Matt Fraction on FANTASTIC FOUR: 'You Can Build Anything'
Newsarama: Matt, though I think perception has likely changed a great deal as a result of Jonathan Hickman's run on the series, there is something of a notion out there that Fantastic Four is a product of its time, and something that writers have struggled at times to "modernize." Do you feel a need to challenge that kind of perception at all?
I think it's all about how you handle it, and what you have to say, and what you bring to it. If you look at the fundamental ingredients, the elements that are on the table, you can build anything. You can build the Marvel Universe with these elements if you want to. You can build a whole new universe with them. It's all in the execution.
Nrama: Yeah, it just seems that whatever reason, Fantastic Four has gotten more of a knock for feeling "old" more than some other Silver Age contemporaries.
There could be bad stuff that makes you feel like, "Oh, this is dead, they'll never get this back." Then suddenly there's a new twist. Hopefully it's all in the execution. I think John, if nothing else, has proven that. John Hickman, who has launched two successful Fantastic Four books. Clearly it's all in the execution. Two years ago, if somebody said they're going to launch another Fantastic Four book, and it's going to do great, you would say, "No, you're lying to me. You are a liar." And stick around, and not go away. They wanted to reboot FF, too, it was a package deal; it was Fantastic Four and FF. I just think it's all execution, and what you bring to the table, and what you have to say, and what you want your book to be.
Nrama: To touch on a few non-Fantastic Four subjects, it's disappointing to hear that Defenders is ending in November, especially because part of the notion was that it was characters who couldn't necessarily sustain a book on their own…
Nrama: Though obviously it's still a tough direct market in general, how disheartening is something like that?
Fraction: It f*cking sucks! I don't know. It just sucks. It sucks when they canceled The Order. It sucks, man. It was a book that I loved writing, and I tried my best.
Nrama: The series is ending with issue #12 — were you able to wrap things up to somewhere near what you had planned?
Fraction: No, of course not. Does it wrap up? Yes. No, it's not what I wanted. There's a beginning, a middle and an end, and hopefully it'll work as a couple of collections and tell kind of a crazy story we've never gotten before.
Fraction: Yeah, if nothing else, just because he was in costume so many other places, I didn't know what else there was to do with him. Not for anything, but we already had Hawkeye books that didn't work. "Do something different, do something that's not being served." Find some space with the character that's not out there. There's that old line about insanity being when you repeat the same action expecting different results, you know? Sometimes I think Defenders was doomed the minute the word Defenders was put on the cover.
Between all the Avengers stuff, Clint's doing all kinds of crazy sh*t. I wanted to find a book I wanted to read, which is always kind of the first goal, and is it true to the character, and does it work? And it did. It wasn't a book I had ever seen before, so it felt right.
Fraction: It hasn't sunk in yet. It's completely weird. I'm still, in my head, tracking where [series artist Salvador Larroca] is — like, I still know how many pages Salva has drawn by now, and I know when he'll be done. I still have the sense of when he's going to need more pages. It's been four years. It's become like muscle memory now. It's very strange.
It's been a long time. When it sinks in, when I realize I'm not writing the book anymore, it's going to suck. [Larroca]'s been my partner for this long; it's a lot of work we've done together.
Fraction: Yeah. Coming out of five years of pretty much nothing but work-for-hire superhero stuff at Marvel, which has been great and been fun, but if you eat at the world's greatest Mexican restaurant every day for five years, it doesn't matter that it's the world's greatest Mexican restaurant. It's nice to have Thai food.
It's the first of several creator-owned stuff I'm looking to launch in the next year, and each one is different from the last.
Nrama: Is there an ETA at this point for Satellite Sam?
Fraction: I'm getting a script to Howard in a couple of weeks, so it'll come out after Black Kiss II has wrapped. December/January I figure; January/February, something like that.More from Newsarama:
- 10 Things We Want in the Big-Screen FANTASTIC FOUR Reboot
- Matt Fraction on FANTASTIC FOUR's Voyage and FF's Mission
- Why They Endure: Pros Talk FANTASTIC FOUR After 50 Years