“Iron Man and Sub-Mariner 1; ‘Call Him…’ p2; ‘Torrent…’ p10” (April 1968)

“Iron Man and Sub-Mariner 1; ‘Torrent…’ p10” (April 1968)
by Gene Colan (1926 -2011) and Johnny Craig (1926-2001)
11 x 17 in., ink on paper
Coppola Collection

The A.I.M. submersible activates a weapon that rocks the cruise ship. Whiplash emerges from his vault whereupon he stumbles upon Jasper Sitwell. Iron Man blasts upward through the deck just as Whiplash is preparing to kill Jasper. He lays him out with a repulsor blast, saving Sitwell’s life. Suddenly, the A.I.M. submersible activates a vortex beam that pulls Iron Man out through the hull of the ship and into the water.

Tales to Astonish and Tales of Suspense were two pre-hero books from Marvel. They were anthologies of short horror/sci-fi stories. Shortly after the success of the Fantastic Four, these books featured full-length stories starring Iron Man (Suspense) and Ant-Man, who became Giant-Man (Astonish). Reference to both are made in the first Iron Man and Ant-Man movies, respectively… an insider nod to history, there.

Astonish (TTA) and Suspense (TOS) then became split books, with 12-page stories from two headlining heroes. TTA picked up the Hulk, after the end of his 6-issue run, and TOS picked up Captain America after his revival in The Avengers. Later, the Sub-Mariner replaced Giant-Man in TTA.

In the late 1960s, after astonishing success in the market, the (first) Marvel boom in publications started. TTA ended with issue 101 and spun off as The Incredible Hulk #102. TOS ended with issue 99, and Captain America continued with his own issue #1.

Forty years ago this month, Iron Man and Sub-Mariner picked up their #1 issues a month later, but instead of having a gap in publication of their stories, Marvel put out the one-time only double-hero titled “Iron Man and Sub-Mariner #1” in April 1968. Gene Colan and Johnny Craig did the art duty on both stories.

I do not think there would be another double-hero titled book until the title of “Daredevil” changed to “Daredevil and the Black Widow” (issue 92; October 1972, ending with #107), and then when “Power Man” became “Power Man and Iron Fist” (issue 50; April 1978). It would be an interesting trivia question to think about what was the first comic title featuring two characters that had a #1 issue.

“Iron Man and Sub-Mariner 1; ‘Call Him…’ p2” (April 1968)
by Gene Colan (1926 -2011) and Johnny Craig (1926-2001)
11 x 17 in., ink on paper
Coppola Collection

Destiny and the Sub-Mariner continue to battle one another in the frozen tundra of Antarctica. Destiny uses his Helmet of Power to hurl sharpened icicle at the Atlantean Prince, but Namor easily deflects them. He then chides Namor, taunting him with the knowledge that he defeated him once before. Namor reasons that this incident must have taken place during the years that he wandered the globe as an amnesiac, but Destiny gives little information in regards to this.