If you ever wanted to own a piece of Stark Industries technology — or at least some slick Iron Man memorabilia — you’re about to get your chance.
PropWorx is launching the Iron Man Prop & Costume Auction this Sunday in Chicago at the inaugural C2E2, with bidders able to participate both live at the convention and through an online auction house. Additionally, PropWorx is offering a limited-edition hardcover catalog containing extensive photos of the items on sale at the auction, as well as numerous interviews and concept art renderings from the Iron Man production team.
To learn more, SpinOff Online spoke with PropWorx CEO Alec Peters about the company’s history, the items on sale at the auction and much more.
SPINOFF: Alec, can you give a bit of history on PropWorx, what the company has accomplished over the years and its goals within the framework of popular culture?
Alec Peters: Propworx started in 2008 when, as a collector and successful entrepreneur, I pitched NBC/Universal when Battlestar Galactica was coming to an end. I knew Richard Hatch and he made an introduction to the producer. As one of the largest collectors of screen-used Star Trek props and costumes — I write the Star Trek Prop Blog — I had some experience in the hobby and am also used to building companies. Battlestar was a great opportunity and we sold over 8,000 items over 15 months.
We are all fans at Propworx, and we love what we do, so we really want to create a company that is fun to work at and where we work on projects we are passionate about. We want to be the number one auction house for Hollywood memorabilia, and I think on many levels, we already are!
Can you talk about how the idea for the Iron Man Prop & Costume Auction first came about and how that idea was developed into the full-fledged auction it is now?
Well, I am a huge comic geek. I have one of the best Silver Age Captain America collections in the country, so Marvel was always one of my targets to do their movies. Jordan Hudson, who was in charge of asset disposition at Marvel, came to the BSG auctions and was impressed enough to ask us to do this for Iron Man. We worked with Marvel and decided the Iron Man auction needed to be really special, since Marvel is new to this world and needs to see some success to believe in the project.
Clearly, Iron Man is a film that generated a ton of buzz and the sequel looks to be no different. As a comic book fan yourself, what do you think makes Iron Man work as a character and as a film franchise?
I think Robert Downey Jr. is the key. He is such an amazing actor and he just makes everyone like his character. Iron Man has never had the huge popularity of Spider-Man or the X-Men, but on screen, Downey just gives the character that appeal that crosses over to mainstream America.
There are tons of Iron Man props on display for this auction. Were there any specific items that you as a fan of Iron Man particularly wanted to secure for the auction?
We were given boxes of props. We came into this a year after the movie was released, so we didn’t get to work as closely as we would have liked with the actual production. But we were pleasantly surprised by the R/T units and then we went to Legacy Effects and picked up the armor pieces and the Iron Monger, which are definitely some of the standouts!
Are there any items that you weren’t able to procure that you really would have liked to have on display?
Sure — the “Hero” Iron Man suits! There were five — the Mark I, Mark II, Mark III, the Mark II battle damaged version and the Iron Monger. All very cool. The “Hero” versions have all been displayed at Comic-Con over the past two years.
The hardcover catalog created in conjunction with the auction is very impressive. Can you discuss the creation of the hardcover — the compilation of interviews, concept art and more?
We wanted to step up our game with the Iron Man auction. The Battlestar Galactica catalogs were widely hailed as the nicest auction catalogs ever, but for us, we wanted to do more. That meant more content and a hardcover catalog with a dust jacket. We were lucky that Marvel gave us all of these great interviews and access to all the photos from The Art of Iron Man book and their archive. Damaris Degen, our graphic artist, did an amazing job of laying it all out!
A lot of people won’t be able to participate in the auction, so the catalog makes the perfect item if money is tight or even if you just love Iron Man, because the content is so amazing. I especially love the interview with Shane Mahan, who is one of the main partners at Legacy Effects who designed the Iron Man suits.
The auction will be held on Sunday at the inaugural Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo. What makes C2E2 the right venue for this event, both on its own and as opposed to another convention like Comic-Con?
Well, at Comic-Con, you would get lost in everything else that’s happening. C2E2 has rolled out the red carpet for us and is really making the auction a highlight of their event. That means we get to be the big fish and we just would never get this at Comic-Con.
In addition to the live auction at the show, there’s also an online component where fans can bid on props. Can you talk about the reasoning behind the concurrent online auction?
Auctions these days are worldwide. You want to be like eBay, so that anyone, anywhere can bid. You just get higher prices and more bidders that way, and no one has to travel. It also eliminates phone bidding.
What other PropWorx auctions and events are coming up that our readers should be aware of?
Well, the Star Trek auction is this August. That will have items from The Original Series up through Enterprise. We have some amazing items there. Then, we have the big Stargate live auction in late August, followed by Kevin Smith in September or October. Plus, there are always things popping up! Just follow us on our website, Twitter and Facebook. We have a ton of new info all the time!