Thursday, December 23, 2010

Matt Fraction + STGCC = Prime

Let it be known that Red Dot Diva trumps at mathematics and, naturally with it - fractions. She is very good with the proper fractions, and *especially* fabulous with the improper ones.

However, on the 2nd day of STGCC, she was feeling a little intimidated with a particular problem - Eisner Award-winning comic book writer, Matt Fraction.

While slinking around the STGCC exhibit hall, Red Dot Diva noted the long line of of fans whenever Matt was scheduled for autograph signings. As she passed by the throng of excited fans, she would hear them utter his name in hushed tones of wonderment. Once, she was even stopped by an anonymous fan who, probably noting her media pass, excitedly shoved his hardcover copy of "Invincible Ironman" in her face and asked, "Have you read *this*?!? It's really GOOD!"

Red Dot Diva began to wonder if she was going to be a total doofus during the interview with Matt. For as much as she liked X-Men/ Ironman, pop-culture and movies, and appreciated graphics/ art a great deal, she really wasn't that much of a hardcore comic reader. Worse, she wasn't even a gamer. That growing sense of inadequacy and horror didn't abate when she was told she had a one-on-one interview with Matt after his STGCC Spotlight panel session.

It was made worse that Matt appears to fashion himself with a rocker-cool writer-idol style, wearing geeky glasses (Red Dot Diva's Kryptonite. - There. She said it.) and a pair of unavoidably adorable, bright-red Chucks.

- Eeep -

Luckily, 33.33333333333333333333% (or 1/3) of decided to sit in for Red Dot Diva's interview with Matt as well. Some of Da Pressure was off - definitely by more than a marginal fraction.

So... picture this: Red Dot Diva and 1/3-HBG doggedly tag-teaming a sleepily jet-lagged but very amiable Matt with an eclectic mix of questions. Yeah, they were merciless. Totally abominable. Like supervillain abominable.

HereBeGeeks has already documented their "3 days with Matt Fraction" experience, so Red Dot Diva will offer her other perspectives of the interview.

This was what went down. Dun dun dun dun....

Red Dot Diva couldn't resist jumping right into Tony Stark (- or so she wishes -) with her first few questions, especially those contributed by Twitter friend from the UK, Ian Austin - a web-comic writer for "Death Boy". Red Dot Diva told Matt that Ian was thrilled to know that she will be doing an interview with him. And Matt generously said, "Tell him thank you for me." Ian has heard the audio clip and is still probably grinning right now.

Red Dot Diva: What was your reaction when the first "Ironman" movie was greenlighted?
Matt: I was a fan... I've always been a fan of the character. I was excited just because I was a fan. But when the creative personnels really got involved. I thought, 'Oh this was going to be a real movie! They were really going for it.' I was a big fan of the X-Men or Spiderman movies, or even the Batman films. I thought they seem to be going to try something different there, so... yes, I was very excited then.

And since Red Dot Diva totally pervs RDJ, the next question was begging to be asked: In your opinion, was Robert Downey Jr close to what you have envisioned Ironman to be like?
Matt: Oh he was perfect. (- at which everyone nodded and agreed that no one else could have brought Tony Stark to life other than RDJ -) It's like.. when they put Gwyneth Paltrow to play Pepper Potts, it's not because you couldn't get Megan Fox... it's because you wanted an actress. And Jon Favreau is the right director. It was clear that there were going to do a movie and make something special from it.

It was unfortunate that Matt didn't get to meet RDJ though. For the day he visited the "Ironman" set, RDJ had already left for London to film "Sherlock Holmes".

Mischievously, Red Dot Diva pressed on, "Tony Stark is such a unique and vibrant character..." To which Matt nodded and said he agreed.
Red Dot Diva: How do you get into his psyche? Do you see parts of him in you, or you in him?

"Oh, absolutely. Sure." Matt gave a slow, enigmatic smile and then leaned forward to say, "I feel a real kinship for him. Like him, I wish everyone will do what I say without asking. I, like him, very easily can get into a state where I believe the whole world is revolving around me and that I am the centre of all things. I too find it easier to apologize than to ask permission. All of Tony's good things and all of Tony's bad things, I relate to them very much."

From "Ironman", the topic moved on a little to "Thor". Hype has already been building up for the movie which will be released sometime next year.

Red Dot Diva: Are you involved in the movie "Thor" in any way?
Matt: No. I was involved with the video game a little bit so I've heard and seen things a little earlier than everybody else but I wasn't involved in the storyline of the movie.

Red Dot Diva: So was the game sync-ed with the movie in some way?
Matt: It is supposed to be a parallel experience. It will make more sense if you've seen the film. But it takes place in a time before the movie. It's not an adaptation of the movie, it's a parallel experience.

Matt strongly regarded these comic character-based films as "unparallelled opportunities to reach out to millions of people". He shared that when he has to write a book at the same time a movie comes out, continuity is put away and it is about writing the most accessible, most understandable kind of story.

Red Dot Diva: How do you handle writing "Thor" and "Ironman" at the same time, and the juggling of different projects?
Matt: They are very different. The metaphor that I like to use is it's like cross-training. Some days it's like lifting weights. And on other days, it's like running. They use very different muscle groups and are very different exercises. And whatever I feel like working out that day, is what I do. It changes - day to day.

And luckily every book that I do is *very* different. There would be characters I would probably turn down the opportunity to do because they would be too similar. It would feel like too much of weightlifting, and I'm not fond of that.

Red Dot Diva: Is Howard The Duck going to take on a bigger role in the future?
Matt chuckled: Howard the Duck?!?!!
Red Dot Diva giggled and was certain she was going to be booted off the interview there and then.
Matt: I don't ... *think* so. I don't remember if I have any Howard the Duck plans. ( - gives a mock pondering look in the midst of laughter -) It's such an iconoclastic character by an iconoclastic creator that I kinda think that anytime anybody not think that Steve Gerber wrote it, it was a mistake.. so... (- trails off thoughtfully - ).. Somebody.. oh, Leinil. Leinil (Yu) loves him! Leinil draws him in everything. Whether he is asked to or not, Leinil will put Howard the Duck in somewhere.

By this time, 1/3-HBG's and Red Dot Diva's nefarious plans to take Matt down with a torturous interview kinda fell apart because it was becoming more of an informal chat. One would have imagined that they should have realized this would have happened.

The topics flowed from Matt wanting to write children's books, to the range of indie comics available these days, to his love for foreign and wuxia movies, and to Spiderman cheques (checks? Stop correcting - Red Dot Diva writes in British English, ok?).

Red Dot Diva had to ask if Matt preferred receiving Spiderman cheques or normal cheques. Matt affirmed, "I'd rather be writing stuff that I own. I love my job but if I can make a living out of my own creations, I'd much rather be doing that. But it's not a reality these days. For me, I came into the industry at a time and place where you have to sorta balance between high-profile work-for-hire kinda properties or more quirky, classic kinda things. And the market doesn't support those kind of things any more. It's a rare success that I've not yet experienced."

As with most of this year's STGCC guests, this was Matt's first visit to the Red Dot Island. "This is my first time to Asia as a comics creator. This is my first experience with Asian comic fans," he said.

"It's been terrific. If the people of Singapore were any friendlier, you would all collectively wake up in a bathtub full of ice with a kidney missing and call 911 written on your forearm." Seriously, Red Dot Diva would have offered Matt her bloody kidney tied up in a pretty bow on a fancy plate. All you had to do was ask, Matt! ;)

Matt had more to say about his impressions of our Red Dot Island. "You have such a unique place here. This is such a unique culture, society... it's impossible to describe. Even being prepared and having read about it on my way over, even so, until you get here it's really impossible to describe. I don't know how to get anyone ready for what this place is really like."

Red Dot Diva:Will you be able to incorporate what you saw here in any of your future stories?
Matt: I suspect. Yes. I want to do something with the F1 race in "Ironman". We'll see. I have an idea. I'm not sure when it is going to happen. And I'm going to call in for every single favour I have .. like for reference photography.. .every single favour I need to get.
Red Dot Diva and 1/3-HBG chorused: No problem!

Red Dot Diva was curious to know if Matt thought it would ever be possible for Red Dot Island and this part of Asia to be featured in a mainstream movie or TV show (or comic) in a less stereotypical manner. "It would be pop-culture that does it .. because that's so universal and so accessible," Matt reckoned. "There might be an actor or actress of film, something that would happen that would open everybody's eyes. And to also understand how richly divergent this area is. How close you all are, and yet how incredibly different."

And to Red Dot Diva's standard geek girl question, Matt replied: "Are you kidding me??? My wife is a geek girl. She writes comics to. So I love geek girls. They are the best."

It got a little surreal around that time, as 1/3-HBG, Red Dot Diva and Matt had somehow seamlessly segued into some form of hang-loose casual conversation, with Matt requesting the two not-so-evil locals to get into a Singlish roleplay because he was interested to hear the island's patois.

By the time Red Dot Diva realized their supervillain abilities had been neutralized, it was way too late. A clear testament to Matt's super-powers and how he (insidiously) broke down their dual assault in less than 20 minutes.


Foiled again.

Darn, his charm.

Red Dot Diva sighed.

- click - audio recorder off.


This week, Marvel announced that "Fear Itself" a seven-issue limited cross-over series will be launched in March 2011. The series will be written by Matt Fraction and drawn by Stuart Immonen.

Red Dot Diva would like to thank @Ian_Austin and @JustinBarlow for some of the interview questions. *MWAH*
And to 1/3-HBG Wai, for being there.

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