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Monday, November 17, 2008

The Emotional Iron Man

Of all the classic Marvel characters who have had their own mags, Iron Man is probably the one that I have read the least. Yet, it’s not that he is my least favorite character, either. I love the concept in general. I love that, from the beginning, Tony Stark has been dependent upon his armor for his LIFE, and not just his career as a superhero. And, what Iron Man issues I have read remain some of the most influential comics stories of memory. Heck, I have probably a dozen action figures of ol’ Shellhead, and they’re the ONLY figures I display.

So, why do I bring all of this up? Mainly as an introduction to this next display of covers. See, I’ve always believed that any artist that was able to instill real (visual) character in Iron Man had to be quite talented. After all, there is basically very little to work with on that face. Three slits, and, early on, a nearly imperceptible nose “bump” is all the canvas that has ever been available. The work of artists that can actually make him look mad, sad, frightened, etc., deserves recognition.

All of these issues are from Volume One. Click for a larger image.

No. 36 - Flailing wildly, Shellhead falls from the sky, appearing in true distress.
Artist, Sal Buscema.

No. 46 - Again, Iron Man's pain is communicated throughout the entire body.
Artist, Gil Kane.

No. 50 - Another Gil Kane classic, as are several of the following. Again, our hero appears mightily distressed.

No. 52 - "Oh, my heart!" By Gil Kane.

No. 55 - By Joe Sinnott and Jim Starlin.

No. 62 - By Gil Kane.

No. 68 - This angry and determined Iron Man brought to you by Jim Starlin.

No. 70 - Comic Book Data Base credits this to Ron Wilson. If so, he's doing his best Romita, Sr.

No. 73 - By Gil Kane.

No. 77 - Appearing exceedingly miffed. Another Kane work.

No. 78 - Kane.

No. 79 - Kane.

No. 86 - By Ed Hannigan.

No. 94 - By the great Jack Kirby.

No. 99 - Grim determination, by Sal Buscema and Al Milgrom.

No. 104 - A beautiful Dave Cockrum cover.

No. 115 - By still-green-yet-quite-talented John Romita, Jr.

No. 261 - The work of John Romita, Jr., 12 years later.

Originally, I was going to include some Avengers covers, but decided they would be redundant. After all, the best Iron Man work can be found on Iron Man covers.