Tales of Suspense 31, 1962

Tales of Suspense no.31, July 1962 from Marvel Comics (notice the MC box just above the issue number). Cover by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers.

It appears the horror-struck citizenry were crudely redrawn, most likely by Sol Brodsky. Best guess is that Jack Kirby’s original faces looked too filled with terror for the Comics Code.

The car protrudes out at the reader. I love how fragile the automobile appears, further building on the menace of the creature. He easily bounds over the panicked crowd, holding the car in one hand.

The design of the Monster in the Iron Mask looks a lot like Doctor Doom, also debuting in Fantastic Four no.5 the same month that this title hit the shelves.

“The Monster in the Iron Mask” by Kirby, Ayers has a world-conquering orange-furred ape who tells the populace of Earth that his only weakness is that he must breathe and therefore wears an iron gas mask to protect him from poisonous gasses. Nothing the military does has any effect, until a magician practicing a new trick with his son realizes that the orange alien is using misdirection just like a stage performer. The ending is anti-climatic though.

“The Man Who Found Shangri-La” is also by Kirby and Ayers. In six pages, Kirby creates an “odd couple” set of step brothers nearly the exact opposite of each other. When the industrious and learned brother decides to find the perfect land of Shangri-La, his lazy brother figures it would be the perfect place to rob a bunch of overly trusting rubes that don’t even post guards. What he finds is quite different and more hell than paradise.

“The Crackpot” by Don Heck and “The Missing Link” by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko wrap up this issue. Seven months later, Iron Man would debut in Tales of Suspense 39.


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