After a brief hiatus, (during which I heard a really funny joke: the Canadians won a gold medal, in hockey, no less, yeah right), Monday FUNday returns! Everyone knows this is impossible because the USA won the gold in hockey in 1980 and have kept it ever since, so how could Canada have won it? And besides, duh, do they even play hockey in Canada? So it’s just, ah, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet, can you? Speaking of which, here’s this week’s FUNday issue!
Marvel Year-in-Review ’92
Technically renamed from Marvel 1992 – The Year in Review so that it would rhyme better (not making this up, folks, of course, the next year’s issue was named Marvel Year-in-Review ’93 which doesn’t rhyme at all, so it appears their cunning plan didn’t exactly work out so well), this 48pg magazine-sized comic is one of the most ridiculous books you’ll ever find. Containing fake ads, fake classified ads, fake interviews, fake articles and all around goofiness from cover to cover, this self-described magazine of “Scathing Self-Satire” mocks just about every character and comic of Marvel Comics in 1992 – and Alpha Flight isn’t spared! Northstar appears on a page in a silly response to the revelation that he is gay in Alpha Flight #106.
But we’ll get to that later. In a very long-winded section, “Fakes, Fangs and Fabrications” by Peter Sanderson, an exhaustive look at the previous year’s happenings in Marvel Comicdom includes several insightful reviews of Alpha Flight issues. Here are some Alpha Flight related excerpts:
Alpha Flight renamed the principal members of the team “Core Alpha.” As if these guys could core an apple, let alone an alpha.
Heh, this was in Alpha Flight #104.
With great fanfare Northstar exited the closet in ALPHA FLIGHT #106 – only to discover that everyone had him figured out a hundred issues ago.
Alpha Flight embarked on a World Tour in issue #107, only to lose their luggage somewhere in Symkaria.
Symkaria is the fictitious Balkan neighbor to Latveria and home of Silver Sable, as well as the subject of an ongoing joke in this issue.
ALPHA FLIGHT #108 revealed that the evil Nazi disembodied brain called Brain Drain (can you say that out loud without laughing?) languished in a snowbank for nearly fifty years and yet remained alive. Readers wondering how Brain Drain’s brain obtained oxygen and nutrition over this time may write to Scott Lobdell, c/o Marvel Comics.
Alpha Flight’s junior team, Gamma Flight, was promoted to Beta Flight in #112. That’s nice, but getting a raise and an office window would have been better.
Later, Northstar gets his own page in an article called, “Northstar’s Hair-Raising Revelation” which is essentially a single joke beaten completely to death.
What’s the big deal?
When the famous Olympic athlete, Canadian superhuman and Alpha Flight founding member Jean-Paul Beaubier made an impassioned revelation in the midst of a battle through downtown Toronto last March, for some reason every major news agency in the civilized world leapt upon it like a piranha on a side of beef.
So Northstar is gray …. this is news?
Well, apparently these days it is, along with Vice Presidents misspelling vegetables and epileptics having seizures in response to Mary Hart’s voice. But the media furor over Northstar’s idiotically obvious statement was so overwhelming that at the Canadian super guy’s press conference, many of us journalists were forced to sit almost out of earshot.
Until now, the superhuman community seemed immune to the effects of social peer pressure, at least so far as it related to their hair. Everyone’s known for years that Fantastic Four leader Reed Richards is partially gray, as is his evil-looking twin brother, Nick Fury. Then you’ve got the all-white mutant squad: Magneto, Cable, Quicksilver … heck, a contact deep within Wilson Fisk’s organization implied that the totally bald Kingpin of Crime is really a closet gray who shaves his head to conceal the truth. (‘Course, I don’t recommend asking Willie about that to his face.)
So again … what’s the big deal? Psylocke goes from being a purple-haired Brit to a blue-haired Oriental and no one bats a lash. The Hulk’s sking changes from green to gray to green and the media collectively yawn. But, hey, a second-string super hero like Northstar tells everyone he doesn’t use Grecian Formula and suddenly it’s circus time.
Sean Larkin, noted Toronto-area hair stylist and tonsorial spokesman with the “Silver Grail” salon chain, thinks he has the answer to this puzzling situation. “While the loss of hair color is becoming more and more accepted in our culture, it’s still considered by some to be a major faux pas to mention it in mixed company.” Uh-huh. Right. Let’s ask someone else’s opinion.
“Before the public statement, people just thought he was an arrogant celebrity,” noted Toronto media consultant Mark Asquith. Ah … now we’re getting somewhere. The media hoopla obviously must have been due to the resounding revelation – Northstar is really a courageous arrogant celebrity.
– Steve Saffel
The entire page is on a gray background, of course. Note that the image above is taken from Alpha Flight #106 and is the actual image from the panel where he utters the words, “I am gay!”
Somehow the joke continues in an inset:
Marvel Year-In-Review contacted a few of Northstar’s peers – other muscular guys who wear tights in public – to get their reactions to this raving controversy. Their responses were less than illuminating. In fact, most of them seemed more confused than anything else by the whole thing.
MYIR: Do you feel there is any problem with Northstar’s decision to remain gray in the face of public opinion?
CA: Did you say –
MYIR: Yes, do you feel he should be forced to conform?
CA: Of course not! It is every man or woman’s inalienable right to maintain whatever lifestyle they wish, so long as it does not infringe upon the personal freedom of any other person.
MYIR: So you feel freedom of hair color is guaranteed in the Constitution.
CA: Yes, I – wait, what did you say -?
MYIR: Thank you, Captain.
MYIR: What is your response to the uproar over Northstar’s revelation that he is gray?
USA: Gray! Ohhhh … so that was the problem! Well, that’s just the kind of crud I’d expect from a Canadian, especially a French-Canadian. No real American would be caught dead worrying so much about his hair. If you want to look like a real man, you just use a little chemical enhancement. President Reagan proved that!
MYIR: Uh … right. Thank you.
MYIR: Do you feel Northstar’s gray hair presents any real problems in his line of work?
RR: His what?
MYIR: His gray hair.
MYIR: Gray … hair. Dr. Richards, do you have a hearing problem?
RR: No, no, it’s just that I expected you to say –
MYIR: The question, Dr. Richards, was: does Northstar’s open grayness represent a threat to his standing as a super hero?
RR: Well, of course not. But if he did want to change, with just a few adjustments to his basic genetic structure I could provide him with any color hair he could possibly want, and perhaps even give him the ability to change it at will. It wouldn’t be a problem at all, compared with changing things like his-
MYIR: Thank you, Dr. Richards.
It’s hard to believe an entire page was written based on this one joke. It’s about as insane as writing an entire blog post about it, but that’s what FUNday is all about!