Marvel’s New IRON MAN #1 Keeps It Unreal (Exclusive Interview)

“You’re going to see a superhero comic that’s somewhere between Rick & Morty and Black Mirror.”

That’s how author Dan Slott described Tony Stark: Iron Man, his upcoming comic with artist Valerio Schiti for  Marvel‘s “Fresh Start” relaunch. Everyone’s favorite billionaire techno-genius is back, and this time it’s going to get weird. Nerdist sat down with writer Dan Slott and artist Valerio Schiti for an exclusive interview about Tony Stark: Iron Man.

In a way, it makes a lot of sense. At a time when science draws closer and closer to what was once considered outlandish fiction, the best way to keep it unreal is to shoot for the bizarre. Iron Man is the perfect character for these kinds of stories, according to Slott, because his superheroic abilities are bounded by the limits of what humanity can innovate. “He doesn’t come from a distant planet,” Slott said. “He wasn’t bitten by a radioactive spider. He took his own two hands and built everything he needs to stand side-by-side with Asgardian gods and super-soldiers! He’s always going to push the boundaries of science and tech to build a world he wants, and that’s going to lead to stories that go to insane places.”

As for what those places look like, expect a highly engineered yet classic aesthetic; at least, that’s what Schiti’s artistic vision for the comic suggests. His influences range from “animated series like Transformers, [to] manga like Gundam or Ghost in the Shell, to robots like Mazinger Z or Steel Jeeg,” to real-life tech. “In the movies Tony Stark creates and collects his armor in his garage, like some sort of petrolhead,” Schiti explained. “So I immediately looked for race cars. But then I thought: why just cars? So now I have hundreds of images of planes, boats, spaceships, factory robots, prototypes… my Pinterest folders are exploding!”

Could this be Tony Stark’s next suit? 

We’ll also get to see a whole armor fashion show from Tony. Iron Man—to paraphrase Slott’s pitch—”makes himself and the universe what he wants it to be,” said Schiti. “So why should someone like that use just one [suit of] armor?” Readers will therefore be treated to “hundreds of different armors in this series,” which sounds like a lot of extra work for an artist…but he doesn’t mind. “To me this is heaven,” Schiti enthused. “To do new designs is one of my favorite things in comics, and here I have the chance to play with such an iconic character, to try different styles, to use classic suits, and to create new and extraordinary armors.”

So Iron Man will have no shortage of fierce looks, but what about the man in the suit? Robert Downey, Jr.’s runaway success as the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Tony Stark has been shaping audience perceptions of the character for the last decade. As Slott put it, “We live in a time where every man, woman, and child on this planet knows who Iron Man is.” However, Schiti reassured readers that their Tony “is not a copycat of the movie one.” He’ll be going back to his classic roots with “new depths [and] new problems that make him somehow ironically similar to the Bronze Age version of himself,” which is a departure from the “wounded, dramatic, and stressed” Tony of, say, the New Avengers series by Jonathan Hickman. Fans, Schiti said, can look forward to meeting “the real, new Iron Man: funny, charming and cool.”

Finally, what about the C-word: continuity? Will the relaunch also be a reset, or is Tony Stark: Iron Man starting where the last comic left off? “Everything counts,” Slott told us. “We’re going to play fair with all that’s happened to Tony from the very beginning all the way through to the most current runs. If you’re a longtime Marvel fan, I want you to know: ALL the continuity counts. The legacy counts. But if you’re one of the billions of people on this Earth who only knows Iron Man from the movies, you can jump on right here for a fresh start.”

What are you hoping to see in Tony Stark: Iron Man? Sound off in the comments!

Images: Marvel; Toei Animation

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