Comics

A Fresh Start for Tony Stark: Iron Man

Dan Slott talks about ending his Spidey run and moving on to Tony Stark!

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By John Rhett Thomas

Didja hear the news? After ten amazing years, Dan Slott is leaving AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and joining rising-superstar artist Valerio Schiti for a Fresh Start take on a little title called TONY STARK: IRON MAN! If that sounds as cool to you as it does to me, read on!

Marvel: Before we get into Iron Man, it’s important to note that after ten years, you’ve left AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. So the question from those of us who loved your work on that title: Why? Why, why, why, why, why??? (Okay, that’s six questions. Take your time answering.)

Dan Slott: Ten years on the title and hitting AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #800 were my last big milestones. I’d been aiming for those milestones for some time. Both of them hitting together in the same year felt like a good place to say goodbye to the ol’ web-head. Marvel’s been great to me. They told me I could stay as long as I wanted, but lo there must come an ending. I pulled the trigger and let everyone know about three or four Marvel retreats ago. I’d be lying if I said that there weren’t moments after that where I screamed to the heavens, “WHAT HAVE I DONE?!” But, yeah, it was time.

Marvel: With you leaving Spider-Man, it seems you could have taken on any number of Marvel characters. Why Iron Man?

Dan Slott: They made some pretty sweet offers to me with others characters and big-name team books, and I let those buses go by. Just waiting. Hoping that one of the favorites on my short list would open up. The second I knew the Iron Man book was available, I lept at it, bellowing “MINE!” as loud as I could!

I love that we live in a time where Marvel Studios has been making mega-blockbusters for ten years. When I grew up, comics readers knew who Tony Stark was. The man on the street didn’t. That has completely changed. Tony is now the cornerstone of that Cinematic Universe — a character that everyone in the world knows. That’s astounding to me. When I was asked, “What do you want the new book to be called?” I totally knew: TONY STARK: IRON MAN.

Marvel: This new initiative is called “Fresh Start.” What things about the life of Tony Stark and Iron Man are we going to see renewed?

Dan Slott: We’ll see a mix of old and new IRON MAN characters: Bethany Cabe and Jocasta, to name a few. We’re going to see the return of specialty armors, because I love those — and it gives Valerio a chance to design all kinds of new and exciting suits. This book’s focus will be big on adventure, with massive action set pieces. We’ll be doing that while exploring high-concept sci-fi premises that lean in to the tech-based world of Tony Stark. It’s going to get wonderfully weird, and it will build to big secret-y things in the Marvel Universe.

Marvel: One of the things we loved about your Spider-Man run was your ability to keep the plates spinning on so many underlying plotlines and characters. Tony Stark’s supporting cast isn’t historically as intricate as Peter Parker’s, but I assume you’re going to maintain that broad coverage of the Iron Man universe in your stories.

Dan Slott: There will be fun soap opera, subplots, twists and turns. And some romance thrown in as well. When we get to Tony Stark’s love interest, longtime Marvel fans will be in for a treat. We’ll find a way to fit all this in between all the repulsor blasts and boot-jets.

Marvel: Any hints about bad guys we might see?

Dan Slott: No. Absolutely not. Read the book! But I can say you’ll see a couple of classic Iron Man baddies in the first few issues. Maybe an Avengers-related big bad in the near future. And a devious Marvel U. business rival for Tony who isn’t Justin Hammer or one of the Stanes. When people see who it is, it’ll be a big clue to where we’re heading — and I think Iron Man fans are going to freak out.

Marvel: I’ve been a fan of Valerio Schiti’s artwork since he first popped up at Marvel drawing Sif in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY. He’s got such a way with faces. I guess now we’re gonna see how he does with armor. What’s your take on what you’ve seen so far?

Dan Slott: Valerio is killing it on this book! From his designs of all the armors to the new Stark Unlimited HQ and our all-new characters. He is going all-out on the tech — every gadget, gizmo and vehicle is gorgeous. You’re gonna want them all as toys! His storytelling is some of the best in the biz, the acting, the expressions on all the characters’ faces in every scene are pitch-perfect! And everything is just infused with FUN! If you’re having a bad day, the best thing for it is going to be to pick up this book, let Valerio’s art wash over you, get transported into these weird stories — and I guarantee you, you’ll come out the other side feeling great!

Marvel: One last question before we go: Care to tick off some of your favorite Iron Man runs from the past?

Dan Slott: For me it’s all about the Michelinie/Layton runs. As an Iron Man fan, those are the sweet spots. I’m actually one of the readers who liked their second run even more than their first: the Armor Wars and introducing in the Ghost! Those are my favorites!

TONY STARK: IRON MAN #1 by Dan Slott and Valerio Schiti is on sale June 20!