That’s Not What I Meant – Matt Fraction on Shared Characters

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I’ve done a couple “That’s What I’m Talking About” articles in the past. When I saw a creator or comics pro saying something I wholeheartedly agree with. Well, meet the ugly stepsister. I don’t often get too upset about creators with differing ideas, but …

So … I dropped off of Fear Itself after issue four. I just wasn’t enjoying it. Some people see Nazi Death Robots and go all in. I thought it was Fraction smashing action figures together with no real consequence, other than Bucky’s death, which was a throwaway. Even Tony Stark “sacrificing” his sobriety seemed like a joke to me.

But I’ve flipped through subsequent issues and continued buying some of the tie-ins, so I have the general idea. The blogs have been talking all about Thor saying “ass” and Spider-Man giving up, that these things were out of character. Which led to Fraction’s quote in a recent Comics Alliance interview.

MF: I just did an interview on Fear Itself #5, and it’s gone from having questions to being told, now, that Thor wouldn’t say “ass.” Thor isn’t real. My Thor doesn’t talk like Stan [Lee]’s Thor and his Thor didn’t talk like [J. Michael Straczynzki]’s Thor, and his Thor didn’t talk like Walter [Simonson]’s Thor. Everybody’s Thor talks differently. Also, being told that Spider-Man wouldn’t leave. Spider-Man, who has single-handedly kept the costume-shaped trash can industry afloat in the Marvel Universe. Spider-Man, who has quit numerous times.

I don’t think he gets it. Yes, these characters are based on the words and actions that their creators give them, and they can evolve, but it’s the consistency of those words and actions that make us want to read about these characters. Steve Rogers isn’t defined by his shield. He’s defined by his bravery, by his sense of right and wrong, by his slightly outdated way of life, by his refusal to give up. No leader, whether high school football coach or military general should ever tell his troops, “I think we’re going to lose.” That’s not Steve Rogers.

And someone can easily come back with, “But he did! Look how extreme this situation is that even Captain America lost hope!” But that’s you can say that about anything, so it’s bullshit.

No, these characters won’t speak the same way forever. Everyone hears them differently, so everyone would write them differently. Think about your group of friends. There are things that each of them would and would not do. They have a consistency that let’s you appreciate them. Without consistency, there is no character.

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