INTERVIEW: Matt Fraction
It’s not every week you get to interview a comics legend.
This week, however, I did.
Matt Fraction; he of The Invincible Iron Man, Casanova and The Immortal Iron Fist, as well as Marvel NOW!’s Fantastic Four and FF, Hawkeye, a series which we named one of the best of 2012, and the forthcoming Satellite Sam and Sex Criminals,
This week marks the release of Hawkeye #7 the royalties for which will go to the Red Cross’ Hurricane Sandy relief effort. In the US, the hurricane affected the entire eastern seaboard, with severe damage in New Jersey and New York. The issue will tell the story of every day heroics.
Matt spoke candidly to GeeksUnleashed about his current and forthcoming work and his very noble gesture.
Geeks Unleashed: At San Diego Comic Con, you announced a new period drama series Satellite Sam under the banner of ‘Sex. Death. Live TV.’ What can you tell us about the forthcoming series?
Matt Fraction: It’s about the death of a children’s television show host and star in the late fifties. His son investigates and discovers a secret world of sex and fetish his father dwelled in but no one ever knew about. And then there’s the box of photographs…
GeeksUnleashed: And what was it like working with Howard Chaykin?
Matt Fraction: It’s great. I’m one of the biggest Howard fans you’ll ever meet, so I’m writing this as, like, the ideal, the ultimate, the best-I-can-write-for-Howard Howard Book. And he’s just destroying it. DESTROYING IT. He loves this stuff even more than I do, and knows it with a near-encyclopaedic specificity.
GeeksUnleashed: When can we expect it to hit the shelves?
Matt Fraction: Summer 2013, I hope.
Geeks Unleashed: Is there other creator-owned material on the horizon?
Matt Fraction: Yes. SEX CRIMINALS and a return to CASANOVA and more, lots more…
GeeksUnleashed: What can you tell us about your series Sex Criminals with Chip Zdarsky?
Matt Fraction: It’s a sex comedy for comics — the kind of thing that’s huge in nearly every other storytelling medium but comics has never really done. It’s about a girl who, by having sex, freezes time for everyone on earth except her. Or so she thinks.
GeeksUnleashed: You’ve worked on some of Marvel’s classic series and characters, from the Fantastic Four to Invincible Iron Man and The Mighty Thor – do you have a favourite?
Matt Fraction: No — each one is wildly different than the last. It’s like crosstraining. Each one exercises a different set of muscles.
GeeksUnleashed: Is it difficult to find new twists for these ‘old characters’?
Matt Fraction: Sometimes. If it’s too difficult I say no. No reason to be the guy that blew it. I’ve turned down way more work than I’ve accepted when I’ve not had anything to say.
GeeksUnleashed: Is there a character you’d jump at the chance of writing? And who’d be your artist of choice?
Matt Fraction: Sure, but I’m not going to tell you who, and there are a lot of amazing people I’ve not been fortunate enough to work with yet. The list would be as long as your arm.
Geeks Unleashed: Hawkeye issue 7 goes on sale next week, royalties for which will go to the Red Cross’ Hurricane Sandy relief efforts (a noble gesture) – what prompted this decision? And how much is the issue a celebration of regular people doing heroic things (in keeping with Hawkeye theme)?
Matt Fraction: I was moved after watching my favorite city in the world get battered by a hurricane, and inspired by the stories of real New Yorkers and New Jersians coming together in the face of an inconceivable disaster. It’s the heart of HAWKEYE anyway; it felt wholly appropriate to reflect some of that real-world goodness in our pages. And donating my incentives seemed like literally the least I could do.
GeeksUnleashed: Hawkeye (or Hawkguy), in my opinion, is Marvel’s best title in a decade. Was it your intention to do something completely different?
Matt Fraction: Yeah, absolutely. Because, I mean — why not? Lots of false starts out there.
GeeksUnleashed: Is the one-shot nature of Hawkeye set to continue?
Matt Fraction: One- and two-shots, yeah.
GeeksUnleashed: Having introduced the likes of King Pin and Madame Mask, is a supervillian story just around the corner?
Matt Fraction: No. I mean — yes, but in a very HAWKEYE sort of way.
GeeksUnleashed: You’ve had a number of impressive artists on Hawkeye already (David Aja, Javier Pulido, Steve Lieber and Jesse Hamm), we hear that Francesco Francavilla joins you on Hawkeye for issues 10 (is that a bullseye on the cover by the way?) and 12. What can we expect from the Eisner Award winner? Does his noir-ish style look good in purple?
Matt Fraction: It’s not a bullseye. And… and you can expect things to get very bad for Clint Barton very quickly.
GeeksUnleashed: Did the thought of a potential spin-off movie from the Avengers influence your creative process?
Matt Fraction: No, god no. I didn’t know anything about the movie anybody else knew before opening night. If I did, or if it had, he’d, y’know, look like he does in the movie, everybody’d call him HAWKEYE, all that stuff. I just wanted to tell good stories with a character I liked that was clean and accessible all the time that I hadn’t seen before but wanted to read.
GeeksUnleashed: What are your plans for Kate Bishop?
Matt Fraction: Gillen’s killing her off in YOUNG AVENGERS #2 so I’m just gonna watch her push the little daisies I guess. RIP KATE.
GeeksUnleashed: Congratulations, Hawkeye made it into our Top 20 Comics of 2012 (No.3 behind Saga and Batman) – what did you read last year that blew your mind?
Matt Fraction: Hey, thanks. That’s really kind of you. Everything Benjamin Marra’s ever done.
GeeksUnleashed: The UK has a developing comic-con scene – any plans to visit? We’d love to have you!
Matt Fraction: We’re working on it — hopefully later this year.
Many thanks to Matt. And be sure to check out Hawkeye #7 this week.