Comic Legends: Was Iron Man Originally Going to be Addicted to Cocaine?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and twelfth week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Just like the last couple of months, one legend today, one tomorrow and one Sunday.

Let's begin!


Tony Stark was originally going to be addicted to cocaine.



One of the most famous Marvel storylines of the 1980s is what we now refer to as "Demon in a Bottle." It built up as Tony Stark began drinking heavily, finally coming to a conclusion in "Iron Man" #128 by Bob Layton, David Michelinie and John Romita Jr...

Tony manages to get himself sober at the end of the issue. A later writer, though, Denny O'Neil, came aboard to have Tony go through a spiral again and slowly regain his sobriety (rather than a "gets better in one issue" situation) while James Rhodes filled in as Iron Man.

An interesting rumor has sprung up over the years that said that Michelinie originally wanted Tony Stark to be addicted to cocaine, not alcohol. This was written about a bit when a famous recovering drug addict, Robert Downey Jr., took on the Tony Stark role in 2008's "Iron Man" and about fifty movies or so since...

My pal G. Kendall, who you can read right here at CBR, wrote to me to explain where this rumor started. You see, in "Wizard: The Guide to Comics" #100, David Michelinie was briefly interviewed about the storyline and he was asked how he would do it if he was writing it today (which was 2000, I believe). Michelinie said that if he was writing it today (2000) that he would have Tony addicted to cocaine, but constantly trying to find a new high, to the point where he would try to design his own super drug.

That story likely broke down over the years to being "I wanted Tony to be addicted to cocaine."

But nope, it was alcohol all along!

Thanks to G. Kendal for the head's up and thanks to "Wizard" and the great David Michelinie for the information!

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Check back tomorrow for part 2 of this week's legends!

And remember, if you have a legend that you're curious about, drop me a line at either brianc@cbr.com or cronb01@aol.com!

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