Matt Fraction skyped in to celebrate Iron Man’s 50th anniversary at a Comic Book Round Table event held at John Ordover’s Soho Gallery for Digital Art in New York on Wednesday night, and provided some heartfelt insights into the way in which the armored playboy has drastically changed Fraction’s own life. Along the way, he gave his thoughts on the past Iron Man films and gushed about the preview of Iron Man 3 which he had just seen the previous evening. Fraction and Salvador Larocca’s INVINCIBLE IRON MAN comics title, which had some close affinities to the characterization and ethos of the Iron Man films, also displays some of Fraction’s most personal feelings about the character, he said. He had “empathy” and “fascination” with the character for many reasons, not least of which was his own battle with addiction and alcoholism and living “in recovery”, he said frankly. Fraction explained that writing Tony Stark felt like “my own history”. Another motive was at work, as well, in luring him to writing the Iron Man title. “I love getting characters people hate, finding a reason to love them, and making people love them”, he declared, and considers his “mission accomplished”.
Fraction’s instincts appear to be uncanny about the Marvel films, so it’s worthwhile listening to what he has to say about Iron Man 3. When he first saw a preview of The Avengers, he said he “knew it was going to be the biggest movie ever” at first sitting. When asked by moderator Danny Fingeroth (former Marvel editor and author) what impact Iron Man has had on his career, Fraction said: “I can’t express how it’s changed my life”. When he met with Jon Favreau about the second Iron Man film, he was deeply moved to see that all of his past INVINCIBLE IRON MAN comics, and also his yet undrawn scripts, were heavily annoted by Favreau and marked out with sticky note tabs in a fairly obsessive manner and said that the sight of the “vote of confidence” was overwhelming for him. But Iron Man 3 seems to have him even more excited. “3 is going to be a monster”, he said pointedly, “It’s going to be Avengers big—crazy!”. During the signing off phase of the skype discussion, when it took a few moments to turn off the feed, Fraction leaped into action playing a supervillain for the audience, with sinister voice, steepled fingers, arched eyebrows, the works. “Now is the time to rise and strike!”, he declared to applause. Fraction, true to form, knows what he likes and has plenty to say about the works that inspire him.
Stay tuned to The Beat for an upcoming full report On the Scene at the Iron Man 50th Anniversary panel, which featured Danny Fingeroth, Denny O’Neil, Marie Javins, Stuart Moore, and Keith DeCandido, a panel which delved into Tony Stark’s origins, personal demons, meteoric rise as a 21st century hero, and the role of the films in his current notoriety.
Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress.