By Ben Morse
There's a movie
coming out today
In honor of Iron Man hitting the big screen at a theater near you
, we had the iron men of Marvel Comics share what they love about ol' Shellhead, be it a story, an armor or just something about the man beneath the iron suit.
And we even got a couple advance reviews of the flick in the bargain!
It's Friday, so kick back, relax and enjoy.
ROBERT KIRKMAN (writer of ULTIMATE X-MEN):
When I was younger reading Iron Man comics, the coolest thing about the guy, aside from the visuals, was his vulnerability outside the suit. When he was drenched in a cold sweat, heart about to give out, seconds away from death and he'd have to use pieces of his damaged suit to defeat the bad guy—and keep his ailing heart from giving out—that's what made Tony Stark and Iron Man one of the coolest and most complex characters in comics. He was always willing to put it all on the line and I loved him
BARRY KITSON (upcoming artist of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN):
I love Iron Man because he was the first super hero I drew when I was about five years old, I was copying a Jack Kirby cover and when you're five years old an attempting your first drawing you have
to love a hero with a full face mask!
CHRISTOS GAGE (co-writer of AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE):
I loved the stories where Iron Man and Dr. Doom [went] back to the time of King Arthur. Technology, sorcery, high adventure, and the cool twist on the whole "knights in armor" concept [plus] Bob Layton art—what more could you want?
BILL ROSEMANN (Marvel editor):
I love that Tony Stark is just as interesting as his hi-tech suits. Yes, repulsor rays and jet boots are the coolest things ever—but so is the man inside the armor. Thoroughly flawed, irresistibly charismatic, often wracked with conflicting waves of guilt and hubris, driven to the point of self-destruction, thirsting for a glass of scotch but reaching instead for the throat of his latest foe…what's not
to love? Through Tony, Marvel shows once again that heroes are not just about the costume or the powers, it's the person
that needs to wow you. And Tony Stark is all about the wow.
CHRIS ELIOPOULOS (writer/artist of FRANKLIN RICHARD):
I just love that redemptive quality about the character. He's flawed, made some mistakes, but always tries to do the right thing. Plus the fact he's a genius and gets all the hot women while doing it is totally cool.
JOHN ROMITA JR. (former artist of IRON MAN):
I love Iron Man because of Tony Stark. I love Tony Stark because he's Italian American! Yes, just as Frank "Castle" is short for "Castiglione," "Stark" is short for "Starkonio!"
PAUL CORNELL (upcoming writer of CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI: 13):
It's the [David] Micheline and Layton runs that I remember with great affection. They were some of the first comics where I realized that I was enjoying them because individual panels were full of character, in the art as well as in the writing. There was a sense of energy about them, of creators caring about the readers' impressions every single moment. I could only sum that up at the time by describing them as 'shiny.' Under their control, the book became about Tony Stark, Iron Man being any one of numerous different armors he wore. And I think that's stayed with the concept to its advantage.
NICK LOWE (Marvel editor):
I love Tony Stark, falling out of a plane with a briefcase that he opens and assembles the suit as he falls to the ground. Hot
C.B. CEBULSKI (writer of AVENGERS FAIRY TALES):
The coolest thing for me about Iron Man over the years, aside from the fact that Tony's an equal opportunity womanizer, has been the sheer amount of different armor he's had. Different mission? New armor. Different villain? New armor. It gave each artist a lot of freedom in designing and redesigning Iron Man, we got to see some bad ass suits of armor along the way, and it also kept the feel of the book fresh. So many heroes get stuck in bad costumes for so long, but Tony never had that problem. He changed armor just like he changes neckties! And women...
JUAN DOE (cover artist of SECRET INVASION: FRONT LINE):
Tony Stark is the true hero, Iron-Man is just a suit. That's what I find appealing about the character, he is driven by the need to redeem as well as to conquer his own demons and impulses. Something many of us can relate to on the most basic level. Plus, his gadgets are the prettiest toys around.
GREG PAK (writer of SKAAR: SON OF HULK):
What do I love about Iron Man? James "War Machine" Rhodes. According to my scientific calculations, Rhodey is approximately sixteen thousand kinds of awesome.
STUART MOORE (upcoming writer of IRON MAN):
I love the fact that Iron Man is a character driven to redeem himself—an obsessive man who knows, just knows
deep down, that if he stays up one more hour, makes this
gadget work just a bit better or convinces Congress to enact that
particular law, he can improve the world. He's done a lot of things he's not proud of, but that just drives him harder. He's the smartest guy in the room, and he's all about redemption.
MARK PANICCIA (Marvel editor):
I think I loved everything about [the movie]. Stellar performances by an incredible cast, a great story and fantastic special effects!
MIKE CAREY (writer of X-MEN: LEGACY):
I loved that moment in [Mark] Millar's last ULTIMATES 2 arc, "Grand Theft America," when you realize that there are Iron Man suits that are way
bigger and scarier than the regular one. That was such a cool beat! In a different way, I also loved the way he defeated the traitor on the team just before that—being coy about names for those who, for whatever bizarre and suspect reason, haven't read it yet. Superb lateral thinking: obvious, in a way, but sly and clever and deeply horrible.
DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI (writer of CABLE):
I like how Iron Man's costume changes are totally justified. I mean, people buy new computers every 18 months; you can't be flying around, repulsor-blasting the crap out of stuff with the armor equivalent of a Commodore 64. With some other heroes, it can be a little "Project Runway," if you know what I mean.
RALPH MACCHIO (Marvel Executive Editor):
What I love about Iron Man is that Tony Stark doesn't have a power given to him through an accident. He's a self-made super hero. Iron Man is the culmination of the technical genius of Tony Stark. And as such, he can constantly refine and improve the armor. Spidey and Thor are who they are, and they can't really upgrade their powers, but Stark can have specific armor for specific tasks and can increase the power and sophistication
of the weapon systems therein. I especially love the Hulkbuster armor and I hope the next time Iron Man and Hulk clash, ol' Greenskin gets his green clock cleaned. So, it's Stark's ability to constantly upgrade and improve his "super power" that I find the coolest thing about Iron Man, though there're lots more that I don't have room to go into here.
MIKE PERKINS (artist of HOUSE OF M: AVENGERS):
One of the most enticing things about Iron Man is that he's totally self-made. Sure, he has a gargantuan, futurist intelligence, but no organically grown or scientific boo-boo-created super powers. He just goes in there with his hands and his head and creates what he needs. Not many heroes can claim that.
WARREN SIMONS (Marvel editor):
Tony's a great, flawed character in the classic Marvel tradition. And he's got boot jets, which rock.
TODD NAUCK (artist of AMERICAN DREAM):
The first time I saw Iron Man he scared me. It was the mid '70s, I was four years old, and my mom had bought me a Slurpee from 7-11 that came in a Marvel Super Heroes cup. I wanted a cup that had Spider-Man on it. That's what I was expecting. But she hands me a cup with Iron Man on it and his face scared me. The flat face plate with black slits for eyes and a mouth looked so unfriendly and inhuman I thought he was the most terrifying villain I'd ever seen. I would just look at the cup and felt like I was staring into the face of evil.
It wasn't until years later, I saw Iron Man guest star on "Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends" and realized this guy was a very cool super hero. I soon had the Secret Wars Iron Man action figure and I was reading Marvel Comics regularly.
My initial childhood traumatic encounter with Iron Man had led to a newfound appreciation and enjoyment of the character.
Oh! I also love the idea of Repulsor Rays. Awesome.
JOE QUESADA (Marvel Editor-In-Chief)
My favorite thing about Iron Man has always been how Tony Stark has managed through the ages to stay current with fashion.
JEPH LOEB (writer of HULK):
The movie is @#$%ing great
. It's the ["Terminator 2"] for this decade. Perfect script, cast, direction—[director Jon Favreau] didn't miss a single beat—and the tech is out of this world. [Robert] Downey [Jr.] is funny, charming, powerful—Tony Stark on the button. Same with the rest of the cast. Still jazzed 24 hours later. The hit of the summer!
TOM BREVOORT (Marvel Executive Editor):
1) Roller skates
2) Faceplate with a nose
6) Recharges from an automobile cigarette lighter
DAN SLOTT (writer of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN):
Now I know this is gonna sound crazy, with all the classic Iron Man stories to choose from: "Demon in a Bottle," fighting Doc Doom in King Arthur's time, "Armor Wars," the introduction of Hawkeye and so many, many more…but my favorite Iron Man adventure is an action-packed two-parter from MARVEL FANFARE, "Night of the Octopus."
In the space of two comics, you got a
super-villain prison breakout, a guest appearance by Daredevil, Tony reaching for a bottle, and a knock-down-drag-out fight where Iron Man had to beat Doctor Octopus at his own game, by jury-rigging a set of Doc-Ock-arms to his own armor!
The story had a sweet script by Roger McKenzie and amazing covers and interior art by Ken Steacy. Say, can you Marvel.Com guys upload those issues into the Digital Comics section? I so wanna read that again! [EDITOR'S NOTE: We're getting there, Dan.]
DAVID MICHELINIE (former writer of IRON MAN):
What I like most about Iron Man is that Tony Stark is just a guy. He's not an alien, he's not a mutant, [and] he hasn't been altered by radiation or magic. He has no super powers. He's just like you and me. Well, if we were a lot smarter. And a lot richer. And a lot [more handsome]. Okay, maybe not just
like you and me, but he's still a self-made hero whose intelligence and courage are his true weapons. He epitomizes what the common man—or woman—can aspire to if we commit to a goal and apply ourselves fully.
BOB LAYTON (former writer/artist of IRON MAN):
What do I love about Iron Man?
Character…character…and character! The elements that make a good Iron Man story are the conflicts that create change in Tony Stark. And David Michelinie and I put him through a hell of a lot of changes!
Not unlike his armor, Tony was a work in progress to us, constantly adapting to challenges that life throws at him while trying to control the inner demons that sometimes push him down unexpected roads. Part of the appeal is that Tony has an obsessive/compulsive personality—that is his "Kryptonite." The "Armor Wars" saga that David and I did is a prime example of that compulsion that drives him to endanger everything he's built in order to do, what he believes to be, the "right thing"—something they obviously picked up on and used in the motion picture.
I also was attracted to the character because he doesn't have super powers like a Superman or Spider-Man. His abilities come from the technology created by his own genius, which makes him much more credible to me as a creator.
But, the primary appeal to me is that Iron Man is a modern-day knight-in-armor. Our Iron Man is the present-time representation of those lofty Arthurian ideals, which has thrived in literature for centuries. He is the king of his own empire, he wields power judiciously, and punishes those who seek to destroy what he has built.
Oh—did I mention that I love drawing cool, shiny armor!!!!
ALEJANDRO ARBONA (Marvel assistant editor):
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1. Matt Fraction/Salvador Larroca. On sale May 7.
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! Also, get INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #1 at comic retailers everywhere, Wed., May 7!