*Marvel: For this special release, a very special quartet of comics starring Tony Stark – millionaire, genius, playboy, philanthropist, and the Armoured Avenger!
We begin with Iron Man’s very first appearance, in the pages of Tales of Suspense #39, abducted by Reds behind the Bamboo Curtain (it was a different time…) and forced to manufacture advanced weapons to crush capitalism, Tony Stark turned the tables on his captors by devising a cybernetic suit of armour which transformed him into an unstoppable juggernaut of justice – but at the cost of a near-fatal injury to his heart, which required constant contact with his robotic armour to keep beating! Under the artistic talents of (usually) Don Heck (who devoted special attention, bless him, to the many shapely ladies Tony Stark romanced), the sophisticated world of Tony Stark vied with the action-adventure of his Iron Man persona for the readers’ attention. Following the blockbuster success of the Iron Man movie franchise, demand for this issue has never been higher. This cents copy is GD/VG, a sound, clean and attractive copy with flexible off-white interiors and very minor spine wear which would easily grade VG or better but for a small (3 x 2 cm approx.) corner torn off the lower right cover, as may be seen in the accompanying scan. In every other respect a superior second-hand major key issue, but that defect does bring it into the range of affordability at £2,000. High resolution scans are available on request.
With Iron Man and Sub-Mariner #1, ‘A Special Once-In-A-Lifetime Issue’, its unique position is simply a result of a scheduling tangle which arose when Marvel was finally allowed by its distributors to increase its restricted range of titles. The Hulk took over the numbering of Tales to Astonish, and Captain America the numbering of Tales of Suspense, but that left ‘orphaned’ chapters of the Iron Man and Sub-Mariner serials languishing, so they were used in this oddball one-off so that both Iron Man and the Sub-Mariner could start off their #1’s with new book-length adventures. This cents copy, with no UK price or overstamp, is a lovely clean, tight & bright copy with excellent cover gloss. One of the easiest Silver Age Marvel titles to complete – buy one and you’ve bought them all! FN/VF at £65
Our third star item this update is Shell-Head’s first solo issue from 1968, Iron Man #1. As mentioned earlier, after a long run as the co-star of Tales of Suspense, Iron Man was given his own title when the ‘Berlin Wall’ of Marvel’s distribution was broken down. With the kinetically frenzied artwork of Gene Colan at its finest, this FN pence-stamped copy boasts glorious deep purple colour, unfaded and vivid, with white interior pages. Offered at £225.
And finally Cyril, 1972’s Iron Man #55, at the time a virtual ‘fill-in’ issue written and drawn by Jim Starlin, has become an unexpected collector’s item over the ensuing decades, particularly after the release of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, which brought Drax the Destroyer and Thanos into public consciousness. This issue was used by Starlin to lay down many of the cornerstones for his patented cosmic epics in Captain Marvel and elsewhere, and it features the first appearances not only of Thanos and Drax the Destroyer, but also of Eros (later to play a major part in Avengers history as Starfox), Mentor, Kronos, and guest-villains, the bodacious Blood Brothers! Iron Man shows up for a couple of panels, here and there, we’ve heard… This cents copy is in VG/FN condition; other than the vestiges of a subscription crease (a long, but light vertical crease down the middle of the comic, where it was originally folded for mailing), there are no other flaws. Offered at £175. (And don’t forget that Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is scheduled to hit cinemas soon, so buy now before the speculators attack!) SORRY, THIS HAS NOW SOLD