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Every week, we'll tap one creator to browse Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited and pick some of their favorite work from the expansive catalog. This week: celebrated IRON MAN writer and artist Bob Layton recalls one of his most famous Shellhead stories:
"Obviously, one of my favorite Iron Man stories will always be the 'Demon in the Bottle' saga, which culminated in IRON MAN #128. It was extremely controversial at the time, however, it was well received, in spite of its groundbreaking subject matter.
"[Writer] David Michelinie and I felt that we needed to create a personal problem for Tony Stark that fit the world of corporate business that we set him in. We wanted to create a weakness for Stark that wasn't the 'heart attack of the month,' which had been way overplayed previous to our arrival on the series."
"For the record, I have to say that we had the full support of Marvel editorial at the time. Keep in mind that when Michelinie and I inherited that series, IRON MAN sales were lackluster and the book was in desperate need of revitalizing. I suppose Marvel felt like we couldn't make matters worse by taking the concept in a radically different direction.
"Not once during the time we were creating that story arc did I ever think that we were creating comics history in the process. This was just a logical extension of what we had planned for the character, even though the storyline wound up having repercussions to the character that are still being dealt with to this day—in the comics and
the motion picture.
"David and I were merely two comic book creators, struggling to make a living and being passionate about our assignment. Really, no one can ever
set out to create something iconic. It's usually the accident of 'catching lightning in a bottle'—being in the right place—at the right time. And, it didn't hurt that David Michelinie is one of the best writers in comics.
"I'm extremely grateful for all the accolades and respect that our contributions to the legacy of Iron Man has gotten from the fans over the years."
"Iron Man" DVD and Blu-ray on sale Tuesday, Sept. 30. Preorder the Iron Man DVD now in a two-disc special edition, a single-disc edition or an ultimate two-disc Blu-ray edition. And be sure to head over to the official Iron Man movie site.
Want to catch up on your Iron Man reading? Check out this list of essential comic collections. And don't forget to head over to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited for all the Shellhead stories you can handle!