29 Mar, 2011

Matt Fraction: Marvel Architect

Posted by Raphael in Blog|Opinion

Hello Midtownies! With Fear Itself launching, and Marvel recently introducing it’s list of “Architects”, I thought I’d spotlight the Architect of Marvel’s newest event, as well as the writer at the helm of Thor and Iron Man, Matt Fraction!

Matt’s comics career started in the early 2000’s with some work for AiT/PlanetLar, which includes his first major graphic novel Last of the Independents, which was a tale of a bank robbery gone horribly wrong. Matt also wrote some columns for CBR, Poplife and The Basement Tapes. Arguably, Matt’s career really took off after his work at Image, with Five Fists of Science and Casanova. From a personal perspective, he popped on my radar with Casanova, but I had heard a lot of positive press for Five Fists from the podcasting community.Casanova

Casanova by Matt Fraction and Gabriel Ba

Five Fists of Science is a steampunk/historical fiction piece that involves Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla and Bertha von Suttner battling to keep the world safe through whatever means necessary. Opposing them are such historical names as Edison, Carnegie and Marconi. It’s a fun romp, I’ve always been a fan of historical fiction. Casanova is a much different book, a super-spy story involving trans-dimensional travel and many obscure pop culture references. I came upon Casanova out of pure chance, but I’ve really come to enjoy the series.

Around the time Casanova’s 2nd arc, “Gula”, was released, Matt started working for the House of Ideas. Matt’s first Marvel work. Matt was teamed with Ed Brubaker (another Marvel Architect and great creator in his own right) to pen The Immortal Iron Fist. Iron Fist is a relatively obscure character to most modern Marvel readers, but Brubaker, Fraction and artist David Aja took Iron Fist to new, terrific heights I had never dared hope for in an American martial arts comic (That Iron Fist is a blonde haired, blue-eyed Aryan ideal is a sore point for me, but that’s already been discussed in my Chew piece). Fraction also took over writing duties on a new Punisher series, Punisher War Journal, as well as a Civil War spin-off series, The Order. Matt’s star was on the rise, but it was in 2008 that he really pushed toward the top.

Invincible Iron Man by Fraction and Salvadore Larocca

In 2008, Fraction and Brubaker teamed up to co-write Uncanny X-Men, one of Marvel’s flagship books. Brubaker would eventually leave after a few issues, leaving Matt to helm the book solo. Matt also wrote a series of terrific Thor one-shots, which were collected into a book called Thor: Ages of Thunder. On top of that, there was a Secret Invasion: Thor mini-series, but the crown jewel of Matt’s 2008 was Invincible Iron Man.
By the time 2008 hit, Tony Stark’s profile was raised significantly. Mark Millar made him the face of the Pro-Registration movement in Civil War and Marvel Studios had chosen him to be their lead character in the first ever Marvel produced film. With all of this going on, Fraction created one of the most fun science-fiction superhero stories I’ve had the pleasure to lay eyes on. Invincible Iron Man has pushed Tony far and hard, challenging the Armored Avenger and entertaining his fans thoroughly. Where else can you get a man who invents a suit of armor that comes OUT OF HIS SKIN?? How incredibly sci-fi cool is that?!? (Rhetorical question)

What Do You Fear? Fear Itself #1 by Fraction and Stuart Immonen

Fraction’s terrific Iron Man run probably led to his working on the current Thor series as well as helming his first super-event, Fear Itself. With all of this going on, Matt still has time to bring back on old favorite: Casanova volume 3 is set to be released this year in September. Don’t forget to check out Fear Itself, which starts April 6th! Fear is coming to reign over the Marvel Universe!
That’s all for this week! Enjoy those comics!

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