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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 1,240
Subj: How did Iron Man go for so many years as a "C-Lister"?
Posted: Wed Aug 11, 2010 at 03:20:48 am CDT (Viewed 313 times)

Now that Iron Man is firmly established as a comic book A-list superhero as well as perhaps Marvel's biggest and best movie franchise; one has to wonder why IM languished for so many years with mediocre popularity and considered a C-lister amongst superheroes.

It's kind of weird; I mean IM is inherently cool. It's not just that he's more relevant now because of the computer/internet age. Robotics have been cool and popular in media for a looong time.

So here's my take: I started reading comics in the 90s and Marvel comics quality was at a real nadir; especially the Avengers line. Cap, Thor, and IM were just considered lame and cheesy; and the quality of their books did little to dispell that impression.

As such, when I was first presented with IM back in the 90s, I was very "meh" about the character. I just sort of pegged him a hybrid Superman and Batman. He's got Bruce Wayne's corporation and playboy thing and a suit with red boots that lets him fly and be strong like Superman. Somehow the distinctiveness of the character did not seem apparent outside of being a hybrid of the two classic sueprhero archetypes. (Ditto Captain America, who I also saw as a hybrid between S/B).

But with the rejuvenation of the Avengers line and of course the movies, it became so clear why Iron Man is freakin' awesome and insanely marketable. I think it had to with a few things:

-Some really great modern armour redesign by Adi Granov

-clear integration of today's technologies and a visual sense of the those technologies at play while in the suit

-Tony's character getting a little more "oomph". Obivously this took place in the 2000s with the rise of the Avengers franchise, Civil War, Director of Shield, etc. But I think the character aspect of IM may have first gotten that extra "oomph" in Millar/Hitch's Ultimates. Which is ironic, considering that the armour design in that series stunk and did not catch on whatsoever!

So anyway, IM was for several reasons not considered much in the moribund 90s; but why was Iron Man was never considered much even in quality decades like the 60s and 70s?

Anyone else have some insight on this topic?

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