Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Unbridled Capitalism: The Kindness Of Strangers
One of the most enjoyable aspects of running this blog has been "meeting" other comic book fans who I never would have had the opportunity to interact with if not for the blog. One such blogger is Lilbones (whom I refer to as Mr. Bones since he is married and has a family), proprietor of the entirely awesome Tales From The Batcave blog. Now, besides being my go-to guy for info on all things Bat-related, Mr. Bones is also amazingly generous. I say this because as soon as he found out that I was within spitting distance of completing my collection of Iron Man, he volunteered to hunt down stuff in his neck of the woods for me! So you can imagine my schoolgirl like glee when the package arrived, stuffed to the brim with Iron Man-y goodness.
The first issue is Iron Man #121. This one has an odd history with me because for at least two years I thought I owned it thanks to a mismarked punchlist. This is a somewhat rare issue for the era, no doubt thanks to the Namor appearance. Glad to finally have it in collection "for real this time." Next is #152, the classic debut of the Stealth Armor. This is one of those covers which most Marvel fans of a certain age recognize even if they have never read the issue. Very iconic work by Bob Layton! Though the Columbia contest header was an unfortunate choice. The same goes for #155, which also features a striking Layton cover. This is a tremendous era in Iron Man history, so getting the chance to read this is really exciting.
The next two issues, #176 and 179, both come from the Rhodey as Iron Man era, another classic point in the series. I scored almost a complete run of the era a few years ago and I really enjoyed it, so I am definitely eager to check these out as well. This period often gets summed up in just one sentence ("Tony Stark is fall down drunk in New York"), but Denny O'Neill always had a lot of stuff going on when he was in charge of this title.
Finally, we have a pair of later Annuals to round out Mr. Bones' awesome contribution. The first, from 1998, is actually a team-up, featuring Captain America as well as the Golden Avenger! Plus MODOK! And it's written by Kurt Busiek and Mark Waid, oh my! I'm having flashbacks, of the good kind! The other is the 2001 Annual, written by Chris Claremont of all people. I was never good about remembering to get Annuals so these two are most welcome. I think the '98 may very well be the top of the pile.
This all just goes to show you that the real benefit of comic book collecting truly is the camraderie of collectors. Yeah, there are some bad eggs out there, but most, like Mr. Bones, are good people who want to spread the good tidings around to everybody. And it's to the credit of our hobby that fans like Mr. Bones exist. He knows how thankful I am for his kindness, and now I absolutely must find some way to keep this going. Truly, this is not the kindness of strangers, but of friends.