Matt Fraction and Fear Itself

If you were at STGCC, you would have probably heard Matt Fraction mention there was a huge announcement about 12 days away (depending on international timezones or something). Well, December 21st has come and gone and Fear Itself has been revealed to be the new event for Marvel in 2011. But we don’t really have much more to go on, and now everyone’s wondering how Thor and Captain America (and well, Spidey, Thor, the X-men and everyone else) are going to factor in to Fear Itself.

Newsarama had an awesome interview with Matt Fraction and new senior vice president of publishing Tom Brevoort, which was actually pretty interesting. For example, it’s good to know that even in a big blockbuster event like fear itself, we have a lot of personal character development, or Ingmar Bergman style close ups, as Matt called it.

We at HereBeGeeks also managed to get some quick questions in with Matt regarding the Marvel event for 2011, and we end up finding out a bit more about Thor, Cap, Iron Man and even Spidey and Cyclops. Want to know more? Read on…

HereBeGeeks: Fear Itself is a pretty big deal (Civil War/Dark Reign big). How does it feel like being the headliner for the next huge Marvel Event?

Matt: Craaaaazy? I keep waiting for someone to burst in and shout IMPOSTER! and drag me away kicking and screaming from my desk. It’s… it alternates between being incredibly fun and, y’know, astutely terrifying.

HBG: How is Fear Itself going to be different from other ‘extinction-level events’ that Marvel has experienced in the past? Did you consciously try to make it different?

Matt: I don’t think we’ve ever experienced something like this before. This a war between god-like entities with man trapped in the middle. It’s not our fight. We– and by extension our heroes and villains– are just collateral damage waiting to happen.

But at the same time, it’s kind of EVERY story we’ve ever told. It’s the kind of story that has made Marvel what it is, in a way. It’s the story of an overwhelming evil, rooted in the real world, that gets at our good guys through their humanity and threatens everything they hold dear. You know? Just… bigger. And the stakes are higher.

HBG: Does writing something as huge as Fear Itself exercise a different muscle group compared with your previous writing responsibilities?

Matt: Oh, no doubt. It’s bigger than anything I’ve ever been a part of; it’s not the kind of thing anybody could just do because they were in the mood. The number of moving pieces are boggling… I came in to Marvel in the middle of CIVIL WAR, so I know what it’s like being on the other side of things, too… so I’m trying to, uh, pay it forward? You know what I mean?

HBG: Christos Gage has mentioned that Avengers Academy began with Fear Itself in mind, and that it was his first time in “the planning room” with yourself, Ed Brubaker and Brian M. Bendis, among others. Why Gage, and was there anyone else you wished you had brought into that “planning room” meeting?

Matt: Um… well, that’s news to me but then I’ve not really talked to Chris about it so if he says it’s so, it’s so. And I didn’t bring people into that room, Marvel did… and it’s high pressure enough without adding more guys! I mean… Joe, Brian, Ed, Jeph Loeb, Heinberg… forget about it. It’s a murderer’s row in there.

HBG: We’re guessing that moving on to Fear Itself means a lot less time for other titles – and it looks like The X-Men will be in good hands, with Kieron Gillen coming on Uncanny. Still, what’s it like working with Kieron, and will you be backing out of the title entirely?

Matt: It’s great. He’s one of my favorite writers in comics. I think there’s a healthy competition, too, where we try to outdo the other…

And who knows what the other side of FEAR ITSELF will bring?

HBG: Will the series that you’re writing (Thor, Iron Man, X-Men) be the main players in Fear Itself? Any hints on which books we should be watching out for to catch the run up to the event?

Matt: Thor, Cap, and Iron Man are the pillars but you don’t need to read ANYTHING to get into it. In fact, my THOR won’t even be tying in, for fear of alienating new readers coming in to the book from seeing the film. And there’s no run up– it’s wholly designed as a story to be contained by itself. There’s a prologue that Ed’s writing (if for no other reason than it was easier for me to say, okay, here’s where Sin needs to be on page 22 than it was for me to ask him about everything ELSE he’s working with in Cap…) and then FEAR ITSELF #1 begins. Crisp and clean. An event for everybody, no matter what you read.

HBG: In STGCC someone asked if you’d be doing more Spidey (after the annual) and you mentioned that you’d be writing him wherever you could. Is Fear Itself one of these opportunities?

Matt: Yeah; Peter is the heart of the Marvel Universe. To NOT have him be a part of FEAR ITSELF would be a missed opportunity, to say the least.

HBG: Lastly, is the void still affecting Cyclops, and will it play a part in Fear Itself?

Matt: Has it ever affected Cyclops? How could you tell?

It’s nice to know that Fear Itself will be pretty self-contained. It’s also interesting to note that the main Thor series might not be linked to Fear Itself (definitely a boon to any newcomers who are interested in Thor). We DO wonder how we should read the answer to that last question… so IS Cyclops affected? What do you guys think? The comment box is there for a reason! 😉


Singapore’s resident Press Ganger, that is, the man to go to for Privateer Press’ WARMACHINE, and HORDES. Kakita also dabbles in Games Workshop’s WARHAMMER FANTASY and WARHAMMER 40K lines.

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