Originally Posted by [rono]
It's a wonder the series lasted so long then.
Ironically enough, the original Iron Man series suffered from low sales and was on the cancellation bubble more than once back in the day. Stark was rather boring and his villains were just as bland for some reason. Even keeping Stark five seconds from a heart attack for years on end didn't make his title exciting, though it did lead him to be horribly self-pitying most of the time.
Originally Posted by storyteller
Keep in mind that we had been seeing super serious all the time characters up until Iron Man. Blade, Peter Parker, Wolverine, Batman, Superman, and others weren't really all that playful. They have certainly made him a little less uptight as he was in the comics. Honestly Tony in the comics seems very depressed and suicidal. He jumps into bed with the next lady to feel something. He can barely hold himself together.
But RDJ's portrayal is a refreshing look at the superhero. He actually made it fun to be a superhero. The portrayal connects more because it's very hard to see the downside of being Tony Stark/ Iron Man.
This is all very true. In the comics, Tony is portrayed as being self-destructive quite often, emotionally empty and needy to the point where he defines himself and gains self-worth through his relationships with women. At one low point, Stane was able to drive Stark into a depressive spiral by hiring a woman to romance and then dump Tony. That was part of the genesis of the classic "Demon in a Bottle" story arc. The movie version of Tony Stark draws on the emotionally-stunted, needy, insecure, obsessive aspects of Tony's comics persona and brilliantly combines them with charm, wit and manic energy to come up with a character that the audience can connect to and enjoy.
At SDCC Joe Quesada admitted that before the Iron Man
movie came out in 2008, Tony Stark was the most hated character in the comics universe because of the way he was portrayed in the Civil War series. They had essentially turned Stark into the comics worst villain by having him betray most of the other heroes and lead the government efforts to hunt down anyone who refused registration. The character was essentially rehabilitated by Downey, Favreau and the writers of Iron Man.