(Warning: The following contains some content that may well be NSFW - albeit in an more-or-less entirely clothed fashion. Proceed with whatever level of caution your employer's internet usage policy suggests is wise...)
Now, when Marvel recently announced that its new 'Iron Man', Riri Williams, would be going by the name Ironheart (as opposed to, say, Iron Woman or Iron Maiden), the response was, for the most part, very positive. Those fans who hadn't already written off the character because of her gender or the pigmentation of her skin seemed largely content with the name - with it evoking both Riri's connection to Tony Stark's legacy, and setting her up as an independent character capable of building her own.
And, for a brief, shining moment, all was right in the Marvel Comics universe. Until everything came crashing down, of course. Y'see:
It Turns Out That Ironheart's Name Has Already Been Used... By A Japanese Iron Man Porn Parody
Yup, that's right. Within days of the original announcement, the folks over at BleedingCool just so happened to notice that the name Ironheart has already been used by an Iron Man-associated female character: the female lead of a Japanese porn parody take on Iron Man, played by Hibiki Otsuki.
A film that, somewhat awkwardly, managed to use a strikingly similar image for its cover to the one Marvel used to introduce Riri Williams to the world... several months before Marvel came up with the idea of calling her armored alter-ego Ironheart:
The most awkward part of all of this, though? We know exactly who at Marvel came up with the name in the first place: Marvel Entertainment's Chief Creative Officer, Joe Quesada.
Indeed, as Invincible Iron Man writer Brian Michael Bendis revealed to Wired a few days back, Marvel had been having some trouble with Williams' name... until Quesada stepped in:
"Iron Woman seemed old fashioned to some. Iron Maiden looked like a legal nightmare... And Ironheart, coined by Joe Quesada, after I told him my planned story for Riri, speaks not only to the soul of the character but to the Iron Man franchise as a whole. Tony first put on the armor to save his heart. Riri puts it on for different reasons altogether but still heart-related. When people see her story, you’ll be amazed at how simple and brilliant Joe’s suggestion was."
The big question that raises, though?
How Did Marvel Not Know About The Other Ironheart?
After all, Marvel is surely aware of the existence of each and every porn parody based on its intellectual property - with in-house lawyers undoubtedly checking each and every one for an insufficient amount of 'parody', thus opening up the possibility of a copyright-infringement lawsuit - so how did the name Ironheart ever make it past the company's gatekeepers of common sense?
Well, it's entirely possible that this is all a simple case of human error - there's every chance that Quesada simply hadn't heard of the porn parody, much as its tempting to imagine otherwise. It is, though, also possible that the folks at Marvel - or at least some of them - were well aware of the parody, and thought that 'taking the name back' would be a neat/funny/roguish thing to do. Which, with the internet more-or-less guaranteed to dig up everything, would be a monumentally bold - and silly - thing to have done.
Not least because...
There Are A Whole Lot Of Marvel Porn Parodies Out There
Making it pretty darned difficult to ignore their existence, or believe that comic-book fans would do the same (especially if you're the CCO of Marvel Entertainment). After all, the past few years has seen the arrival of...
Which is pretty much exactly what you'd imagine it would be, only with more She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel and Spider-Woman than we saw in the 2012 Marvel movie. Because remember, kids, not all increases in female representation are designed to be empowering.
Meanwhile, there's also...
Captain America: A Gay XXX Parody
In which, yes, Cap and Bucky totally have sex. Which technically makes the XXX Marvel universe more LGBTQ-friendly than the MCU. In a very, very visceral sense.
Gnardians Of The Galaxy
Which not only features a lead hero named Star Load, but also a Groot-like character named Groin that is, you guessed it, a giant wooden penis and testicles (above right, voice of Vin Diesel not included).
Meanwhile, in the land of the incredibly obvious, there's also...
A movie that was surely created solely to feature a threesome between Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacy and Flash Thompson (which it of course does, according to Wikipedia), because porn movies may as well be written by thirteen-year olds. Also, a movie named Spider-Man XXX has its own very detailed Wikipedia page, and that's kind of weird. As of course is the fact that its immediate sequel featured a crossover event with Superman.
Which, i'll be honest with you, doesn't seem like a great idea. Even putting aside the ethical issues with pornography in general, and the questionable use of the term 'parody' to circumvent copyright law, there's one big problem with making a Wolverine-themed porno: He's essentially made of knives. Nothing good can come of turning him into a porn star.
Though, honestly, stranger things have happened in comic-book-dom. Check out:
- Captain America's 5 Strangest Comic-Book Transformations
- Are These The Strangest International Superhero Movies Ever Made?
- The Original Superman Movie Has A Super-Strange Secret Origin
And, also, of course, this:
What do you reckon, though? Should Marvel change Ironheart's name, or just ride this one out? Let us know below!