For my Next Trick…

Growing up, I came a little late to the Marvel super-heroes. I discovered them via the limited animated cartoons under the umbrella title Marvel Super-Heroes. Soon after, Mom surprised with an issue of Thor (#134 for those keeping score) and shortly, I was collecting Marvels alongside my stack of DCs.

While I liked them and was getting to learn about them, at first there was something about the Golden Avenger that always appealed to me. Maybe it was the armor or the fact he needed technology to stay alive. I couldn’t tell you. But I also remember being jazzed when I saw the first Adam Austin issues of Tales of Suspense and that solidified my affection for Iron Man.

Ever since, he has remained one of my favorite Marvel heroes and super-heroes in general. I’ve suffered through long creative droughts, ugly armor designs and some poorly conceived villains. But there have also been the highlights such as “Demon in a Bottle” and he’s been blessed with outstanding artwork more often than not.

As reported earlier, I loved the movie.

Today, I am happy to report that I will spend some eight weeks this fall writing an original Iron Man novel for DelRey. As part of their deal to novelize the movie, they also picked up the rights for two originals. I lobbied long and hard to get the deal because of my affection for the character. When the offer came through I was ecstatic.

I was then asked for three springboards and I tried to imagine an era that worked for a story I wanted to tell. Honestly, I didn’t want to do anything current with the extremis technology but more because Tony Stark was too tied to the rest of the Marvel Universe. Instead, I wanted to find a period closer to what the mass market would recognize from the film, which just happens to coincide with my golden reading years as a kid.

I came up with the three ideas, two I really liked. My editor then informed me that he was so swamped; he was bringing in a freelance editor. Another delight in that the new face was an old friend. Steve Saffel, former Marvel exec and former DelRey editor and a longtime pal, had about the same enthusiasm for the character. Additionally, it wasn’t that long ago we agreed working together would be fun and here it was a reality.

He glommed on to one of my favored ideas and we’ve been batting it back and forth. Today, I delivered one unannounced project to my editor and tomorrow I’ll begin a short unannounced piece which should take me through the weekend. In theory, come Monday, I can expand the one paragraph pitch into an outline worthy of an 85,000 word work; my longest novel yet.

But it’s Iron Man! How cool is that?

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