A post from my long-gone Marvel blog written the week the first IRON MAN film opened and discussing my history with the character.
April 29, 2008 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General
Because absolutely nobody asked, in honor of Iron Man week, here’s a quick rundown of my personal history with the character.
I likely first came across the character of Iron Man on repeats of the 60s Marvel Super-Heroes cartoons that ran on dim UHF channels, but I don’t have any conscious memory of doing so, so he didn’t make much of an impression.
The first Iron Man story I read was literally the first Iron Man story–his origin, from TALES OF SUSPENSE #39, as reprinted in the SON OF ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS collection Simon & Schuster issued in the ’70s. I had actually gone to my local library looking to check out their copy of ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS, because I’d just started reading FANTASTIC FOUR and was interested in looking at the first FF tale. But coming up empty, I took SON OF ORIGINS home as a consolation prize. And therein, I met the X-Men, the Avengers, Daredevil, Nick Fury, the Watcher and the Silver Surfer in addition to Iron Man.
Truth be told, I wasn’t all that knocked out by Iron Man. His first story was all right, but the second, more modern Iron Man story they’d included (illustrated by Gene Colan, who’s one of my all-time favorite Iron Man artists) didn’t really strike my fancy. Could be because it was a middle chapter of a longer storyline, in which Iron Man didn’t do much other than writhe in agony and recharge his armor from a car cigarette lighter.
But comics were relatively cheap in those days, and as I got deeper and deeper into the Marvel line (sampling modern issues of X-MEN, AVENGERS, DAREDEVIL and so forth), I eventually picked up a copy of IRON MAN on some slow week. That issue, #111, was right in the middle of an extended sequence itself, and probably wasn’t the best place to come in. IRON MAN was a series that, unbeknownst to me, had been limping along for some time, and while Bill Mantlo (who wrote this issue) had done yeoman work on the book, it wasn’t really setting the world on fire.
But things started looking up a few short months later, as in rapid succession John Romita Jr, David Michelinie and Bob Layton took over the series, and found new life in it. Their run–and Dave and Bob’s once JRJR departed for other pastures–was thoroughly enjoyable.
While I like him just fine, Iron Man’s never really been a big favorite of mine. But I sure am looking forward to seeing the film in a day or so’s time.
2 thoughts on “Blah Blah Blog – Iron Man and Me”
I guess the movie exceeded your (& most people’s) expectations? It seemed within days of its release, the 40-something year old character was an “overnight” sensation. And along with Nolan’s Batman movies, caused the general public to rethink how they perceived comic book superhero movies. Jon Favreau’s no slouch, and he deserves enormous credit, maybe the biggest % of it. But Robert Downey’s portrayal was far more likeable, relatable (even his obvious shortcomings) than the comics version, with the notable exception of Warren Ellis & Adi Granov’s “Extremis”. That was the most interested I’d been in Iron Man as an adult. And Granov made the armor work for live action. Or at least gave the movie-makers a much better starting point.
Adi’s depiction of Stark resembled Tom Cruise a bit in some shots. I’ve read where Cruise was later considered for the movie but may have turned it down. If you’d asked me in the late 80’s or early 90’s who to cast, I might have said Timothy Dalton. Because I always though Tony was much more of a straight up, all-business guy with few cracks of humor. A total grown up, if a little too self centered. And a freakin’ arms dealing total capitalist spokesman. But Downey gave him a more loose, “recently grown up” internal kid, which made him more irreverant and made his drive for the impossible to be attainable through his skill & creative mechanical know-how. It seemed less of a job and much more of an understandable passion, played by RDJ. And he was way funnier.
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After my completism was cured, Iron Man’s been a character I read when I really, really like the writer. That’s before and after the Iron Man movie(before he was something of an ass and since he’s been Robert Downey JR). I just can’t seem to just enjoy Marvel’s Big Three.
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