The Interview: "Iron Man" Writer Matt Fraction
As the monster hit film "Iron Man" comes to DVD this week -- and Marvel and Paramount reach a deal for distributing such films as "Iron Man 2" -- it's a good time to catch up with comic-book writer MATT FRACTION. The 32-year-old writer, who co-founded Artbomb and Savant, teamed with Salvador Larroca this year for "Invincible Iron Man," Marvel's story designed as an entry point for fans who became converts because of the Robert Downey Jr. film. Fraction spoke with Comic Riffs about the challenge of writing the newest Iron Man book in the wake of the movie's success.
DAVID BETANCOURT: "Invincible Iron Man" has been described by Marvel as the perfect jumping-off point for fans of the movie. Before you signed onto the project, did that mean that you had to be in cahoots with everyone at Marvel Studios ... while putting together the storyline?
MATT FRACTION: No. I just ended up being a really lucky guesser. I knew that this was a book they wanted out [in conjunction with] the movie, so the idea -- while never really explicitly stated -- was: I wanted very much to write a book for my dad, who to the best of my knowledge has never read an Iron Man comic, but who I knew was going to see the Iron Man movie. At the same time, I wanted to honor everybody who's read every Iron Man comic.
DB: Tony Stark [aka "Iron Man"] definitely seems to still have time for the playboy aspect of his life.
MF: He's a man of many appetites.
DB: Is Tony's love life going to play a role in stories down the line, or will you just focus on him and his suit?
MF: It's very much a story about him and his suit. Although I would love to write a story about Tony Stark's complicated love life. It's an aspect of his character, that's for sure. [It's like] in the movie, when he goes to bed with the angry reporter from Berkeley; you can imagine that same reporter with a similar line of questioning with Captain America, but you can't imagine Captain America seducing her later. But with Tony, you can, so we should absolutely take advantage of it.
DB: With the box-office success of "Iron Man," this has to be a pretty cool time to be an Iron Man writer?
MF: Oh man, it's nuts! I had this completely insane experience when I went to see the movie. Afterwards, I'm watching the end credits and I'm saying to myself, "God, I wish I was writing Iron Man ... oh wait!...I am writing Iron Man." I swear, I had that run through my head.
DB: So you stayed and watched the end credits for "Iron Man" (which show Nick Fury talking to Tony Stark about the Avengers)?
MF: Yes. There were only about six fans left [for the end credits], so you knew they were the hard-core geeks who knew that something was coming but you didn't know what. And I swear to God [during Fury's cameo], a guy goes "AWWWW YESSSSSSS!" -- positively orgasmic. And his girlfriend was clearly more embarrassed than she knew was possible. It was a fantastic moment.
DB: Can you talk about Ezekiel Stane, the villain in the first issue of "Invincible Iron Man." He comes off as a younger, smarter, evil version of Tony.
MF: I wanted to take a look at what the next generation of Tony Stark would be like, and what would the next generation of Iron Man be like. And not just bigger and better armor, but a completely different philosophical approach to warfare. My interest was in seeing what does Tony do when he's forced to confront Iron Man 2.0.
DB: Whereas when Tony puts on his suit, it seems like Stane has the suit underneath him.
MF: Stane is the suit. The ultimate weakness in the Iron Man armor is that it's external. It is not of him. And it can always be exploited because of that. Tony is never anything more than a pilot. Stane is this armor. There's no line of division between Stane the man and Stane the technology. That is the difference. Stane is evolving his biology to become the Iron Man. Tony might as well be climbing into the cockpit of an F-18. Stane is the F-18.
DB: Will any other Marvel characters be making appearances in "Invincible Iron Man"?
MF: Yes! My God, yes! Starting as soon as issue No. 4.
DB: What is it you're hoping to accomplish with this fresh take on Iron Man?
MF: Iron Man is one of the Marvel Comics that I read when I got into comics. The movie is terrific because it's true to what the character is. So what I'd like to accomplish is to write a book that works the same way the movie works. Celebrates the same thing, with Tony as the kind of character that he is, and gives you the kind of special-effects thrills -- and puts it all together in a fun, cool package.
| October 1, 2008; 11:00 AM ET
Categories: Interviews With Cartoonists
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