We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one, because while Iron Man is definitely not as well known as Spider-Man -- I think many of you underestimate the reach of the actual character into mainstream consciousness over nearly 50 years of publication.
Just say Iron Man sold 20,000 comics each year for those 50 years. Obviously, he sold more. But let's go really, really low, and say that the character only sold 20,000 comics every year.
That, in and of itself, is 1,000,000 comic books published and sold with Tony Stark.
Again, just soak that in: With that ridiculously low number, just books titled "Iron Man" have been published and sold ONE MILLION TIMES.
Not talking appearances in books like Avengers, or on cartoons. Just books titled "Iron Man."
I think you guys underestimate just how many people, how many casual readers, have seen an issue of "Iron Man" in their life who knew exactly what they were going to see when they went to the first movie. Not every person saves a copy in a longbox for years and years.
But Iron Man wasn't nearly as tough a sell as you guys are making it out to be.
Now, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man? I'm telling you now, those are going to be a hell of a lot harder to sell than Iron Man was. That's just the math behind reach projections.
I am extremely curious to see how Guardians of the Galaxy does. Extremely curious.
*Sniff, sniff* "Damn it, Diana...If I'd known they would trade us in for a JT Krul-written Captain Atom and "The Savage Hawkman," I'd have let Superboy-Prime destroy all reality.""Superman flies and is really strong...what the fuck else do you need to know?!"
-- Hitler, expressing his displeasure about DC rebooting and complaints about continuity