I’m an Iron Man fan. I have been since my mom bought me my first comic books back in 1984. I still remember being in the back of our “brown car,” a Buick, being picked up from Elm Grove Lutheran School and my mom passing to the back seat a copy of Transformers, The Last Starfighter and Iron Man. Transformers were a no brainer. Like every other boy my age I had a complete fascination with giant robots from outer space, but I wasn’t familiar with the story in the book and it was, what I now understand to be, the middle of a story arc so I flipped through it but it didn’t really catch my imagination. The Last Starfighter was cool, but it was very clear on the front of the cover that it was number two (maybe three?) of a four (maybe five?) part mini-series. There were lots of cool space battles, but the themes were a little more than my seven-year old brain was ready for.
Then there was Iron Man.
Even though the story was also smack dab in the middle of an arc, the design of the Iron Man armor, being drawn by Luke McDonald at the time (still one of my favorite Iron Man artists), and the image of a man getting shot in the hand had me completely fascinated. I flipped through it over and over. I became an instant fan of the Red and gold armor and, when I found out that there were more of these things, I became a rabid collector of Iron Man comics. It made up a very big part of my pre-teen/teenage years.
I have very fond memories of hunting down back issues with my dad at local comic book stores like Adventureland and 21st Century Comics. We went to comic book conventions, especially the Shrine Auditorium shows, where I spent way too much money over the years. Every birthday and Christmas got me closer and closer to a complete collection and led to more and more Iron Man memorabilia that filled every flat surface of my bedroom. Many character fascinations have come and gone, but Iron Man has been consistent for almost thirty years.
So I kind of surprised myself yesterday when I started considering selling off my massive Iron Man collection.
I have a nearly complete run of Iron Man in all of it’s various volumes and all of his incarnations, with the exception of a section from the mid-90’s when Tony Stark was made crazy and killed so that a teenage Tony could be pulled from another dimension and take his place. Yes, it was as stupid as it sounds. This is around 500 issues taking up two long boxes that currently sit hidden under a table in our dining room. As an adult it is very easy to say that these symbols of my childhood and keepsakes of hundreds of happy memories are really now just dust collectors taking up a lot of space that we really don’t have…
…but the kid in me smells the newsprint, sees the armor and remembers what it was like when my biggest concern was finding a toy store that hadn’t liquidated it’s stock of Mattel Secret Wars toys so I could try and find an Iron Man action figure (a problem the kids of today no longer have).
So I started thinking really hard about why I was hanging on to these issues. The stories are 100% available in digital form, pristine and perfect and ready for viewing from any number of devices. Also digital takes up the desired amount of space (meaning none). But, as Tom Katers is so right to mention, there really is something about cracking open a really old Silver Age book, getting that musty news print smell in your nose and feeling the pages. The problem with that is I really haven’t cracked open any of the old books in a REALLY long time. In fact the oldest I’ve opened recently was stuff from the late 80’s, not even the stuff that made me dig the character in the first place.
So I made a decision. I’m going to read through every issue, from start of my collection to finish, and at the end decide whether it gets to stay or it gets sold.
I’m also going to blog about it.
Because I’m really busy with pre-production stuff I know that, at least here in the beginning, I’ll only be able to do about an issue a week, but there’s no real rush on this so I’m not too worried about it.
Huh, I just realized that an issue a week for over 500 issues is, like, 44 years. I’m probably going to pick up the pace there.
Anyhow, I’m going to go through, I’m going to read them and here I’ll talk about them and we’ll see where this all ends up.
See you tomorrow!
P.S. The images from the issue are from that first issue my mom got me. The issue itself is so worn the cover is still barely on. Wow, this might be tougher than I thought.