It’s pride month & U-Dork is here to feature a sweet comic book cover way back from 1986, Marvel Fanfare #28, featuring Marvel Comics very 1st and BEST openly gay superhero, the one and only Northstar!
Yes! Alpha Flight has been an ALL time favorite of mine since 1983. A cool, cast of characters created by comic legends John Byrne & Chris Claremont, and one of the most diverse, even by today’s standards, superhero teams around. Northstar is a true fan favorite as Marvel’s first openly gay character, who officially made news back in issue #106 when he made his reveal January 14th, 1992. I remember back then it was quite a big deal.
However even though the character was always intended to be gay, more conservative restrictions back in the early 80s on comic books wouldn’t allow it. Instead Byrne had to let readers read between the lines. Northstar is a true LGBTQ legend and honestly I’m quite surprised that Alpha Flight has not made its way onto the big screen. Seriously get with the program MCU!
Not only is Northstar one of the coolest mutants in the MCU he’s also got one of the best most boisterous attitudes around. He’s always been a fun read and never a dull moment when dealing with him. Over the years he has even joined the ranks of the X-Men. However I personally enjoy him much more as a member of Alpha Flight..
This cover of Marvel Fanfare #28 is an excellent representation of him and the team as you can see when viewing the full wrap-around cover. It creates quite a stunning full picture, beautifully illustrated by Ken Steacy.
The character of Northstar is one of my favorites and definitely deserves to be honored this month in particular! Props to Northstar AKA Jean-Paul Beaubier!
It’s been a bit of a “David & Goliath” horror showdown in 2021, two iconic slashers went head to head this Halloween and as far as I’m concerned the little guy has emerged as the clear victor! ‘Chucky’ stomped ‘Halloween Kills’, continuing the horror saga with no need to cancel ANY of it’s sequels, no matter how ridiculous they may have been! Not an easy feat, but Don Mancini has stuck to his guns and once again breathed some fresh air into the fanchise.
Mancini also deserves a lot of credit for clearly how much love he still has for Chucky. He clearly doesn’t need to erase the sequels, keeping everything cannon, something I really respect that oddly works in his favor here with the new Syfy series. He’s built an entire world within his sequels and it becomes even more interesting as some of the most ludicrous plot points of the earlier ones remain intact with this darker toned series that feels much more akin to the original.
‘Halloween Kills’ however is clearly being pushed imo for a different reason, what I believe to be more of an IP “cash grab” reboot thing. ‘The Pineapple Express’ director doesn’t bring much new or interesting to the table for someone who’s erased all of the sequels and replaced them with basically the “Terminator: Dark Fate” of the Halloween franchise. Hey, If you’re going to revise the existing lore, that is beloved by a lot of fans, you better have something bad ass planned for your new time line. ‘Halloween Kills’ personally left me completely underwhelmed & unexcited for whatever comes next. At this point who gives a shit about yet another Halloween timeline?
‘Chucky’ however has introduced us to a whole new cast of (so far) interesting characters, Don Mancini has finally brought us a gay horror protagonist to root for that doesn’t feel forced. ‘Cult of Chucky’ left us with also quite a fresh twist on things, Tuesday night we hit mid season with episode 4, though I’m at the moment starting to slightly feel some padding in the series, I’m hoping that the final 4 episodes will increase the mayhem as they introduce Tiffany and whoever else mysteriously pops in for the story.
Looking at the end of the last Chucky film there’s a lot of interesting directions this current story could now go in. I really hope they take some chances here like they were doing in the last Chucky film rather than trying to just stick to the original basic slasher formula. ‘Chucky’ now has the chance to go completely bonkers and throw the fans a bloody curve ball they’ll never forget. If they continue to incorporate some wild voodoo rituals, human possessions, multiple Chucky’s and one mean mysterious motive for the mayhem, the first season will be off to a sweet start. As it stands Chucky has cut Michael down to size with the authenticity of the original creator at it’s helm who’s clearly hungry to tell a new fresh story. Let’s see if he can deliver a home run in the last four episodes or if it’s flame fizzles into the realm of the tired reboots and bland cash grab “sequels”. Fingers crossed!
True Believers, it’s never been a more perfect time for the ‘Great Lakes Avengers’ to make their grand entrance into the MCU! Ok, I know many of you casual Marvel movie fanatics out there are likely wondering just who and what the hell I’m talking about, but the “GLA” as they’re also referred to have been around since the late 80’s and have on a couple occasions attempted to actually replace The Avengers, most notably when they tragically disassembled in 2004 in the comics. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin based team are most well known as the ultimate gang of blundering misfit superheroes and when the Avengers disbanded they figured they’d simply take the mantle of the team for themselves to reap all the glory for themselves. Of course they quickly found out they weren’t quite qualified when it came down to taking out major threats to the planet. So why introduce these guys now into the MCU huh?
Well at the current moment in the movies The Avengers aren’t really a thing anymore, at least for the moment. With Cap old & retired and Tony Stark dead, it’d be the perfect time to check out the origin story and rise of ‘The Great Lakes Avengers’. In fact with the ‘Disney+’ streaming service there’s the platform needed to tell their ridiculously madcap story. Since 1989 when writer/artist John Byrne introduced the underdog team to the Marvel Universe (West Coast Avengers #46), I’ve been a big fan. In fact I listed them before as one of the obscure Marvel teams I thought would make a great movie or better yet today a comedic Disney+ series after the success of the D-listers The Guardians of the Galaxy. To me the team has so much more potential than GOG, with their origin story alone being a helluva good adventure, if even at times more of a dark comedy.
The name of the team alone would spark immediate interest and originally back in the comic books they’d even been coached by Hawkeye and Mockingbird who desperately tried to whip them into shape. You could even have Jeremy Renner make a cameo in an episode as Hawkeye to do just that. Considering the team’s ranks were filled from a classified ad in the newspaper would open the door to so many great comedic scenarios as well.
Then there’s the team themselves, which consists of Mr. Immortal, a mutant with a super-superhuman healing factor and the ability to survive the most gruesome deaths, Bertha who’s the most popular fashion icon in Milwaukee WI who has the ability to bulk up like the Blob, Dinah-soar the flying female reptilian, Doorman a mutant who can create doorways using alternate universes to pass through solid objects and finally Flatman, the team’s current leader & openly gay two dimensional version of Reed Richards. But wait the team was also home to the now iconic Squirrel Girl and this would be the perfect place for her to make her official MCU debut!
This team and their story would make for the perfect superhero series, there’s so many interesting angles to explore. From forming the team, to training to be the new “Avengers”, to their many failed missions and their attempt to square off against a real superhuman threat. There’s something truly charming about exploring an underdog group of down on their luck superhuman characters. The comedy practically writes itself and they’d be a surefire win in a series of their own as there’s nothing quite like them out there yet. So what do you think? Do you think now’s the time for this weird-o gang of midwest superheroes to enter into the fold?! If I’ve peaked your interest a good launch point of the team is the six issue mini series from Dan Slott from 2005 called “GLA: Misassembled”, I think that would be a perfect blueprint for a Disney+ series….
So one reason it’s fun to be a blogger is because there’s always that slight chance something you write about could ignite a spark on a certain topic, and one thing I’ve been hoping forever is that we’ll some day get an ‘Alpha Flight’ movie! Some of you all might be asking who the hell is Alpha Flight? Well let me just start off by saying they at one time had much more notoriety in the Marvel Universe than The Guardians of the Galaxy! So as far as Marvel movies go anything is possible, I mean I never thought we’d get TWO damn Ant-man movies either! For those who may not know, Alpha Flight is a Canada’s answer to the X-men & The Avengers, who made their first appearance 40 years ago in X-men #120.
Wolverine was originally set to be the team’s leader, which led to them having a heavy presence in the X-universe & throughout the years they’ve had their own Marvel comic book series several times throughout the last 4 decades with varying degrees of success. Well I think now’s the time to tell the team’s story on the big screen & I’m certain if they did it right it’d be next the big thing in the MCU, not convinced? Well here are 6 reasons why Marvel’s gotta jump on the chance sooner than later!!
1. Diversity of the Team
Ok so it’s clear that diversity in comic book movies is a topic that’s endlessly being discussed today. It just so happens that they have always been one of the most naturally diverse in the Marvel Universe. From iconic native characters like Shaman and his daughter Talisman, to Eugene ‘Puck’ Judd being a ‘little’ person, to Marrina being a bizarre race of fish creature and Northstar being a gay man, the team undeniably has a lot of interesting characters within it’s ranks. Half have been made up of women and Heather Hudson also known as ‘Vindicator’ stepped in as the team’s leader for over half of the teams comic book existence. They’d easily translate to the big screen in a unique way and I think they’ve got a lot to offer in a way audiences haven’t seen before on the big screen!
2. First Gay Superhero
This leads me to my second point as recently I’ve seen that Marvel was looking to introduce the first openly gay superhero. Well good thing for Alpha Flight, they had the very first mainstream gay superhero, Jean-Paul Beaubier aka ‘Northstar’. Though it wasn’t openly stated in the team’s first series from 1983 it was clear to see the angle of the character presented there. Nearly ten years later in 1992 Northstar officially came out as gay to the public making mainstream headlines and then in 2012 again when the first gay superhero wedding took place prominently in ‘Astonishing X-men’ #51. His husband being Kyle Jinadu, a black man, was also notable in featuring a natural diversity within the now iconic superhero storyline.
The character has broken down barriers time and time again in comic book history and if any gay superhero makes it to the silver screen it surely should be Northstar. With all of his sexual identity to the side, the character has always been an interesting one, with one of the biggest attitudes in Marvel comics ranks he’s also got a twin sister “Aurora” whom he’s incredibly protective of. Their relationship has gone through a lot of intriguing states of turmoil as well, especially when it comes to her choices of people she chooses to date. Northstar in general is just a super badass character, possessing the ability to travel at superhuman speeds, fly, and project photon energy blasts. His twin sister, Aurora also possesses similar abilities. He automatically makes the team that much more interesting without even trying. Continue reading
I’ve been seeing an increase of stories recently online & on social media about Marvel Comics and it’s continuing sales slump. Most of the articles bring up the hot topic of diversity, some say that Marvel’s record low sales of their comics books are simply because of rising cover prices & lack of fresh new ideas for their characters. Others say that it’s directly due to it’s attempt at diversifying it’s star characters by changing their race, gender & sexual orientation. Most of their popular character’s titles have had a bit of a revamp lately, for instance Wolverine is now female, so is Thor, so is Iron Man, Cap is black, the Hulk is now Korean-American etc. etc. You get the point. Could these changes really be the reason why sales are down? Do people just simply hate diversity in the Marvel Comics titles?
I really doubt that it’s really that simple, though rising cover prices and lack of fresh ideas definitely doesn’t help their low sales. What I see personally happening is a bit of a trend within Marvel Comics that feels a bit insincere. I honestly don’t really mind that the traditional characters have been replaced but I do feel Marvel’s move to make all these changes to their most popular titles feels as if they’ve been exploiting diversity to make a quick buck. What I’m saying is that it feels like Marvel is just trying way too hard to be current on these topics rather than crafting interesting stories. I don’t believe you can simply take all of your money maker superhero titles, simply change their identities and expect them all to suddenly bring you boatloads of cash because you finally decided to make them more diverse. It’s just not that simple folks. Continue reading
The Benefits of Gusbandry dropped it’s second episode yesterday online and the plot begins to thicken quite a bit! I really enjoyed the first episode which I was lucky enough to catch at the Portland Film Festival in September and I’ve been waiting for the second to really kickstart the whole “gusband” thing into gear. A “gusband” fyi is a gay husband but you won’t find much in the way of romance in the second episode, at least involving the main character Jackie. It’s no secret that she’s clearly crushed out on the wrong dude.
Just when she thinks she’s finally found her Mr. Right we get to watch it all awkwardly come tumbling down. That’s not say it doesn’t happen without some laughs. Still, I’m already hoping that somewhere in this series Jackie’s “Mr. Right” will eventually pop up, though I fear for her the journey won’t be an easy one! This episode really sets up the premise of the series and by the end of it you’ll be wondering where it’ll go next or should I say just how far it will go. It’s playing out so far a bit like Will & Grace if it would’ve been aired in 2015 on HBO and that’s a damn good thing. I’ve got a feeling things are bound to get pretty wild & crazy along the way. I’m curious to see where the wind blows our two main characters and if for some reason neither of them find the love they’ve always hoped for, well at least they’ve got each other…
if you missed the first episode here it is:
Even better now you can watch the second one right after:
This last Friday I attended the Portland Film Festival late night short film block and saw a ton of great lil’ flicks! One of my favorites of the batch was “The Benefits of Gusbandry” which made it’s premiere that very night. This short film is actually part of a much bigger series that launched today online several places. What you might ask exactly is gusbandry? Short and simple, combine two words “gay + husband” and voila and you got a gusband, but in this unique case it’s much more than that. I don’t wanna give away too much of first episode’s plot, so I’ll leave it at that for the moment.
The first episode though was shot right here in Portland, Oregon, directed and written by fellow Portlander Alicia Rose. She’s been responsible for some of the coolest music videos of the last decade for the likes of Bob Mould, MC Frontalot & The Corin Tucker Band to name a few. This project however will have a longer life of its own as we’ll get eight episodes – one each month and hopefully more to follow in a second season. You’ll not only get an awesome tour of typical Portland life in the series but it seems you’ll get it jam packed with some great offbeat comedy with a heart of gold. Check this cool new debut episode which is sure to teach us a few valuable lessons about getting older and trying to find your “Mr. Right” in a these confusing modern times…
I love those weird ass moments in comic book history that catch you by surprise (especially as a kid) and kinda make you chuckle! Today I wanted to add an odd moment from The Incredible Hulk #294, this was back when the Banner could “control” the Hulk and he dressed like banner and even combed his hair the same way. The most nerdy version of the green goliath off all time for sure. I love it. Well this Banner Hulk didn’t last long soon he would lose total control again only to be banished to a different dimension by Doctor Strange. But I digress, well in this issue they are doing some gamma tests on an injured dog and at first the testing appears to have some nice results. After Banner decides to take a nice hot shower, only problem is he’s been having some intense nightmares lately. The over tired Banner starts having a waking nightmare and well, in mid shower transforms into a very naked but squeaky clean Hulk!! Good thing for well placed shower steam! Right after this happens he squares off against Boomerang, a truly classic story line well worth revisiting and of course wonderfully drawn by perhaps the best Hulk artist of all time Sal Buscema!!
Am I the only one that remembers those Marvel Comics Swimsuit issues?! Yeah, these were as weird as they sounded it was basically Marvel’s version of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues except with all your favorite characters posing for sexy shots! These were put out by Marvel Annually from 1990 to 1995 and often had funny articles and fake advertisements. It was a strange idea but I’m gonna be honest there were quite a few characters I was kinda pumped to see posing 😉 These are definitely worth hunting down, they’re super funny and ultimately amusing. Anyway here’s a some pictures from those very issues as we look back to those Superhero bikini days!! Yeeeeeah!!
What the hell is up with this here? The Punisher met Archie way back in 1994? Yeah it’s true, this one shot 48 page epic featured The Punisher hunting down a drug dealer named “Red” whose hiding in Riverdale! Frank Castle goes undercover at Archie’s school as a Gym class teacher and mistakes Archie for the similarly looking villain. What a feat of comic book genius! Hunt this one down folks because this was long before Archie met KISS or came out in support of gay marriage! I don’t care what people say Archie was always a cutting edge dude! I’d rather see the Punisher team up with Archie rather than Eminem any damn day….