Tuesday, October 09, 2012

"Tony Stark, makes you feel....."

S'up people!

So today, I'm going to briefly explain why I love the mid/late-80's Iron Man armor, and how much it means to actually own the figure with that very armor.

Yessir, coming right after the Silver Centurion Armor, is this little number:
Dubbed the MK VIII, you may remember this particular armor since there have been multiple images and ads prevalent throughout the period Tony wore it.

Not to mention how many big events this armor's seen, ranging from big personal comic events for Tony like the Iron Man/Dr. Doom time wars to Armor Wars 2, to big Marvel Universe events like the entire Infinity Trilogy and Acts of Vengeance.

Yeah, this armor saw a lot of action over the years starting with its first appearance in 1988 with Iron Man#231, and lasting all the way until Operation Galactic Storm in 1992.

What really made me fall in love with this version of Stark's armor though, is seeing Iron Man#256.

I don't know what it was specifically, but just looking at the cover, I was mesmerized by it. And this wasn't a super-awesome, or super-detailed cover by any stretch, even though it was penciled by John Romita Jr. But it was enticing enough for a young Dale to pick it up and flip through it. I did, and really fell in love with Romita Jr's art and version of this armor. I mean, it was big and bulky, but nowhere near as bulky as it'd eventually get, earning the nickname of the "coffeepot armor."

The story by writer/inker Bob Layton was pretty good, and involved Tony Stark using the armor and some space equipment to fly out to old abandoned space station that was contaminated by an old A.I.M. virus. The whole sequence and how it was laid out and illustrated from takeoff to getting there just wowed me at the time.

Of course things don't go so smooth for poor Tony, and he winds up in the same position that Spider-Man did almost 30 years earlier, as Stark's trapped under the gigantic rubble and debris of the rapidly collapsing space station. He gets out of it of course, you know, because he's so damn smart, and all, but yeah, not a fun time for Tony. Even more so because this was during the period where he was still recovering from being shot in the back by his crazy ex.

Anyhoo, during this run John Romita Jr. handled the art duty, and did so for a good bit up through some of John Byrne's writing run, which covers Armor Wars 2, until he left and was replaced by penciler Paul Ryan for the rest of Byrne's run.

This wasn't JR jr's first run with Iron Man, as he was on board for a while in the late-70's, starting the infamous "Demon in a bottle" story.

But yeah, I really dug his second run, owing almost all of those issues at the time.

All-in-all, despite the different interpretations of this armor, from streamline to bulky, I enjoy all versions simply because to me, this was at the time a modern version of his classic 60's/70's armor.
That's why I'm so glad to have stumbled on this figure like I did. Sure he's not a big height-wise like I'd like him to be, but he's good enough for me for now.

As far as I remember, there was only one other figure of this armor made, and it was during the early 90's. Remember this figure?

This little guy came out as part of the Marvel Superheroes toy line by Toy Biz back around 1990.

I used to have one, but I got him at a yard sale  so he was missing all of his armor and helmet. Still, for back then,it was enough to tide me over until the Iron Man animated series that came out four years later, in '94. Thanks to that show, Toy Biz really cranked out a lot of IM figures, and I definitely bought a good share of them myself over that time period.

Other than that, no other version of the "coffeepot" armor exists in toy form, not even in the animated toy line, which I never understood, since they made a lot of the other armors, plus new ones exclusively for the line.

Oh well, I got this one, and that's all that matters.

And to leave you with a final thought, here's Tony Stark on the 80's:


Omega Agent1 said...

Great post my Dude, it had me reminiscing of how fly the West coast Avengers were. That #1 issue with Hawkeye, Mockingbird and the crew also fetured a new Iron Man armor (not my favorite But).

Looking at what's going on at Marvel now leading into their new thing, looks Hella promising.

Dale Bagwell said...

Thanks for the nice comments there Omega. And yeah I hope the new unofficial Marvel reboot works out fine as well.

Dan said...

I think that Iron Man cover is one of my top five ever easilly. JRJnr is a stalker. He literally jumped from one book I was collecting to another and sometimes still does. Luckily he's IMO one of the best so I dont call the cops, but it surprises me his work on Iron Man often gets so looked over.

My favourite Iron Man armour so far? While this one would be either second equal with the classic frisbee hips version, I think the suit Tony wore during his Force Works days wins for me.

Ahh OA Avengers West. My favourite team comic. I literally think of doing an AWC blog every week....

Dale Bagwell said...

@Dan, you should. There's not too many, if any, AWC fansites out there, so go for it.

You may or may not be in the minority when it comes to that era's armor though. If you're talking about the one just prior to it, then yeah that a pretty damn good-looking armor for the time, plus with the cartoon and all as well. But the one he wore during Force Works towards the end, ugh! Only Mike Deodato Jr. ever made that armor look okay; well him and Joe Mad, otherwise it was fucking horrible.

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