Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Iron Man's Nose

Was there ever a more wrong-headed, stupid-looking and despised costume change than the time Iron Man added a nose to his helmet?
Not to me and my Bronze Age gang. We HATED Iron Man's nose, hated it with a venom only a real comic fan can muster up for something completely trivial and unimportant. And we weren't alone either.
Dave Cockrum was none too keen.

While series writer Mike Friedrich was clearly unimpressed with a choice that had been foisted on him. In ish #72, The Golden Avenger took time out to attend the San Diego Comic Con, and Mike took the opportunity to lambast the new look not just by having himself take Shellhead to task:

But by having the fans do it too:

The nose was ugly, stupid, and in one fell swoop, eradicated all traces of the heroic look a super-character's costume should have. But why did it happen? Well, back in ish #68, there was some nonsense about Shellhead chasing The Mandarin down into the depths of the ocean when:

And so:

But that was just Mike trying to write himself out of a corner. Why did it REALLY happen? Well, according to Comic Book Legends Revealed, ( who got it from an interview Jim Shooter did with Gary Groth ) it all started when Stan, in passing, saw a cover of the latest issue and remarked something along the lines of ' Where's the nose?' or 'Shouldn't there be a nose?' seemingly referring to the size of Shellhead's face in the picture, and the fact that it didn't look as if Tony's face would actually fit under the mask.
As even his offhand comments were treated as law back then, this was misunderstood to mean that The Man had pronounced Iron Man should have a nose NOW, and so Friedrich begrudgingly complied.
At the time, Stan was off doing lecture tours and trying to get Marvel into Hollywood, so it wasn't until a year later ( so the story goes ) that he got to see another issue of Iron Man, only to pronounce
' Gee, why has he got a nose? That looks kind of ridiculous!'
And so, by ish #85, a mere 4 issues into Len Wein's tenure, the peculiar proboscis was gone forever, as Len shoehorned not just himself, but seemingly the whole blamed bullpen into The Nose's final hour.

But before it clears itself of phlegm for good, let's have a look at one of it's adventures, in this frankly barking single issue from Freidrich's run, wherein Shellhead and a couple of what you can only assume are Mike's friends do the old haunted castle bit. Sniff!


  1. But without a nose, how does Iron Man smell...?


  2. I hated the nose as well, PD. In fact, I did a similar post to this one back in January last year, which contains an image of the cover of Iron Man #80 'before and after'. If you type 'Iron Man #80' in my blog's search box, you can see for yourself.

  3. So much better without, cheers Kid.
    As for how Iron Man smells, Sean, well, I would imagine quite fragrant and lovely, as Tony Stark can probably afford the finest and most expensive after-shave...

  4. The problem with the nose was that it made Iron Man look like a robot, rather than a man in armour. It was always Tony Stark that made the character interesting to me - the fact that the armour was (originally, anyway) a life-support machine just as much as it was a superhero's costume.

  5. Definitely, Dave. Another reason to hate it!