Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z Update #5
Feb 2011 (see note)
Note: no month nor year of publication is indicated, with the exception of a copyright date of 2010. The issue was released on 12/15/10. Other issues released on that date carry a publication date of Feb 2011.
The final issue of this five-issue series completes the update to the massive fourteen-issue A-Z Hardcover series from 2008-2010, filling in gaps and adding entries that didn’t make it in the first time. The issues run alphabetically within themselves but not across the series, so the writers may intersperse entries as they like without disrupting the order of entries. Scramble has a 1pg entry, and Box (Bochs) can be seen partially in the entry as well.
Though Scramble was never a member of Alpha Flight, his close association with the team and relation to Madison Jeffries makes him eligible for the Alpha Flight Collector blog. In any case, Box (Bochs) appears in this issue, so the issue would have been included anyway.
The 1pg entry is a particularly interesting event in that it’s one of just a few new entries in this series. Scramble had never before had an entry of any kind in any other OHOTMU book of any kind, so this is a real treat. The entry itself is a full account of Lionel Jeffries’ appearances throughout Mantlo’s run and contains some interesting new information – the names of the three Derangers not already identified have been given! Since Bill Mantlo is unavailable to consult in this situation, the names were made up by the entry’s author, who posts on alphaflight.net under the name Loki. Here is an excerpt of a much longer thread over there:
AFC: How did you get this info? I thought they were a Mantlo creation… and he’s unavailable for this kind of thing.
Loki: They are Mantlo creations, and yes, he is unavailable. We always prefer to go back to the original creators, but, in cases where that’s not an option, editorial can approve new information.
AFC: So you just made them up and editorial approved it? I don’t see where you go the names from or what compelled you to generate names in this situation.
Loki: Where creators are contactable, we try to always go to them to see if they’d like to fill in any missing details, or if they are okay with us doing so, or if they’d prefer to leave the details unrevealed for now. When that’s not an option, then the decision whether to provide names gets influenced by various factors, one of the biggest being whether there’s anyone else using the same codename – when two or more share a codename, having a real name for clarification purposes is helpful. There’s at least two other Breakdowns, and no less than five other Januses. And since that prompted the decision to name those two Derangers, we decided to identify Freakout too – while no one else shares that exact codename as of yet, it’s not such an unusual name that it’s unlikely to happen in the future.
Where we got the names? That varies depending on who names them. In this case, I did, and I like to have a reason for the names I assign, rather than just randomly picking something that might not fit. I don’t normally explain those reasons, but since you asked: Janus is a disturbed artist, and his name is derived from an artist with mental issues (AFC: Willem Vincent is given) ; housewife Breakdown’s first name comes from a well-known fictional housewife and her surname from that housewife’s fictional husband (AFC: Esme Fernando); Heavy Metal rocker Freakout’s three part name is inspired by real world heavy metal rocker(s) (AFC: Arthur Amadeus Van Krijg). I’ll leave figuring out the exact inspirations to those who want to try.
This is a fascinating look into some behind-the-scenes action with the OHOTMU writers and much thanks to Loki for divulging this info!
The main illustration is a brand new image of Scramble drawn by Gus Vazquez, who has been busy cranking out new illustrations for the OHOTMU series books for a while now. The upper inset shows Omega, Scramble’s final form in an image taken from Alpha Flight #49, and the lower inset is a modified image of Lionel Jeffries. Note that in the original image, the opening splash page from Alpha Flight #46, Lionel is pondering how to transform Wanda back into Walter and has his thinking finger firmly planted on his mouth. The finger is completely removed from the new illustration! Note also that the figure behind Lionel is Box (Bochs), but only a portion of his chest and right shoulder can be seen.
Though Alpha Flight Collector is thrilled to have the new entry (and a full page one at that!), and is fascinated by the new info about the Derangers, this is not what was expected. This issue closes out the modern run of OHOTMU issues that have been cranking out steadily since 2006 and a few Alpha Flight members and related characters STILL haven’t had an entry, nor an updated one for the modern format! Most notably:
- Feedback, who never had an entry in any OHOTMU.
- Stitch and Groundhog, the final two members of First Flight who strangely did not get entries despite the fact that St. Elmo did.
- Ghost Girl, another notable omission, since all of her v2 teammates Flex, Radius, Murmur and Manbot all got entries.
- Auric never had an entry, though his sister Silver did in the ’89 Update.
- Mar, Ouija and Flinch, minor characters who also never got entries in any issue.
Other non-powered characters such as Gary Cody, relatives of Alpha Flight members, and other associates could make this list even longer.
For those of you keeping track of these sorts of things, the following characters have had entries in previous OHOTMU but not a modern-style entry, with their last entry indicated:
- Box (Bochs) OHOTMU Deluxe Edition #2
- Flashback OHOTMU Deluxe Edition #9
- Pathway (as Laura Dean) OHOTMU ’89 Update #2
- Goblyn OHOTMU ’89 Update #3
- Manikin OHOTMU ’89 Update #4
- Persuasion OHOTMU ’89 Update #5
- Silver OHOTMU ’89 Update #7
So the official count is that Alpha Flight fans are owed eight new entries and seven updated entries. Unfortunately, no new handbooks that would include these are expected in the near term, so the omission of any of these fifteen entries from this issue was rather disappointing. To be fair, it should be mentioned that all fifteen of these missing characters did appear in the montage illustrations for the large Alpha Flight team entry in the first issue of the OHOTMU A-Z Hardcover series.