A post from my long-gone Marvel blog written the week the first IRON MAN film opened and discussing my history with the character.
Because absolutely nobody asked, in honor of Iron Man week, here’s a quick rundown of my personal history with the character.
I likely first came across the character of Iron Man on repeats of the 60s Marvel Super-Heroes cartoons that ran on dim UHF channels, but I don’t have any conscious memory of doing so, so he didn’t make much of an impression.
The first Iron Man story I read was literally the first Iron Man story–his origin, from TALES OF SUSPENSE #39, as reprinted in the SON OF ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS collection Simon & Schuster issued in the ’70s. I had actually gone to my local library looking to check out their copy of ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS, because I’d just started reading FANTASTIC FOUR and was interested in looking at the first FF tale. But coming up empty, I took SON OF ORIGINS home as a consolation prize. And therein, I met the X-Men, the Avengers, Daredevil, Nick Fury, the Watcher and the Silver Surfer in addition to Iron Man.
Truth be told, I wasn’t all that knocked out by Iron Man. His first story was all right, but the second, more modern Iron Man story they’d included (illustrated by Gene Colan, who’s one of my all-time favorite Iron Man artists) didn’t really strike my fancy. Could be because it was a middle chapter of a longer storyline, in which Iron Man didn’t do much other than writhe in agony and recharge his armor from a car cigarette lighter.
But comics were relatively cheap in those days, and as I got deeper and deeper into the Marvel line (sampling modern issues of X-MEN, AVENGERS, DAREDEVIL and so forth), I eventually picked up a copy of IRON MAN on some slow week. That issue, #111, was right in the middle of an extended sequence itself, and probably wasn’t the best place to come in. IRON MAN was a series that, unbeknownst to me, had been limping along for some time, and while Bill Mantlo (who wrote this issue) had done yeoman work on the book, it wasn’t really setting the world on fire.
But things started looking up a few short months later, as in rapid succession John Romita Jr, David Michelinie and Bob Layton took over the series, and found new life in it. Their run–and Dave and Bob’s once JRJR departed for other pastures–was thoroughly enjoyable.
While I like him just fine, Iron Man’s never really been a big favorite of mine. But I sure am looking forward to seeing the film in a day or so’s time.