Iron Man’s success at the box office was only the beginning of his recent comeback, says blogger Laura McConnell
When comic book characters get a movie made about them, their book sales soar. This is expected. When that book is as good as Invincible Iron Man, not only are those increased sales also deserved, their effects are long-reaching.
It’s no secret in the comics world that after their movies came out, Watchmen and V For Vendetta enjoyed huge book sales spikes. Duh. New fans who enjoyed the films flocked to the comics like moths to flames, and the graphic novel market rejoiced in their renewed sales even as die-hard fans grumbled under their breath about their precious fandoms being invaded by newbies.
Recently, this phenomenon happened again. And this time, it’s not the DC fans who are fighting off new readers. It’s Marvel’s turn, for there is another superhero who is benefiting even more from renewed interest than either Watchmen or V For Vendetta did: Iron Man .
In 2008, ol' Shellhead got his very own feature-length film. It was good, too. But the story doesn’t end there, and therein lies the difference between Iron Man and those other titles.
For while the film was great news for the man in the red and gold suit, it wasn’t the best thing 2008 brought to Stark Industries. In my opinion, that title is claimed by Matt Fraction, writer of Invincible Iron Man, an Iron Man title that debuted in July of that same year. You might have seen Matt in the most recent issue of SFX, ranked prominently at #18 on the SFX Hot 50 list . He’s recently been given more duties at Marvel, but it was his work on Invincible Iron Man that made those other jobs happen, and rightfully so. I’ve only just discovered Invincible Iron Man, but I think it’s a great book.
Uh-oh. Did I just say that I only recently discovered Invincible Iron Man? After Iron Man 2 came out? Yeah. I did. Looks like I’m one of those newb fans I alluded to earlier, huh? Well, sort of. Let me explain.
See, my personal history with Iron Man is complicated. Even though I’d never read his solo titles (until now), I knew plenty about our man Stark and his alternate ego before I saw his recent film offerings because I read Thor and The Avengers in my younger days. Thus, I was no stranger to Iron Man’s world when I saw his movies.
However, I must still confess that while I loved the first film and I started to hear rumblings of how wonderful Invincible Iron Man was when it debuted shortly thereafter, I still didn’t bother to pick it up. I had enough comic books to read, and only so much money with which to buy them. Besides, Invincible Iron Man was one of those new-fangled super-pretty books, with computerized colouring and glossy paper, and when it comes to comics, I like my paper smelling faintly like a newsroom and my art looking faintly two-dimensional. I decided to let Invincible Iron Man go and promptly forgot about it.
Until recently when my local comic shop had a “buy one, get one free” sale on Marvel trade paperbacks, including Invincible Iron Man. Now, my comic guy loves Invincible Iron Man like I love GI Joe, and I trust him, so I figured "why not?" – I bought the first two volumes that day.
Why not, indeed.
I devoured the two books (compilations of issues 1-7 and 8-13) at record pace and immediately thereafter bought the third volume (issues 14-19). I read it just as raptly. It’s been a long time since a comic book nearly made me cry and then nearly gave me a heart attack, but Invincible Iron Man managed it, despite the fact that many spoilers had come my way regarding this book and thus some of the element of surprise was lost. It’s just that good. It actually lives up to its stellar reputation and that Eisner award for best new series. Salvador Larroca’s art is gorgeous, and Fraction’s writing is spot on. Invincible Iron Man is compelling fiction. Period.
I heartily recommend this book, whether you know Iron Man or not. It builds on existing canon without being incomprehensible to the new reader, and I think anyone can enjoy it (though keep in mind that it is rated for ages nine and up).
As for me, I simply couldn’t wait for volume four of the compilations to come out in July to get more of this title. Fortunately, it’s only on issue 26 now, so I don’t have much to catch up on, and my comic guy is very good. My books will be waiting for me next week, and every new issue thereafter will wait for me, too. Suddenly, I find myself with another book in my subscription pile, and I’m glad of it. For while Watchmen and V For Vendetta were great, I finished them a long time ago. They’re done. There is no more. Their stories are told. But with Invincible Iron Man, things are different. That’s why Iron Man takes home the big trophy here. He’s got an ongoing series following up his movie - a good one. Us fans get a little piece of him every month, and that thought makes me smile. I hope to enjoy Invincible Iron Man for a good long time yet.
This is a personal article by Laura McConnell, one of our reader bloggers. Are you into Invincible Iron Man? Did Iron Man 2 inspire you to read the comics? Let us know your thoughts on it in the comment thread below or on our forum .