Comic Legends: How a Lack of Publicity Led to the Creation of Armor Wars

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A lack of publicity ultimately led to the creation of Armor Wars


Basically True

After being away from the title for four years, David Michelinie and Bob Layton made their triumphant return to Iron Man with 1986's Iron Man #215...

Working with penciler M.D. Bright, the co-writing team (with Layton inking Bright, as well), the team went right back to the strong superhero work that they had done in their past run.

The only problem in their minds was that they didn't feel like their return had gotten the promotion that it could have received.

Michelinie recalls the situation in the introduction to the first printing of the Armor Wars trade paperback in 1990, with some delightfully self-deprecating humor:

A couple of years ago, a group of Merry (and hungry) Marvel Madmen adjourned to one of New York's finest Italian eateries for an intense brainstorming session (Actually, we were there to stuff our faces, but we had to talk a LITTLE business so we could justify putting the trip on the Mighty Marvel Expense Account!). Present were (then-)assistant editor Howard Mackie, (then-)editor in chief Jim Shooter, (then-)writer David Michelinie and (now-)artist Bob Layton. Between forkfuls of twirled vermicelli, Bob expressed dissatisfaction over the lack of publicity we'd been getting on Iron Man. We both felt we were doing some noteworthy stories (along with then-penciler, Mark Bright), but we weren't getting any press on them. Wasn't there some way we could wheedle a house ad? A plug in Marvel Age? A full page in the New York Times Literary Supplement? Slurping up a final stand of impeccably prepared angel hair, Jim answered that quality wasn't enough - quality was the STANDARD at Marvel. No, to be noticed, we'd have to do something special. "You need an EVENT. Give us something to push," he smacked, "and we'll push it!"

Naturally, my response was to throw my full concentration into my meal, hoping that if I was busy stowing away calories, no one would expect ME to come up with a brilliant idea! I needn't have worried.

"What about this?" Jim asked as he dislodged a bit of stray parsley from a molar with a pink plastic toothpick. "What if someone got hold of Tony Stark's armor designs and gave them to his ENEMIES? So that, in a moral sense, HE could be considered responsible for the results of their evil deeds?" Of course, I immediately tried to change the subject ("Say, how 'bout that arena football?"), figuring that everyone would forget what Jim had said so that I could come up with the idea six months later and take credit for it myself. But, as Fate would have it, everyone at the table recognized brilliance when they heard it and started offering their own ideas and variations.

Sure enough, that inspired the creation of Armor Wars...

And sure enough, it got a house ad!!

Very cool story.

Thanks to David Michelinie for sharing that fascinating insight into how the pasta gets made, as it were!

Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed - Was Dora the Explorer originally going to be a BUNNY?

Check back tomorrow for the final part of this week's Comic Book Legends Revealed!

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