Singapore Comic Convention

Are you ready for Matt Fraction?

Just when you thought that the Singapore Toy, Games and Comics Convention 2010 (STGCC) could not get any bigger in terms of guest appearances, Reed Exhibitions pulls out their trump card – arguably the biggest name in the comic book industry today: Matt Fraction.

As a writer, Fraction is currently helming three of the biggest Marvel titles simultaneously: Uncanny X-Men, Thor and of course arguably his best and most consistent work, the Eisner Award-winning Invincible Iron Man together with STGCC guest Salvador Larroca. It was the latter title which led him to get involved with the movie adaptation Iron Man 2, as well as its spin-off video game of the same name.

And now, he’s coming to Singapore.

Back in 2008, when Iron Man became an overnight hit in cinemas worldwide and people started to take note of the character of Tony Stark, Marvel handpicked a young man barely into his 30s to take over the reins of the rebooted titular comic. I took one look at the new antagonist he’d come up with – Ezekiel Stane – and wrote him off. Nothing more than cheap way to tie into the blockbuster movie, I thought foolishly. I’d been burnt by less than stellar writing from outgoing writers Daniel and Charles Knauf, and I wasn’t going to take a risk with a relative unknown.

A relative unknown called Matt Fraction.

It took me the span of two years to realise how wrong I was – as I introduced myself to more of Fraction’s earlier work. There was the Eisner-nominated The Immortal Iron Fist which, together with co-scribe Ed Brubaker completely added a much-needed dimension to the character of Danny Rand. Fraction also came up with The Order, a new team of superheroes formed as a direct result of the 50 States Initiative in the fallout of Civil War. Although The Order ended after 10 issues, it was mainly because Fraction had been offered the responsibility of The Invicible Iron Man, on the strength of his previous work.

Now 31 issues in, The Invincible Iron Man has been groundbreaking not because of huge changes in the status quo but, like fellow scribe Ed Brubaker, Fraction’s ability to truly get into the mindset of each character and developing them in the most plausible way. Case in point: turning long-time damsel-in-distress Pepper Potts into a certifiable superhero – Rescue, armour and all.

But what is Matt Fraction like in real life?

Us Geeks had our first real experience with with the writer at W00tstock: San Diego 2010, on the sidelines of the San Diego Comic Convention. He blew us away with his presentation The Batman Dreams of Hieronymus Machines – which turned out to be the exact same presentation he prepared for his own Spotlight panel at SDCC three days later, only we were getting to hear it first. I left that night with the impression that Fraction was undoubtedly, a genius, and I was clearly a convert.

Over the next few days, as Fraction made appearances at various Marvel panels, those present got to experience a little more of the man behind Tony Stark, and you realise there’s a keen and witty mind present at an early morning X-Men panel, even though he’d just had presumably less than an hour or two of sleep.

What does this mean for us in Singapore? Everything.

Here is a man who is the epitome of the modern comics industry – he is a comic book fanboy, having worked in a comic book store, help out at conventions, wrote and drew pages and pages of comics on the side, and who is now getting paid to do what he has always loved to do. Yet, he’s also made a name for himself outside of comics, dropping out of art school to become one of the founders of MK12, a graphic design studio and production house. For the fangirls (and certain fanboys), he’s extremely charismatic, dashingly good-looking and has impeccable dress sense. Unfortunately, he’s also married to fellow writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and they’ve got two adorable kids. That’s right, he’s a family man, and he writes comics. If that alone doesn’t inspire Singaporeans to follow their passions and live their dreams and believe that it’s not just an impossible cliché, I don’t know what will.

Welcome to our little island, Matt! We’re glad you’re coming and we hope your visit bears fruit!

Matt Fraction will be present at the Walk of Fame at STGCC 2010, as well as a Spotlight on Matt Fraction panel on Saturday, Dec 11th. Get your tickets today!

Peter Lin

His teenage years spent nursing a giant man-crush on Steve Rogers, the first Captain America, Peter naturally found himself drawn to many other heroes who depicted strong, manly qualities, including the honour-bound warrior Worf, first Klingon in Starfleet, and the muscular rock hard abs of The Thing.

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