Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Man In The Iron Nose!


Essential Iron Man Volume 5 hit the stands yesterday just in time to catch  (hopefully) a little of the attention the next Iron Man movie will garner among the general populace and comics fans. It's an unlikely collection of stories, from one of Marvel's oddest periods during the Bronze Age when lots of comics seemed to be drifting both creatively and editorially. But there is something about this particular collection which makes it of potential interest to fans. Included in this volume are ALL the main Iron Man issues featuring Shellhead's awesome nose addition.
 

The saga of Iron Man's Nose is both curious and funny. The story goes that Stan Lee, the Kahuna of all things Marvel, then mostly situated on the West Coast and away from the day-to-day production of Marvel's comics, noticed in one comic almost certainly drawn by Shellhead mainstay artist George Tuska that Iron Man's mask seemed oddly flat against his face leaving no room for a nose. He made some offhanded comment that in his opinion the mask needed room for a nose. This pronouncement from the "Moses of Mighty Marvel" led the editorial gerbils then employed at the joint to scurry and before you could say "proboscis", Iron Man's mask had a big old honking nose feature.

George Tuska and Mike Esposito

Iron Man #68 makes a big deal of pointing to this startling change. So Iron Man had a nose for a few years until Stan Lee noticed that he had a nose and commented it looked rather silly. The gerbils then scurried again and in issue #85 the nose is  disappeared with much ballyhoo on the cover about this startling change.

It's a funny cautionary tale about the lack of communication in large endeavors and how the smallest comments can lead to offbeat changes. In the modern era when Iron Man's armor alters quicker than many folks change pants, the notion of this change even being noteworthy is laughable, but in the Bronze Age when such costume alterations were verboten, this was earthquake stuff. The marketing folks must have been very confused indeed.

To see all the covers of issues included in this volume see the gallery below. The saga of Iron Man's nose awaits. 


Gil Kane and Mike Esposito

Gil Kane and Mike Esposito

John Romita and Mike Esposito

John Romita and Mike Esposito

Gil Kane and Mike Esposito

Gil Kane and Mike Esposito

Jim Starlin and Dave Cockrum

Ron Wilson and Mike Esposito

Ron Wilson and Mike Esposito

Ron Wilson and Mike Esposito

Gil Kane and Frank Giacoia

Gil Kane and Frank Giacoia

Gil Kane and Frank Giacoia

Gil Kane and Frank Giacoia

(Iron Man #76 was a reprint.)

Gil Kane and Al Milgrom

Gil Kane and Tom Palmer

Gil Kane and Frank Giacoia

Jack Kirby and Al Milgrom

Ron Wilson and Joe Sinnott

Gil Kane and Frank Giacoia

Ron Wilson, Rich Buckler and Frank Giacoia

Gil Kane and Mike Esposito

Rich Buckler and Klaus Janson

Ed Hannigan and Frank Giacoia

Ron Wilson and Frank Giacoia

Rich Buckler and Frank Giacoia

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9 comments:

  1. 'Change pants'. That's funnier in Britain than it is in America.

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    1. I ought to have gone with "britches". That makes more sense in my neck of the woods.

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  2. I'd forgotten all about IM's nose. Funny stuff. I'll have to pick me up some of those issues.

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    1. They are pretty entertaining stories. I frankly had forgotten how much until I was leafing through the volume.

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  3. I would've gone with the cover for #80 (Kirby and it's a kool space scene) as the Essential's cover, but that's just me.
    I'm pretty sure the cover for #70 was penciled by John Romita, Sr, not Ron Wilson.

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    1. I agree on what the cover of the Essentials should've been. They picked a rather lackluster one to me. There are several better suited in my opinion.

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    2. 80, 71, or 69 are the three I would have made the cover.

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  4. Amazon says release date is April 30th...where'd you get yours?

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    1. It hit the stores in my town yesterday. On a similar note, the latest Hermes Phantom volume of comic strips hit my store a few weeks ago and I'm not getting mine from Amazon until (hopefully ) today.

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