Iron Man and Sub-Mariner 1 p 10 (April 1968)
by Gene Colan (1926-2011) and Johnny Craig (1926-2001)
13 x 20 in., ink on paper
50 years ago!
“The Torrent Without — the Tumult Within”
In the pre-superhero 1950s and early 1960s, Marvel had a set of Twilight Zone-esque comics called Tales to Astonish, Tales of Suspense, Amazing Fantasy, and Journey into Mystery. When they began, the stand-alone, team-based books all started new, with premiere issues (Fantastic Four, Avengers, X-Men), while the books with individual heroes were dialed into the existing titles, first as 12-page features nested into the mystery/suspense anthologies, and then as paired-hero books. Amazing Fantasy is where Spider-Man got his start, and then got his own book after only one issue. Journey into Mystery is where Thor started and the numbering remained intact after the title of the book changed to The Mighty Thor. Ant-Man started off in Tales to Astonish, a book that was eventually shared between the Hulk and the Sub-Mariner. Tales of Suspense featured Iron Man, and then rolled in the newly-thawed Captain America. In 1968, Marvel expanded its line. Tales of Suspense continued (retitled) with Captain America and Iron Man got a #1 issue, as did Sub-Mariner. Tales to Astonish was retitled and featured the Hulk.
During the rollout, Captain America and the Hulk got their first solo issues in the retitle Suspense and Astonish books, the month before Iron Man and Sub-Mariner got their new #1 issues. Consequently, in April 1968, the publication of a title with only one planned issue took place: Iron Man and Sub-Mariner. It’s an oddity in the history of comics, and I have a page from each of the two stories.
This is page 10 of the 12-page Iron Man story: a 4-way fight is in progress, between organized crime (the Maggia, and its super-villain Whiplash), the SHIELD law enforcement organization (and its agent, Jasper Sitwell), the tech-terrorists Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM), and Iron Man. The Maggia has just set the ship into oscillations to prevent AIM from its looting spree, and AIM actives a counter-weapon that rocks the cruise ship.
No one was ever as good as Stan Lee in coming up with dramatic, literate, and alliterative titles for stories: “The Torrent Without — the Tumult Within”
I know for sure that this title sent the 9-year-old me to the dictionary to learn the meaning of the word “tumult” (and that may be as close as I will ever get to actually ever using the word “tumult” in a sentence, after seeing it and learning its meaning 50 years ago. Just for fun, I searched the ca. 2 TB of files on my hard drive, and I have never used the word “tumult” in a single document on my drive, although I did publish one paper with the word “tumultuous” in it, appearing once).