Marvel’s monster comics were winding down when Iron Man #101 was published, and the last thing Shellhead needed after a big hundredth issue showdown with the Mandarin was a confrontation with Frankenstein. They fought at first, in the Mighty Marvel manner, and then teamed up to fight the Dreadknight, who had kidnapped Baroness Frankenstein and taken over her castle. I am honestly not making this up. At least if they did use the big guy in Iron Man 2, he’d share a common foe with Abbott and Costello. What other Marvel movie hero can boast that?
The Black Lama was actually Prince Jerald of Earth-7511, who had taken over leadership of the kingdom of Grand Rapids after the previous leader had been exiled for unspecified indiscretions. The pressures of leadership were such that he retreated to the Marvel Universe for a break, where he promptly went insane and started pitting super villains against each other in an attempt to find a worthy successor to his throne. Prince Jerald was essentially Gerald Ford of Earth-7511, an alternate world where America was called the Kingdom of Grand Rapids, and the exiled king was Richard Nixon, and Baron Rockler, who later showed up to war with Jerald, was Nelson Rockefeller. To be fair, if the real Watergate scandal had involved magic powers, super villains, and flying robot dragons, it would have been a lot more entertaining.
Avast, me hearties, if pirates be popular now, think how much more popular they’ll be two years from now! If there’s any movie that couldn’t be improved by the addition of a jet propelled buccaneer, I haven’t seen it. Think how much better The Hours or House Party 3 would have been if there’d been a villainous techno-pirate threatening the cast. Marvel’s never been afraid to exploit a trend long after the general public has lost interest, so why should their movies be any different?