Art of Bob Layton
Bob Layton has, for all intents and purposes, done it all in the comics industry. In 1978, with writing partner David Michelinie, Bob totally re-imagined Marvel’s Invincible Iron Man, ultimately transforming it from a low-end book into one of Marvel’s all-time best sellers.
When they took over the series in 1979, the book was near cancellation numbers, under 90 thousand copies. By the time Michelinie and Layton left their first run on Iron Man, the title was selling at half-a-million units per month.
Then, years later, after the title began to tank again, Bob and David came back to Iron Man to revitalized it once more, first with the revolutionary Silver Centurion armor design and then, with the wildly-successful story arc—”Armor Wars”.
Their storyline “Demon in a Bottle” is now considered a milestone in comic history and was recently voted as ‘one of the top 20 comic stories of all time’ by the industry’s own. Numerous concepts and characters that David and Bob created are represented on the silver screen in the 2008 motion picture—Iron Man and the sequel- IRON MAN 2.
Bob also launched the first mini-series in comics’ history at Marvel with his highly-praised Hercules—Prince of Power. That series, which Bob Layton wrote and drew, spawned a successful sequel, a graphic novel and is still available to this day in trade paperback format. Layton also revived the original X-Men characters at Marvel with his groundbreaking series—X-Factor. While at Marvel, Bob designed the highly-successful Marvel Secret Wars toy line for Mattel, which has been recently re-released by Hasbro Toys.
Second only to his tenure on Iron Man, Bob is also known for his innovative contributions to the Valiant Comics line— first as co-architect of the Valiant Universe, and then, as Editor-in-Chief and Senior Vice President. When Bob inherited the controlling reins of the company from his predecessor, Valiant (Voyager Communications, Inc.) was nearly 4 million dollars in the red. Undaunted, Layton succeeded in turning the company’s fortunes around, netting the company nearly 30 million dollars in profits by his second year on the job.
In 1994, Valiant was sold to Acclaim Entertainment for the staggering price of 65 million dollars. Among other accomplishments during his tenure at Valiant, Layton created major story concepts and art designs for the highly-successful Turok, Dinosaur Hunter video game (the largest selling game in Acclaim’s history—selling over 1.5 million units) and won the comic industry’s most coveted award, Editor of the Year for 1993, as voted by the readers of Wizard Magazine. Bob stepped down as Valiant’s Senior Vice-President in 1996.
In June 2001, Dick and Bob, along with head writer David Michelinie, formed Future Comics and it’s cast of distinct and unusual properties including Freemind, Deathmask, Metallix and Peacekeeper. One of Future’s accomplishments was to revolutionize the distribution side of the comics business with the industry’s first, totally-autonomous Internet comics company, selling to readers and booksellers alike directly through the world-wide web.
In recent days, Bob (with David Michelinie) returned to Marvel Comics and Iron Man, creating two, new limited series which were released in conjunction with the Iron Man major motion picture in 2008—‘Iron Man: Legacy of Doom’ and ‘Iron Man: The End’.
Bob is currently completing a new Hercules mini-series for Marvel and he and David Michelinie have two new Iron Man projects on the horizon for 2011.
Bob has been involved in many creative aspects of film and television throughout his career, working with such Hollywood luminaries as Howard Stern, Tracy Torme’ (Star Trek, Sliders, Odyssey 5), Scott Winant (Huff, My So-Called Life, Thirtysomething), John Turman (Rise of the Sliver Surfer), Patrick Massett and Jon Zinman, (Caprica, Tomb Raider, Deep Blue Sea), David Nutter (Smallville, X-Files, Witches of Eastwick) John Harrison (Dune, Children of Dune) and George Romero (Night of the Living Dead).
Sample of Bob’s commision work: