By Ben Morse
This week on Marvel.com, it's been all Iron Man all the time, from our announcement
of the new INVINCIBLE IRON MAN series to our Q&A s with Matt Fraction
, Warren Simons
and the Knaufs
And now we wrap things up by asking the Marvel staff—and a few special guests—one of the most important questions of all when it comes to dealing with Shellhead: which Iron Man armor rocks the most?
You can make your own call after picking up the MANY ARMORS OF IRON MAN trade paperback back on shelves next week, but first get a load of what our expert panel had to say.
It's Friday, so kick back, relax and enjoy.
PASQUAL FERRY (artist of ULTIMATE IRON MAN II):
My favorite one [is] the [original] red and yellow armor. Simply and very identifiable. In fact I think that rest of the new ones always have been inspired by this.
STEVE WACKER (Marvel editor):
The original gray armor is the best, bar none and I will brook no other opinions.
It's heavy, it's metal and it looks like something I—with enough hammers and welding tools—could make myself out of an old '74 Chevy Nova.
BILL ROSEMANN (Marvel editor):
Hmmm…it's gotta be the one with the nose. Or maybe the one with the roller skates.
AXEL ALONSO (Marvel Executive Editor):
I always loved the classic Iron Man armor—especially as rendered by [artist] Gil Kane. There was something about the way Gil drew Iron Man that really worked for me.
ARUNE SINGH (Marvel Sales Coordinator):
Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats the Adi Granov-designed armor. It combines a nod to the past with a look to the future wrapped up in a design that you just screams awesome
. There's a reason why the "Iron Man" film was so inspired by his work!
FRANK CHO (former artist of MIGHTY AVENGERS):
I like Adi Granov's Iron Man armor. Very well-designed and pleasing to the eyes.
JIM MCCANN (Marvel Sales Guru):
Classic. Iconic. Used in SECRET WARS. And it had roller skates. What more could you ask for?!?!? This was the
Iron Man armor for me growing up and is always what I think of when I think Iron Man.
NICK LOWE (Marvel editor):
I'm partial to the Hulk-buster armor. Big. Bulky. Awesome.
FRANK TIERI (former writer of IRON MAN):
Never mind the best Iron Man armor, they're all sort of cool in their own way, let's talk about the hands down, all time worst
armor: the armor with the nose. I mean, what the hell were they smoking when they came up with that clunker?
I'll tell you how absolutely horrifying that armor was: Marvel wouldn't even let me use it again! In one of my issues during my run, Tony is forced to use an older armor to face off with Blizzard in Coney Island. As a goof, I wanted the nose armor to be the only one available to him, but then-editor Bobbie Chase went screaming down the halls by the mere mention of it.
My theory why Tony eventually canned that armor? The nose allowed him to realize himself how much it absolutely reeked
WARREN SIMONS (upcoming editor of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN):
Any armor that can withstand the Melter's dreaded "Melting Beam" is tops in my book.
TOM BREVOORT (Marvel Executive Editor):
My favorite Iron Man armor is probably the classic red-and-gold one, the one he wore for decades, the one that was on lunch boxes and slurpee cups. It had a perfect balance between the red and the gold coloring, always looked modern and sleek when drawn well, and was distinctive.
All of the latter day attempts to improve upon the design have typically failed in my eyes, either by seeming too bulky, or in misaligning the red/gold ratio—in my mind, the red sections are harder plating, and the gold sections are more flexible, so any time there's a suit with a lot of gold in the midsection, it "feels" flimsy to me. The
suit we've been using for a while now is really not all that much more than a teched-up version of that classic silhouette.
I also have a real soft spot for the original stove-pipe grey/gold armor, but that's mostly nostalgic.
And Iron Man's neck should always be red, rather than gold. When it's gold, he looks like he's wearing a tank top.
JORDAN WHITE (Marvel assistant editor):
For some reason, I like the silver and red "Armor Wars" era armor. Yeah, it's got the hi-tech equivalent of 80's shoulder-pads, but I dig it. I never read a lot of Iron Man as a lad, and that was the first story of his I heard about and thought it sounded really cool. So, it sticks with me.
JEFF SUTER (Marvel Senior Art Director):
There's just something almost medieval about the original armor—brutal to the point of sheer terror. Jagged, rusty... almost like a high tech Iron Maiden—with flame throwers, of course!
LAUREN SANKVOTICH (Marvel assistant editor):
Maybe I'm biased, but I really love the realism—not everyone who wears it is made of biological computronium—and accessibility of the Ultimate Iron Man armor.
Here's an armor that doesn't have all of the answers: it breaks down constantly, you've got to swim in green slime to fly it, and you need an entire mission control crew to launch/guide/repair/
remote detonate it. In spite of all of that, or perhaps because of it, the ladies love it.
JOE QUESADA (Marvel Editor-In-Chief):
My favorite was always the paisley armor followed by the herringbone as a close second.
RYAN PENAGOS (Marvel.com editor):
I like the look of the current armor and the blocky original armor rocks hard, but the armor with the hip discs, visible nose and roller skates just make me smile. And shake my head. And feel dirty. I need more coffee.
JOHN BARBER (Marvel editor):
You know, I always liked Iron Man when I was a kid, when James Rhodes was wearing the yellow-and-black armor, and then when Tony came back with the red-and-white suit, and I have a particular fondness for the Stealth Armor from that era, but I have to admit, the Adi Granov armor from "Extremis" is probably my favorite. The glowing eyes do it for me.
Long before the movie, there was a nearly-life size poster of the Granov Iron Man in one of the conference rooms here at Marvel, where a lot of us would eat lunch. And looking at that armor, with those eyes—it's just terrifying. It's one of the most terrifying costumes of any super hero, and nobody really talks about that. Batman's costume is cool, but it's a guy in a suit with a cape. He could kick my ass in real life, sure. But Iron Man looks inhuman, looks industrial. And he's got 15 ways to utterly obliterate me without even getting within an arm's length of me. There's something about that that's perversely appealing, because that's not what the character is like,
that's not the "deal" with Iron Man. But just knowing that Tony knows what that suit is capable of…
MATT FRACTION (upcoming writer of INVINCIBLE IRON MAN):
I have a soft spot for the "Silver Centurion" armor. That was the first upgrade story I read, back in the day, so there's a part of me that always thinks Iron Man needs to be red and silver...
ALEJANDRO ARBONA (Marvel assistant editor):
I'm partial to Iron Man's "lounging" armor. What do you do when you need the critical life support only your armor can provide, but you just want to mope around your multi-million-dollar Manhattan town house in your underwear and bemoan your sorry lot in life? It was for those days of extreme self-pity that Tony Stark invented iron boxer briefs.
NICOLE BOOSE (Marvel editor):
My favorite is the original gray armor. That is the real deal. It's hardcore. There's nothing fancy or showy about it; you can actually imagine that someone built it out of scraps out of desperation in order to save his
own life. I admire the sleek design of Adi Granov's recent armor, but that original is the physical manifestation of who Iron Man is at his core: scrappy, brilliant and resourceful.
CHRISTOS GAGE (former writer of IRON MAN, IRON MAN ANNUAL):
My favorite is the classic red-and-gold—probably because that's what I grew up with, but I also think it has the coolest design. It looks to me like an iron man
, if you know what I mean, not a machine. It gave him personality—and not the kind of personality that thankfully-brief nose was supposed to provide!.
If we're talking about specialty armors, I always liked the space armor. It stayed true to the original design, but was clearly customized for far-out space adventure I'm sure if I looked at it today it would seem retro/futuristic, like Disney's Tomorrowland, but back in the day I thought it was the coolest!
TOM BRENNAN (Marvel assistant editor):
The War Machine Armor. Hands down, the coolest armor—it was Iron Man with a huge gun and a rocket launcher on his back. It comes down to a very simple mathematic equation: suit of super powered armor + rocket launcher = happy Tom Brennan. Sure, it was the 90s, a time where
"Everybody gets a HUGE gun!" reigned supreme, but at least in this case it made sense.
Plus, I just always preferred Jim Rhodes as Iron Man to Tony Stark. I felt I could relate better to him. Honestly, between a dashing, billionaire heartthrob and a courageous, combat pilot, who seemed more like me? Well, since I've never been a heart throb or
courageous, I suppose I can't really relate to either of them. But I still like Rhodey more.
BUTCH GUICE (former artist of IRON MAN):
My favorite has always been the classic red and gold armor [that debuted in] TALES OF SUSPENSE #48. It may have altered in small aspects over the years, but the basic design of the thing was solidly functional and impressive on the comic page.
DAN BUCKLEY (Marvel Publisher):
Adi's designs are my favorite. They are sci-fi, but they feel like they could be real at the same time.
RALPH MACCHIO (Marvel Executive Editor):
My favorite Iron Man armor by far is the one from the mid-60's when Iron Man was in TALES OF SUSPENSE and the
book was being drawn by Dashin' Donnie Heck! Specifically, it would be from around the time that ol' Shellhead had a big underwater throwdown with Attuma.
I loved the entire figure because it was smooth and clean-looking. And Don was able to get lots of expression into that wonderful iron faceplate. It's a shame that Don Heck doesn't get much credit as one of the artistic pillars of early Marvel. His entire run on SUSPENSE back then was filled with wonderful stuff. Not as dynamic as [Jack] Kirby or quirky as [Steve] Ditko, but Don captured the sophisticated jet set world of Tony Stark perfectly. His action sequences were top-notch. Check out the first Iron Man/Titanium Man issues. Wonderful! And Don's women were also something to behold. Look at the Black Widow when she first appeared with Hawkeye in SUSPENSE. Wow!
Stan Lee and Don Heck...another of the great teams from Marvel's great early days.
MARK PANICCIA (Marvel editor):
I'm a sucker for retro, so the old tin can with antennas wins my vote. A close second it the first red and gold from Tales of Suspense #48. The "V" mask and head armor are just too swank-o-matic!
DAVID MICHELINIE (former IRON MAN writer):
My favorite Iron Man armor is probably the stealth armor. Not only is it a cool design, with a unique function, but pretty much everything electronic always looks sleeker when it's black and shiny.
If specialty armors aren't allowed, I'd have to vote for the everyday armor that was standard when I was writing the book regularly, back in the 1980's. I thought it looked good then, and the personal nostalgia factor is, quite honestly, insurmountable.
For more Iron Man, check out Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited. And remember: "Iron Man" comes to a theater near you on May 2!