Jul 29, 2022 - Things to Do

Tampa celebrates comic-making marvel Bob Layton

Bob Layton with Iron Man as his shaddow
Illustration courtesy of Wilson Media

If you love Iron Man, you have Tampa resident Bob Layton to thank.

Driving the news: Film Tampa Bay and The University of Tampa are celebrating Layton's 40 years of work in art and comics next week.

  • Plus: The Hillsborough County Commission will issue a proclamation on Thursday declaring it "Bob Layton Day" to celebrate his contributions to popular culture.

Why he matters: Layton has written and drawn some of Iron Man's key storylines, including the "Armor Wars" narrative that Disney+ is shooting a series for starting in October.

  • He has over 6,500 comic book credits to his name.

Flashback: Layton moved to Apollo Beach after he sold "Valiant" in the late 1990s and lived in the Brandon area before going to Hollywood to work on the "Iron Man" films. When he returned eight years later, he was stunned at how Tampa Bay evolved.

  • "It's not the same place I left at all," Layton told Axios. "I got really spoiled with LA restaurants but so many places here give them a run for their money. I'm amazed at the growth."

What's happening: The University of Tampa will house an exhibit of Layton's works throughout the decade, including never-before-seen sketches and new work unique to the show.

  • It will also include work from local artist Ales "Bask" Hostomsky, whose graffiti covers walls from Detroit to Brooklyn to St. Petersburg.
  • In 2013, Hostomsky collaborated with Marvel to illustrate artwork displayed throughout "Iron Man 3." His paintings were used for decor in Tony Stark's home and offices throughout the "Infinity War" saga told in 10 years of Marvel movies.

Details: The exhibit at UT's Scarfone/Hartley Gallery opens to the public Monday, from 6-8pm. It'll also be open 10am-4pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, or by appointment.

  • The Tampa Theatre will host a free meet-and-greet with Layton and a screening of "Iron Man" (2008) on Thursday at 6pm. Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagen will be reading the "Bob Layton Day" proclamation before the screening.

Worth noting: Layton told us someone important to the making of that movie plans to surprise guests.

1 fun thing to go: We asked Layton about his favorite spots in town. His answers: The Epicurean, Eddie and Sam's Pizza and Sushi Ninja.

black and white illustration of Iron Man fighting Thanos
"Iron Man vs Thanos" June 2019. Courtesy of the University of Tampa
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