THE FLIGHT STUFF – Episode 3: Justice For Raymonde

Welcome to The Flight Stuff: a podcast about Canada’s premiere superhero team!

In 1983, comic book writer and artist John Byrne lifted his original team, Alpha Flight, from the pages of Uncanny X-Men and dropped them into their own, eponymous series. Over the course of 11 years, the Canadian super team — Guardian, Sasquatch, Puck, Snowbird, Shaman, Aurora, Northstar, and others along the way — battled foes large and small, with adventures steeped in social commentary and uniquely Canadian issues and themes.

Join comic book enthusiasts Liam, Adrianna and Doug as they make their way through the original series issue by issue, character by character, Byrnism by Byrnism, with occasional detours through Canadian cultural history. So sit back, listen up and get right with the Flight!

 

Doug kicks off Episode Three with some musings on how comic book writing has changed over the years, before the team jumps into it with an extended discussion on Alpha Flight #6: the infamous“Snowblind” (2:38). Adrianna provides some context for the issue’s publication (4:01) before each host gives their general impressions of Byrne’s cover art (13:43) and the issue in general. A few key plot points are discussed before the team arrives at the most controversial aspect of the issue: the five pages of “blank” panels during Snowbird’s snowstorm battle with Kolomaq (23:45). After a lengthy debate about the merit and motivations behind Byrne’s art stunt, the team briefly weighs in on the Shaman backup story (32:34) before moving on to Alpha Flight #7, a very Northstar-centric issue (37:22).

Byrne’s cover art and interiors are discussed, but the majority of the conversation focuses on Northstar’s connection to Raymonde Belmonde and the arguable gay subtext coded into the issue (44:56). Doug and Liam get a lot of mileage out of some “Deadly Earnest” jokes. They also share their mixed feelings about the way indigenous issues are handled as the Snowbird backup story is discussed (55:16), and Adrianna tosses off some trivia about a previous iteration of Snowbird in an old John Byrne comic strip. The team then arrives at issue #8 (59:03), and after sharing some general impressions, Liam has some reservations about the art and the issue’s big plot twist. The team discusses Deadly Earnest’s unique death-defying backstory as well as the character design of Nemesis. Finally, the backup story with Shaman, Snowbird, James and Heather gets a lukewarm reception from all three hosts (1:09:44) despite some typically strong art from Byrne. And that’s a wrap!

If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please drop us a line at flightstuffpodcast@gmail.com.

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Adrianna Gober

Adrianna Gober is a Lehigh Valley-based writer and musician. She loves record collecting, comic books, and all things schlocky, campy and kitsch.
Adrianna Gober