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"Nobody Does Event Comics Better Than Us": Matt Fraction Talks Fear Itself

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Matt Fraction knows a little about Fear Itself. Actually, Matt knows all about the highly secretive Marvel mega crossover, as the storyline has been bouncing around in his cranium for years now. Fraction has been on the cutting edge of comic book creators for a while now, recently he even crossed over into the world of video game writing with Iron Man 2 and the new Thor game. Join us at Broken Frontier as Matt Fraction talks about Fear Itself, writing out the roadmaps of the future of the Marvel Universe and crossing over into video games.

BROKEN FRONTIER: So, how did the idea for Fear Itself first come about?

MATT FRACTION: Tom Greenwood approached Ed Brubaker and myself about doing a Cap and Thor miniseries, because we've got the movies in May and July. So he said “maybe you guys could work together again and tell a fun story”. So it started very innocently, and snowballed very rapidly into this big crazy thing.

BF: How would you compare working on a big event like Fear Itself to working on a regular ongoing series?

FRACTION: I've been working on Fear Itself for over a year. This has been the most work I've ever done on anything. Especially when its as big as it is. You'll understand a little better when it comes out you'll see the reality of the scale of it is, but it has absorbed my life for the last year. The first issue was read and re-read by more people internally at Marvel than anything you can possibly imagine. It was workshop to workshop. There was a retreat that was just me. It's just a ton of work to get the whole picture down, to get the macro and then the micro.

BF: Is it mainly continuity issues or something else?

FRACTION: It's more an issue of scale and making sure the beats were true and it all kinda worked and was satisfying. It's been almost two years creatively since we did one of these and I think, quite frankly, that no one does it better than us, this is where we dominate. We've got a deep bench of the best creators in comics. So we wanted to create a capital E event; a capital E epic that would be capital S satisfying.

BF: You don't want the readers to read it and say “nothing happened in this big event”.

FRACTION: Exactly. I guarantee you you won't think that about Fear Itself. Much like Civil War, when it's done you'll be able to look at each issue and put a pin in some shock, some twist, some revelation, it's a doozy of a story. There's some huge stuff that pops in every single issue.

BF:So, there's going to be lasting changes to the Marvel Universe because of Fear Itself?

FRACTION: Yes. Yes. Sincere and profound changes. We have a roadmap, a gameplan, creatively that's what we do. Much like the way we had a plan coming out of Civil War, we have a plan for the aftermath of Fear Itself. Our readers and our fans have said again and again “we want the stories that matter, we want events that matter”. Well bro, sit down and buckle up: this matters. This is the Marvel mothership right now. This sets the tone, timbre and tempo of where we are going for the next year, two, or three to come.

BF: Like how Civil War led into Secret Invasion and Dark Reign?

FRACTION: Yeah, there's a massive roadmap that we're starting to work towards. I can't wait for it to get out into the world and for it to stop only existing in my head.

BF: Fear Itself is filled with Gods and Cosmic Powers. Does this event further the notion that comics are the new mythology?

FRACTION: Sure, no doubt. That's very much tonally what Fear Itself is about. The Iron Man tie-in is: What happens when the ultimate man of science, the ultimate atheist and empiricist has to face a miracle? That's very much in my thinking these days, especially doing Thor stuff.

BF: How have you found working on big character books like Uncanny X-Men and Iron Man different than working on niche characters like the Immortal Iron Fist?

FRACTION: With Iron Fist, you've got a greater degree of mobility, just because it's not a moving part that touches a lot of other moving parts. Ed and I had the pleasure of functionally resurrecting Iron Fist, where in something like Uncanny, there's like nine other X-Books that it affects. Who's who and where's where. So-and-so has plans for this guy. Can we bring this person back? No. Can we bring this person back? Yes.

BF: You've worked in making video games for both Iron Man 2 and Thor, how did you first get involved with video game production?

FRACTION: Marvel wants more of a degree of verisimilitude in all of their affairs. That's why the creative committee that works on the films came about. There's a fellow at Marvel named Todd Jefferson, he's the video game guy, and he reached out to me through Dan Buckley about getting involved with it.

BF: What is the process of writing for video games like? Is it different than writing for comics?

FRACTION: It's entirely different. I use the same word processor, but that's about it. It's a collaborative thing, there's a whole writing staff, there's all kinds of changes, it's a radically different world. It's very strange. The writing in some ways comes last.

BF: Do you think we'll see more creators crossing over into video games in the future?

FRACTION: I think so, yeah. Historically, there is such a low bar in video games, I think we can only improve it.

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