01 May 2008

Iron Man: The Marvel & Sabbath Debate Rages On

Second only to casting Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark in Marvel’s big-screen vision of Iron Man (opening tomorrow) was the marketing department’s tactful decision to anchor the film's trailers with the sweeeet sounds of Black Sabbath’s 1970 classic "Iron Man".

The pairing was obvious, natural, and completely fitting; watching the trailer (catch it after the jump and listen for the music coming in at 1:27), it just feels so right. And to many, the intersection of Iron Man the comic book with "Iron Man" the greatest heavy metal song ever validates a particular (and vehemently upheld) school of thought regarding the origin of the Sabbath song: it was based on the comic.

Yet for others (picture warring tribes of comic book nerds and metal nerds with Matt caught in between), the song's genesis is not so transparent. While Marvel's Iron Man character clearly predates the track by seven years, Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler himself once stated that the song was a sci-fi story he came up with as the means for addressing themes of pollution and nuclear war.

So, what's it going to be? Was Sabbath’s “Iron Man” based on the comic book or not?

Well, lucky for me someone else has already done all the research...I strongly recommend you read Joshua Glenn’s excellent April 2nd Boston Globe piece, a systematic appraisal and untangling of the complicated history amongst the two Iron Men, Marvel and Ozzy. After reading this, there are very compelling arguments for both sides; go check it out and report back.

And who is EF siding with on the debate? Uh, well all we can say with certainty is that Ghostface Killah's 1996 solo album Iron Man was inspired by the comic book. The fact that he refers to himself as Tony Stark (and even has a cameo in the upcoming film) kinda tipped us off....

*above photo taken from Glenn's article

Listen:
Black Sabbath - "Iron Man"

Watch: Iron Man Official Trailer



9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Black Sabbath is from Birmingham. There is a statue in Birmingham called Iron Man. I'm pretty sure they named the song after the iron statue.

Anonymous said...

No, it's a scifi the bassist made.

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