JOE speaks to author Eoin Colfer about his new novel for Marvel, Iron Man: The Gauntlet
It's a big honour to write something like this...
Iron Man is one of the most recognisable characters in the Marvel Universe and Tony Stark, with the help of his flying suit, have become household names thanks to some hugely successful cinematic ventures.
These appearances on screen have come both alone and with the aid of his team of heroes, The Avengers featuring the likes of Captain America, Black Widow and Thor.
But true fans of Iron Man will know that his origin lies within the comics of Stan Lee, which gave the genius, billionaire, philanthropist, life and a voice.
Now though, Marvel have gone one step further and commissioned a novel of Iron Man to be released on Tuesday, October 25.
They picked none other than Irish author Eoin Colfer, the creator of the mega-successful Artemis Fowl book series, to pen the book and give Tony Stark new life on the pages of his own novel.
Iron Man: The Gauntlet is set in Ireland. Tony Stark is attending an international eco summit in Dublin, and while there, he detects an anomaly off the coast of Ireland. Without giving away too much, this is where the fun really starts when Tony decides to investigate the anomaly.
But how does Tony adapt to life in Ireland, and does he receive the adoration from the Irish people that he does in the States?
"The guy he is paired with is a detective and he's very unimpressed by [Tony Stark]," Colfer said. "In the states he's used to having standing ovations everywhere he goes so it takes him a while to get to grips with the Irish sensibility.
"But then he actually really likes it, he realises he prefers that to people fawning all over him all the time. He prefers the bit of cynicism because he's like that himself. So it's like he's found his spiritual people.
"That was my idea and I didn't know if Marvel would go for it, but they did. They appreciated the fish out of water story and that's exactly what I wanted."
But it wasn't the writing of the novel that had Eoin worried, he has always been confident in his skill as a writer, it was the audience he would be pitching to which gave him some apprehension. Comic fans are notoriously hard to please and the presence of online fan sites and countless of blogs have the ability to kill a book/novel before it's even off the ground.
"I was very worried about how it would be received," Colfer said, " I mean, the advanced reviews have been great and I'm very thankful for that. But it's really the readers [that matter], when I started and it's not that long ago, 20 years ago, the power of the fan had not grown.
"But now every fan is on the internet, so they're all saying they did or didn't like such a thing and it can sink or make a book, whereas 20 years ago, it was the reviewers that had all the power. Now, everyone has that power."
The novel which is released this week, looks outstanding and the witty Irish humour brought to the fore by the recognisable style of an author like Eoin Colfer makes it well worth a read, but it's just one of number of projects on the table for the Wexford man.
"I have thought about doing a superhero book and actually I'm working on a graphic novel with Andrew Donkin and there's an element of an Irish superhero.
"I can't say too much about it but, it's set in the golden ages, maybe the 1950s, so that could be very interesting. I really came out of this and I thought, Ive brought an american superhero to ireland, i would like to send an Irish superhero to America. We haven't even started beyond the plot yet so it'll be a while before it sees the light of day.
"We also have another project coming out next septmenber about the immigration problems from North Africa to Italy and that'll be interesting as well. I like to do all sorts of different projects."
Irish author Eoin Colfer was in Dublin to launch his new book 'Iron Man: The Gauntlet', which is now available in Eason stores nationwide. Eoin will also be signing copies of 'Iron Man: The Gauntlet' at an Eason evening event in their O'Connell street store from 6.30pm on Tuesday, October 25th www.easons.com.
All images via Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland