He's Tony Stark, a cool exec with a heart of steel.  He's a founding Avenger, often called the Golden Avenger.  He debuted in Tales of Suspense 39, cover-dated March 1963.  Today he's arguably considered an A-lister, largely thanks to the trilogy of Iron Man movies starring Robert Downey Junior, as well as being a major part of the two Avengers movies (Avengers 2: Age of Ultron in theatres now - shameless plugs dept.).  In the comics themselves, he may not have been the biggest star, but he's consistently been a cornerstone of the Marvel Universe for decades.

This reading project will cover the Iron Man stories featured in Tales of Suspense 39-99.

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I'm pretty sure that happened to Thor once as well, back when his title was still Journey Into Mystery.

It didn't occur to me when I first read this in 1964, but Happy was an odd choice to run the place in Tony's absence. Neither Happy nor Pepper had the technical knowledge, but Pepper probably would have done better as an administrator*. There was no one else there who had scientific/technical chops? Tony ran it like a TV repair business.

* except that in 1964 this would have seemed more outlandish than a guy with magical rings.

Cool.  How long afterward did you get a chance to read # 54?

Captain Comics said:

This was the first issue of Iron Man I read. Probably made me an Iron Fan for life.

Yes but Tony only did it because he was jealous, worried that Happy and Pepper's bickering was hiding a possible deeper relationship.  Also, we have no other members in the supporting cast!  And most likely Pepper had enough general knowledge of how things went to keep Happy from doing anything too dumb.

Richard Willis said:

It didn't occur to me when I first read this in 1964, but Happy was an odd choice to run the place in Tony's absence. Neither Happy nor Pepper had the technical knowledge, but Pepper probably would have done better as an administrator*. There was no one else there who had scientific/technical chops? Tony ran it like a TV repair business.

* except that in 1964 this would have seemed more outlandish than a guy with magical rings.

It is curious that even with more pages the supporting cast of Iron Man remained so small, particularly when compared to Spider-Man, although, admittedly, ASM was unique in having one of the biggest and best supporting casts in superhero comics.  I suppose Stan wanted to have Tony stand out as a unique genius in his strip and not have any other technical whizzes around as regulars.  In retrospect, Tony almost seems a bit socially pathetic -- he's mooning for his secretary who adores him but he's unwilling to get too close to anyone and it seems that may have been the case even before he walked into that booby-trap and took on his Iron Man persona.  And apparently before he & Happy became best buds, Tony didn't appear to have any genuine friends and no close family, only a slimy cousin.  Of course, his Avenging buddies Donald Blake, Henry Pym, Steve Rogers and even Bruce Banner didn't appear to be all that much better on the social scene.  Sure, Pym was involved with Janet Van Dyne but their relationship always seemed a bit odd as he was clearly shown to care for her but also seemed wary of becoming too close, more eager to get back to the lab than to be romantic, much more so than even Reed Richards.

Later on he didn't do much better. Janice Cord got killed by Titanium Man. Kevin got killed fighting Stark. Marianne went crazy and ended up in an asylum because of her hallucinations. Why would anyone want to be Stark's buddy? You either got a short life, a lousy one, or a short and lousy life.

In the Marvel & DC universes the real gods are the writers & artists who can make life sweet or hell for the characters, and usually they make it hell.  Of course, for variation there was Swamp Thing rescuing his sweetie from hell and then an entire issue of them making out, but then things got back to normal and all hell broke out again.

Cap's feature started in #59, so it was a short-lived period. The title was briefly split 13/10 in Iron Man's favour, then 12/10. The split only became 11/11 in the final issues.

Fred W. Hill said:

In retrospect, Tony almost seems a bit socially pathetic -- he's mooning for his secretary who adores him but he's unwilling to get too close to anyone and it seems that may have been the case even before he walked into that booby-trap and took on his Iron Man persona. And apparently before he & Happy became best buds, Tony didn't appear to have any genuine friends and no close family, only a slimy cousin. Of course, his Avenging buddies Donald Blake, Henry Pym, Steve Rogers and even Bruce Banner didn't appear to be all that much better on the social scene. Sure, Pym was involved with Janet Van Dyne but their relationship always seemed a bit odd as he was clearly shown to care for her but also seemed wary of becoming too close, more eager to get back to the lab than to be romantic, much more so than even Reed Richards.

In TOS #45 (The Jack Frost story) they introduced Happy and Pepper. Everything with Tony is about the shrapnel near his heart. Happy saves Tony from dying in a racing car crash caused by, basically, a heart attack. He hires Happy as a Chauffeur-Bodyguard to be there if he has another heart problem. We meet Pepper when she meets Happy. Happy crushes on her immediately and she reveals she'd like to marry Tony. This is when she was just cute and freckled and didn't look like a runway model. In TOS #50 (the first Mandarin story), Pepper has had her makeover and Tony says she's beautiful. In TOS #56, which we haven't discussed yet, Tony almost calls his date Pepper, which is the first indication that he has romantic feelings for her. Also in that issue, Pepper has been kidnapped and Tony admits to himself that he really cares about her. At the end of the story he thinks he can't have a normal life, presumably because of his heart.

So Tony can't marry because of his heart, Don Blake still thinks he's a guy with a bad leg and shouldn't marry Jane, Henry Pym initially thinks Jan is too young for him even thought she's a legal adult. We're mixing a little soap with our superheroing. That's how Marvel became Marvel.

There were hints that Ironman and Giant-Man were buddies, but it's difficult to get close when you have to remember your pal can't know who you really are. Today that would be possible, but would Hank want to hang out with 21st century Tony?

Well, the heroes have to be doing something when they're not fighting crime! Deciding you're kind of nuts does help.

It was decades later before I read part one of the Mandarin story. We comics fans are a determined lot!

John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

Cool.  How long afterward did you get a chance to read # 54?

Captain Comics said:

This was the first issue of Iron Man I read. Probably made me an Iron Fan for life.

I have these issues but haven't gotten around to reading them yet, since I want to read as much of the Marvel Silver Age as possible, and still having trouble locating some comics. .

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