Matt Fraction on Thor: God-Sized Special

Fraction on Thor: God-Sized Special

In December, Thor goes big. Not just big, but BIG. God-sized big in the Thor God-Sized Special by Matt Fraction, Doug Braithwaite, Dan Brereton and Marko Djurdjevic. The one shot follows Fraction’s Thor: Ages of Thunder, Reign of Blood and Man of War one shots as well as his three issue Secret Invasion: Thor miniseries.

Yeah, there could be something serious going on between Fraction and Marvel’s God of Thunder. Or could there be?

We spoke with the writer about the coming special.

Newsarama: Matt, a while back, you expressed reservations about writing Thor. December sees what, your fourth Thor book, not counting the Secret Invasion tie-in miniseries. It's safe to say that you found your groove with the Thunder God. So what makes him click for you?

Matt Fraction: The bigness. Going colossal. Thinking on that scale while digging into the various mythos that make Thor's DNA-- the original Norse, the Stan-and-Jack page-one rewrite, Gruenwald and Macchio, and Walt Simonson's - and just letting whatever Thor-shaped dreams I've got sprout out of that fertile earth. Get out of the big guy's way. Scrap most of the thous and dosts. Hit big stuff with the hammer early and often, etc, etc. Scale. The scale is the thing. Think god-sized thoughts. Smash god-sized things.

NRAMA: What do you see the function of your Thor stories compared to what JMS is doing on the main series? Obviously, you're in different eras for Thor, but what facets of the character are you exploring in your stories that aren't being shown in JMS' stories?

MF: To, uh, embiggen the myth, basically. People have been telling stories about Thor for hundreds of years for a reason; it's stuff like this that explains why. Obviously the main title is on a mission, the core thrust of Thor is reinstating Asgard after the latest Ragnarok. I wanted to play around that stuff, in the corners and on the edges; I wanted to work at enriching the character.

NRAMA: So what was the spark for this particular story? It's centered on Skurge, which is, kinda Thorgeek, even for you. What led you to him?

MF: My first thought, when I got the chance to touch the toys on the Thor shelf, was to do a Skurge story. And then I realized that doing that would ruin what is, honestly, one of my single favorite comics of all time. Thor #362 is, for me, the high point of Walt Simonson's amazing run on the book and it's a comic book I've read until it's physically fallen apart. And monkeying around with that... well, ruins it. To in any way think that building on top of what Simonson did, diminishes what Simonson did, and at worst screws it up and at best embarrasses me, right?

So then I thought, well, maybe there's a story there, if that makes sense. And the idea of someone tampering with who and what the legend of Skurge was, and what that means to the legend of Skurge, came to me. And away I went.

That sounds a little meta. Trust me, lots of big shit gets hit with a hammer.

NRAMA: Fair enough. So what's Skurge's deal? He had a story - long-time Thor readers can recall it, but that story...wasn't quite what happened?

MF: Long story short: Skurge and the Enchantress were the dysfunctional couple to end all dysfunctional couples. And the very last time she broke his heart, he joined Thor and a heroic band of Asgardians that were trying to escort an armada of human souls that were unjustly trapped in the underworld as an army of the dead gave chase. As the Asgardians reached the very threshold of Hel, Skurge suckerpunched Thor and volunteered to hold the bridge across which Hel's army needed to cross. Singlehandedly, Skurge held the bridge and ascended into legend.

That's what happened. The problem is, nobody can remember it anymore.

NRAMA: The solicitation mentions Thor and Loki teaming to get to the root of Skurge's mystery. Given that they're not always on the best of terms, where does this story fit into the larger Thor timeline?

MF: It's ambiguously set during the current run-- Loki's a woman, Asgard's in Oklahoma, etc. What brings them together is the presence of trickery, plain and simple, and Loki, the queen of all tricksters, despises being tricked more than almost anything else.

NRAMA: So what type of memories to Asgardians have of Skurge?

MF: That's the thing. Thor, Balder, and Loki realize they all have different memories of who Skurge was and how he died: Balder recalls a jolly old poet; Thor, a butcher; and Loki, a crazy old crone. But all of their memories end in Hel, so our unlikely trio descends downwards to get to the root of the problem and figure out just who Skurge really was, how he really died, and most importantly, who's screwing with all their heads...

NRAMA: Any other appearances and/or cameos in the special?

MF: Yes.

NRAMA: What busted this story out from the normal sized into God-Sized?

MF: I dunno-- Warren Simons, editor extraordinaire, came to me with it and it was such a funny title we had to go for it.

NRAMA: So level here - what's your future look like with Thor? You've essentially been making sure there's a regular Thor fix while the main book gets back on track...are you looking to jockey yourself into the regular Thor gig? Would writing Thor monthly even interest you?

MF: I think I'm done. It was great fun and certainly creatively rewarding to play in these fields, but I feel like I've pretty much done my thing and should sit down and be happy with what we were able to accomplish. JMS and Olivier Coipel are doing tremendous work and their titanic run doesn't need a yappy little mutt like me snapping around its heels. I'm thankful I got to do what I did.

NRAMA: Finally - one last tease - what gets the ball rolling in this story?

MF: Balder staring off into space. And my absolute adoration of Walt Simonson's amazing run on the book.

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