While at ComiCon, I saw the preview of the first two episodes of the animated "Iron Man: Armored Adventures." I thought it was great, at the end of the hour I was eager to see more. There was one complaint at the mike that the storytelling is unsophisticated, which I thought was handled well with the reminder that the show, and the channel, are primarily serving 8-14 year-olds, with adult viewers an added bonus. They're not going to alienate their intended audience by going over their heads. It's refreshing to see some programming aimed at the future Comic Geeks. (Steven Moffat had a similar insightful comment during the Doctor Who panel, about making the show for today's 8-year-olds, not the nostalgic adults. To each generation their own Doctor.)
That being said, as an adult I found the show suspenseful and witty. And I was hugely impressed with its look and feel. Which got me to wondering about the always-hot-topic of Residuals. WGA members are fortunate and justly proud of the gains we've achieved in this area, where a person who creates a storyline or character has an ongoing financial interest, however small, when that intellectual property is exploited. But watching this Iron Man show, I was struck by the extent to which the design of the technology -- most notably Tony's heads-up display -- seemed to have been influenced by the film. In the ideal world wouldn't that Production Designer be receiving some kind of credit or residual? (Not to mention the comic book artists, but that's a whole other column!) What about sequels that draw heavily on the production design of their predecessors? What about all the myriad Star Trek licensed gak that uses the LCARS look? Do Production Designers and Art Directors swell with pride when they see their work influencing ancillary properties, or do they curse the studios and the Work For Hire business model?