During a recent discussion of the past, present and future of the "Iron Man" film franchise, writer/director Jon Favreau name-checked Marvel's "Invincible Iron Man" series as a print element that both draws from and leads into the character's live-action adventures.
Launched just prior to the film's debut, the sixth issue of "Invincible Iron Man" hits shelves October 8, concluding the series' first major story arc. MTV News tracked down series writer Matt Fraction to learn about the extent of his involvement with Favreau and the films, as well as his creative process when scripting within the universe of one of comics' hottest movie properties.
We also managed to get our hands on an exclusive preview of the upcoming issue of "Invincible Iron Man", posted after the jump!
"It was pretty incredible as far as experiences go," said Fraction of a recent trip to L.A. to meet with Favreau, as well as "Iron Man 2" co-writer Justin Theroux and Marvel Studios execs Kevin Feige and Jeremy Latcham. "We talked about storyline, characters, tone, the core of the thing, the guts of the characters, who they are, why we love them [and] what we want to see them do."
According to Fraction, the overlap in story, character development and general mood shared by the series and the film was more the result of "happy accidents and cosmic coincidence" than extensive planning.
"I made a lot of guesses based on the film [that] I hoped the talent involved would make, and ended up being pretty simpatico," explained Fraction. "Nobody gave me any guidelines; I have a feeling if I'd strayed too far off the reservation maybe they'd have come but, really, 'Invincible Iron Man' has been a joy."
"Now I'm inspired by it as a kind of high-water mark," he added, "and as the... it's the straw that stirs the drink, you know?"
With multiple sell-outs of "Invincible Iron Man" issues, Fraction was quick to acknowledge that the series has uniquely benefited from its film counterpart and the renewed interest in the character that project brought about -- but that doesn't mean making a character with such a long history accessible to new readers is an easy task. Sometimes, reasoned Fraction, continuity and history need to take a backseat to telling a good story.
"We got readers coming in from the movie [and] I know we'll get more once the DVD hits in a couple weeks," said Fraction. "I made a lot of lucky guesses based on casting information and wrote the book my folks would want to read, would understand, and would enjoy after they saw the flick."
"I wanted to write a book accessible to new folks, but consistent with the character's history," explained Fraction. "That said, I'm not a fan of slavish obeisance to continuity, just because it exists... consistency is the watchword."
However, now that he's become an integral part of the "Iron Man" machine, Fraction was cautious about giving away too many details about anything related to the future of Marvel's armored hero -- especially with regard to which characters might make an appearance in his series or the films. When asked whether Favreau's favored film villain Mandarin will be appearing in "Invincible Iron Man," Fraction told MTV News the crimelord was on his radar, "but on the outer ring of the thing, pardon the pun."
As for James "Rhodey" Rhodes donning the War Machine armor -- another story element Favreau has said he liked to include in future films -- Fraction told MTV the character is "in fine hands thanks to the wonderful Mr. Greg Pak," citing the upcoming "War Machine" solo series authored by Pak that occurs in the mainstream Marvel Universe.
All things considered, however, Fraction said the burden of being one of the primary creative forces behind one of comics' hottest characters isn't all that tough to bear.
"It's like the rest of the world has finally realized how great a character Tony Stark is, you know?" laughed Fraction. "It's a high-class problem to have."
Now that you've heard from "Invincible Iron Man" writer Matt Fraction, check out an exclusive 7-page preview of issue #6, due out October 8 and featuring art by Salvador Larroca!
So what about it, readers? How's Matt Fraction doing with "Invincible Iron Man" -- and how do you feel about the universe of the films and print series?