First, I’ve got to say that the Iron Man movie is fantastic! It’s been a while since I’ve been compelled to see a movie a second time and IronMan has certainly given me motivation to do so. In some ways, it’s a pretty standard superhero story: hero is transformed from who they were, hero experiments to determine his capabilities, hero has some early trials, hero has a showdown with a Big Bad. It’s intelligently written, there’s a lot of smaller dialog that just flows (maybe improvised?), and the action is not the over-the-top hyperkinetic style that has plagued a lot of actioners these days. Plus, the suit of armor is nicely detailed and at least movie-plausible in how it’s functioning. Watching Robert Downey Jr. spring into action as Tony Stark in the armor sent a thrill like I was seven years old again.
As a kid, I loved the idea of Iron Man. He was like a pocket version of the giant Japanese robot toys I collected. While it would be great to have a giant robot and fight against giant monsters, it just seemed more practical to have a briefcase with power suit easily on hand. I mean, I could never hope to have a Mazinger or a Combattra in my closet… but IronMan armor could work! Yes, it would fit right next to my t-shirts and Luke Skywalker Dagobah fatigues. I would pour over the Marvel Universe entries for IronMan and all the other powered armor heroes and villians: Crimson Dynamo, Titanium Man, Guardsmen and so on. My quest for fictional stats would even spill over to ever loosely associated tech like the Avenger’s Quinjet, Ultron and Alpha Flight’s Guardian. When I wasn’t reading about Iron Man, my Mego and Secret Wars series figures got a lot of use, right up there with Spidey.
Still, for some reason, I never invested in really collecting any of the Iron Man comics. I had several issues when I was young… evidenced by ballpoint pen outlines on the covers and the usual wear-and-tear of a heavily read comic. I picked up various annuals that featured Iron Man and special issues like the premier of the silver-and-red armor. Through chance contest winnings, I’ve ended up with more Blue Devil and Power Pack comics than I ever had of Iron Man. Maybe I just couldn’t fit in another title during those formative years when I was collecting Micronauts and Star Wars on a regular basis and starting to pull in the Spidey titles of the day. Maybe in my later years there was always some special or other series of the moment that grabbed my attend more than then ol’ Shellhead.
Someday I might get around to picking up some issues or starting a collection–if I can get past Stark’s role in Civil War and what’s followed. Until then, I always have my fond memories from childhood and the new found joy that the latest movie incarnation has provided.