May 08, 2008

Today's Hube Iron Man Trivia Tidbit

Iron Man was once a teenager.

No joke. No, Tony Stark did not create his Iron Man armor as a teen. He was already an adult when he was taken captive and had to create the Iron Man armor to escape his tormentors. In the mid-90s, Marvel got this "brilliant" idea to attract younger readers -- "Let's turn Iron Man into a teenager!"

It backfired spectacularly.

The ... "experiment" lasted a whole eight issues. Eight. In 1996, Marvel brought in then-heavyweights Jim Lee (well, he's still a heavyweight) and Rob Liefeld (who's an unbelievable total hack) to "reimagine" some of their marquee characters, including the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, Captain America and Iron Man. Liefeld, however, was such a disaster on Captain America that they asked him to leave after only half his contracted issues. I mean, just look at the grotesque anatomy he ... "drew" below:

Ugh. And this guy was supposed to be one of the 1990's "hot" talents. Go figure. (Check out this hilarious site which chronicles Liefeld's "40 Worst Drawings.") Eventually, come 1998, Marvel "revamped" their marquee characters again in what was dubbed "Heroes Return." Iron Man was an adult again (thank God!), and all of Marvel was back in their "own" universe.

Now, you may -- just may -- be wondering what the hell happened to Teen Tony Stark. No one really knows. And further, no one really cares. As long as he's just ... gone.

Posted by Hube at May 8, 2008 09:38 PM | TrackBack

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Speaking of hacks. When I used to read comic books there was an inker named Jack Abel. I hated his work. He was always too heavy on the inks obliterating the pencilling. (The one penciller I thought he was OK with was Sal - John's little brother - Buscema. But that's because Sal's drawings were so unremarkable, they couldn't really be damaged.) Still you'd read the letters page and even comments from comics professinals and they'd talk about what a great talent Jack Abel was.

From what I remember he inked the first two issues of Steve Englehart's "Dark Night Detective" in Detective Comics over Walt Simonson. (The other 6 were done by Marshal Rogers and, I think, Bob Layton.) I never knew how good Walt Simonson was because those two issues looked awful. I also think that he inked Michael Golden, which, again, was a horrible waste of pencilling talent.

Posted by: soccer dad at May 9, 2008 09:25 AM

Thanks for the link, Hube. Laughed my ass off! I always wondered why all of Liefeld's characters were festooned with those ridiculous pouches - I don't recall anyone taking anything out of them, like ammo or throwing stars or gum, they just had all these pouches.

Posted by: G Rex at May 9, 2008 10:30 AM

Body all out of proportion? Can't see their feet? Yup that's Liefeld alright.

Posted by: Jeff the Baptist at May 9, 2008 11:11 AM

It's a little revisionistic to see Heroes Reborn as a reaction to Teen Tony. My understanding is that negotiations for Heroes Reborn went on at executive level independently of editorial, who took this decision. Teen Tony didn't actually appear in the comics until just after the announcement of Heroes Reborn, so there was never any time to see if the experiment would work. (And yes they shouldn't have needed time to see it wouldn't work, but this was the same year of the Spider-Clone...)

I believe the proponent of this idea was Terry Kavanagh, who also came up with the idea of revealing that the Spider-Man of the last 20 years was just a clone. In both cases it was to remove "baggage".

Posted by: Tim Roll-Pickering at November 2, 2008 08:53 AM