Have you seen Iron Man 2 yet?
Good chance most of you have. Don’t worry, nothing even remotely spoilerish here but I will say I rather enjoyed it. So given the occasional retro appeal of subject matter that comes and goes in the column, I’m using Iron Man 2 as an excuse to take a look at the classic Demon in a Bottle storyline (specifically Iron Man 10-128) as the film does take a few moments from the book.
For those of you who have never read it, Demon in the Bottle is the storyline that brings Tony’s battle with the bottle to the limelight. It also sows a lot of seeds for future classic Iron Man stories like Armor Wars. For a young gun at the time, Romita JR did some very good work to go along with Micheline and Layton’s script.
But to be completely fair, what shines in Demon in a Bottle is the script.
It’s been a long time since I had read the story. Honestly, I was almost sure it was a done in one story with Tony getting drunk and then getting help and then being sober.
I was so wrong.
While a bit of the dialog is a little dated by today’s standards, the simple thing about Demon in the Bottle is how honestly the writers treated alcoholism If you’ve ever known someone with this issue, you’ll know that it isn’t a done in one day problem. Alcoholism is a disease; it creeps up on you, and when you are fully in it’s grips, it’s really hard to get rid of. And thats what Layton and Micheline did better then a lot of others who have tried tackling the subject. Tony’s drinking problem is a slow build. It’s a panel here and a panel there and it become more noticeable until he hits bottom and drinks and armors.
It also treats Tony the man very real. A guy that high up on the corporate ladder is going to have a lot of pressure on him. His company is being bought up by a government organization his suit seems to be screwing up at every turn, you can completely understand why Tony has turned to the bottle.
And you also get a sense that even though the battle is won, his war is not over as he nearly reaches for that next drink but decides to pull away.
After all these years, Demon in a Bottle still holds up. It makes complete sense that the film makers would tap some of it’s content for Iron Man 2 because despite the dialog, the story is still very relevant today.
Definitely worth checking out.
Just a few quick notes before I go.
Comic Book Daily’s own Pete DeCourcy pointed out that Gene Colan recently did an issue of Captain America that I was unaware of. Issue 601, Cap and Bucky vs Vampires, story by Brubaker, art by Colan…wow. Worth having a look at. And while you’re at it, have a look at the auction set up to help Gene at http://www.genecolan.blogspot.com/.
In case you missed it, earlier this week Frank Frazetta passed away. You can read my brief piece on the life of the master on this site. But afterwards, I really recommend you take a look at Jimmy Palmiotti’s blog. From everything else I’ve read on the net, I think Jimmy paints a fair portrait on the man Frank was.
The second issue of First Wave has arrived, really digging the series despite the lateness. Rags Morales is kicking ass and taking names with his art on the book and I’m really interested to see where the pieces fall by the end of this series.
Image United #3 is still MIA.
Brent Chittenden is a Canadian freelance writer who also happens to write humorous things for Bite TV’s blog. If you have need of his services you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter at @BCNerdhole and his podcast Two Assholes Talking About Nerd Stuff. Feel free to become a fan of him at his Facebook group Brent Chittenden: The Writer.