Iron Man: the Cold War Years

One of the big hits in movie theaters this year was “Iron Man” with Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, the billionaire industrialist who moonlights as a super hero. The character debuted back in 1963 and, arguably, was the Marvel Comics character most tied to the Cold War. Soviet premiers ordered hits on Tony Stark and the Soviets kept coming up with their own versions of Iron Man.

For example, the Soviets, in a 1965 multi-part story in Tales of Suspense came up with Titanium Man, who challenged Iron Man to a fight on neutral ground.

A year later, this story was turned into a cartoon with extremely limited animation. But it closely mirrored the original Stan Lee/Don Heck story. The cartoon used original Heck drawings (even sneaking in a few drawings by Gene Colan, who succeeded Heck on Iron Man).

A shortened version of the cartoon showed up on YouTube. The late John Vernon (who would later play Dean Wormer in “Animal House”) is the voice of Iron Man/Tony Stark. So, without further blabbing…