Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Clang, clang clang! What's that coming around the corner? Why, it's the armour-plated Golden Avenger* kicking off what promises to be a bumper season for franchise fanatics and comic book true-believers alike!

It certainly can't be any worse than last year's somewhat lacklustre summer, littered as it was with some of the most moribund sequels and multi-million dollar dullards in recent memory.

Iron Man is a pretty bloomin' important movie for the company who owns him - it's the first born from Marvel Studios, the first time they've fully taken the reigns with a movie based on one of their properties (and Hollywood has been knocking them out since the 40s). When you look at the various hits and misses it's probably high time they took control - the Merry Marvel Marching Society may have been raking in the cash the past few years, but although success stories like the Fantastic Four and Spider-man movies have their fans (stacks of them) they all smacked of reading from the same super-hero movie rule book.

One thing Marvel own brand movies promise is a taste of the interconnected community which made the original Silver Age comics so great - I loved the fact that Spidey could swing by and have a chinwag with Daredevil, or the Hulk would drop into town and tangle with Captain America for a tinkle. This sort of thing hasn't been possible with the rights strewn all over Hollywood, so bringing a big chunk of them back home seems like a good idea to me.

Anyhoo, to Iron Man - who made his debut in Tales of Suspense 39, back in March 1963 - also a milestone date for Marvel. That month the crossover structure I've mentioned above was born as Spidey met the Fantastic Four in the first issue of his own comic and quartet took on the Hulk when he turned up in issue 12 of their magazine.
Tony Stark was a bit of a slow burner to begin with, his suit going through a variety of redesigns throughout the decade, but he was fully intrenched by 1966 when Marvel's contemporary crop of heroes made the leap from page to screen in the Grantray Lawrence produced Marvel Superheroes show.

To call the animation in the series limited would be putting it lightly - in fact some of it is beyond bad, entering an almost zen-like level of absurdity and surrealism, yet I find the shows well up a sense of extreme nostalgia in me, placing them (for my money) amoung the best interpretations of the Marvel characters. I'll return to explain all and go into a bit more detail in a later entry, but for now please feel free to enjoy a full length story in relatively top notch quality courtesy of DialBforblog,
as a primer for the new movie ;)

* Iron Man was actually grey in his debut, as you can see from the Tales of Suspense cover posted above. Yah boo.