One of the best superhero comics on the shelves lately has been Invincible Iron Man, written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Salvador Larroca. The book captures the wonderfully fun tone of the Iron Man movies but still maintains its own identity without confounding new readers who might be coming to the series after enjoying one of the films. That’s no mean feat, and Fraction should be commended for those efforts, as well as turning Tony Stark into this charming, libidinous sci-fi capitalist who you’d love to hang out with but would never leave alone with your girlfriend … or your multinational corporation.
However, starting with last month’s issue, something odd happened with the visual portrayal of the main character. I don’t mean Iron Man (who’s sports a sleek new armor design). I’m talking about Tony Stark.
As of issue No. 25, the role of Tony Stark was being played by … Josh Holloway?
That’s right, Sawyer from Lost has made the jump from the small screen to the small page.
Personally, I’m not all that bothered with an illustrator who “borrows” a face for a fictional character. There’s a long history of comic book artists using actors as the models for their characters. Fred MacMurray was the visual inspiration for Captain Marvel (the Shazam! version), and the creators of the comic Wanted based the look of their main characters on Eminem and Halle Berry in an effort to get them interested in playing the roles in a film version. (It didn’t work; James McAvoy and Angelia Jolie got the parts instead.) Of course, not all comic book fans are as charitable as I am, and some comics fans can become quite outraged over an artist lifting a famous face or swiping from porn poses as well as other artists.
What throws me off, though, is that Tony Stark already has a celebrity face: It’s Robert Downey Jr. The guy who has played him–fantastically, I might add–in two highly successful Iron Man movies and will be reprising the role for an Avengers film and probably Iron Man 3. If you’re going to use an actor as a model for Tony Stark, why aren’t you using RDJ? Using an actor who is notable as one of the most popular characters (sorry, Sawyer, you’ll always be behind Hurley) on the most talked about show right now is just distracting.
The most puzzling example of Holloway’s “modeling” comes in the final panels of Invincible Iron Man #25, as Tony Stark “suits up” into his new armor, which he redesigned that issue.
I wouldn’t have noticed the similarities between the above paparazzi shot and Larroca’s illustration if hadn’t been for the following panel in the comic …
… where the artist renders the identical pose Holloway strikes in a cologne ad, just throwing in a high-tech repulsor unit, some muscularized undersheath and armor plating to make it more Iron Manly.
I don’t have any interest on whether this practice is unethical or just the price of doing business in the entertainment business. Has Holloway’s image and likeness been wrongly appropriated? Is Larroca just tracing and not illustrating? Has the artist created a substantially transformative work using these photo references?
I don’t know, and I don’t plan to lose sleep over it. I save my moral outrage for things like government corruption and TV carriers screwing up their signal during a crucial episode of a beloved program. My only hope is that Josh Holloway is receiving some type of payment for Marvel’s use of his image, because clearly his Lost salary has never been enough that he can afford shirts with buttons, let alone the shirts themselves.
IMAGES Marvel Comics (Invincible Iron Man #25); ABC
If you’ve read this blog before, you know I can have difficulty telling people apart. Like say Amy Adams and Isla Fisher.
Tonight, I’m hitting a trifecta of people I can’t tell apart. Or at least people I think look strikingly similar. That’s because Neil Patrick Harris is a guest star on Glee, and maybe it’s just me, but I think he has more than a passing resemblance to the show’s male lead, Matthew Morrison.
Of course, if I’m going to bring up Neil Patrick Harris and Matthew Morrison in the same sentence, then I definitely need to mention their identical triplet, Milwaukee’s very own Tim Cigelske. C’mon! You can’t tell me that you don’t think these guys could be brothers. Or possibly the result of some government project to create an army of incredibly nice, incredibly talented and incredibly sexy men.
When I make claims like this, everyone demands evidence. So if it’s evidence you want it’s evidence you’ll get. Just check out the way Matt, Neil and Tim love to hang around with their hands in their pockets and pose wearing T-shirts.
Or look at the way they like to shove their rockin’ bods in everyone’s face and go shirtless.
And while Tim and Matt have the greatest physical resemblance, Tim and Neil share some scary mannerisms when it comes to wearing shades, as well as having really weird attachment to T-shirts.
In fact, the only way I can really tell Tim and Neil apart is to find pictures of them when they were a whole lot younger.
If all this photographic proof hasn’t shown you how I could get mixed up from time to time, then you’re a lost cause. Even Tim’s wife asks for ID before she lets Tim get into bed. Why do you expect more out of me?
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦And since I’ve pretty much destroyed all of Tim’s dignity (hey, man, you started it), it’s only fair that I mention Teecycle’s T-shirt photo shoot from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, May 22, at the Urban Ecology Center. If I have to tell you what Teecycle is, you’re dead to me and pretty much the entire world, because only a dead person wouldn’t know about Teecycle and its mission to recycle T-shirts and help the River Revitalization Fund. So click a link already, dead person.
Over the weekend–in between fits of anger directed at demented fathers who get sexual gratification from belittling teenage boys–I “rediscovered” my Tumblr account (there’s a feed from it on the right-hand rail) and decided to consolidate and reorganize my web presence on the various sites and networks I play around on.
My WordPress blog will continue to feature longer written pieces and graphics-heavy entries. My Tumblr site will be for quick-hit posts, as well as streaming a feed from my WordPress blog and Twitter. And of course, Twitter is where you’ll find me shouting obscenities and craziness like some English-speaking pteradactyl you’d find panhandling for change on the corner.
If you’re like a lot of recovering phencyclidine addicts, you can’t get enough of my writing. If that’s the case, head over to Milwaukee Moms where I’ve got a couple recent articles up on the site with more to come.
Finally, in case you haven’t been in this neck of the woods for a while, here’s a look at some of the things you’ve been missing:
- Underrated Crush: Judy Greer This actress will make you laugh while you’re thinking naughty thoughts about her.
- Let’s play Gay, Straight or British A response to a recent Newsweek article that says out gay actors can’t play straight parts convincingly.
- Observations on the “Iron Man” sequel One geek’s perspective and nitpicks Written with tongue firmly in cheek.
- “The Rotten Tomatoes Show”: A smart and funny take on a dying TV genre The funniest review you’re not watching on the best channel you’re not watching.
- Are you smarter than an HLN viewer Odds are pretty high that the answer is yes.