Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Reading Recommendation, From the Holy City

Thor: Ages of Thunder #1 - written by Matt Fraction, art by Patrick Zircher.

(excerpt from an interview on Newsarama)

Newsarama: Matt, what’s Ages of Thunder about, and how does it tie into the Thor mythos?

Matt Fraction: It's a Thor graphic novel, told in parts, that plugs the pure Stan-and-Jack interpretation of Thor and the Asgardians into the Norse myth cycle. It sort of exists outside of any current incarnation of Thor – one of my favorite things about the Norse myths is that it's cyclical; that Ragnarok has survivors and the stories begin again.

So we're using that as a motivation to look at Thor and his pantheon throughout various different eras of Ragnanroks, with various different visual interpretations. Each time they're living through these insane and colossal stories that build on top of one another, each chapter presenting us with another way of seeing Asgard as it rages towards its inevitable destruction and rebirth.

Ultimately, these stories present to us with the reasons why Odin saw fit to curse Thor with the humanity of Donald Blake, and who he becomes because of it. That's the uniting thread that, no matter what apocalypse he's skyrocketing towards, Thor had this flaw, and this ultimate redemption because of it, told in giant, divine terms. It was danced around back in Thor#159, if you want to get all continuity-guy on it; Ages of Thunder is a kind of explicit play-by-play, where Thor's lack of humility triggers all of these wonderful, horrible things.

Newsarama: So how did this project come about, and what appealed to you about working on Thor?

Matt Fraction: Thor had long remained a kind of a mystery to me – I couldn't find a way into the book, as a writer. Which is just weak. As a reader, there were bits that I loved but there were far more aspects to his history as a comics character that alienated me. And-- this is mortifying and embarrassing and I'm sure they don't remember this, but I do – the first time I talked to Axel Alonso and Warren Simons about what kind of stuff I wanted to pitch at Marvel, I said that if they were looking for a Thor mini, I wasn't the guy. Just, y'know – superdicky, small-minded, all of it.

It was the fantasy aspect — real or perceived-- that I just couldn't connect with; that kept me outside of the real power of the stories and the character. Then I had my, ahh, revelation on the road to Damascus, and here we are. I've seen the light, repented, etc. Now I'm ready to smash things with hammers.

Newsarama: Yay, hammers! Now, what are some of the stories that this one-shot touches on?

Matt Fraction: The reconstruction of the Asgardian wall. Loki's kidnapping of Idun, or who we're assigning Idun's role, and what happened to her apples. Sif getting her hair cut off. Drunken hijinx in an iron forge.

You know. The classics.

Three quick notes:

1) I'm in Charleston, SC until Saturday - got any gallery/stuff to do recommendations?

2) I'm working on a long (for me) essay, loosely based around my thoughts on spectators and art. With the help of a few more cups of coffee, it should be posted to Proclaim It Lost by Friday afternoon.

3) The Fraction interview's a bit lame (especially if you aren't caught up on Thor's comic biography) but the comic itself is a fun introduction to the summer reading season.