda. She STILL has a fanbase. There was no valid reason to undo it.

@John Trumbull –
I shouldn’t be reading these two years too late to answer, but basically, no. Langkowski’s kid has never been addressed.

There was a long time in Hudnall’s run (I believe) where I’m certain they were setting up a reveal that Wild Child was Walter’s son, but a change in creative team happened before that was finished, and it went in another direction.

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