Comics Vitae: Matt Fraction Part I, Rex Mantooth through The Order

Books Features Matt Fraction
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The Order.jpg

The Order
Illustrated by Barry Kitson
Published by Marvel from 2007 to 2008

Fraction: That was my first time launching a series into the toilet coming out of a big crossover. We were going to do a new Champions book. They appear in, like, a page of Civil War. And I brought a crazy idea of what a modern day superhero team in California would look like, and it all went nuts. The most recognizable character they’d let me use was Pepper Potts. This was where I started on the track of putting Pepper in an Iron Man suit, even though I didn’t know it at the time. This was like a prequel to my Iron Man run.

Paste: Why is it hard to introduce new properties into the superhero market?
Fraction: I don’t think it’s hard. I think it’s hard to get retailers and readers to try them. It’s very easy to introduce them, it’s just hard to make them last. If you’re a retailer you can have a Batman book that’ll sell ten copies at your store, or The Order that’ll sell one copy, and they cost the same — what do you want in your slot? It’s simple math. We’re in a different place now than we were then. It’s different now. But then, the industry was just emerging from collapse, and we needed hits; we needed big, stable hits, and it wasn’t necessarily the time to do new stuff. I don’t think anything launched from the Big Two during that time that’s still currently published. But you take your swing, and every now and then they give you a try, and sometimes it’s The Order, and sometimes it’s Iron Fist. One lasted 12 issues, and one lasted 16 (at least with my involvement), but you know, sometimes you stick the landing even if it doesn’t run forever. But yeah it was fun learning how to write a team book.

Paste: How long did you have that mapped out? Did you have to cut a lot when it ended?
Fraction: About three years. But we sort of got word right away, we knew quickly that we weren’t going to get a year two, so those year two plot threads didn’t show up very much. Every 18, 20 issues there would’ve been a cast turnover.

Paste: I know Anthem showed up a bit in your Iron Man comic. Were there any story beats planned for The Order that you got to incorporate into Invincible Iron Man?
Fraction: I knew I was leading to Pepper being a superhero. Had The Order continued, I don’t know if she would’ve been Rescue, if she would have gotten a suit of armor, but she would have gotten in the field and done action-y stuff. Luckily, I got to pick that up in Iron Man and it bled into my plans for that, but otherwise no.

Check back later this week for Part II, where Fraction discusses Iron Man, Sex Criminals and Hawkeye.