Fraction: Bringing the awesome longer than you've realized

With Marvel chief Joe Quesada out of pocket, Jim McLauchlin has been interviewing other folks from Marvel for their weekly MySpace feature. Usually he talks to editors about what's going down at Marvel, but this past Friday McLauchlin interviewed Uncanny X-Men, Invincible Iron Man and Casanova writer Matt Fraction about his career in comics. Fraction talks a little bit about his first comic, Rex Mantooth, Kung Fu Gorilla ... I've never read Rex Mantooth, but I give it a five-star review based on the title and cover alone:

Dunno how easy it is to find the comic; it didn't come up in my Amazon or eBay search, but AiT/Planet Lar's The Annotated Mantooth did.

As for the interview itself, I thought this was an apt analogy as far as his career goes:

JM: Personally speaking, I loved Last of the Independents and Rex Mantooth. And it kinda begs the question…some people wanna be the rock band playing the arena shows, and some are content to be the world’s coolest bar band. I think Mantooth and so on is obviously your bar band stage. Do you now wanna play the arenas?

MF: Y’know…the Beatles used to play secret shows. REM plays secret shows. Prince is famous for playing a three-hour arena show, then going to some small club, unannounced, and continuing to play ’til 3 AM. You know what I mean? To continue that metaphor…I think there’s room for both. I wanna do both.

I also wanna be kind of like [movie director] Steven Soderbergh. I wanna do what I want to do, and if it falls into a place of commercial success…great.Soderbergh kind of says, “Hey, I’m gonna do Ocean’s 13 and it’s gonna be a huge hit…” and that earns him the freedom to go to Argentina and make a four-hour biopic on Che Guevara that’s totally in Spanish. Then he’ll come back and do The Informant. That’s my speed. Jumping around to whatever interests me.

But any commercial success is just a by-product. I just don’t have that kind of mind to calculate it out. I just want to tell my stories and do what I want to do and hope for the best. And sometimes you get lucky, which is almost what’s happening with the Che movie. Originally, it was just going to play in New York and L.A., but it sold out every show and they realized, “Hey, we really have something here!” So every now and then…who knows? Your bar gig becomes the arena show.

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