Friday’s comic was posted exceptionally late due to internet problems and evening social obligations. So if you missed it and want to know why Tom is naked and dirty in today’s comic, you might want to go back and read it.
I spoke in Friday’s blog about having a review ready for Iron Man on either Saturday or Sunday. That didn’t happen. I held back. I have the review completed, but I didn’t want it to be buried under a weekend post, so I’m saving it for tomorrow.
I’m excited to share my thoughts about the movie, but I found the process of writing the review somewhat daunting. For starters, it had been a while since I had written a review and I fear I may have lost a sense of critical review versus plot review. Secondly, as this last arc has illustrated, I may not be the most… objective person when it comes to reviewing Iron Man. You know how hard-core I am about the character. How can you NOT take my opinion with a grain of salt. To that end, why write the review at all since pretty much everyone knows what the final verdict is going to be?
I guess, for me, it was an important exercise to undertake. Both to knock off the rust around writing a review and also because… frankly… I felt it was somewhat expected.
Enough self-analysis! You’ll read the review tomorrow!
If you feel like waiting 24 hours for the review is too much to bear, I hope you all tune in to The Triple Feature podcast tonight over at TalkShoe. We’re start recording at 9:00 PM and you can listen in live. Not only that, but you can participate in an open chat field, call in and – most importantly – SUBMIT QUESTIONS! Since I don’t think Joe or Gordon watched Made to Honor this weekend (although counter-programing seemed to work in its favor since it did $15 million at the box office), there’s a good chance we’ll be filling the hour with talk about Iron Man and I KNOW you have opinions about it!
If you like, you can submit questions to me beforehand at firstname.lastname@example.org. But we’d really like it if you would call in to participate and ask us directly.
We hope to see you there!
Long-time readers of this site are probably aware that I’ve been waiting for the film adaptation of Iron Man since it was announced in 2006. In many ways, I’ve been waiting for it my whole life.
I remember quite vividly where my infatuation with Iron Man began – at a truck stop on I-35.
I was 10 years old, traveling with my parents on a weekend get away to Kansas City. We pulled over at a truck stop to stretch our legs and pick up some snacks. Looking through the magazine rack, I saw the cover to Iron Man #218 peeking through. A man in a metal suit diving underwater. “Mom? Will you buy this for me?”
For the rest of that drive, I was glued to that book. I flipped through it over and over. I knew nothing about Iron Man at that point, but the concept of this high-tech man in shining armor struck me immediately and I haven’t really looked back since.
Over the years, my affinity for the character grew largely in part to his look and evolution, but also for the character flaws that are a staple of all Marvel characters.
Tony Stark, more than most, exemplifies this mold of the flawed hero. An alcoholic, a womanizer, a reckless risk-taker, a weapons designer and war profiteer. On paper, there’s not much to admire. But it’s how Stark overcame those flaws to become Iron Man that makes him one of the most emotionally rich characters in the Marvel universe.
Fortunately, all of these elements translate beautifully into Jon Favreau’s big screen version of Iron Man thanks, in large part, to his talented cast and the expert performance of Robert Downey Jr.
Downey Jr. plays Stark with his trademark detached charm. With a glass of bourbon in his hand, he jokes and kids – but all of it masks a profound disinterest and boredom with the fame and success his genius brought him. It’s not until a fateful trip to Afghanistan that Stark’s view of reality comes crashing down around him.
After demonstrating the destructive force of a newly designed missile to military brass, his convoy is attacked by insurgents armed with weapons of his own design. Mortally wounded, he is kidnapped, but kept alive by his attackers who employ another captured scientist named Yinsen to install an electromagnet into Stark’s chest to keep shrapnel from entering his heart and killing him.
Seeing first-hand the human toll of his weapons, Stark upgrades his power source and sets out to build a bulletproof suit of armor to aid in his escape. While the build up is slow, the unveiling of the Mark I armor is especially brutal and you get a real sense of the clunky, ground-shaking power of the crude design.
Back home, Stark immediately announces the end of weapons manufacturing days. As the value of his company plummets, Stark holes up in the basement garage of his cliffside Malibu home and begins to refine the suit that led to his salvation.
The second act of the film deals almost exclusively in this refinement, and it’s a joy to watch. Iron Man isn’t a hero who is delivered his power by circumstance. He literally builds it from the ground up. So it’s interesting to watch the process. After a serious of tests, when Stark decides to take the fight to the warlords who held him captive and destroy their weapons depot, the movie kicks into high gear.
Meanwhile, at home, Stark’s business partner (played with a “trust me” grin from a bald and bearded Jeff Bridges) tries to wrestle control of the company away and introduces the threat of the hulking Iron Monger to Stark’s Golden Avenger.
That’s a lot of exposition and, if anything, it’s Iron Man’s biggest hinderance. Origin stories are typically laborious and die-hard fans are left chomping at the bit for more superhero action while the rest of the audience catches up.
Iron Man is redeemed from this common pitfall thanks to the effervescent pop of its principal cast. Watching them all on screen together instantly brings credibility to the piece.
Downey Jr. is Tony Stark. There is no question about it. He understands the folly of ego and the valor in redemption. As his adversary, Bridges is a credible threat – as ruthless as Stark is brilliant and barely keeping his a seething torrent of angry and resentment in check.
Terrance Howard as Stark’s friend James “Rhodey” Rhodes plays an excellent straight man to Downey Jr’s wisecracks and Gweneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts matches wits round by round with Stark and is more winning and enjoyable in this performance than she has been in years!
If I have a complaint about the film it’s that the final confrontation isn’t as long as I would like. Also, Iron Man heads into battle at half power. I understand why the filmmakers did this in order for Stark to overcome the odds, use his brain instead of his brawn and come out on top looking like the hero… but there is a more satisfying display of the armor’s power at the end of the second act that feels much more cathartic.
Still, leave the audience wanting more, right? It’s probably a big reason I plan on seeing the film a second time. Not just to see more action, but to process everything more thoroughly. After 5 months in cold storage, Hollywood has awoke with a bright and bold action movie. It was like a feast and I was absorbing all of it. Now that I know where some of the punches land, it will be easier to go back and watch the film a little more relaxed.
As a reviewer, I’ve probably diminished my credibility when it comes to Iron Man. Even if the movie had been terrible, I probably still would have recommended it. So some of you might take what I say with a giant boulder of salt.
But the further away I get from it, the more I appreciate the simple elegance of it. Iron Man delivers in the ways that a big summer action movie should. It’s shot with a sense of urgency and impact, the set design is gorgeous, the performances are entertaining and the effects work is jaw-dropping.
After a crippling lack luster first quarter, Iron Man is the movie we’ve all been waiting for and it more than lives up to the hype.
I realize that today’s comic kind of lays the melodrama on kind of thick. But I thought to myself about how high the stakes were for me personally and for my comic avatar for Iron Man to be a success. Considering the challenges I put him through in order to see the movie, I thought some sort of crecendo – some sort of resolution was in order.
If it helps any to explain it, I was listening to Nine Inch Nails’ “Leaving Hope” a lot while I was drawing this. I don’t know.
I talked about this a little bit during The Triple Feature talkcast on Monday night, but more than anything, I was just happy that Iron Man was a quality film and not some steaming pile like Ghost Rider. I really pinned a lot of my hopes on this movie – which is sort of unlike me.
After doing this comic for nearly 6 years, you kind of become jaded to the process. You do your research and familiarize yourself with upcoming movies. You digest the rumors and the spin… the wild conjecture. You run all of this past your filter for months on end before ever seeing one frame of celluloid. Does anyone remember a time when they walked into a movie blind? Does that even happen anymore unless you’re some kind of hillbilly?
Factoring in all of those distractions, Iron Man still worked exceptionally well for me. It was such a treat. Not only that, but it was a huge weight off of my shoulders. If this movie had been terrible, I would have never heard the end of it. Now only in retrospect do I realize just how far out there I positioned myself.
One of the benefits of being a total nut job is that sometimes you get to meet up with people who share your passions. These were too cool to pass up: Check out the artwork sent to me by a couple of fans who share my love for all things Iron Man.
The first piece comes from a fellow by the name of Nicholas Robert. His Godfather Dan Busha sent it to me. He was a pretty enthusiastic guy! So I would have felt bad ignoring the piece considering the effort Nicholas put into it….
Oh, how I enjoy a delicious pun!
The second piece comes from Locke from the webcomic What Happens Next. I about peed myself when I saw this – I think it’s totally brilliant. Not only did Locke capture the armor design perfectly, but I just love the expression on Tom’s face.
Why can’t reality be more like this drawing?
At any rate, I thought you guys would get a kick out of those. I hope you enjoyed them.
Not much else from me this afternoon. Just kind of plugging away, working on a couple of secret projects. I wish I could tell you about them, but you know how it goes!
Take it easy. Have a great Wednesday
It would be petty and small to hold against The Wachowski’s and refuse to see Speed Racer based on the mismanagement of The Matrix trillogy.
Still – I have to wonder if some of that was in play this weekend consider the movie’s second place finish at the box office. It’s share of the pie was $20.2 million. Under normal circumstances, that would be quite respectable. Even in the face of Iron Man’s $100 million bow a week ago (and it’s 50% drop off this week) you wouldn’t fault Speed Racer for making an honest attempt.
The clencher is that the Cameron Diaz / Ashton Kutcher romantic comedy boiler plate What Happens In Vegas… was nipping at their heels wth $20 million. Long term, this can’t be good for Speed Racer.
When I first saw the trailer for Speed Racer, visually I thought it was a marvel. If anything, the extensive and experimental CG work is what was going to get me through the door. The Wachowski’s pedigree in this era has already been firmly established. What would they come up with next?
But as time went on, my enthusiasm for the film faltered. The marketing of the film couldn’t seem to decide if it was a kids movie or a straight up action picture. As reviews started filtering in, the consensus was that it was a kids film – which is fine. But we were also being told that it was over two hours long – entirely too long for a film with a threadbare plot. After that, the bottom fell out and I lost interest.
After a while, however, I started to feel guilty about not wanting to see Speed Racer. It seemed unfair to hold it up against the last two Matrix movies. Maybe they were going in another direction? Maybe I would kick myself for missing it. The 35% positive score at Rotton Tomatoes seemed to reflect a williness for critics to hate this movie out of the gate and, admittedly, I saw a lot of that reaction online as well. I became convinced that Speed Racer wasn’t getting a fair shake.
I wasn’t able to make it to Speed Racer this weekend. Instead I saw Iron Man for the second time with a friend I hadn’t seen for a while. By the time I was weighing my options and considered going on Sunday night, box office reports were in and things looked dire.
I feel somewhat lame admitting that I was influenced by Rotten Tomatoes and box office figures, but I never felt a strong affinity for Speed Racer and – if I went at all – it would be more out of some sort of geek-cred obligation. The stats and figures eventually supported my decision in a way that I felt was fair. You can’t argue with the numbers.
I know some people will dispute me. After all, I’m the guy who was ready to follow Iron Man into hell. If the movie sucked, I would have denied it to my dying day. I’m sure there are some people who feel the same way about Speed Racer. Personally, I would love to hear that perspective. It may not be too late to change my mind. But we’ll see.
Tonight on The Triple Feature talkcast, we’ll be talking about Speed Racer and – from what I’ve heard – Joe loved it. Joe can sometimes be a little sensitive about explaining why he liked a film when he’s in the minority, so we’ll have to see if we can coax it out of him. I’m really most interested in understanding what I’m missing. Barring that, you can always go to his site and read his review.
We’ll also be talking about next week’s big release Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. More specifically, I will be talking about the re-release of the original films on DVD in stores tomorrow. I received advanced copies and Cami and I watched all three films last week. I have some particular insights about the extras included with this release and plan on sharing them tonight. There will also be a full review here on the site tomorrow.
Remember, the show starts at 9:00 PM CST and you can participate LIVE. So if you saw Speed Racer over the weekend and want to chime in, please do so! We’d love to hear your thoughts!
See you then!
I realize that today’s comic probably would have went better with yesterday’s blog post. Or at least the second half of that blog post where I discussed how Universal was giving away the cow with the milk by showing our man with the plan – Tony Stark – in the opening seconds of it’s latest round of television spots.
Oh, well. No time like the present, right?
I am amazed at the marketing blitz currently going on for The Incredible Hulk right now. Frankly, I’m worried that it’s too much. I can’t turn my head without running into a commercial for it and it feels like every commercial I see has some kind of new footage.
As I mentioned yesterday, early reviews are coming back strong. Some saying it’s just as good as Iron Man. I’m excited to see the movie, but skeptical. Oh, Ang Lee! Why did you have to mute my expectations with your bland 2003 interpretation?!
Actually, I’m sure that’s exactly the reason we’re seeing so much coverage in the days leading up to the film’s release. It’s basically the marketers saying “Look, we know you weren’t pleased with the first movie and a franchise reboot 5 years after the original does seem a little soon… but look! Iron Man is in it and there’s going to be a lot of punching and kicking! Holy crap! Did you just see Edward Norton’s shoulder pop out of his socket?! Cool, huh?”
My partner in crime Joe Dunn mentioned Monday night during our recording of The Triple Feature podcast that he thought it was a little bit of a bait-and-switch to show Iron Man in the commercials for The Incredible Hulk. His assertion is that Iron Man isn’t going toe-to-toe with ol’ Jade Jaws and the less educated members of the audience might feel cheated.
Personally, I tihnk that’s kind of a leap. I mean, if the trailers had Iron Man flying around in his armor, that would be one thing. But having Tony Stark show up in a suit to talk to Thunderbolt Ross over drinks doesn’t imply anything.
:: Please take a moment to go outside and get some air if you find the ambient geekiness overwhelming ::
Any way you slice it, I’m officially on board for this movie now and I’m really looking forward to the midnight test screening I get to go to tomorrow. (I have to keep mentioning that because it makes me special.)
I’m a little worried that I won’t be able to stay awake, though. Recently, I’ve started working out 6 times a week for the first time in over a year. I was doing pretty well taking care of myself in 2005 and 2006. But after Henry was born, I completely fell off the wagon and gained back all of the weight I lost. So I’m participating in an intense 10-week exercise program to get me back on track.
I work out every night at 7:30 and come home shuffling around like Frankenstein. Last night I struggled to finish the comic before going to bed around 12:30 am – and that’s typically early for me.
On Thursday, I have to get the comic done by 11:30 to be out the door in time for the test screening. Then I’ll be up, watching the movie until probably about 2:30 am before coming home, sleeping for 3 hours and getting up for work at 6:00. I haven’t been to a
midnight screening since Star Wars – Episode III and that nearly wrecked me.
The things I do for the movies.
That’s it for me! Have a great Wednesday, everyone!
The Incredible Hulk came out this weekend and, for the most part, people seemed to enjoy it. At least to the tune of $55 million – which is less than the $62 million Ang Lee’s Hulk took in for it’s opening weekend 5 years ago. But considering how quickly that film dropped off in it’s second week, I think The Increidble Hulk will have legs by comparison.
If nothing else, it already has respect. I’ve received e-mails and comments from a few people who thought the Ang Lee film was better, which I can understand. The characterization and backstory is much more nuanced in that film and a little bit more satisfying from that stand point.
That said, I don’t share that perspective.
I always felt – as I suspect most Hulk fans feel – that if there was ANY property tailor made for the kind of high-level, mindless Michael Bay destruct-o-thon, it is the Hulk. And in that respect Louis Leterrier’s Incredible Hulk does not dissapoint.
I enjoyed this movie a lot. I thought Edward Norton was a much more believable Bruce Banner than Eric Bana. I always thought Bana was much too beefy for the role. Norton easily brings that reedy braniac quality to things by default. William Hurt was a little over the top, but enjoyable, as General Thunderbolt Ross and Liv Tyler as Betty Ross barely registered. Any excuse to put Tim Roth into a movie I’ll sign on for, but he looked a little out of place as Emil Blonsky and I thought he was a little transparent in his portrayal of Blonsky as an out of control junkie, but whatever. Admit that you’re not watching these movies for the performances. You want to see the Hulk break stuff!
The good news is that unlike Ang Lee’s film, the Hulk shows up early. But Leterrier doesn’t give everything up right away. He keeps the Hulk in shadows and fog. You don’t see him directly, but you see what his power is capable of and that’s almost as scary.
A second confrontation with the Hulk on a college campus is much more furious and terrifying as the army brings wave after wave of weapons to trying and subdue him. The sonic cannons I thought were particularly inventive and visually interesting.
By the third act when Blonsky is turned into the semi-nude four ton exoskeleton with attitude – The Abomination – the gloves are off. Well, except for the police car the Hulk tears in half and makes boxing gloves out of. A fantastic nod to the videogame Hulk: Ultimate Destruction.
As savage and exciting as the final battle is, it’s not quite as satisfying as the fight on the college campus. It’s fun to watch the Hulk cut loose, but he’s pretty much evenly matched, so it’s like a couple of gorillas beating on each other with no real conseqences.
I’m also not impressed that they chose to stage the fight at night because Leterrier could hide a lot of the action in shadows and it became a little frustrating to watch. Some oddly placed camera angles too close to the action and it gets to be a little too much to handle. The immediate comparison I made was to the battle sequences in last year’s Transformers, which ended up playing out much better on the small screen when the movie was released to DVD. Let’s hope the same holds true here.
These are nit-picky complaints. I would never suggest to anyone that they skip this movie. Go see it. You’ll have a blast. If you’re already a fan of the Hulk (or a comic book geek in general), you love all the little nods and references to past iterations of the character and the Marvel universe as a whole. You can tell that Marvel has taken great care to create a sense of an overlapping universe, similar to what you experience in the comics.
And because I’m sure you’re curious about my take on the matter… there’s the BIG CAMEO from Robert Downey Jr. at the end of the film as Tony Stark. Did I like it? Well, yeah. It’s friggin’ Iron Man, people! But I almost wonder if it would have be better as an extra scene after the credits. As it is, it feels a little tacked on. Banner makes his escape into the Canadian wilderness, meditates and tries to control the Hulk. His eyes flash green and a smile crosses his face. The movie should have ended there. It was a perfect punctuation mark to the film.
But immediately after, we’re taken to a bar where Thunderbolt Ross is pounding down drinks before Tony Stark walks in and hints at a team they’re “putting together.” I think people would have geeked out more if the scene were shown after the credits. Instead, the movie ends and people asked “What’s next?” A lot of them – myself included – stuck around after the credit to see if there would be another sequence. There wasn’t one. So that’s my tip to you – “DON’T stick around after the credits.”
As far as the comic is concerned, I’ve read a lot of online chatter about the merits of The Incredible Hulk versus Iron Man and I think it’s pointless. And not just because I’m heavily biased.
I don’t understand the purpose of comparing one comic book movie to another. I mean, I do – because that’s what comic book geeks do. But you never see this anywhere else in film. People don’t do this with dramas or comedies or any other genre. You don’t read pages and pages of debate weighing whether No Country For Old Men is better than Sweeny Todd, y’know?
Oh, well. It is what it is.
Be sure to tune in to The Triple Feature tonight at 9:00 PM CST where we will be sure to talk about The Incredible Hulk as well as M. Knight Shyamalan’s The Happening. If you want to contribute your two cents, be sure to call in LIVE
See you then!
People who travel in geek circles are already aware of the Batman / Iron Man comparison and where you fall on that divide basically depends on a handful of factors. But, truthfully, in the early days of comics, you couldn’t throw a rock without hitting a super hero with a large bank account that he used to fight crime. Green Arrow was basically a direct rip-off of Batman. He had an Arrowmobile, people. AN ARROWMOBILE.
I took the opportunity to address the concept of the idle rich using their deep pockets to better society once before – back when Batman Begins was in theaters. Personally, I find it funny that Cami still has to take pause and verify Batman’s character arc in both the previous strip and this one – just to make sure she’s right.
I like that strip a lot and I wish I could have reused the joke. Because, truthfully, I had a hard time picking a direction in regards to my week’s worth of comics for The Dark Knight.
I guess what I’m saying is that it’s really hard to make fun of The Dark Knight. It’s easily the most anticipated movie of the summer, looks excellent and features amazing, much buzzed about performances. Really my only “in” is to poke fun at the over-the-top natures of The Joker, but after Heath Ledger’s passing, that would just look tasteless.
So, in turn, I decided to use The Dark Knight as the background of a larger story and Tom’s established history as a hard core Iron Man fan as the catalyst that kicks things off. It’s nothing epic, mind you. But these comics will be more about Tom and his geeked out brain than they will be about The Dark Knight specifically.
Trust me, it’s going somewhere. That’s why I put that little "To Be Continued!" in the corner. See? I’m always thinking of you!
That does it for me today. But if you’re looking for more grist for the mill, watch these videos that outlines the differences AND similarities between Batman and Iron Man. It’s all part of the hilarious series of “I’m a Marvel… and I’m a DC” clips that can be found on YouTube.
Before we get started today, I just wanted to make sure everyone was on board with the term "facepalm." It’s basically another way of expressing complete exasperation and/or frustration toward another. Here, let Captain Picard illustrate:
I know most of our younger readers will recognize the term. I just wanted to flesh it out a little bit for people who aren’t up on internet catch phrases.
I had a hard time with today’s comic. There’s a lot of text to this one. I suppose that’s the risk you take when you run six panels. But there were a lot of ideas I wanted to get across and it was difficult to strip them down to their most bare comic elements.
In any case, I hope you like it.
I was looking over my Twitter feed last night as I was working on the comic and lot of people were apparently using their cell phones to send updates about their experiences waiting in line for The Dark Knight. It sounds crazy. Expectations are through the roof on this thing. I’m legitimately afraid that my expectations have now been set too high and I’m going to end up not enjoying the film. Certainly the Twitter posts coming in AFTER the movie seem to suggest the bar for superhero movies has now been set extraordinarily high.
I’ve been on lockdown on this film for about a month – since about the time that teaser clip of Two-Face’s first appearance showed up online – and have been trying like the dickens to avoid interviews and reviews. It’s hard. The advertising and promotion for this thing has been kicked into overdrive. When you spend the amount of time I do online, it’s really hard to avoid.
I don’t know when we’ll get a chance to see the movie this weekend, but I almost don’t want to? I know that sounds crazy, but I just don’t want to fight the crowds. I should go at, like, 11 o’clock in the morning on Sunday when everyone else is at church…
Truthfully, I don’t what the odds are of us even getting out of the house this weekend. Cami wasn’t feeling very well Wednesday night. She was complaining of chills and fever before complaining about terrible back pain. I recognized those symptoms! When we woke up on Thursday and she wasn’t feeling any better, I told her not to waste time and to go to the doctor right away. Turns out she was diagnosed with acute tonsillitis just as I had been three weeks ago!
I don’t know if she caught it from me and it was just dormant in her system for three weeks or if she picked it up from somewhere else, but between myself, Cami, Henry and his time spent at day care – all of us are basically infecting and reinfecting each other with one horrible virus after the other.
Cami is on medication now – the same stuff I was on at the end of June and I would think she should start feeling better by tomorrow. At least if my experience was any indication. Cami’s parents have stepped in to take care of Henry today. He’s spending the night with Grandma and Grandpa to give Cami the opportunity to recover. I do a fine job of taking care of Henry on my own, but he’s also in the “MAMA, MAMA, MAMA!” phase and doesn’t want anyone but her. It makes it hard to keep them apart when they’re in the house together.
At any rate, that’s what we’re dealing with at the moment. With any luck, we’ll get a chance to see The Dark Knight sometime this weekend.
Incidentally, Cami was really down on the idea for a while. She wasn’t over the moon with Batman Begins and she though The Dark Knight looked even more bleak. But the marketing wizards finally got to her and all of the positive buzz finally convinced her to see it.
To put it another way, when your Mother-in-law asks you if you’re excited to see a movie like The Dark Knight, Madison Avenue has done its job.
Take it easy, everyone. I’ll see you here on Monday!
As you are probably aware, Iron Man comes out on DVD this Tuesday and as you are probably even more KEENLY AWARE… I am a huge Iron Man fan. So expect lots of Iron Man goodness in the next week or so. That’s including a review of the 2-disc special edition, which I was lucky enough to obtain an advance copy of. I’ve already roped Cami into watching the movie with me AGAIN this evening. Whether or not she’ll take the deep dive with me into the DVD’s FOUR HOURS of special features… time will tell.
The interesting thing about professing my love for all things Iron Man is that it has brought out some unique support from the readership. You won’t believe some of the things fans of the comic have sent me related to Iron Man. Some pretty amazing stuff. And, since I will have nothing to talk about for the next week or so BUT Iron Man, I plan on sharing those with you here in the blog next week.
One of the gifts that was sent my way I’m a little intimidated by. It’s a full-blown theater standee that is so large, I can’t assemble it in my house. I plan on putting it together this weekend and taking pictures for posterity. But it is no exaggeration when I say that Iron Man’s head on this cardboard monstrosity is four times larger than real life. It’s immense. Should be fun.
I haven’t really been very blog-crazy these last few days. Probably because I’m all typed out after having to put together my first presentation for my Mass Communications Theory class on Wednesday. I’m only taking one class this semester to kind of ramp up into the Masters of Communication Leadership degree that I’m pursuing, but they want you to take two classes a week to graduate the program in two years. I’m having a great time learning, but I don’t know if I can keep up with that kind of workload.
Truthfully, my interests in marketing could probably allow me to sleepwalk through the program. But I’m so into what I’m reading right now, I’m being crazy thorough about it. I’m talking highlighting passages in the book with notes in the sidebar kind of thorough.
Maybe you don’t find this very interesting. Sorry. Just keying you in to what’s going on in my life right now.
I keep promising to make an announcement about the donation drive, but I keep putting it off. I think it’s because I’m looking to put together the right words and show the appropriate level of enthusiasm and appreciation for everyone’s support. I don’t want to leave anything out. I’ve actually written a few drafts of the blog post to make then announcement (and you can probably guess what it is by this point), but I want it to be perfect – for posterity.
I’ll leave that for you to ponder and close here.
I hope everyone has a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday!
So Iron Man comes out on DVD tomorrow and – having watched the movie and some of the extras courtesy of the advance copy I received – I have to say it was a pretty good weekend.
If you’re thinking about buying the movie tomorrow (and why wouldn’t you), don’t be cheap and get the regular wide screen edition. Pony up the extra dough and buy the 2-disc edition. There are nearly 4 HOURS of extras in this thing and they are totally worth it. I’m serious. I’ve never been so happy watching DVD extras. These guys did it exactly right and they show you A LOT of behind-the-scenes stuff that really demonstrates the care and thought they put into things. Great stuff.
There will be a full-blown review of the DVD and all of its extra’s on the site tomorrow. So be sure to come back and check it out then.
Moving along, I spoke a little bit last week about how my declaration of love for all things Iron Man has netted me some pretty cool schwag from fans of the comic. I thought now would be a good opportunity to share with you some of the good will I’ve been lucky enough to receive.
A little earlier in the year, a fan by the name of Will sent me this screen printed poster promoting the release of Iron Man at the Alamo theater in Austin, Texas when I blogged about it on the site. He was also kind enough to send me a complete set of Iron Man collectors cups from 7-11 (including the hollowed out helmet cup for Slushees) as well as some homemade chocolate chip cookies. I love this poster. As you can see, I have it framed and it sits above my desk. I look at it everyday.
Another poster I have in my office is one given to me by a fan at Wizard World Chicago. And darn it if I can’t remember his name right now! Sorry, man! He’s a good kid. He comes to visit me every year. I think I remember him saying that his Dad sells original Pogo artwork, if I’m remembering that correctly.
Anyway, when he’s not helping his Dad at cons, he works at a movie theater and he was able to grab me this authentic Iron Man teaser poster.
He also managed to grab me a t-shirt and a hat – I think from the San Diego ComiCon? I don’t have pictures, but the hat has the movie’s logo on it and the shirt is really cool. It has the glowing outline of the mini arc reactor inside Tony Stark’s chest – the one you can see through his wife beaters, and whatnot. Anyway, what’s really cool about it is that when you turn off the lights, the link in the shirt glows. It’s a great shirt. Really nice of him to give that to me.
Speaking of shirts, I got this shirt from a reader named Ben.
Yeah, so I’m sucking in the gut a little. So what?
Ben wrote me more than a few months ago telling me that he worked at Hot Topic and there was a really cool Iron Man wallet that he wanted to send me. I thought that was pretty cool that he wanted to send something to me, but was something he was planning on spending his own money on, so I told him "Thanks, but no thanks." I was more than appreciative that he was thinking of me, but I don’t want people spending their own money on me unless they’re buying one of my books or shirts, y’know? The fact that he’s reading the comic and the blog… that’s thanks enough.
Anyway, a few weeks after that, Ben writes me and says, "We have this cool Iron Man shirt. It’s on sale. I’m sending it to you. No ‘if’s, and’s or but’s’." Again, I said, "I appreciate it. But I want you to keep your money." He wrote back insisting that I give him my address so he can send the shirt to me. So I relented. Because I figure at this point it’s more rude to keep turning him down. The shirt came in the mail a few days later and viola! I’m wearing it.
Actually, a photo and a mention was the only thing Ben asked for in exchange for his kind gesture. A favor I’m more than willing to return. I really dig this shirt a lot. As you can see, it pretty much has every armor Tony Stark has ever worn in the comics. Cami actually likes it a lot as well.
Okay, time for the big finish.
I don’t mean to marginalize any of the gifts that these generous fans have sent me. That they’ve sent me anything it all is above and beyond the call of duty and I am completely honored that anyone would spend the time or effort to acknowledge my interest in Iron Man in this way.
But, well… What a reader named Albert did is beyond crazy…
What you are looking it is a roughly 9′ tall theater standee courtesy of Albert who is the General Manager of a movie theater in New Hampshire. Albert shipped this beast (disassembled, mind you) completely at his own expense and seeking nothing in exchange but the knowledge that a hard-core Iron Man fan like myself would receive great enjoyment from it.
Albert, you have no idea.
I’ve been in communication with Albert since he sent it and he said that they would have just thrown out the standee after Iron Man left the theater. I was, like, “Seriously?” Because I used to work at a movie theater and I was always asking my mangers if I could take home any of the old posters or standees that we had in our lobby after we were through with them. I guess I must have been pretty low on a the totem pole because they always told me that those things went to the employees with seniority. Then again, my boss was a jerk. Sounds like Albert is a pretty cool boss in comparison!
Okay, as you can see, this thing is crazy big. There isn’t a room in my house large enough to store it. So I put it together this weekend in the garage and took some photos of it. I’m considering taking some video of it, too. If you guys want to see more snapshots, let me know and I’ll post them. Maybe to YouTube or Flickr or something. Who knows.
Anyway, this thing is huge and when I first received it, I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with it. Originally, I thought I would set it up once, take the pictures for posterity, disassemble it and maybe sell it on cragislist. I consulted Albert about it citing the lack of room in my house and he said that was find since (as mentioned before) they were going to throw it out anyway.
But now that I have the thing put together and standing up in the garage… I really wan to keep it.
The garage isn’t the ideal place for it, though. Especially if it rains or come winter when the cars bring in a bunch of snow and grime. It’d be a shame for this thing to get all mushy and ruined. Or, potentially dinged up from the car door hitting it. Because, really, there’s not much room for it in the garage, either.
I’ll have to strategist a little bit to keep it around. But, so far, Cami’s on my side for keeping it. The darn thing is just so… impressive. It’ll be a kick to show it to friends and family.
At any rate, that’s some of the amazing generosity people have shown me in enabling my Iron Man fetish. Shame on all of you! I’m a man in my 30’s! I should be reading The Wall Street Journal, or something!
Seriously, if these guys know how happy they’ve made me by sending this stuff, they’d be a little disconcerted. I’m like that hyperactive 10 year old in your family that is a ball of nerves on Christmas Eve because he’s anticipating getting some new Pokemon game, or something, the next day. And when he gets it, he tears all around the house screaming and knocking over lamps. That’s me. There is no “off” switch for this.
I hope you guys don’t think I’m wagging this stuff in your face or trying to brag, or anything. I just want to give these guys their due and show them a little respect and recognition for being so utterly cool.
I talk a lot about how I have the coolest fans in webcomics. This just proves it.
That’s all for now. I might try to be back later with more updates. Until then, take it easy and be sure to check the site tomorrow for my review of the Iron Man DVD!