So, yeah. Here’s a thing that’s happening.
Last year, I was approached by friend and fellow word pusher Robb Pearlman, who at the time was working as an editor for BenBella Books, about coming aboard there to work on a new project, which was to be the first in a series of tomes, highlighting various popular characters from Marvel Comics. Robb thought the deep dive which would be required and the need to write with a strong “in-world voice” was something for which I was well-suited, as apparently evidenced by my work on (among other things), the Star Trek travel guides for Vulcan and the Klingon Empire.
Hey. What can I say? It’s nice to be loved.
After convincing Robb (it didn’t really take much convincing) that my collaborating with my hetero life mate, Kevin, would be a wise move on part for the project being described, we signed contracts, had our first meetings with representatives from Marvel, developed an outline, and then we were off to the races. The result?
IRON MAN: TONY STARK DECLASSIFIED
The challenge of boiling down 70 years of comics* and related information into something approaching 75,000 words was no easy feat. Even Marvel’s famous “sliding timescale” with its inherent streamlining, revising, and updating of major events across the character’s entire publication history to fit within a supposed 13-year timespan still left us with a lot of information to summarize and organize.
* That’s right! This is all comics continuity, rather than the Marvel Cinematic Universe films.
Sure, this presented a challenge, but what made it fun was the idea this isn’t and never was intended to be a simple distillation, recitation, or adaptation of events from the comics. Instead, our task was to climb into Tony Stark’s head and try to find out what makes him tick, how he’s navigated the twists and turns of his rather remarkable and just plain weird life, and perhaps gain a bit of insight into Tony Stark, the man who would be Iron Man.
From the back cover:
Millions of comic book fans know Tony Stark as Iron Man. But few, if any, truly know the man inside the armor.
This fully authorized book tells the story of one of Marvel Comics’ most heroic, heralded, and complex characters—in his own words as well as notes, interviews, and files assembled from the Avengers’ archives.
An unprecedented, comprehensive firsthand chronicle, Iron Man: Tony Stark Declassified draws on more than a half century of classic tales to present an insightful, personal take about—and by—one of the most talked-about heroes of all time.
Featuring Tony’s perspective on his most important friends, allies, and enemies including Captain America, Pepper Potts, Happy Hogan, James Rhodes, Ironheart, Bruce Banner, Hellcat, and Arno Stark, and his thoughts on the Marvel Universe’s most memorable moments, this first-of-its-kind archival collection is a must for fans of all ages.
Pretty cool, amirite? Want a sneak peek at some prototype pages? Note these are early samples and don’t reflect anything final. They were created before the manuscript was reviewed by Marvel or even copyedited, so just relax and breathe regular, all right?
Iron Man: Tony Stark Declassified is currently scheduled for publication on November 14th in trade paperback and eBook formats. Pre-order links are already available for Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but if you have an independent bookstore near you I’d highly encourage you to patronize their shop and let them take care of you.
Also, remember when I mentioned this would be the first of a series? Well, the second book, Black Panther: T’Challa Declassified is currently gestating under the mighty fingers of noted author Maurice Broaddus and is currently slated for release on January 30, 2024. As I write this, I know of two additional books in development, with announcements to come at the appropriate time.
Meanwhile, be sure to check out the official announcement of these first to titles over at Marvel.com.
We’ll be sharing more info as this moves ever closer to publication, so stay tuned!