Saturday, July 24, 2010

Marvel History Post 43: Tales of Suspense # 39

Issue: Tales of Suspense # 39 Writer: Stan Lee / Larry Lieber Artist: Don Heck Publication Date: March 1963 Iron Man is born! Another one of marvel's big heroes arrives. Exciting stuff. Again, most of Marvel's heavy hitters are invented in a very short time span between 1962 and 1964, and Iron Man is one of the biggest. Tony Stark has a long and storied legacy, and it all begins here. Brief Summary: Anthony Stark is a rich playboy, and also a brilliant scientist. He invents weapons to help the United States, but on site in Vietnam he is attacked and captured by the Vietnamese. Stark is badly wounded, with shrapnel in his heart. Wong Chu, leader of the enemy Vietnamese, tells Stark if he invents a weapon for them, he has a surgeon that will save Stark's life. Stark knows the man is lying, but tells Wong-Chu that he will build the weapon. Stark encounters a famous physicist named Professor Yinsen who has been forced into labor by the Vietnamese as well. Stark tells him his plan to invent a suit of armor that will keep him alive, and Yinsen helps him. Just before they finish, the Vietnamese come after them, and Yinsen dies so Stark has time to fully charge up in his iron man suit. Iron Man then emerges, and he defeats Wong Chu and the Vietnamese troops in vengeance of the fallen Yinsen. Commentary: Like most of Marvel's origins, Iron Man's is pretty straightforward. It's also very translatable, as the recent Iron Man movie had more or less the exact same origin story, albeit moved to a different locale. Stan is not afraid to base his stories amidst real life conflicts, as he has frequently used Russia, and now he sets up the North Vietnamese as the antagonists. In fact, in most of the stories thus far in the early days of the MU, the enemy has not been super villains, but either communists or extra terrestrials. Quick Thoughts:
  • Stan refers to Stark as the "Invincible" Iron Man right from the get-go.
  • Stark's playboy persona is referenced in the origin story.
  • Stark's original weapon was a transistor which was capable of increasing the force of any device.
  • The suit has the ability to create electronic interference, which lets Stark send transmissions via radio signal.
Favorite Panel: Uh, turns out the problem in Vietnam was a little more complicated, pal... Next: Tales to Astonish # 41