Tony Stark has hit many lows over his lifetime — alcoholism, Civil War, Secret Invasion … Iron Man 2 — but who could’ve guessed he’d resort to a poorly dressed life of crime?
The Orlando Sentinel reports a man wearing an Iron Man mask and tan jumpsuit ran into a Wells Fargo Bank in Flagler County on Thursday afternoon, waved a gun and demanded money. None of the 10 people in the bank at the time was injured, but the man got away with an undisclosed amount of money.
This is it! The (thrilling?) conclusion of our re-reading The Invincible Iron Man series, which has covered the entire Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca series over the course of — let’s see … one, two, three, four — five posts. Today, we look at the last year and a half worth of issues, which are collected in a trio of trades that see our hero facing off against his ultimate villain in an attempt to save the world from destruction. (Spoiler warning: He succeeds.)
Ready for the penultimate installment of our re-reading of writer Matt Fraction and artist Salvador Larroca’s impressive five-year, 60-ish issue run on The Invincible Iron Man? Well, if not, you can always come back later when you are; it will be right here waiting.
Today we look at one official part of the run, and two more collections worth of Fraction-written Iron Man comics, which aren’t necessarily labeled as part of The Invincible Iron Man, because Marvel moves in mysterious ways.
Vol. 8 Unfixable (#501-503, Free Comic Book Day 2010 Iron Man/Thor, Rescue #1): With this volume, the drifting of the narrative glimpsed in the previous volume becomes more pronounced, with the bulk of the collection devoted to the next chapter of the Invincible Iron Man storyline and ending, mid-book, with a “Continued In FEAR ITSELF!” tag, and a pair of one-shots that sorta distract from the ongoing story (but certainly needed to be collected somewhere, if only for us wait-for-the-trade types) filling up the rest of the book.
In the title story, Stark is busily pitching his repulsor technology’s consumer applications, when he’s interrupted by “the post-life crisis ” of Spider-Man’s villain Otto “Doctor Octopus” Octavius, who, in the Spider-Man books of the time, had developed a terminal, degenerative disease and turned himself into a barely recognizable cyborg of sorts, his arms folded and legs tugged up like some sort of mummy awaiting burial, while a mass of mechanical arms did all his moving for him.
The folks at How It Should Have Ended this week turn their repulsor rays on Marvel’s Iron Man 3, to typically funny — and spoiler-filled — results that pick at some of the frayed threads of the hit film’s plot. Oh, and there’s also a comparison between one of the movie’s story elements and that of Pixar’s The Incredibles that you may not have thought of but now probably won’t be able to forget.
And if that’s not enough, there are a handful of cameos, as you can see from the image above.
Today we continue our look at Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca’s The Invincible Iron Man run with the next three volumes, which contain another new direction for the series, and the several instances of people other than Larroca drawing the series for the first time.
Vols. 4 and 5: Stark Resilient Books 1 and 2 (#25-33 ): Like the 12-issue story arc “World’s Most Wanted,” “Stark Resilient” is such a long story arc that it takes up two trade collections.
When we last left Stark, his friends and allies had just reinstalled a back-up of his brain into his body after he was left in a vegetative state by his heroic efforts to deny Norman Osborn access to his most dangerous secrets. While the first two years of the book were devoted to following the Iron Man through-line of the publisher’s massive Civil War-to-Siege storyline, with the 25th issue Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca essentially get to start over.
Oh, good, you came back. Today we’re going to take a look at the first four collections worth of Matt Fraction, Salvador Larroca and company’s The Invincible Iron Man, which accounts for the first 24 issues of the series and two of the several completely different (but narratively and thematically connected) directions the series took.
The Invincible Iron Man, Vol. 1: The Five Nightmares (#1-7): As I mentioned Tuesday, this title launched the same summer that director Jon Favreau’s Iron Man, starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, opened, and writing a new, second title with Iron Man as the hero must have seemed a rather daunting task, given that Downey and Favreau’s cool, charming war profiteer turned warrior for peace bore little resemblance to the Marvel Universe version of the character of the time, whom writer Mark Millar had turned into the publisher’s greatest villain during Civil War and its aftermath.
With regular old prose books, it’s easy: If you want to read the books that inspired big-budget summer movies like The Great Gatsby or World War Z, you need only pick up the novels with the same name.
Comic-book superhero movies, on the other hand, are a bit more tricky, as they rarely adapt a single, standalone story, but rather cherry-pick characters, plotlines, designs and images from several different comic books by various creators and published in various decades, all blended together in a rebooted, remixed mélange of an adaptation.
So if you walked out of a theater in the early ’00s wanting to read the comics that Blade or X-Men or Spider-Man or Daredevil were based on, well, you’d have to do some research first, and you’d end up with a whole stack of comics for each, none of which really replicated the same tone, world or experience of watching the films starring those heroes.
Cognizant of that, Marvel gradually got better at producing new comics to sell to fans of its movies. Some of these attempts to align comic books more closely with their cinematic versions have been better than others, of course.
The best of these was probably The Invincible Iron Man by writer Matt Fraction and artist Salvador Larroca, the 60-issue series that debuted in summer 2008, around the time the original Iron Man movie was in theaters, and concluded in fall 2012, just six months ahead of Iron Man 3, which, depending on contract negotiations, could end up being the final Iron Man film (it was certainly constructed as the end of a trilogy of films).
Over the weekend various toy blogs were buzzing over this image: the first prototype to leak out from the agreement between Ashley Wood’s 3A Toys and Marvel, as announced in February. And it’s pretty much exactly how you’d expect Iron Man to look after being redesigned by the man who created Popbot. Eventually, the official 3A blog released this clearer version of the teaser.
Not too long ago, Comic Book Resources talked to director Shane Black about Marvel’s Iron Man 3, which arrives in theaters today. When asked about David Michelinie and Bob Layton’s infamous “Demon in a Bottle” storyline, considered the darkest and deepest Tony Stark of them all, and its potential adaptation to the big screen, Black said, “No, because if we go there — it’s part of Tony’s character, but I think the ‘Demon in a Bottle; aspect, if you go there, you really have to go there. The film then becomes about that, because the journey that involves recovering from alcoholism is an entire movie. I mean, I want to keep it dark and interesting and edgy and spicy and all those things, but I don’t think we want to go as far as to deal with Tony’s descent into alcoholic madness. That’s maybe not where we want to be.”
This turned some heads, triggering accusations that Disney demanded sobriety, that Black forswore any alcohol in Iron Man 3 and insistence that it was a big deal that this issue wasn’t going to be addressed at all. I can see where the director is coming from on this: Iron Man has a lot on his plate already with four films’ worth of continuity and troubles following him, and to stop in the middle of all of that to take that turn down a dark and lonely path isn’t where we want to be in our Marvel movie medley.
Believe it or not, Iron Man 3 deals with a lot with demons, just not the particular demon of alcoholism. There are demons that are spawned from poor decision-making and from being a bit of a bastard in one’s younger years. There are demons that terrify us but, at heart, are completely manufactured from insecurity and doubt. And there are even more personal demons than that, ones that drive us into the night and can slowly crush you from the inside.
Seeing Iron Man 3 last night taught me something very important about myself and heroism, and those great, grand concepts I love to take from comics about dudes punching each other. Because, while the spectacle is fantastic, the effects and details are dead on, the acting is challenging and sly, it’s those message moments done just right that make viewers realize they just might have seen a different movie than everyone else.
WARNING: Iron Man 3 will be discussed below! I’m keeping out as many details as possible, but if you’re remaining spoiler-free, you might want to bookmark this one for later. To the brave, read on!
If you’re trying to decide what to wear to see Iron Man 3 on opening night later this week, Threadless has you covered — or at least your torso covered, anyway. A few months ago they had a “design an Iron Man” shirt contest, and the winners are now on sale on the site. I’ve posted a few of my favorites below.
Marvel Studios has unveiled a beautiful IMAX poster created by Jock for director Shane Black’s Iron Man 3, which arrives in theaters May 3, just ahead of Free Comic Book Day. It’s the last of the exclusive “12:01″ series, given to attendees of midnight showings of the studio’s films.
To see what James and the Robot 6 crew are reading, click below …
Booster Gold was introduced in 1986 as a glory-seeking time traveler eager to sign endorsement deals, and in his appearance on The CW’s Smallville wore a costume emblazoned with corporate logos, similar to a NASCAR racing suit. But what if other superheroes followed in Booster’s footsteps?
In his series “Sponsored Heroes,” Roberto Vergati Santos envisions costumed heroes from comics and films if they were getting some sweet, sweet sponsorship money from the likes of Nike, Apple and Coca-Cola (although why a cosmic entity like Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds, would need corporate cash is beyond me).
Some of the results a much better than others. You can see a sampling below, or view the entire series at Behance.
Marvel has long had aspirations for Hollywood. Decades before The Avengers was a mega-blockbuster, years before George Lucas produced the ill-fated Howard the Duck movie, Stan Lee and his superiors knew the heroes at the House of Ideas could sell more than just comic books.
In the early ’80s, Marvel’s developed pitches for animated shows based on a number of its titles, and a number of new creations. And it’s no wonder, given Marvel’s past with the Fantastic Four show and the success DC Comics had with cartoons on the small screen. But the properties they prepped were, well, something else.
Every hero needs to experience their first team-up, and Anthony Smith, a.k.a. Blue Ear, got to do that this past week. It didn’t start with the typical fight that such meetings usually start with, but then again, this wasn’t a typical team-up.
Last year Anthony’s mom, Christina D’Allesandro, reached out to Marvel after her son Anthony Smith told he wasn’t going to use his hearing aid anymore because “superheroes don’t have blue ears.” Marvel Editor Bill Rosemann responded first with evidence of Hawkeye’s hearing loss in the 1980s and then with artwork by Nelson Ribeiro and Manny Mederos depicting Anthony Smith as the superhero Blue Ear.
The story caught the attention of media and families with hearing-impaired children. It also caught the eye of Phonak, the largest distributor of hearing aids in the world. They worked with Marvel Custom Solutions, which regularly works with companies and organizations to create custom comics, on a poster that’s being distributed to pediatric audiology clinics. Written by Christos Gage and drawn by Paco Medina, the poster features Iron Man and a hearing-impaired boy who just wants to be treated like any other kid.
And this past week, Blue Ear attended an event at the Center for Hearing and Communication to debut the poster — as well as to meet fellow superhero Iron Man.
“When Christina told us about Anthony, she taught us about some of the unique challenges that children who wear hearing aids face,” Rosemann told Marvel.com. “When our friends at Phonak heard about how the Marvel heroes helped him, they realized how together we could help spread the message even further.”
Check out the poster below, and head over to Marvel.com to see more pictures of Blue Ear and Iron Man’s first team-up.