Published on September 14th, 2013 | by Andrew Porwitzky0
Bob Layton hints at Marvel settlement for Iron Man character, may be huge.
On Wednesday, after news broke of Marvel’s landmark settlement with Gary Friedrich, the creator of Ghost Rider, Bob Layton posted the following on his Twitter account.
I just reached a settlement with Marvel over a character rights issue from David M. and my days on Iron Man.Thx, Gary F for paving the way!
— Bob Layton (@Bob_Layton) September 11, 2013
Bob Layton and co-plotter/writer David Michelinie were responsible for many of the most critically acclaimed and historic stories in Iron Man history. Demon in a Bottle (Sidekickcast review here) and Armor Wars are the two most well known storylines, though they were responsible for a run from Iron Man #116 to #154 and again from #215 to #250. With that many issues to their credit they undoubtedly created many memorable characters and stories for them.
So what character could they have created that would be worth trying to settle over? My first thought was Bethany Cabe. This is mainly because, quite frankly, I have the hots for Bethany Cabe. She first appeared in Iron Man #117 (1978), a bodyguard with a pure and beautiful heart. Like most of the characterization in Michelinie and Layton’s stories Bethany Cabe is an intricately detailed character.
I have such a great love of Bethany Cabe that this is where my mind immediately went. But as I thought about it, I realized there was another character that Michelinie and Layton created that is far more important to the history of Iron Man and even to the Marvel movie franchise.
That’s right folks, Michelinie and Layton created James “Rhodey” Rhodes in Iron Man #118 (1979). Rhodey was later retconned into Iron Man’s origin story in Iron Man #144 (1981).
Later developments by other creative teams, including Rhodey becoming Iron Man in Iron Man #170 and his assumption of the War Machine identity in Iron Man #284 cemented the character as a key person in Tony Stark’s life. To argue otherwise is pretty much impossible. Creating an Iron Man film franchise without James Rhodes would have been akin to Tony Stark without Pepper Potts (if you get into her history in the comic they are both on pretty equal footing for importance).
You heard it heard first, folks! I’m laying claim that the settlement Bob Layton is referring to involved James Rhodes. Sidekickcast exclusive speculation.
We have to remember that Bob Layton has stayed on the good side of Marvel for many years, having consulted on the Iron Man films. I imagine Layton has little interest in suing Marvel, but given the Ghost Rider settlement Marvel must know it needs to tread lightly on these matters. If Layton were to say “look, this is all David and I want and you can keep the character” then I imagine Marvel would agree. You can read a bit more about my opinions of Michelinie and Layton here.