Bob Layton, apprentice to Wally Wood, writer, penciller, and inker for Marvel and DC, as well as a senior figure and creator at Valiant, is especially remembered for his work with David Michelinie on Iron Man. And the pair had reunited to work on the character on a mini-series Iron Man Forever. Not that Bob Layton recognizes the final version. He writes on Facebook;
Speaking of Marvel, today… I finished the last page on the fourth and final issue of my “Iron Man Forever” mini-series. Sad to say, this will be my last assignment for Marvel Comics. Not that I hate them, or think that its a horrible place, but it’s simply not the same Marvel I enjoyed working for during most of my career. It’s clear to me that it’s time to move on.
To clarify my last statement, my decision is more about individual expression and to not become a contributor to “units sold”. The pervasive corporate atmosphere felt like the #1 goal was to crank out grist for the stockholder mill. In other words, it seemed to me that pumping out endless, poorly conceived mini-series to make sales figures has become that driving force at Marvel/Mouse. To confess, in no way, shape or form does this last Iron Man mini-series resemble what David Michelinie and I had intended it to be. Christ, we went through two editorial teams and it took over a year just to get the four measly issues to be the mess that it currently is. The story was edited and approved by a faceless committee, then run past the sales department for its approval. The sales department? Really? Well, my primary concern as a storyteller is not assuring that the Disney corporation makes its quarterly projections. More power to them, but that not why I got into the comic field. As much as I love Iron Man (and all of my fans worldwide), I feel it is impossible to do the kind of stories you expect from me in the current situation.
Edward James Olmos recent gave me some sage advice over dinner. When describing my frustration over the situation at Marvel, he leaned over and said: “What’s one more friggin’ Iron Man mini-series going to contribute to your 35 year legacy?”
And… I realized that he was right.
Naturally. Remember folks, Edward James Olmos is always right…