Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tony Stark and All Things Iron Man!

Required Reading: Tony Stark and All Things Iron Man!

Hi guys, it's Roman, your comic book guide to the stars. Today's comic book lesson is Iron Man. I know what you're thinking: "I've seen the trailers, I've heard the buzz, just show me the damn movie!" I know it sucks to wait and maybe those Iron Man fires aren't burning as hot as they were six months ago, but bear with me and stay psyched cause its going burn this mother down.

If you feel like you can't wait another few days, I've got some recommended reading material that will excite and educate you in the Iron Man universe. What's that? You haven't read a comic book in ten years? Or, heaven forbid, you have never read a comic book at all? My heart breaks for you… Lets point you in the right direction.

The Ultimates: Vol. 1The Ultimates
Written by Mark Millar, Illustrated by Bryan Hitch
If you are new to comics or have never read one, The Ultimates: Vol. One is a great place to start. This series is a fresh revamp of the Avengers adapted for a modern world. (The Avengers are the team that Iron Man fights for in the Marvel Universe.) The Ultimates reads like a superhero political thriller with plenty of action. It's not a classic version of the character and I speculate that much of the Iron Man movie will have references to this version.

Ultimate Iron ManUltimate Iron Man
Written by Orson Scott Card, Illustrated by Andy Kubert
This five part mini-series gives us a look at how a young Tony Stark (Iron Man) struggles with family issues, unbearable pain and his father's near loss of Stark Industries. An ultimate version of Obadiah Stane (Iron Monger) makes an appearance along with his father, head of his own technological company, Zebediah Stane.

Iron Man: Viva Las VegasIron Man: Viva Las Vegas
Written by Jon Favreau, Illustrated by Adi Granov
I, personally, am looking forward to the upcoming first issue due out May 7th this year. This comic book is going to be a fun piece that takes a look at Tony Stark enjoying some rest and relaxation in sin city itself. What's a billionaire playboy to do? Oh, and did I mention that this comic book is written by the director of Iron Man himself, Jon Favreau. Man, that guy loves Las Vegas.

Iron Man: Demon in a BottleIron Man: Demon in a Bottle
Written by David Michelinie and Bob Layton, Illustrated by John Romita, Jr.
One more courtesy of EW.com: True, Jon Favreau's movie is more of a cheeky origin story, but it merely sets the foundation for what he's reportedly said will lend itself to a warts-and-all sequel. Enter Demon in a Bottle. Fifteen years after Iron Man's invention, Michelinie and Layton created this definitive portrait of the alcoholic hero. Tony Stark, the playboy industrialist under the armor, goes head-to-head against whiskey sours and amaretto and scotches — it's probably the only time you'll hear the battle cry, ”I should never have had that fourth martini!” Reminders that it's 1979 include disco fashions and Ed Koch.

If you are more of a classic comic book reader, you will have to refer to the Silver Age of comic books, which is the late 1950's to the 1970's. Iron Man first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39 in March of 1963.

To clear things up a bit, there are two distinct "universes" in Marvel. One being the regular "Marvel Universe", where all of your favorite Marvel heroes came from. And an "Ultimate Universe", where all of your favorite Marvel heroes were revamped to attract a new generation of readers. Most of the characters are the same, but have been given new origins to fit a new age. For example: Peter Parker in the "Marvel Universe" is a photographer for the Daily Bugle. In the "Ultimate Universe," Peter Parker designs and maintains the website for the Daily Bugle. Sorry if this is confusing for first-time comic readers.

This is my first column, so I'm not going to overload you on what to read… yet. Check these books out at your local comic book store to get familiar with the character. Don't get jaded by what you have read or will read before the film's release. Remember, these movies are geared towards everyone, so a bit or a majority of it is changed when adapted to the silver screen. Enjoy the movie and come back next month for more comic book reading suggestions. So long from Roman's comic land and I'll see you at the movies.

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