Posts Tagged ‘Kyle’

It’s about TIME

June 5, 2012

TIME Magazine Vol. 179 No. 23
June 11, 2012

Note: The actual publication date precedes the cover date by a week. I do not own a time travel machine to go into the future to purchase magazines.

Published weekly since 1923, TIME (The International Magazine of Events) is the world’s largest circulation weekly news magazine, ranked 10th overall with a current (latest data from 2011) circulation of approximately 3.2 million subscribers, making this one of the most widespread appearances of Alpha Flight, ever. It even outranks the paltry 2 million subscribers for the ESPN The Magazine. TIME ran a blurb today about Northstar and Kyle’s wedding, featuring a cameo appearance of the lucky couple.

If you can put the morbid and depressing cover page behind you, flip to the section titled, “The Culture”, to find a small blurb in the article “Pop Chart” on page 56, along with a thumbnailed reproduction of the now famous proposal splash page by Mike Perkins.

The accompanying text is rather short, and disappointingly diminished from the full article, “X-Man Northstar to Get Marvel-ous Gay Wedding” published on their website a few weeks ago when the engagement was announced. But, since this magazine has a circulation larger than the population of 6 Canadian Provinces and 21 American States, a little blurb goes a long way.

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Coverage of Northstar’s wedding in the New York Daily News

May 23, 2012

New York Daily News Vol.93 -Number 333
Wednesday May 23, 2012

Marvel’s big announcement yesterday on The View that Northstar and his boyfriend Kyle were to be married in a nigh-unprecedented same-sex interracial wedding was picked up by various international news periodicals, the largest of which in New York City is the venerable New York Daily News, which has been continually published since 1919. It’s actually the fourth-largest newspaper by circulation in New York City, but none of the other large New York City papers picked up on the news, including USA Today, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, nor Newsday. The New York Daily News gave nearly a full page of coverage, the most extensive of any of the national or international papers covering this event. Guardian (Mac), Sasquatch, Snowbird, Shaman, Aurora, Puck and Marrina appear in preview art to the cover of Astonishing X-Men #51, and of course Northstar and Kyle appear as well, including images from Astonishing X-Men #50, released on the same day as this issue.

click to enlarge

The article, titled “Gay wedding for ‘X-Men'” is nearly identical to the on-line article published the day before, with a few minor wording changes. The amazing wrap-around cover to Astonishing X-Men #51 by Dustin Weaver and colored by Rachelle Rosenberg is the main illustration modified with an overlaid caption that unfortunately obscures part of Snowbird but otherwise reproduced well in newsprint. Other images in the article are a modified version of the soon-to-be famous proposal splash page by Mike Perkins which has the speech bubble thankfully enlarged, and in the lower left corner, a great image of Northstar snipped from the cover art of Astonshing X-Men #50.

It should be noted that both Reuters and AP picked up the story, so in addition to Ethan Sacks’ story above, dozens and dozens of other newspapers (in more than one language!) published an article, some with an accompanying image, some in color! Here is an abridged list of major newspapers from around the world who I have confirm to have joined The New York Daily News in correctly identifying the newsworthiness of Northstar’s wedding (all in English except where noted) by publishing the story in their print version:

Cape Breton Post, Canada
Cebu Daily, Philippines
Daily Telegraph, UK
Edmonton Journal, Canada
El Universal, Mexico (Spanish)
Hindustan Times (Delhi), India
Hindustan Times (Kolkata), India
Hindustan Times (Mumbai), India
Il Giornale, Italy (Italian)
Journal Pioneer, Canada
Kingston Whig-Standard, Canada
Los Angeles Times
Nanaimo Daily News, Canada
National Post, Canada
Northern Territory News, Australia
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
San Jose Mercury News
South China Morning Post, Hong Kong
The Amherst Daily News, Canada
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The Dominion Post, New Zealand
The News, New Glasgow, Canada
The Press, New Zealand
The Southland Times, New Zealand
The Sun Times, Canada
The Timaru Herald, New Zealand
The Trentonian
Times Colonist, Canada
Toronto Star, Canada
Toronto Sun, Canada
Truro Daily News, Canada
Washington Times Daily
Winnipeg Free Press, Canada
… and more!

Nearly all of these contained at least one image, so globally the number of people who saw this Alpha Flight appearance today was likely in the tens of millions. The circulation for the New York Daily News alone is around 700,000 and is easily eclipsed by the Los Angeles Times (800,000), Daily Telegraph (900,000) and Hindustan Times (1MM+), so I’m fairly certain of this estimation.

Note: Yes, that’s Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli nude on the cover of the New York Daily News today. Sigh. Something about this blog just can’t keep the sexy away…

Northstar gets some action in Nation X #2

January 17, 2010

Nation X #2
Mar 2010

The anthology series Nation X continues in this issue with more “slice of life” stories about what it’s like to live on Utopia Island, the new headquarters for the X-Men. Consisting of 8pp stories by various writers and artists, we get to see a showcase for characters not usually put into the center of the stage, and for creators not usually associated with the X-Men. Northstar is featured in one of the stories and appears as a regular member of the X-Men, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #508. Aurora also briefly appears as Jeanne-Marie in three panels. Not a member of Alpha Flight but a notable new associate, Northstar’s boyfriend Kyle also appears extensively.

In the third of four stores, “LDR” is written and drawn by Tim Fish, who is gay, and whose cartoony style first suggests a parody piece more suitable for a FUNday post. However, he’s just having fun with a gay character while skirting the edge. When Matt Fraction first introduced Kyle in Uncanny X-Men #508, it was the first time Northstar had an actual boyfriend and Tim expanded on that idea, although at the expense of Northstar’s usual demeanor.

The story begins with a brutal but completely unexplained attack by the Warwolves, beasties from the Excalibur title put back into play seemingly randomly. Northstar is quickly taken out while Storm rescues him in a whirlwind, leading to a tongue-lashing from Cyclops. Note already two stark differences in character: Northstar ought to be able to handle the Warwolves, or at least escape handily with his super-speed. Second, there’s no way the Northstar we know would sit there and allow himself to be scolded by Cyclops with “I’m very disappointed” and then apologize immediately “I’m sorry, Scott.”

Preliminary sketch art by Tim Fish

This is Northstar? Remember the scene from Alpha Flight #25 where he’s confronted by the team about his past and we get lines like, “I see no one here whom I acknowledge to have the authority to pass judgement over me.” and “Oh, so it’s truth you’re after, is it? Whose truth, I wonder? Yours? My sister’s?” That’s the arrogant jerk we love, not this simpering bag who offers an apology first crack!

Well, Tim Fish is just trying to set up the premise of the story, the LDR (Long Distance Relationship) problems Jean-Paul is having with Kyle, who is all the way over in Toronto, over two thousand miles away, causing him to be distracted and preoccupied. Then the fun starts: a few silly scenes around Utopia showing Northstar acting about as simple as the cartoon art of this piece. He’s shown handing a wrench to Pixie, who is repairing a burst water pipe and carrying a box of tissues while Warpath is hauling heavy crates around. Written by anyone else besides Tim Fish, these panels would be rather insulting, but here’s where he really shines. He caps it off by having Northstar absentmindedly fly smack into Dazzler, knocking her off her roller skates and onto all fours while he’s daydreaming about Kyle.

Have you seen my pink bra?

Awesome! He later decides to call him and suggests he asks his boss for some vacation time.

Well, his boss is none other than his boyfriend’s sister, Jeanne-Marie Beaubier, the Chief Operating Officer of Team Northstar Extreme Snowsports, who, up in her high-rise office, sends Kyle off gladly. We find out that Kyle’s been a “trusted friend for ages” and a bit of backstory – she hired him as an event manager for Northstar and later, they fell in love. It is unknown if she’s put on her bra since removing it in Dark X-Men: The Beginning #3.

Upon his arrival in San Francisco, Kyle is whisked to Utopia and three panels later is toweling off after what Tim Fish himself calls “implied gay sex”, which isn’t so shocking after similar scenes in Uncanny X-Men #508 with Karma and of course the scene recently in Nation X: X-Factor #1 with Longshot and Dazzler. They then visit around the island while Kyle keeps insisting they leave, as he’s generally unsettled by what’s otherwise an ordinary day on the island.

Prelminary sketch of Kyle

Just then, a Warwolf returns as inexplicably as the story began, and attacks! This time Northstar gets in a solid blow before handing off the battle to Colossus and Psylocke. He then heroically rescues Kyle by whisking him away again. Kyle then almost breaks up with him due to all the excitement that he just can’t handle… but they agree to stay away from Utopia and on the ground for a while.

Tim Fish also included an interesting image of Aurora in an X-Man costume on his blog, but she doesn’t appear in this costume in the story:

Here’s another Aurora sketch:

Preliminary sketch of Aurora

Note the rounded ear, covered up in the published version.

Published version

Note that in both the cover art by Dustin Weaver and Tim Fish’s version of Northstar’s costume, the white starburst on his leg has been replaced by a white belt, which we’ve also seen in Nation X: X-Factor #1.

Northstar joins the X-Men, still a jerk.

December 3, 2009

Uncanny X-Men #508
Jun 2009

This issue of Uncanny continues several plot lines from the previous issue and sets up the main story arc for the next few issues: a confusing mind/body transfer of Psylocke and Kwannon and Betsy Braddock by the Sisterhood. Mister Jeffries appears as a regular member of the X-Men Science team, having joined up in issue #505. Northstar and Aurora also appear, along with Kyle, Northstar’s new boyfriend.

The Science Team gets down to business in this issue, taking an elevator ride down to a lab beneath Greymalkin Industries, the new home of the X-Men in San Francisco. There, they meet up with the geneticist Dr. Kavita Rao, the final member of the team. Once she joins, the international feel to the Science Team really jumps out at you, reminiscent of the All-New, All-Different X-Men line up from Giant Size X-Men #1. Along with Beast and Archangel, we have:

  • Dr. Nemesis from the U.S.
  • Dr. Takiguchi from Japan
  • Dr. Rao from India
  • Mister Jeffries from Canada

I have nothing against Jeffries, but you’d think that if you were looking for a super-smart Canadian scientist to join an international team that Walter Langkowski would be the first choice, not Mister Jeffries. Heck, Reed Richards himself asked Langkowski to help out with Susan’s difficult pregnancy (Fantastic Four #266-8), but for some reason, Jeffries gets the call for the big show this time. Perhaps it’s because he’s a mutant (although neither Takiguchi nor Rao are mutants), or maybe Beast just wants his ability to create machines very fast, or maybe Jeffries is just all-around awesome. You know, he once took out a frakkin’ Tyrannosaurus Rex…, etc.

Once the recruitment drive is over, they get to business on their original mission: to solve the mutant birth crisis. So far, they’ve battled Nazi assassins, blown up sentient Japanese toilets, zapped giant Beach Crabs, oh, and they killed Godzilla too, yeah, not so much mutant birth crisis solving going on there. The team will continue to work on this problem but out of 21 issues where the Science Team appears (at the time of the writing of this post), only 3 have any mention of the mutant birth crisis, including the 2pg spread in this issue.

Greg Land does Mister Jeffries very nicely, and I do like the way he’s traced in this issue and following issues. Unfortunately, Jeffries comes off as a rube, babbling in the elevator and adding only the line, “My brain hurts” to the entire mutant birth crisis discussion. To add insult to injury, his name is misspelled, “Jefferies” in the little intro box.

Northstar returns to the pages of Uncanny in this issue. Having recently been killed (Wolverine v3 #25), resurrected (Wolverine v3 #26) and deprogrammed (X-Men Annual #1 2007), he decides to start “Team Northstar Extreme Snowsports”, the 2009 version of his failed ski career, where he can speed as much as he likes and make a ton of money doing it. He’s shown flying down onto Mt. Shasta in Northern California and performing a ski jump wearing gear and using a snowboard patterned after his classic black and white starburst pattern. We also meet his event planner/unnamed boyfriend for the first time, shown below on the left.

The best of times

Northstar, who is gay, hadn’t been shown in an outright relationship with anyone for the 30 years we’ve known him. This is a significant step forward for Northstar and for gay portrayal in comics, coming a long way from the nasty letters Marvel published after the revelation of Northstar’s sexual orientation in Alpha Flight #106. His unnamed boyfriend’s name would later be revealed in an Official Handbook as Kyle, and this marks his first and only appearance to date.

During a celebration of Northstar’s ski jump victory at a mountain chalet, Aurora shows up. She had not been seen since Secret Invasion: X-Men #2, when she and Northstar helped the X-Men in San Francisco against the Skrull invaders. She’s the COO of the new family business, a bit of a stretch, as her only previous work experience is teaching at a private school. She’s wearing a hat and sweater to match the twins’ classic black and white starburst costumes and Greg Land traces her beautifully.

Here, the writing goes downhill very fast. She brings Logan with her, who invites Northstar to join the X-Men. He then offers the most bizarre apology while wearing one of Greg Land’s creepily inappropriate smiles:

I feel a little bit weird about killin’ you that one time

Logan is of course referring to the unfortunate events of Wolverine v3 #25, when he gutted Northstar against a tree, killing him instantly. This strange mea culpa offered here seems to ignore all the finessed interaction between the then mind-controlled Northstar and Logan that followed in issues #27 and #28. These words not only fall dramatically below the bar set by Mark Millar, but simply don’t make any sense. Why would Logan apologize for something he did while mind-controlled at all?

Northstar completely ignores the mentioning of his own death, and responds to his offer to join with:

This isn’t a gay thing, is it, Logan? The idea of being your mutant queer mascot appeals to me not one bit.

Where the heck did this come from? Fraction already established with the reader that Norsthar was gay in earlier panels with a little dirty talk between him and Kyle, so there was no need for this as exposition. He could have been a bit more subtle about it, like he was with Karma and her lover previously in this issue. Some of the X-Men handled Jean-Paul’s sexual orientation poorly, but Wolverine wasn’t one of them, so this retort just makes no sense.

But that’s not the worst of times, even. Northstar comments on how difficult it was to capture Empath after his wild escape in Uncanny #503:

That’s the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever heard, and I used to be part of Alpha Flight.

Terrible. True, Northstar wasn’t the happiest camper while he was on the team, and it’s fine for Fraction to mention this while re-introducing the character to the readers, and fine to make Northstar a bit of a jerk, but this awful insult is simply uncalled for and just poisons the entire issue (and Fraction’s entire run on Uncanny as far as I’m concerned) with vituperative bile.

There are some great things about this issue: seeing Jeffries on the Science Team, the return of Northstar and the beautiful Aurora, the neato snowboard, a boyfriend for JP, even a few veiled compliments for Greg Land. But there are also some low points: Jeffries’ childish behavior in the elevator, inexplicable dialogue between Logan and Jean-Paul and finally, that disrespectful Alpha Flight snub. It reminds me of a famous opening passage:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.

Go direct the other way, Matt Fraction.

Note: this issue has a variant cover

Uncanny X-Men #508 – Wolverine Art Appreciation variant Front cover
Uncanny X-Men #508 – Wolverine Art Appreciation variant Back cover