The Fan Fiction Fanzine

Erik Fromme Interview

By • Aug 30th, 2009 • Category: Interviews, Lead Story
Lead Story

HEROES: Who Is Erik Fromme?

ERIK FROMME: I’m a 30yr old guy with tremendously awesome, awe-inspiring sideburns that make all the women hot. I have a wife and daughter that I wish I could do more for and a pained die-hard fan of the Buffalo Sabres.

H: What’s Your Background?

EF: I’ve pretty much lived in Buffalo my entire life where I’ve lead a rather uneventful and dull life, with my only specialty being able to shoot myself in the foot with the ladies and not getting laid. Right now I’m a drafter for a Mechanical Contractor, but I’ve also held previous jobs that reinforce my action-filled lifestyle such as a dishwasher a restaurant that was burnt down the insurance money and a Grocery Clerk at Wegmann’s. I didn’t get into writing until 2000 when I wrote more than 3000 words for one story in one time. So I consider myself still honing my craft, but I don’t wince as much when I read my current work as much I used to my older stuff.

H: Where Do You Live?

EF: It’s a small town that you’ve probably never heard of, especially if you follow football at all, called Buffalo, NY. Yeah, yeah, let those ‘wide right’ jokes fly everybody, ’cause I’ve never heard them before. Oh,wait, is that a foot in the crease? You mean the Sabres don’t get a Game 7 shot?! What? I’m not a Yankee’s fan so I can’t even take joy in their occasional World Series wins? I’m doomed to be an Indian’s fan? God, I suck.

H: Why Fan Fiction?

EF: One of my friends summed up fanfic really well: it’s writing for writing’s sake. It’s a perfect place to figure out your style and learn how to handle a wildly diverse group of characters in a setting that couldn’t be better or richer to have at my disposal. And it’s fun. I mean, where else can I get a chance to write a character like Superman without having to poison Geoff John’s coffee and jump through hoops to get into DC Comics in order to even BE in a position to poison Geoff John’s coffee. In the context of any of these websites the story is just as real and just as meaningful to the universe it’s written in. Also, when you think of it, these authors at Marvel or DC are in the end still only playing with other people’s toys, but getting paid to do so. It’s all a mental and fictional world and I don’t think the story lacks any less merit than the ‘real thing’ because of it. I’ve read plenty of fanfic stories that I get a bigger kick out of than from the big companies anyway. That and since I really don’t know a whole lot of the comic history I was in a spot to MAKE my OWN history to follow.

H: Do You Have Any Other Writing Ambitions?

EF: Oh, yeah. I’d love to be an editor on movie scripts or comic scripts. I get a tremendous kick out of world building and being able to take ideas and twist them. If I ever did have an original idea in my head then I’d love to be able to proudly stake claim to my own property, but right now I’m at a loss.

H: MARVEL ANTHOLOGY has experienced a sudden explosion in terms of new titles and writing talent.  How come?

EF: Well, frankly, MA needed a shot in the arm. And you can blame ALL of this on Barry’s interest to write at MA for this explosion, because I looked at what MA was and said to myself that if Barry’s coming to this site then it better look good and it better be fresh. So, I pushed the reboot button on the site and unloaded all of the stagnate continuity. When I did that it created a unique opportunity to approach MA’s continuity from the ground  and develop a vision for it. After Barry and INFINITY came then so did Tony Thornley on AVENGERS. Tony came to me with a desire to kick start MA’s X-Men line (as every good Marvel site needs one) and I was interested in doing so, but with a twist: Xavier’s dream HAD to be pushed forward. I was tired of this dark future crap that’s been milked for 30yrs without any progress in their collective struggle. It didnt’ make sense to me that for as hard as the X-Men fought that they’d gain no ground. Without hope then there’s the incentive? Without ANY victory outside of putting off another doomsday, when you know the future is still against you, why keep fighting? The thought behind pushing Xavier’s dream was to give them hope and infuse a sense of adventure back into the line by exploring this sense that mutants could be becoming accepted, popular and no longer as strongly persecuted so they can go out into the streets and walk freely without getting a Budweiser bottle smashed against their face. There’s A LOT to explore with how do not only humans deal with this, but the mutants who were used to getting beaten. How do the threats pose MORE of a problem by attacking this newer and brighter future that the X-Men are now fighting to preserve.

Tony, Clayton and I decided to then be aggressive with not only the X-Men line, but with the entire website. Let’s go out and recruit authors we wanted on site with a real title and concept to pitch them on. We addressed our needs with the X-Men line first and developed out this concept further and then we sought out to give each book it’s own purpose. Uncanny was to be different from Astonishing, which was different from X-Force and X-Factor. Explore the bigger picture in these pieces which can be enjoyed separately or together, but they all play off each other without actually being tied together because of how everybody involved was able to contribute and world build BEFORE the first issues were released. The X-Men line really taught us a lot in how to manage the site and approach each new line. After X-Men we tackled Supernatural titles as a whole, then again went out and aggressively recruited and sold people on our approach. And it worked. Aside from myself, Clayton, Barry, Tony, TC, Brashear and Scott everybody on site was invited to be here based on what title we desired and who we felt fit the concept the best. But the X-Men wasn’t the only line we wanted to make fun and return adventure and wonder too. The Supernatural line was created to bring out all of the elements native to it with Horror, Thriller and Supernatural all given a focus in the titles developed. They’re all unique to each other, yet tied into a larger picture.

We’re not done yet as we have more of what we’re calling ‘Initiatives’ lined up that will hopefully open up the MA world much more. So, if you’re not at MA yet then there are good chances we’re working out way to you.

H: What new titles are you especially excited about?

EF: I’m really excited about seeing our Street Initiative launch. I really like the books that explore the more down to earth side of the Marvel Universe and it’ll be nice to have those books to ground MA as it’s really focused on the more ‘over the top’ stories with Avengers, X-Men, Supernatural and Space. This should happen in August right after our Avengers Initiative that just launched this month. I’m also really excited to see how X-NATION turns out. It’s an idea Derrick Ferguson and I are working on (with 2 other authors recruited into the idea) about a reality TV show along the same lines as a Real World. With mutants now on the cusp of popularity how would TV exploit this fad and how are mutants dealing with this ‘better’ world? Is it really better? Do ALL mutants really care about being X-Men as we’re led to believe they all are in comics or do they want to lead regular lives.

X-NATION is a character study at heart and it should be a fun experiment that I don’t think you’ll see anywhere else.

H: What is you direction with MARVEL ANTHOLOGY?  How is it different from other Marvel fan fiction sites?

EF: My only vision with MA is to just make writing fun, but not just with your and your book but by working with and coordinating with the other author’s here and helping each other develop ideas. They all use the same Earth, and the books and consequences of the stories should reflect that. But, I like to think the difference(s) with MA and other sites is the encouragement to be different, to go off the beaten path. We’re not Marvel 616 (hence why MA is 792) and therefore we’re NOT bound by the same rules or trapped in the same boundaries as they are and create. I also think being aggressive with the talent has been the biggest secret to our success. We didn’t wait for who came to us. We saw and evaluated our needs and we chased who we wanted and hoped that our enthusiasm and ideas were good enough to hook them. I’m also in constant contact with the writers and throwing out ideas as much as a field new ideas. It’s good to keep an open dialog and to really be interested in the ideas you get.

I know, personally, MA is my tool to see stories I know I won’t see elsewhere, except for possibly in fanfic which already houses a lot of great and different stories. I’m not bound by rules of Marvel and I think my general LACK of knowledge in Marvel gives me an ability to NOT be married to any given established direction or status quo. I mean, if I were, would I have allowed Xavier’s dream to advance? Or at DCA would I have let Ed Ainsworth tear down Wonder Woman and build her back up in a totally different way? Let’s shake shit up a little and have fun with what we’re doing.

I also think quality is good. Nothing gets on site without being proofed first for spelling or grammar. Does it mean everything is perfect? Not at all, but it doesn’t hurt one bit and for the most part all of the author’s are happy to see their stuff looked over before as it makes them look good too.

H: What do you think are your strengths as an editor? And your weaknesses?

EF: I think my enthusiasm could be seen as both. If I see a different idea out there I could be too quick to jump on it without fully understanding the possibility of it really happening since I may not know the history leading up to it. I also do have a short memory so some follow up e-mails may take me longer than I’d like to finally get around to. But, I like to think that putting myself out there as a soundboard for the guys who write for MA is a major plus. I’m hardly unavailable and I’ve been in phone contact with a few of them to talk about ideas and such easier and more fluidly. I love a good spitballing session. Let’s talk, debate and argue out our points. We’ll accomplish much more that way as we’ll understand where each other is coming from. I’m also willing to take chances on concepts that may not be immediately popular, but if you’re able to give me enough detail then I can be pretty much sold on anything. I don’t really like to give an absolute ‘no’ to anything, not if something can be worked out.

I’m also not short on ideas and will share them with anybody willing to listen and if they feel they can run with it then they’re free to have it as their own. I do have a vision for the overall site, but it’s more about its tone and atmosphere more than it is about the direction every single title has to go in. If you’re writing for me and allowed into the site then I think there’s enough freedom for the authors to go places that they may not otherwise be able to go in elsewhere. And I’m always giving feedback about each title, mostly as it’s being written and as ideas come across my inbox. I’m full of opinions, too, and they’re more than shared with everybody. But every author, then, should know where he stands with me at every turn.

H: Hobbies?  Other Interests?

EF: Aside from writing and world building, I love to read…though I haven’t done much of that. I also love discussing movies and television programs with my friends. I’m looking to also create my own Podcast with a group of my friends and bullshit for an hour about whatever is on our minds the most at that moment. Um, I also used to build models when I was younger of the starships from STAR TREK. STAR TREK is a big interest of mine as is other Sci-Fi in general. The imagination that goes into Sci-Fi is extremely attractive to me

H: What’s a Typical Day In The Life Of Erik Fromme like?

EF: Oh, well buckle your seatbelts kids; this is going to get interesting. Mon-Fri I wake up at 6am and having breakfast at my computer; checking up on e-mail, reading LJ entries and the news while listening to Opie & Anthony on XM 202. I’m out of the house at 7ish and at work before 7:30. I then sit on my ass in front of two computer screens for 8.5 hours drawing pipe, while listening to Opie & Anthony then Ron & Fez on XM 202. In the hour in between R&F and when I leave work I’m then listening to Podcasts like Better In the Dark, SModcast or whatever else. I go home, change, and then play with my little girl ’till 9ish when she goes to bed. Then, depending on what day, I’m either on the computer, watching TV or a movie until 11ish when I go to sleep. My wife and child dominate a lot of my time at home. So, I stopped wondering a long time ago why I get nothing done. Wednesday my friend comes over, but only every Weds as that’s his day off.

H: Here’s Your Chance To Give Somebody A Shoutout.  Go

EF: I want to thank Clayton for indulging my insanity for the 10yrs we’ve known each other. He’s supported my work even when I didn’t, at times, and his insults, jabs and overall prickyness has really pushed me forward. I’m also a fan of his work that he lets me in on and have input in from time to time, so if you haven’t checked out USAgent at MO or Supergirl at DCA or West Coast Avengers at MA then you better rectify that. His love for his characters is without equal.

H: What Else Should We Know About Erik Fromme?

EF: That I’m filling this out at work when I should be drawing a platform for a boiler’s shut-off valve that’s sitting 11 feet in the air. Um, other than that I don’t know if there’s anything else to divulge that I haven’t already. Thanks, for the chance to get my voice out there.

Doug Bookey
is a 32 year old happily married man who loves comics and the characters associated with them so much he writers Fan Fiction based on them. Currently He is the Editor in Chief of Altered Visions, Marvel Reborn, and Ultimate DC.
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