Iron Man: Director of SHIELD

The Revolution is not having the best morning. It stated out well enough. The kitchen was full of the wonderful warm aromas of fresh media lunas and Café Bustelo. Add a little dulce de leche to that and you have the perfect start to any day.

Of course, that was until I checked my e-mail. With a steaming cup of Café Bustelo in one hand and a mouthful of media lunas I opened an e-mail from Tenzil. From that point my morning took a nose dive. Tenzil sent me a link to a CBR article dealing with my favorite Marvel character: Iron Man.

The article reported that Marvel Editor Bill Rosemann confirmed for CBR News that a new regular creative team will be named shortly for #36 and beyond that will replace the outgoing writing tandem of Daniel and Charles Knauf.”

And that is where my fine morning went completely wrong. The sad thing is that I have been waiting for this moment to happen. Once it was announced that the Knaufs would be taking a “break” from Iron Man: Director of SHIELD and then return after Stuart Moore’s story arc, I immediately thought that Marvel was simply positioning themselves to drop the Knaufs from this title. Coupled with the fact that the Knaufs will now be writing The Eternals, it seemed like the writing was on the wall.

However, hope springs eternal, and I kept the faith that Marvel would have the guts and the cojones to keep the Knaufs on Iron Man: Director of SHIELD. I thought that the Knaufs’ unique, complex and creative take on Iron Man was a perfect balance to Fractions’ unoriginal, traditional and straight-forward take on Iron Man over on Invincible Iron Man. It seemed that both groups of fans would have an Iron Man that was geared to their tastes.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. Now, I am not going to rant and rave about the Knaufs leaving Iron Man. Creative teams come and creative teams go. That is the nature of comic books. And I am not going to threaten to drop Iron Man: Director of SHIELD. That would be a hollow and disingenuous threat. I love Iron Man and have a complete run of Iron Man comics. I will stick with Iron Man no matter how bad the writing might get. And believe me; the writing has gotten pretty bad at certain points in the past.

The Knaufs turned in a 22 issue run on Iron Man: Director of SHIELD. The Knaufs’ run was longer than you would have initially thought given that they are Hollywood writers. Still, the Knaufs were doing such an impressive job with Iron Man: Director of SHIELD, I was truly hoping that they would stay on this title for 50 issues or so.

The Knaufs turned in a phenomenal run on Iron Man: Director of SHIELD. And they managed to do it during a time when Marvel was letting any writer on all the other titles go ahead and perform routine character assassination on Tony. The Knaufs shrugged off what other writers were doing and concentrated on crafting the best Iron Man stories that they could. And sure enough, the Knaufs quickly made Iron Man: Director of SHIELD one of the best written books that Marvel published.

Seriously, the Knaufs delivered some incredibly well crafted issues that were sublime and possessed so many different layers and textures. Iron Man: Director of SHIELD was easily one of the most intelligent titles that Marvel published. The Knaufs engaged the reader’s mind like few other Marvel titles do. The reader had to be nimble and on their toes in order to keep pace with the intricate plotlines that the Knaufs continually weaved issue after issue.

And what the Knaufs did with Tony’s character was mind blowing. The Knaufs took a character that has been notoriously one-dimensional for much of his existence and made him one of the most intriguing and complex characters in the 616 universe. The Knaufs gave Tony such incredible depth and evolved his character like no other writers have done before them.

It will be with a heavy heart that I realize that whoever replaces the Knaufs on Iron Man: Director of SHIELD will probably follow Matt Fraction’s lead and give us much more shallow, predictable and unoriginal Tony Stark. It is a shame that Marvel pulled the plug on such a creative and innovative take on Iron Man’s character.

I thought that Marvel had a good thing going with the Knaufs on Iron Man: Director of SHIELD providing a more cerebral read that focused more on strong character work and intricate plotting and with Matt Fraction on Invincible Iron Man providing a more mass consumable read for people who enjoyed the Iron Man movie and wanted a straight up action themed story that moved at a fast pace. With those two Iron Man titles it seemed that Marvel would be able to make both groups happy. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case.

I get the general feeling that Iron Man: Director of SHIELD is going to be cancelled. Marvel already brought back the original Iron Man title in the Invincible Iron Man. And I would imagine that after Secret Invasion has concluded that Nick Fury will be re-installed as the Director of SHIELD. Plus, the big Iron Man push tied to his movie this summer will have concluded as well.

At any rate, I will try to move on and try my best not to hold this against Fraction on Invincible Iron Man or against whoever ends up replacing the Knaufs on Iron Man: Director of SHIELD. But, I have to admit that it does irritate me greatly that the Knaufs are taken off Iron Man when I found their writing on Iron Man: Director of SHIELD to be clearly superior to what Fraction has given us on his first two issues of Invincible Iron Man. Of course, we all know that quality of writing is not what comic book companies care about. It is all about the number of units that they sell.

Oh well, the only constant in the world of comic books is change. I will miss the Knaufs on Iron Man: Director of SHIELD. I respect what the Knaufs as writers since it was obvious that they poured every ounce of their hearts and souls into their stories. I’d like to go ahead and thank the Knaufs for what I considered to be the best run on Iron Man. Period.


  1. The Knaufs originally had the first issue of a new arc solicited for May, but that was pulled and replaced by Moore’s first issue retroactively; I’m guessing, from the looks of it, that the Knaufs had to take four issues off because of Hollywood and The Eternals, then it became clear that they really weren’t going to have the time, hence, Gage’s three-parter second fill-in to make time for whoever the new guy is.

  2. I was looking at the interview on cbr and although the knaufs wont be returning, the new arc looks pretty interesting, basically, it has war machine front and centre and when starks tech all fails at the start of secret invasion, war machines doesnt because tony designed it to be completely separate from the rest of stark tech. so what happens is we see war machine cut loose against the skrull armada and try to pick up the pieces of shield and stark industries.

  3. You’re very welcome, Rokk!

    Actually, we owe you and the fans a great deal of thanks for the support and kudos. Someday, maybe we’ll get a chance to revisit our beloved shellhead and his troubled alter ego and deliver our MM story. As they say, “Hope springs eternal.”

    Or is it “Hope springs ETERNALS?”


    Daniel and Charles Knauf

  4. I’m with you 100%. The Execute Program arc seemed like it could be filler, as could the Civil War arc, but they made it relevant and complex. They took it to another level once the SHIELD stories took over. You have to believe that if the book had existed in a bubble without Miller’s hatchet job of Tony’s character in Civil War combined with a Wolverine-like saturation as Marvel’s super-cop, then this run would have had the numbers and recognition of Brubaker’s Cap.

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