Iron Man Goes Gold in Early Tales of Suspense, Up for Auction

In the early Silver Age, it took Marvel a couple of times to learn its lesson with the color gray.  The color was difficult to print with consistency during that time (and really… as someone with a lot of experience prepping color comics for print, I can tell you that subsequent decades sometimes didn't improve that consistency all that much), which caused Marvel to change the Hulk from gray to green after one issue.  This matter likely came up again with the plain metallic gray used for Iron Man's debut in Tales of Suspense #39.  The problem was solved after one issue again by having Tony Stark paint his armor gold in the very next issue.  The armor was changed (and streamlined) to its now-familiar red and gold form in Tales of Suspense #48, but the "golden era" of Iron Man can still be considered as the formative moment for the character.  There are inexpensive copies of a number of these early Iron Man Tales of Suspense issues up for auction in today's 2022 February 6-7 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122206 from Heritage Auctions.

Tales of Suspense #41 (Marvel, 1963)
Tales of Suspense #41 (Marvel, 1963)

Iron Man would face a wide array of foes during this time, including alien and robotic threats, mad scientists, business rivals, and even a hollow-earth menace of sorts.  But it was Communist enemies such as the one represented by the Red Barbarian in Tales of Suspense #42 which would set the stage for numerous later Iron Man villains (and indeed, this theme quickly became common across the Marvel Universe).  All of the action is set against a backdrop Tony Stark's Howard Hughes-inspired playboy lifestyle and defense contractor work.  It was a general formula which has served the character well over the subsequent decades, and it was developed in large measure in these early Iron Man Tales of Suspense issues up for auction in today's 2022 February 6-7 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122206 from Heritage Auctions.

Tales of Suspense #40 (Marvel, 1963)
Tales of Suspense #40 (Marvel, 1963)

Tales of Suspense #40 (Marvel, 1963) CGC PR 0.5 Off-white to white pages. Second appearance of Iron Man, in new gold armor. Jack Kirby cover and art. Steve Ditko art. CGC notes, "1/4 of cover missing. Cover detached. Incomplete." Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $207. CGC census 1/22: 10 in 0.5, 847 higher.

Tales of Suspense #41 (Marvel, 1963) CGC FR/GD 1.5 Off-white pages. Third appearance of Iron Man, who battles Dr. Strange (not the superhero). Jack Kirby cover and art. "Mystery" backup features with Steve Ditko art. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $132. CGC census 1/22: 6 in 1.5, 525 higher.

Tales of Suspense #42 (Marvel, 1963) CGC GD 2.0 Off-white to white pages. First appearance of the Red Barbarian. Iron Man cover by Jack Kirby. Don Heck art. Backup story with Steve Ditko art. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $91. CGC census 1/22: 10 in 2.0, 409 higher.

Tales of Suspense #43 (Marvel, 1963) CGC VG- 3.5 Off-white to white pages. First appearance of Kala, Queen of the Netherworld. Iron Man cover by Jack Kirby. Story art by Kirby and Steve Ditko. Overstreet 2021 VG 4.0 value = $182. CGC census 1/22: 16 in 3.5, 310 higher.

Tales of Suspense #47 (Marvel, 1963) CGC GD/VG 3.0 Off-white pages. Featuring Iron Man. Origin and first appearance of the Melter. Jack Kirby cover. Steve Ditko, George Roussos, and Don Heck art. Overstreet 2021 GD 2.0 value = $62; VG 4.0 value = $124. CGC census 1/22: 21 in 3.0, 408 higher.

Tales of Suspense #51 (Marvel, 1964) CGC VG- 3.5 Off-white pages. Featuring Iron Man. First appearance of the Scarecrow. "Tales of the Watcher" backup feature. Jack Kirby cover. Don Heck art. Overstreet 2021 VG 4.0 value = $68. CGC census 1/22: 11 in 3.5, 317 higher.

 

Heritage Sponsored
Affiliates of Bleeding Cool buy from and/or consign to Heritage Auctions.

Enjoyed this? Please share on social media!

Mark SeifertAbout Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler. Machine Learning hobbyist. Vintage paper addict.
twitterfacebook
Comments will load 8 seconds after page. Click here to load them now.