Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lex Luthor and Tony Stark

Geoff Klock wrote here about Lex Luthor's desk in JLA: Earth 2, and about all of the things that it manages to express about Lex in a single panel: "you look at that image...the empty desk carved from an endangered redwood tree (we must assume) and you know EVERYTHING you need to know about this character: he is rich, wasteful, arrogant, powerful, has very good taste, and doesn't love anything (nothing personal is in the room or on that desk)."

It left me wondering whether Jon Favreau (or Avi Arad or any of the other Marvel people involved in the production) had this comic in mind when making the new Iron Man movie. Y'see, Tony Stark has a smaller but otherwise identical table in his living room, and Stark's vanity and alienation are similarly central to his character. I think that there's something meaningful about the table being in Stark's home, though, rather than in his office, as is Luthor's - and this is what signals their difference. As he expresses throughout the film, Stark may not have anyone to love, but one gets the sense that the table itself is substituting for those absent people - given that it's in his home, it's framed more intimately than Luthor's piece of decorative furniture, a lonely and endangered rarity kept close to home and which expresses something about Stark's sense of himself.

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