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History of Iron Man

The History of Iron Man Pt. 6

The Armored Avenger blasts into his own title to take on Whiplash, the Maggia and more!

By Jim Beard with Ben Morse

50 Years ago, Tony Stark became Iron Man, a historic milestone in the tapestry of the Marvel Universe.

Flash forward half a century, and the Armored Avenger has become a worldwide sensation. Beyond his prominent role across the Marvel Comics line, Shellhead hit the big screen in 2008 as Robert Downey Jr. brought Tony Stark to life in the first “Iron Man” movie. The character’s popularity grew in 2010’s “Iron Man 2” and 2011’s “Marvel’s The Avengers.”

On May 3, 2013, Tony Stark returns to theaters everywhere in “Iron Man 3.” In anticipation of this momentous occasion and to celebrate Iron Man’s 50th anniversary, each week Marvel.com will be bringing you another chapter in the history of this complex and beloved character. Year by year, get an in-depth rundown of the trials, foes and experiences that have made Iron Man the hero he stands as today.

You can start here.

Also, be sure to visit the Marvel Digital Comics Shop and Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited to read 50 years’ worth of Iron Man adventures!

1968 introduced not only a terrifying new foe and a fresh love interest for Tony Stark, but also inaugurated his very own title: IRON MAN.

Stark’s cowardly cousin Morgan made his move in TALES OF SUSPENSE #97 and brought an insensate Iron Man before the Maggia, an international crime cartel. While S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jasper Sitwell fretted over releasing the hero, Iron Man awoke to low power reserves and an unwanted introduction to Whiplash, the Maggia’s new enforcer. The subsequent battle between the Armored Avenger, Whiplash and the Maggia would make Iron Man history.

TALES OF SUSPENSE #98 saw our hero’s use of his hologram projector against Whiplash, Sitwell going solo and a new female figure on the scene: Whitney Frost. The criminal scientists known as A.I.M. entered the picture in TALES OF SUSPENSE #99 to challenge the Maggia for Iron Man’s defeat, but as that series came to an end the fight continued into IRON MAN AND SUB-MARINER #1.  Therein, Iron Man saved Jasper from certain death, but found himself caught in A.I.M.’s dreaded vortex beam.

IRON MAN #1 heralded not only a series for the Golden Avenger to call his own, but also A.I.M.’s spectacular defeat. Whitney Frost turned out to be the Maggia’s leader, Big M, and Jasper Sitwell fell head over heels for her, ignorant of her true colors. Also around this time, Iron Man returned to the ranks of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in AVENGERS #51 to aid the team against the insidious Collector.

After a brief interlude in IRON MAN #2 in which Stark battled competitor Drexel Cord’s Demolisher robot—and began dating the man’s daughter, Janice Cord—Iron Man faced off against The Freak once more in IRON MAN #3. It all began with a visiting Happy Hogan helping his former boss craft new armor with a stronger support for Tony’s ailing heart, but ended in tragedy with Hogan’s latest accidental transformation into the furious Freak.

An even stronger Unicorn returned in IRON MAN #4 seeking to steal Stark technology to counteract the negative side-effects of his own Hyper-Activator. Then, after a weird trip into a dark possible future in IRON MAN #5, our hero met on the field of battle once again with The Crusher in IRON MAN #6. Poor Jasper Sitwell’s pride took another blow after what he viewed as humiliation at the hands of Iron Man and he headed out on his own to prove himself a worthy suitor for Whitney Frost.

Things came to a head with the beautiful but cold Ms. Frost in IRON MAN #7 when the Maggia hired Daredevil’s old foe The Gladiator to crush Iron Man. Whitney tipped her hand to Stark and he learned of her dual role as the Big M at the head of the criminal organization, but IRON MAN #8 saw her true defeat in the aftermath of an immense struggle also involving Iron Man, Gladiator, and S.H.I.E.L.D.

The wrap-up of Iron Man’s year also brought him into contact with a most amazing being, the synthezoid called The Vision, in AVENGERS #58. Stark’s involvement with the team would increase in the year to come.

Check out TALES OF SUSPENSE, IRON MAN (1968) and AVENGERS (1963) on the Marvel Digital Comics Shop, plus more Iron Man is available to subscribers of Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited

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