The recent successful 2008 Iron Man film (grossing $570 million worldwide) and with Iron Man 2 set for release in 2010, the character has become one of Marvel’s hot properties. The film has increased interest in the Iron Man comics and with selected Props and Costumes from the film being prepared for auction it looks as if Iron Man will be in vogue for the forseeable future.
The character first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963), and was created by writer-editor Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, and artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby.
Pictured right: Tales of Suspense 39, March 1963. 1st appearance of Iron Man. This CGC graded 8.0 version was sold by Heritage Auctions for $10,755, May 2008. Currently the highest graded CGC version is 9.6.
Tales of Suspense featured an anthology of science fiction and supernatural stories. The character’s original costume was a bulky gray armored suit, replaced by a golden version in the second story (issue #40, April 1963). It was redesigned as sleeker, red-and-golden armor in issue #48 (Dec. 1963); that issue’s interior art is by Steve Ditko and its cover by Kirby. In his premiere, Iron Man was an anti-communist hero, defeating various Vietnamese agents. Lee later regretted this early focus.
Pictured left: Tales of Suspense 48, Dec 1963. !st Iron Man wuth Red & Gold Armour. This CGC graded 9.0 verson was sold by Heritage Auctions for $597.50, Aug 2007.
Throughout the character’s comic book series, technological advancement and national defense were constant themes for Iron Man, but later issues developed Stark into a more complex and vulnerable character as they depicted his battle with alcoholism (Demon in a Bottle) and other personal difficulties.
Pictured right: Crushed Mark II Helmet from the Iron Man film. To be sold by Propworx in the Iron Man auction.
From issue #59 (Nov. 1964) to its final issue #99 (March 1968), the anthological science-fiction backup stories in Tales of Suspense were replaced by a feature starring the superhero Captain America. After issue #99 (March 1968), the book’s title was changed to Captain America.
Iron Man stories moved to the title Iron Man and Sub-Mariner in April 1968, before the “Golden Avenger” made his solo debut with The Invincible Iron Man #1 (May 1968). Lee said that “of all the comic books we published at Marvel, we got more fan mail for Iron Man from women, from females, than any other title … We didn’t get much fan mail from girls, but whenever we did, the letter was usually addressed to Iron Man.”
Pictured left: Iron Man Model Kit currently available from Marvelshop.com. The incredibly detailed kit comes in a decorated metal box, ready to be assembled and painted, along with a character biography card and display pedestal.
Born Anthony Edward “Tony” Stark, he is an industrialist playboy and genius engineer who suffers a severe heart injury during a kidnapping in which his captors attempt to force him to build a massively destructive weapon. He instead creates a powered suit of armor to save his life and escape captivity. He later decides to use the suit to protect the world as Iron Man.
Pictured right: Iron Man Bobblehead currently available from Marvelshop.com.
Through his multinational corporation, Stark Industries, Tony created military weapons and his own metal suit is laden with technological devices that enable him to fight crime. Initially, Iron Man was a vehicle for Stan Lee to explore Cold War themes, particularly the role of American technology and business in the fight against communism. Subsequent re-imaginings of Iron Man have gradually removed the Cold War themes, replacing them with more contemporary concerns such as corporate crime and terrorism.
Throughout most of the comic’s history, Iron Man has been a member of the superhero team the Avengers and has been featured in several incarnations of his own various comic book series. The character has been adapted for several animated TV shows and films. The character is portrayed by Robert Downey, Jr. in the live action film Iron Man and features briefly in The Incredible Hulk; Downey reprises the role in the upcoming sequel, Iron Man 2.
Pictured left: Iron Man Watches currently available from Marvelshop.com. One watch is a projector watch, which at the touch of a button projects a lighted image of Iron Man onto any surface.
Comics and Action Figures are the most popular collectibles but their is a massive range of items for collectors to choose: from movie tie-in related merchandise to statues, and from toys & games to bobbleheads and watches. Some collectors collect certain eras, artists, and some concentrate on a particular Iron Man villain. The MarvelShop.com web site has its own Iron Man range divided into a number of sections including Collectibles, Action Figures and Accessories.
For higher end items and movie memorabilia auction houses such as Bonhams and Christies run regular entertainment auctions. Items in the past have included original costumes, movie props, movie house quad posters, statues, and autographs. Whatever your interest their is something for all collectors on all budgets.
Get Iron Man products at the Official Shop of Marvel, MarvelShop.com!