By Craig Tello
Stark Industries' latest endeavor isn't in iron or alloys; it's on cardstock.
With the smash cinematic release "Iron Man" still repulsor blasting through the box office, Rittenhouse Archives' official movie trading card set is just beginning to armor up. Capturing the quintessential moments and special effects of the much lauded movie, the 70-piece series (not including the vast assortment of sketch, costume and autograph cards) presents the Marvel Studios film in a most unique, highly collectible format.
"When you have a limited event opportunity like this to put out a set of Iron Man cards, you really want it to click on all cylinders," said Steven Charendoff, president of Rittenhouse Archives, Ltd. "
Making things click is one thing, making them soar like a jet-propelled, armor clad crime fighter is a whole other. That's exactly what Rittenhouse accomplished in this remarkable series, which includes just about anything you could possibly want – from behind-the-scenes cards to "museum exhibit quality" artist sketch cards to "Iron Man Archives" and "Casting Call" subsets.
"In all the projects I've ever worked on, I've never had a movie card set where there was so much special effects material that really enabled us to tell the whole story from start to finish," he continued. "[Marvel Studios] positioned us to be able to do as much with this Iron Man card series as we possibly could."
Bob Layton Sketch
Delving into the realm of comicdom, this set offers a nine-card homage to ol' Shellhead and his four-color funny book roots – including his very first appearance in TALES OF SUSPENSE #39. Aimed to "co-mingle the history of Iron Man with the movie," this reverent look back at the character's comic origins and classic moments cements the trading card series as a Marvelous must-have for Marvelite and film fan alike.
"What made sense to me was not only making a set of cards for the movie itself, but also combining some elements from the comic books," explained Charendoff. "A lot of people who are interested in the movie have been reading Iron Man comics for years."
That interest may not be piqued any more than with the rare costume cards (yes, you can own a slice of Pepper Potts' biz-casual skirt) and armor pieces.
"We were able to get authentic pieces [of the red and gold, Mark-1 and Iron Monger suits] that we were able to cut up and mount [on prop cards]," Charendoff added. "Those become very desirable cards…it's almost impossible for anyone to have anything like that. It makes for a really, really cool collectible item."
Jeff Bridges Autograph
If actual wardrobe fragments weren't enough, the series also features genuine autographs from film stars like Terrence Howard (a.k.a. Jim Rhodes), Jeff Bridges (a.k.a. Obadiah Stone), director Jon Favreau, and of course, Tony Stark himself, Robert Downey, Jr. (a.k.a. Iron Man).
These are all plenty of reasons to love this set about as much as Charendoff does. Rittenhouse is no stranger to the Marvel Universe, boasting original card series for Shellhead's fellow film franchisees "Spider-Man 3" and "X-3", plus arguably their most alluring card set: Women of Marvel. Nonetheless, this Iron Man series has nestled a special nook in Charendoff's heart.
"Iron Man was always a favorite of mine growing up. I had a collection of Iron Man comics as a kid," he readily admitted. "As much as I love working on all the projects that we work on, having had the chance to actually put together–for work–an Iron Man related card set was a true labor of love."
While unopened boxes of this hot series might require a little bit of heroics to conquer, you can find Iron Man movie trading cards in stores now. And, after you secure your very own cardstock depiction of Iron Man betwixt a pair of F-22s or genuine piece of Stark's sleek gear, get ready for the next installment–series two–later this year to coordinate with the bound-to-be-blockbuster DVD release.
Iron Man Movie Cards Overview
70 Base Cards
9 Iron Man Archives (1:8 packs)
9 Casting Call (1:12 packs)
9 Armored Hero (1:24 packs)
7 Autograph Cards
17 Costume Cards
20 Sketch Cards
1 Case Topper Autograph Card
3 Multi-Case Incentive Prop Card (1 for every 2 cases purchased)
1 Multi-Case Incentive Sketch Card (1 for every 4 cases purchased)
3 Promo Cards
Need to catch up on your Iron Man reading? Looking for the perfect stories starring Ol' Shellhead? Check out our list of the 10 Collections marked as required reading by any Iron Man fan!
See "Iron Man" now at a theater near you! Visit the official "Iron Man" movie site! Get INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1 available at comic retailers everywhere! Also, vote now (and often) for "Iron Man" as "Best Summer Movie So Far" at MTV.com.