This is one of those panels that starts out funny but then gets sort of scary the more you think about it. The obvious funny comes from the mismatch between the visual and the dialogue. (How could any voice be sincere after emerging from that empty hatch? How could it even be… human???) But then you start thinking that maybe it’s not so mismatched after all. Maybe this iteration of Iron Man’s suit, with its harsh, blocky contours and actual rivets is actually a perfect match for the sad, lonely sentiments of the dialogue. The way I see it, the inescapable heaviness of the suit emphasizes a sense of alienation. Some of Iron Man’s later suits have a kind of aerodynamic, plastic fluidity, but this early model seems way less maneuverable. The way the rivets are positioned means there’s no hinge on that mask, no easy way to get in or out; for me, the thought of stepping into this suit seems about as appealing as being nailed into a coffin—a really heavy, really indestructible coffin. (See? I told you—scary.)
Between the original panel and my silkscreen, I erased the background and replaced it with a Ben-Day dot pattern (printed via a separate screen), partly to make the image work better as a poster, but also because I felt like the dots added to the sense of alienation. I love the way Ben-Day dots “fill with emptiness,” adding texture while lacking substance.
I have another version of this silkscreen that’s done on a “distressed” woodblock.