TALES OF SUSPENSE #39 (1963): 1st Iron Man!

Exactly.  Nobody had seen him before this, and although by now the beats of his origin story are quite familiar, it was by far the most innovative of the Marvel heroes to date.

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No radiation.  No cosmic rays.  Just science.

And a handful of ridiculous coincidences.

Tony Stark, a munitions inventor, goes to Vietnam and meets Wong-Chu. Everything about Wong Chu is wrong, from the yellow skin tone to the primitive speech patterns to his being called “the red guerilla tyrant” (sic).  Yes, the misspelling is in the original.

Note the “betray your country” line. The foundation of Iron Man versus Captain America begins here–with Tony’s willingness to sacrifice principles in the name of his own goals. Granted, the goal here is saving his own life, but at the same time if anything had gone wrong, Chu would have had a powerful weapon to use against the U.S.A.

You know what happens next: Captured and held hostage, Tony Stark makes a suit of bulletproof, super-strong armor, that also keeps a bullet fragment from puncturing his own heart.

And he makes short work of Wong Chu.

And it’s not just brawn, it’s tech…

He escapes and blows up Wong Chu’s base.

And right there at the bottom, we’re told that Iron Man will be a mainstay in the Tales of Suspense anthology series.

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