True Facts About Old Tony

Belief: Old Tony was a playboy who slept around like mad.
Fact: To hide his heart condition, Old Tony kept his distance from other people, physically.  He dated a string of women only when particularly depressed.  He was usually in a relationship, and hoped to get married and or angst like mad over never being able to marry because heart shit. 

Belief: Old Tony was a hard drinker.
Fact: Layton and Michilinie really didn’t understand alcoholism (they thought once their story was over, it would never need to be mentioned again and Tony could resume drinking socially.)  While Tony did drink on panel prior to them laying the seeds for that story, it was really rare.  His dependence sort of popped up out of no where.

Belief: Old Tony was irresponsible and Pepper was the driving force behind the business.
Fact: Old Tony was actually extremely passionate about his work and most Iron Man stories focused on the goings on of the office for the first 20 years or so.  It was a noticeably long time before we so much as saw Tony’s house.

Belief: Old Tony’s scientific ethics were so lacking he’d do human experimentation..?
Fact: Old Tony was an engineer who was not at all versed in any other branch of science.  He was in no way the all-around genius we think of him as today.  He was a really good engineer and a really good business man and that was basically it.

Belief: Tony traveled back in time to ancient Egypt and Cleopatra had a thing for him.
Fact: okay this one is true.

Belief: Old Tony was super hard core about controlling his assets and IP
Fact: He was actually pretty fast and loose with who could drive an Iron Man suit before Armor Wars.

Belief: Old Tony had a comical love for roller skates.
Fact: This one is also true.

3

This month marks the 33rd anniversary of my favorite stand alone Marvel comic issue: IRON MAN #150 aka DOOMQUEST. Everyone knows I’m a huge Thanos fan, so you’d think I’d name an Infinity Gauntlet issue or something as my favorite. But as I posted on my instagram for the Marvel Photo Challenge, you’d be wrong. IM 150 is what I consider the best of the great Marvel Match-ups. Iron Man vs. Thor, Thor vs. Silver Surfer even Hulk vs. Thing doesn’t compare to the Tony Stark vs. Victor von Doom battle that Doomquest delivers.

It’s the best Science vs. Magic tale I’ve ever read in comics and makes me even more sad that Marvel doesn’t own the film rights to Doom, so a film version isn’t possible. And I doubt we’ll see anything close to a great adaptation in any of Marvel’s current animated series. 

Anyways, Doomquest is at it’s core is a time travel film, specifically the Arthurian times, where the hero and the villain are classically divided between and take sides with King Arthur and the dark sorceress Morgan La Fey. Yet this isn’t just a typical good vs evil scenario. Yes Doom does align himself with Morgan to dethrone King Arthur, but not because of his love of dark magic. It’s because he believes Morgan is the only one who can rescue his mother’s soul from hell.

Of course hardly anything goes right for Doom and Iron Man leading King Arthur’s forces, defeats Morgan Le Fey. Doom vows revenge but realizes he needs to work together with Iron Man to get back to their own time. So they use their knowledge of science to combine their own armor’s circuitry to create a makeshift time machine that brings them back to the 80s. Doom calls a truce until the next time they meet in battle. 

Great issue, and it’s it’s never really been referenced in future comics as far as I know. Other than a couple of issues of the original Mighty Avengers books where Morgan Le Fey becomes Doom’s booty call. Regardless, if you can find the trade or even the original issue, grab it. You won’t be disappointed.  

4

Amazing Spider-Man 328 (1990)
Acts of Vengeance
David Michelinie | Todd McFarlane

Spider-Man vs Joe Fixit. Normally Peter would not stand a chance against the Hulk, but had part of the Power Cosmic in him at this time, and could do things like fly, shoot energy from his hands, and control molecules with his mind.

He was also crazy strong. The Hulk got knocked into orbit, and began to play the waiting game. Would he fall to Earth before the sun came up, and he turned back to Banner? Odds were against him.

But Pete being the swell guy that he is, flew up, and brought him back to Earth. Hulk returned the favor by “not killing him”

Good stuff.

2

MJ: —Oh! Peter! What were you doing sitting in the dark? Never mind, I’ve got a few nits to pick with— Peter? Your breathing sounds funny. Are you all—
VENOM: Hi, Honey…
MJ: Oh, god.

The first appearance of Venom. When MJ and Peter got married, Spider-Man was wearing his black suit — a cloth version of the symbiote costume he rejected, and later believed to be dead. Instead it bonded with down-and-out reporter Eddie Brock, who blamed Spider-Man for the destruction of his career, and the two return for revenge.

Venom has no interest in Mary Jane and leaves as soon as it’s clear Spider-Man’s not around, but this first encounter has a lasting impact on MJ’s psyche. Of all the motley characters in Spidey’s rogues gallery, it’s Venom — not men who’ve tried to kill her like Alistair Smythe and Hobgoblin, not Doctor Octopus who’s tried to take out the entire planet, not Norman Osborn who’s come so close so many times to destroying everyone she cares about — who keeps her rattled. Whether that terror is plausible compared to the way she’s handled other supervillain incursions is a topic I’ll delve into in an upcoming post. The short version is that after this visit MJ asked Peter to switch back to his red and blues, which he wore until getting the Stark armor in Civil War.

I don’t often post uncolored line art here, but McFarlane’s crisp, high-impact inks are even more effective in black and white than in the final colors. (That last panel!) His art and his career may be polarizing but there’s no doubt the man can set the tone for horror.

Amazing Spider-Man #299 (April 1988).
Writer: David Michelinie.
Artist: Todd McFarlane.

TODAY IN COMIC BOOK HISTORY: MAY 6, 1948

Happy 66th Birthday, David Michelinie!

One of the great comic book writers. Starting his career with DC on books such as Swamp thing, he would eventually work for Marvel for many years writing for many titles. His run on Amazing Spider-Man alone is impressive. Spanning 8 years and 3 artists (McFarlane, Larsen & Bagley) and introducing Spider-Man mainstays like Venom & Carnage. He was also a writer for a time During the early 90s for Action Comics. He and artist Paul Ryan are the only comic creators to work on both the Spider-Man and Superman Wedding issues. 

Probably his most iconic run in comics was during his work on Iron Man. He was responsible for giving Tony his various unique armors as well as introducing characters like James Rhodes and Justin Hammer.

However, as you’ve already guessed by the above image, He’s best known for Tony Stark/Iron Man’s most iconic story arc, “Demon In A bottle”. He, along with artists Bob Layton and John Romita Jr., weaved a tragic tale of  addiction and despair for millionaire Tony Stark. It was the first time a headlining Superhero, not a sidekick, but a superhero had to deal with such a thing. The 8 issue arc was so powerful it upped the game for serious storytelling in comics and it’s still remembered to this day. Stark’s alcoholism would be canon from then on, even in the Ultimate Universe.

So Happy Birthday, Mr. Michelinie. Thank you for your many contributions to comics.

[above, IRON MAN #128 (Nov. 1979)
Art by Bob Layton]

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