Fraction & Romita Jr. Rock Thor

Matt Fraction joins THOR as new writer and teams with John Romita Jr. for FCBD special



Free Comic Book Day art by John Romita Jr.
By Kevin Mahadeo

This May, the God of Thunder and the Man of Iron join forces in a post-Siege Free Comic Book Day special that teams writer Matt Fraction for the first time with veteran artist John Romita Jr.

"There's a threatening thing happening that together [Thor and Iron Man] are uniquely qualified to deal with," says Fraction about what brings the two former teammates together. "It's a little bit of Thor's backyard and a little bit of Iron Man's backyard. It's a chance for the two of them to work together to deal with this threat. We get to see how the bounce off each other."

Fraction adds that he designed the issue with the "dude on the street in mind," penning the title as a "very accessible, very fun done-in-one romp." The writer also notes that working with Romita Jr. brings with it an extra level of excitement, calling the artist the "Jack Kirby of our generation." Romita Jr. returns Fraction's compliments, admitting that Fraction's involvement originally piqued his interest in the project.

"I love the dialoguing of writers when it's very casual and realistic," the legendary artist who has tackled just about every major character in the Marvel Universe explains. "So, you combine a realistic-dialoguing writer with this spectacular science fiction, fantasy imagination, and to me, it's a nice combination. I think that's something about [Fraction] I really enjoy. I think it's the juxtaposition of the colloquialisms and conversational stuff, along with the spectacular imagination."

Romita Jr. also says that even though he's worked with both Thor and Iron Man on numerous occasions previously, the upcoming FCBD issue allows him to approach the characters in a whole new light. Tony's armor has evolved beyond what he's drawn before and Thor's entire design has changed. The artist specifically calls out the Thunder God's vast power set as a great outlet for various forms of visual storytelling.

"What I like is what Thor can do," he elaborates. "His power is pretty impressive. It's not just his strength that's amazing. He's a god. He's got this warrior mentality. What you can do with his hammer has changed over the years. It's not just lightning. It's a larger scale than I think has been

explored in recent times. I think with artists and writers combined, you can stretch the imagination when it comes to Thor."

Following the Free Comic Book Day issue, Fraction also takes over writing duties on the THOR ongoing series.

"I made my fondness of the character known during my Ages of Thunder [one-shots] and the [THOR: SECRET INVASION limited series] and the [THOR: GIANT-SIZED special] and all that stuff," says Fraction of his recent involvement with Thor. "I got to a point where I didn't want to keep doing the times past stuff. When it became clear that [outgoing THOR writer J. Michael Straczynski] was stepping aside, I threw my hat into the ring."

Fraction readily admits that the Thor he wrote previously definitely differs from the current version of the character. The scribe says he views the root of the character as a struggling duality: "a man trapped inside of a god and a god trapped inside of a man."

"The human and the super-human are really not of the same person," explains Fraction. "There's that constant struggle for balance and struggle for equilibrium in there. The god of storms and thunder is a roiling thunderstorm himself."

Considering the series takes place after the events of the upcoming Marvel crossover event Siege, Fraction kept quiet about the exact details of his run; however, he does hint that the Thunder God's presence in the world takes on a noticeable level of importance and both his fellow Norse gods and the other Norse worlds play a role in the title. Thor's relationship with mortal men will also become a much more prominent deal.

"Almost as big as it was when Norwegians were slaughtering animals and burning effigies for him," jokes Fraction.

With his gig on THOR, Fraction now finds himself writing on an ongoing basis the same two characters teaming up in his FBCD issue, as he continues on INVINCIBLE IRON MAN as well. Thor and Iron Man appear to represent two opposite ends of the power spectrum, but Fraction quickly points out author Arthur C. Clarke's famous words: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

"Your iPhone home button is another man's Norn Stone. 50 years ago your iPhone would be magic. They brought Apollo 13 home with a nine-volt battery. My watch is more powerful than the entirety of the ship that took man to the moon. When did that stop being technology and start being magic?"

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Awesome, awesome, awesome news on Fraction being the new Thor ongoing writer. I am also expectant as to who the new artist will be. My vote would go to Alan Davis, Carlos Pacheco or Leinil Yu, and I woild love to see Mark Morales and Laura Martin come back to this title.I had the chance to meet and chat with Olivier Coipel at SDCC 09 and he told me he would love to come back to the title, when the writer is right. Mr. Copiel, is Fraction right?Maybe he will take a break from the series and do some other stuff before/if he returns, but I am sure a lot of us Thor fans would like for him to stay, deadlines missed notwithstanding.Also. I hate to be the one to point out something negative about all these news, but please, could Marvel send a memo to all colorists working for them and explain that Mjolnir has absolutely NO wood in it and it is entirely made of uru so the circle in its head is the SAME color and material as the rest of it?And do not start your reply by citing 'artistic freedom' because that would mean I can color Captain America's costume stripes yellow, or superman's 'S' green.Gets to my nerves every time.