Marvel Custom Solutions

Suit Up with Iron Man & M&M’S®

Marvel Custom Solutions teams with Mars/M&M’S® for a colossal story starring Iron Man, Red, Yellow & Ms. Brown!

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Iron Man & the M&M’S® in: Armored…and Irresistible! preview art by Tom Grummett

By TJ Dietsch

As one of the Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Iron Man has joined forces with plenty of unlikely characters, but never a beloved snack food—until now!

Thanks to a partnership between Marvel Custom Solutions and M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Candies to celebrate last week's release of “Marvel’s Iron Man 3” on Blu-ray and DVD, the Armored Avenger can now add Red, Yellow and Ms. Brown to his list of team-ups.

Much like one of the popular TV spots, IRON MAN & THE M&M’S® IN: ARMORED…AND IRRESISTIBLE! finds the colorful candy characters attending a party thrown by Tony Stark and Pepper Potts to celebrate the brilliant inventor's latest creation, Stark Tech Automated Remotes, pod-shaped floating armors that will work with local law enforcement to keep communities safe.

Written by David Liss and penciled by Tom Grummett, the story gets crazy when the mind-controlling villain known as M.O.D.O.K. crashes the party. To keep his guests safe, Stark modifies the S.T.A.R.s, turning them into armor for Red and Yellow while Ms. Brown works with Pepper to help the armored heroes on the technical side of things. 

Iron Man & the M&M’S® in: Armored…and Irresistible! preview art by Tom Grummett

"When we started the project, our first challenge was figuring out how to logically get the M&M’S® characters into the Iron Man and Iron Patriot armors," Marvel Assistant Editor/Project Manager Mark Basso says. "As we talked more with M&M’S®, and looking over the established M&M’S® 'universe' from the commercials, we realized that in their world, it’s not unusual for these talking candies to interact with regular people. From there, it was a small leap to have them interacting with the Marvel Universe cast. David took it from there and came up with a great script to flesh out the idea."

"When working on a project like this, you have to be true to the tone of both sets of original, and totally unrelated, characters, but as this is ultimately an M&M’S® story, we wanted it to have the feel of one of the M&M’S® advertisements," Liss says. "A gathering made sense since it's the kind of thing we've seen with those characters before, and it's also compatible with Tony Stark's character. It was a good way to get everyone in the same place."

Combining icons from different walks of life can sometimes be difficult, but this one went smoothly, according to Basso.

"They were great, so creative and full of ideas," he says of their candy counterparts. "Brian Turtzo, the Brand Design Manager for Mars that worked closely with us on this, was instrumental in helping us understand the M&M’S® characters visually, as well as in how they act and speak. With Red and Yellow the leads in most of their marketing, we all wanted those two as the leads for our story. For the female M&M, we debated on using Ms. Green or Ms. Brown, and ultimately we agreed that the parallels of Ms. Brown and Pepper Potts as strong intellectual females gave us good basis for their scenes." 

Iron Man & the M&M’S® in: Armored…and Irresistible! preview art by Tom Grummett

While Red and Yellow get to pilot the S.T.A.R. suits in an effort to avoid getting eaten by the M.O.D.O.K.-controlled party guests, Pepper and Ms. Brown use their smarts to help save the day.

"From the beginning, we wanted to feature Brown working with Pepper, since having the two characters play off each other presented a good opportunity to write some fun dialogue," Liss says.

"As we didn’t have armor for Ms. Brown, it was a logical next step to give our unarmored heroes a chance to shine as well," Basso adds.

Liss admits that the idea to use Iron Man of all the Marvel heroes had been made before he got involved, but notes how the character's demeanor helped bring them together.

"I would certainly guess that Stark's sense of humor was seen as a good match for the tone of the M&M’S® ads, but I also think that the ultimate goal was to get the M&M’S® in armor," the writer says. "And that is a worthy goal indeed."

"Tony’s the only one with the quick thinking to adapt a piece of hardware into a suit of armor for the M&M’S®," Basso says.

On the subject of armors, Liss explains that M.O.D.O.K.'s look plays well off of the armored M&M’S®:

"I do think M.O.D.O.K. is a good visual pairing with the M&Ms in armor.”

Iron Man & the M&M’S® in: Armored…and Irresistible! preview art by Tom Grummett

"He has a certain visual similarity to our candy heroes," Basso says. "A running gag in the M&M’S® brand story is that people can’t resist trying to eat them! This was a key position from M&M’S® brand backstory and we took this a step further: what if they literally can’t help themselves, due to their minds being controlled by a sinister villain? From there, M.O.D.O.K. stood out as the mind-control menace that’s also the best visual foil to the M&M’S® unique look."

When it comes to a comic featuring fancy party guests, heroes, villains, candy and all kinds of armor, few artists could make it all work like Grummett.

"The art is amazing," Liss says. "I think Tom nailed exactly the right tone, but capturing the levity of the story and taking the action seriously. I was thrilled to work with him."

"Tom is a fantastic artist, and equally as important, a stellar visual story-teller," Basso says. "He was superb at translating the M&M’S® Characters unique movements onto the comic page."  

To see the trailer for IRON MAN & THE M&M’S® IN: ARMORED…AND IRRESISTIBLE! head on over to http://see.walmart.com/mms-ironman3

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