Iron Man: Does Whatever An Iron Can

Iron Man, Iron Man, does whatever an iron can. Straightens clothes, gets real hot, smashes you up the butt. Hey there! Here comes the Iron Man!

Well, it’s another of those things I’m looking to stock up in here: character crash courses! And this week, we’re talking about…what do you mean he’s already super popular, more than ever? As if I’d let that stop me!

A cool exec with a heart of steel. And, most importantly, severely crippling physical and psychological issues, and THE suit of high tech battle armour. To some of you, he’s Robert Downey Jr.. To others, he’s Iron Hitler, the asshole with the keys to the toybox.

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Nuanced characterisation was a casualty in other Civil War titles.

But really: Who is Iron Man? Has he lost his mind? Can he see or is he blind? Was he turned to steel in the great magnetic field?

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Metaphors Embodied: The Psychopomp’s Circumstances

No, it’s not the Psycho Pope, the main antagonist in a poorly written Young Adult novel with hamfisted anti-religion themes.

In today’s edition of Things You Recognise But Don’t Know The Names Of, a totally legit and not-at-all-made-up series, we’ll be talking about the PSYCHOPOMP! What thing that you recognise is it?

No, it’s not the Psycho Pump, an item in point and click adventure games to fix the Psycho Plumbing.

No, it’s not the Psycho Pope, the main antagonist in a poorly written Young Adult novel with hamfisted anti-religion themes.

No, it’s not the Psycho Crusher, the signature torpedo move of Master Bison, overlord of Shadaloo.

The PSYCHOPOMP is in fact…DEATH! Well, kinda.

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Comic Book Deaths And You

“We have to retrieve Blue Beetle’s soul from the Phantom Zone and his body from Gorilla City and get Etrigan to stick the two together!”

Ah yes, death. The final answer. The culmination of a gripping battle or a long march. A powerful tool in the writer’s arsenal, meant to create SHOCK and DRAMA. For surely all will be touched by the loss of their loved one, the legacy and memories they leave behind, and all the emotions that come with it.

And then there’s comic book deaths.

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Don’t be so shocked. Isn’t religious Sonic fanart a thing?

As part of my usual target audience, you’re more than likely familiar with the concept. A character ‘dies’ only to come back to life later, sometimes to joyful celebration and other times to rolled eyes. And of course, you know the various ways this happens: clones, robot doubles, magic, time travel, bad/mad science, fight with Death itself, it was a dream, reality gets mixed up, the works. And of course, the classic “The fans/profits demanded it.”

There are plenty of articles to discuss this particular trope’s merits and faults, both from a literary and in-universe perspective, but I won’t be going into those. Instead, I’ll do my best to present the usual ways this plays out, and hopefully give you some fun and some tips about writing along the way. Because really, discipline aside, it IS important to have fun with writing.

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The Bionic Raccoon and Space Mall Cop

Those are the moments that are foreshadowed, that form the emotional climax, the payoff and culmination of all that character development and conflict. And THESE…are not those moments.

Disclaimer: All mentioned films belong to their owners, spoilers inbound!

In any movie with some emotional component (yes, even Michael Bay films), there’s always ‘the talk’ where there’s a major revelation, a major resolution. Basically the thing where they either say “This is the problem I am raising at the worst moment!” or “This is the explicit moral of the story I just learned.” Those are the moments that are foreshadowed, that form the emotional climax, the payoff and culmination of all that character development and conflict.

And THESE…are not those moments.

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