October 29, 2012 at 9:27 am By:

Over the past several years, writer Matt Fraction has produced a varied body of work, ranging from big company events like Fear Itself, to smaller, character driven books like Immortal Iron Fist.  Let’s not forget he also managed to write fifty-plus issues of Invincible Iron Man and still maintains creator owned projects like Casanova.  Fraction currently reunited with Iron Fist collaborator David Aja on the critically acclaimed Hawkeye series, and is taking over Fantastic Four and FF as part of the Marvel Now event.  Plus, Image announced that he’ll be working on even more upcoming creator owned titles for them in the near future.  With all these irons in the fire, Matt still found time to answer a few questions, and I appreciate it.

Seth Peagler (SP): First off, congratulations on what ended up being a long and successful run on Invincible Iron Man. Have you had a chance to reflect on your tenure?

Matt Fraction (MF): No — the marathon turned into a sprint here at the end and there’s been no time. You work at the shop, you’ve seen how many books with my name on ’em have come out these past couple months… it’s been nuts over here. Add to that being a dad and moving and my summer put about five years on me, I think. Anyway. It’s not real yet. I saw an old email from Salva yesterday saying he was wrapping up whatever issue he was wrapping up and almost started writing for him again.

Fraction by Fox

SP:  As part of the new Marvel Now campaign, it was announced that you’ll be working with Mike Allred on FF. Knowing that you’re a big Allred fan, how much fun has it been writing stories for him? Were there specific kinds of stories that you’d previously dreamed up if you ever had the chance to work with him?

MF: It’s been a joy so far. Getting to know the guy as a guy, and not just as a fan, has kind of colored my approach. The real gift of the FF book is all the kids and Mike, who, if you can believe it, isn’t just a dad but a grand-dad now, is going to thrive there. Wait until you see how he handles them in the first issue alone. It’s something like 13 characters and he nails them all, right out of the gate.

SP:  A big part of your plans for Fantastic Four seems to be to bring back some of the energy from the classic Stan Lee/Jack Kirby stories.  The other thing that stood out to me is that you’re going to focus on single issue stories. It’s going to be refreshing to see that on a big title like this one.  I’m curious what led you to that decision?

MF: Once we get out of our opening suite, yeah, it’s sorta-kinda self-contained, done-in-one, adventure pops. There’s a big arc it’s all following, and a master roadmap we’re on — all my books are like that, I don’t know why I feel compelled to say it — but I want the book to be an open adventure, an open ride, the kind of thing folks can jump on whenever and not feel like they’re stuck with part 7 of 15 or whatever. What led me to the decision is the last five years of sorta-kinda doing the opposite, I guess. I think with the economy, the market, and the price and format books have these days that the era of three-panel pages and languid pacing as a rule are over, for the time being. At least for me they are, because, if nothing else, I’m bored with it. So it’s more of a challenge this way, for me, which keeps me from getting bored, which is good.

SP:  As a lifelong Hawkeye fan, I have to commend you on the title’s great new start. You and artist David Aja told a very grounded story about the normal guy outside of his life in the Avengers. Knowing the character’s publishing history, how important was it for you to focus on Hawkeye’s humanity, as opposed to his life as an Avenger?  Can we expect you and Aja to be working on the title for a while?

MF: Honestly? And I mean no disrespect here, I’m a Hawkeye fan too — but we’ve got, like, fifty some issues of failed solo-superhero Hawkeye comics in our past and, like, as they guy who most recently tanked The Defenders, I just thought, on some level… well, what ELSE can we do? And doing that kind of solo hero book didn’t interest me anyway; I really plugged into the book when I thought about Clint off the clock. It wasn’t something I had seen before, it wasn’t something I had written before. And what’s the worst that happens? We get cancelled and I get a trade I’m proud of the rest of my life. I’ll take the shot.

SP:  In the midst of writing all these super hero titles, you still manage to find time to write Casanova. As a busy writer, husband and father, I’m curious about how you find time for everything? Do you have specific things you know you’re going to work on every day, or do you try to be as spontaneous as you can with your schedule?

MF: It’s my job, y’know? You put your hours in every day and some days are harder and longer than others but if you do it day in and day out the pages pile up. It has to be like flood water — it’ll find its level. If i have X pages and Y hours today to do it, and the difference is between getting paid and not getting paid, you find the way to fit X into Y. You know? Not to sound so mercenary about it but it’s a periodical medium — the trains leave the station every 28 days. You can be on ’em waving or you can be the conductor. When I’m ahead of stuff I kind of go wherever feels right at the time; when I’m right down to deadline, I put out fires in order of priority — Bags and Salva are fast. Salva and I have done bi-weekly for the last, what, year? Bá might be more like 6 weeks, 8 if a Casanova is particularly complicated. On Defenders I was at one point writing for four artists. On Thor, too. It all becomes like algebraic jenga.

Anyway it’s better to be ahead. That way I can just write whatever feels right.

Thanks again to Matt for his time.  You can check out his work on Hawkeye, Casanova, Marvel’s upcoming Fantastic Four and FF, and the upcoming Image books Sex Criminals and Satellite Sam.


Filed Under: DISCUSS, Interviews

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