War Rocket Ajax #2: Matt Fraction Talks Event Comics on the ComicsAlliance Podcast
This week, ComicsAlliance’s War Rocket Ajax podcast welcomes Fear Itself writer Matt Fraction to the show! Our very first guest returns as the first guest of the all-new era to discuss convention experiences from both sides of the table, what he learned from reading every single event comic in preparation for writing his own, and the incredibly strange premise of TV’s My Two Dads. And you can listen to the entire show right here at ComicsAlliance!War Rocket Ajax Vol. 2, #2: Bearded Homonculus, Featuring Matt Fraction
(WARNING: Contains NSFW language)
In this week’s episode, Chris and Matt discuss the secret atrocities of Mass Effect, recap a pretty dubious episode of Batman: The Animated Series (“The Forgotten”), read up on the unproduced Superman vs. Batman movie, and lay odds on how lethal a cocktail of NyQuil and Four Loko would be. Then, it’s the return of Big Ups to All My Haters, where Chris responds to people who hate him on the Internet!
During the interview, Matt Fraction tells us about the shows his kids are watching, his favorite event books, and a very special Dragon*Con story. Along the way, he fills us in on what it’s like to attend conventions as a fan, a store employee, an indie comics creator and, most recently, the writer of the two top-selling comics in America:
“The very first comic convention I ever went to, there was a dude of whom I was a huge fan, and he was a super-dick. It wasn’t even him, his people were super-dicks. He couldn’t even be bothered to be a dick. I was so pissed off, I literally had a stack of his stuff in my hands, and I walked to the nearest trash can and dumped it in, and I’ve never paid money for his stuff since. So that is my recollection of my first comic convention. That happened. I got the how-not-to-do-this example.
“The second one, I met Mike Allred, who was so great, and is genuinely like this. I’ve met him again as a, whatever, a peer, I guess? A contemporary? Not even a contemporary, I don’t know what the word is. Not as a fan, but as a dude who works in the same field as he does, and that’s not shtick. Mike is that dude all the time, and it’s remarkable. I had my first truly remarkable experience with a pro at a convention, and in my mind, I am not Mike Allred, I am far too human and susceptible to things like low blood sugar or whatever bees might be in my bonnet, so I know that I’m not like Mike, but I always in my mind want to be as cool to every single person at a show as Mike Allred was to me.”
On what he learned from other event comics before he started on Fear Itself:
“From House of M, I knew that we needed a big first issue. I feel like House of M is underrated because issue 1 and issue 2 were standard size, but if they had been one issue, I think that would have set the tone differently. We had kind of a strange thing where because it was new, because unlike House of M, which was an Avengers Story and an X-Men story, Fear Itself was wholly invented. It required no prior knowledge to the Marvel U., so we kind of had to give away the first act for the marketing, with the exception of the one thing that a**hole leaked. Really, one, two and a chunk of three were kind of revealed as part of our marketing, just to tell people what the story was because it was brand new. There was no history, we had no shorthand. We couldn’t say ‘Oh right, Magneto and Wanda, and the X-Men and Avengers try to fix it,’ and anyone who’s read those comics will understand what that means. The beginning was very important.
“And another thing that’s interesting, if you look at Secret Invasion, look at the difference between House of M and Secret Invasion. That first issue of Secret Invasion is so f***ing gangbusters. It’s like a final issue, you know what I mean? There’s like three stunning set pieces.
“From Infinite Crisis, cut around, remind people what’s going on elsewhere. Don’t just keep focused on your two dudes, you know? If it’s a story that involves the whole world, show the whole world, even for a second.
“Crisis on Infinite Earths was very much about being accessible. Crisis on Infinite Earths ended right after I started reading comics, and to this day I find it hard to understand. I get it and I think George Perez needs some kind of special award for his abilities; there’s no better example of George’s gift I can think of than that book, it’s tremendous. But if you don’t have an extended knowledge of DC before Crisis, it’s really hard to make heads or tails of.
“Secret Wars, hey, you know what’s awesome? The big guns. That was the joy of Secret Wars. Hey, it’s everyone you know and love kicking the s*** out of each other, so maybe that’s a good thing to aspire to.
“DC One Million, I just… We hear a lot about things that matter. Like, the reason why some books fail, the reason why some events fail. Readers and retailers want the comics that matter, they want the stories that matter. Why did The Order fail? Because it didn’t matter. So that was kind of an interesting object lesson in that.”
On ComicsAlliance contributors Curt Franklin and Chris Haley:
“Let’s Be Friends Again is disingenuous and fraudulent.”
The completely insane rejected proposals for The Fifth Batman Film.
Matt Fraction neglected to mention that the eponymous Dinosaur Train doesn’t just travel through time, it’s a train that looks like a dinosaur.
If you’re not familiar with Greg Evigan, get educated.
Chris’s Rec: Art Brut’s new album, Brilliant! Tragic! and Akira the Don’s “Living in the Future,” featuring Big Narstie, MC Lars, Scroobius Pip and Eddie Argos.
Matt’s Rec: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s Michael Caine-Off from The Trip and Brooke Gladstone’s The Influencing Machine.
Comics Reviewed: Batgirl #22, Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #1 and Sci-Fi Double Feature: Radbots.