Jon Favreau, the fanboy movie director bringing "Iron Man" to the big screen next year, is set to show off just how much fun he's been having with Tony Stark. It was announced today at Comic-Con International in San Diego that he and artist Adi Granov have teamed for the upcoming mini-series "Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas."
Granov, who assisted Favreau with the design of Iron Man's suit for the movie, told CBR News that Las Vegas is the perfect place for the man with a whole lot of money to burn to set his soul on fire.
"Basically, Jon and I decided to do the most fun, action-filled book that we could. Full of the kind of smart humor that he's famous for and cinematic action I strive to do in my art," explained Granov, who worked on the "Iron Man" relaunch with Warren Ellis. "We have all the freedom we could want on this, so it's exactly the kind of book we want to do – without any constraints."
And it appears in terms of a storyline, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, even if what's happening includes the possible arrival of a classic Stan Lee-Jack Kirby creation.
"Tony Stark decides to take a vacation in Vegas, do the things he likes most, mostly drinking and womanizing, but, obviously, this is all spoiled by the appearance of an ancient, extremely destructive, dragon (hint, hint) hell-bent on causing as much mayhem as possible," teased Granov. "That is at the core of it. There are also some other familiar characters making appearances."
One wonders how Fin Fang Foom, the alien dragon whose limbs historically shatter mountains, manages to operate the one-armed bandits, and if his partner in crime, The Mandarin (who just so happens to be the featured supervillain in Favreau's film) will also be paying a visit to the Vegas strip.
Granov didn't want to spoil all the surprises, but did share how he and Favreau came to the project in the first place.
"Jon and I first started talking through MySpace when he was first announced as the director of the "Iron Man" movie. That led to my involvement in the film as an illustrator and concept designer," explained Granov. "I don't remember exactly when, but I asked Jon if he'd like to write a comic book. He was interested, but apprehensive at first. So a couple of months later when I was at the Marvel Studios in L.A., we got talking about it and Ari Arad was there and he seemed really excited at the prospect. So we threw some ideas around and Ari suggested the main villain, but we left it at that as we were all very busy with the movie. A few months went by, I flew out to L.A. to oversee the building of the Iron Man suit at Stan Winston Studios and Jon and I sat in his office and started hammering out the basic idea of the kind of book we'd like to do. That was pretty much the point when it felt we really started on it."
Granov says due to the fact that this is Favreau's first foray into comic book writing, the evolution of the project has been a far more natural process than most of his others.
"It's a tight collaboration. Jon maps out the story but leaves me a lot of latitude in terms of interpreting the visuals and the storytelling. I break the story down into pages and panels following my own instincts and based on the layouts we discuss if we need more or less scenes," said Granov, who says the book is nearly quarter of the way to completion. "Jon then takes the layouts and writes the dialogue and/or asks for changes, and so on. There isn't really a set process. We do whatever feels most natural."
Granov says "Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas" is set in the continuity of the movie, not so much as a sequel or a prequel, just within that particular Iron Man story's world.
"Seeing as how Jon largely set the continuity in the film, I'd say we have loads of latitude," quipped Granov. "I don't think I'd want to assign a timeline to the book in relation to the film so let's say it's just a part of that world. We wanted to do a book that will stand on its own and, although I think it complements the movie, it is a story developed to make the comic as good as possible as opposed to being a device just to cash in on the publicity. I think having the director and one of the illustrators of the film do an adaptation or a spin off would've been a waste of potential."
That potential is buoyed by the fact that not only does Favreau have a vested interest in the Invincible One but Granov himself just so happens to love the concept of Iron Man as a super hero.
"I just love the science fiction aspect of the character," offered Granov. "The concept of a guy in a mechanical suit has always appealed to me. And I love exploring the possibilities that come with that. Something about my renditions of Iron Man seems to appeal to people and has allowed me to shape the character in both comics and now film. This book is especially exciting to me because we're utilizing the movie version of Iron Man, which we had spent seven months developing. I've been living with it for so long and thinking about every minute detail of the character, that it feels so great to put it into action in comic pages, which is my favorite visual medium."
And while the Bosnian-born Granov is busy working on big budget superhero movies, how he came to the project is a Hollywood story in and of itself.
"It's yet another crazy thing in my life," said Granov. "Not to go too far into it but I moved to the U.S. from the war in Bosnia when I was 18 and had, I am not joking, $5 to my name. So the fact that I am still even here is pretty awesome. And that I am able to live out my childhood dreams of being an artist is kind of unbelievable. Add to that the fact that I helped bring a Marvel hero to the big screen in a $150 million movie and that I am doing a comic with one of the best writers in Hollywood on top of being a director and movie star as well, I mean, what can I say to that? It was as unlikely as going to the moon."
Or maybe Las Vegas with Tony Stark?