Editor’s note: Today we kick off a series of guest posts by writer Joshua S. Hill, who you may remember from his recent Shelf Porn entry.
By Joshua S Hill
Hands up who thinks that comic book movies are a way to get people into comics? No? Really? You think that comic book movies are just another way for movie executives to ensure that they keep making multi-million dollar movies? That’s a bit pessimistic isn’t it?
Sadly though, it’s the reality of it, isn’t it? Comic book movies are, for all intents and purposes, the same as making adaptations of the A-Team and Charlie’s Angels: just a cheap and easy way of making a movie without all the hassle of coming up with a concept.
Nevertheless there is a part of me that hopes dearly that there are a percentage of people, even if it’s a small percentage, coming out of these movies and buying the comics that spawned the movie they just saw. I hope that people came out of Watchmen, X-Men, The Losers and Kick-Ass and immediately headed into Borders and bought themselves a trade.
Now I’m already a comic fan. I like comics. How else would I have heard about CBR, right? I’m already invested in this medium. So the fact that I headed out to find myself some Iron Man comics this past weekend only increases my hope that there are other non¬-comic fans doing the same.
I had a little bit of a looksee at what there was available in terms of Iron Man, put that together with what I’d heard on iFanboy’s Pick of the Week podcast, and had a squiz through Wikipedia to narrow down my choices.
And so I come to you now having read through the first 12 issues of Invincible Iron Man, version 4 for what it’s worth. The storylines are “Extremis” and “Execute Program.”
Know what? I enjoyed them!
Coming out of Iron Man 2 I really didn’t think I’d get all that attached to the comic. I mean, I liked Robert Downey Jr., and Black Widow was fantastic (and not just because it was Scarlet in that outfit). I didn’t think I was actually going to become invested in the character of Tony Stark. But here I am, about to start in on the next lot of Invincible Iron Man – the fifth version – starting with the story arcs The Five Nightmares and World’s Most Wanted.
Tony Stark is a character I can get behind: both in the movies and in the comics. He’s flawed. Now sure, he’s got a multi-billion dollar bank account so his flaws are a little further up the food-chain than mine are, but I have to believe there’s a similarity in there. And while I don’t own a suit made of “iron” that I can tap into using some variant on a super-human soldier serum …
No, I got nothing on that one.
But that’s half the point isn’t it. Comics aren’t really supposed to be solely about the human condition. They’re supposed to link the human similarities together with fantastical aspects such as high-tech suits of armour, amazing accuracy with a bow and arrow when you’re hanging upside down from a tree, and the amazing ability to keep ones flowing red hair in perfect place when swapping from secretary to ex-Russian crime fighter.
Maybe this is my tribute to the characters that haven’t been bitten by spiders or shot halfway across space from a world where being able to leap tall buildings is taught in preschool. I like the characters that can run alongside those characters without the special powers. Watching Tony Stark stumble around drunk on the big screen then reading him realize that he’s the one to bring about registration of superheroes as if he’s some sort of superhero messiah is fun, because in it all there are good intentions and at the end there’ll be a reckoning. His friends will rally beside him, eventually; he will regret most of the decisions he made and then go back to fighting crime his flaws be damned.
I think if people can keep making movies that drive us back to the source material, then the comics industry will have another avenue of entry. One that isn’t bound simply by someone’s desire to make easy dollars at the box office. People will realize that comics are as valid a medium as any other, and that Tony Stark has as loyal a following as Bilbo Baggins or Mr. Darcy.