Thursday, September 25, 2014

'My Iron Man' artist: Bob Layton; I made Lou Ferrigno smirk

CINCINNATI — Who can say they made the Incredible Hulk smirk and iconic IRON MAN artist Bob Layton blush “a little bit”?

Before I go any further, let me wish a very happy 61st birthday today to Bob Layton!!

One of my favorite IRON MAN covers
by penciller/inker Bob Layton.
Artist Bob Layton at the 2008 New York
Comic Con.
Simply put, he's a sweet guy who was nice enough to spend a few minutes talking shop with me at the 2014 Cincinnati Comic Expo.

On the front page of his official website, www.boblayton.com, Layton has posted a blurb from WIZARD MAGAZINE that declares he's "the definitive Iron Man artist."

I couldn't agree more. After all, I listed his artist contributions (inking and pencilling) to the original IRON MAN title as being one of the definitive versions of the Armored Avenger.

When I saw Layton at the the Cincinnati Comic Expo, I told him so. I said to him that whenever I talk about “my Iron Man,” it’s always his.

“Thanks. I’m blushing a little,” Layton said with a big smile. (And I’m pretty sure he meant it.)



Next, I told the appreciative Layton I didn’t notice much visual difference between his pencils and when he inked John Romita Jr.’s pencils, which gave their lengthy and icon IRON MAN run a consistent look.

Layton said that was intentional, explaining he had a mandate that whoever was the penciller only needed to draw “breakdowns” (essentially simple, somewhat incomplete sketches).

“I had a definite vision for Iron Man,” said Layton as he sketched the armored Avenger at his booth.

The official "Iron Man 2" photographer requested actor Robert Downey Jr. (from  left),
artist Bob Layton and director Jon Favreau "act like gangsters" for this on-set photo.
On his table was a picture of Layton, actor Robert Downey Jr. and director Jon Favreau looking menacing with their arms crossed on the racetrack set of “Iron Man 2.” (For an interview I did with Favreau before the first "Iron Man" started filming, click this link.) I told Layton that picture always cracks me up and makes me smile. I inquired how it came to be.

The official "Iron Man 2" photographer requested the trio “act like gangsters,” the artist said.

“We’re three white guys; what do we know about being gangsters?,” said Layton, who laughed and added the picture is one of his favorites. (Mine too!)

He's not kidding; Layton uses the "gangster photo" — which I call "The Big Three of Iron Man" — as his cover photo on his official Facebook page.

Lou Ferrigno used these images to promote
his appearance at the 2014 Cincinnati
Comic Expo. 
For the record, Ferrigno’s arms are as massive and muscular as you would expect. He is just One. Big. Dude.

But I bet you’d be surprised that the body-builder who played the rage monster, Hulk, is soft spoken.

I reminded Ferrigno I had interviewed him more than a year ago by telephone.

The “Incredible Hulk” actor explained to the man sitting with him at the booth he was the face of a computer company running a contest for people to submit videos in which they get angry with their computers.

Then, Ferrigno’s assistant said since the actor and I were having such a bonding moment, I should pay him $40 to get a picture taken with Ferrigno. Instead, I suggested he pay me since he’s the one who made the suggestion.

Ferrigno smirked.

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