Bob Layton, the creator of Iron Man comics since 1977 talked about the development of Iron Man’s characters over the years at Middle East Film and Comic Con today.
Tony Stark “never had friends”
Despite of Tony Stark’s flamboyant character traits in the comics and film adaptations, Layton emphasized on him never being a people’s person, saying “He’s a guy who’s a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist and he’s got no friends”, the reason being he’s a “corporate giant” and “lives in his own bubble.”
Iron Man wasn’t as popular as Spider-Man
Today in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man stands as Spider-Man’s mentor and is an important member of The Avengers. However, the Iron Man creator viewed him as a “B lister” since its inception in 1977. He said “Marvel back in those days had A list and B list books. Spider-Man was an A lister and Iron Man was always a B lister.”
Iron Man’s powers were upgraded to make him a “mainstream character”
Particular characteristics like substance addiction and defeating Hulk were created to make Iron Man a “mainstream character.” He recalled that he and his team received “bags of mails and they were handwritten” when Tony Stark was portrayed influenced by drugs but when he approached the Marvel team on this sensitive topic. Layton said “All we were told was to do it right.”
He also talked about his generation upgrading Marvel comics and its characters for the next generation. He said “My generation of artists were re-developing Marvel. We were updating them for a generation that wanted intimate and adult stories.”
Upgrading Iron Man’s character had downfalls too.
Recall the scene when Pepper removes Tony Stark’s arc reactor in the first movie? Layton criticized writers who took over Iron Man comics, saying “One of the things I hate about Iron Man is that he has a heart attack. I haven’t seen anyone get 50 heart attacks. It was weird that the world’s smartest man couldn’t fix his heart.”
Tony Stark’s character is inspired by James Bond.
Describing Tony Stark as Marvel’s ‘James Bond’, Layton was fascinated by the technology and the character traits Sean Connery(first James Bond actor) presented in the films, praising his “gadgetry, coolness and graveyard humor.” He went on to share his opinion on the Bond movies of today, saying “Now it’s too serious for me to care about.”
The Middle East Film and Comic Con goes on till Saturday, 7th April. For more information, go to www.mefcc.com.