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Contributed by Mike McDermott

Maurice is a “friend” of Northstar, who was seen in a few issues of John Byrne’s Alpha Flight series. He first appeared answering the phone at Jean-Paul’s home, while both men were swimming in the pool. A blonde female friend (later identified as Rhonda) can be seen lounging in the background.

He reappears a few issues later when Jean-Paul’s sister collapses on his doorstep in the middle of the night. Jean-Paul yells for Maurice and Rhonda to bring blankets and hot coffee. Maurice can be seen standing by, watching from the kitchen as Jean-Paul tends to Jeanne-Marie. Jean-Paul asks Rhonda to escort Jeanne-Marie to the guest suite, and apparently there’s no imposition with Aurora using the guest suite, despite Jean-Paul having company who seem to be staying the night.

Although the on-panel content is unclear as to the nature of the relationship between Northstar and Maurice (and Rhonda), over 20 years after the fact John Byrne confirmed on his Byrne Robotics Forum message board that Maurice was intended to be Jean-Paul’s boyfriend. Interestingly, Byrne also revealed that Clementine (a female friend of Northstar’s who is introduced in AF #22) is also Maurice’s girlfriend. It is possible that Byrne misremembered the names and meant that Rhonda was Maurice’s girlfriend (as she was the one who was always shown with Maurice at Northstar’s house), but either way it suggests some interesting things going on in that relationship.

Although Northstar would not get his first official on-panel boyfriend until Kyle Jinadu in 2009, it is interesting to see that Byrne did try to show that Northstar had a love life back when he was not able to address the subject directly. The Rhonda character was likely included in the background as a ‘beard’ to help slip the scenes past the Comics Code and Jim Shooter’s “no gays” policy. Although other Alpha Flight writers did continue to hint at Northstar’s orientation before he officially came out of the closet years later, Maurice was not seen again after Byrne left the book.

Created by John Byrne. Art by Byrne, Bob Wiacek, and Andy Yanchus. Maurice appeared in Alpha Flight vol. 1 #18 and 22 (1985) by John Byrne.

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July 25, 2021
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