Comic Cover Flashback: February 1983

30 Years Ago this Month

As I mentioned at the end of January, 1983 was a milestone year for me, being the first year I can remember getting my first comic book. To celebrate my 30th anniversary of collecting comics, I'll feature a different comic book cover each month, from 30 years ago - 1983.

When we get to the first comic I ever purchased, I'll be sure to share which one it was.

February 1983

It's no secret Tony Stark has had some serious battles with his alcoholism. It's part of who he is and perhaps his signature characteristic. It's also the driving force behind what many claim to be the greatest Iron Man story ever, 1979's Demon in a Bottle. The storyline received the 1980 Eagle Award "Favorite Single Comic Book Story" and has been reprinted several times since its release.

It wasn't four years later that we saw Stark have another major struggle with alcoholism return, in the page of Iron Man 170. As a result, we get to see for the first time the character of Jim Rhodes as Iron Man, a major milestone in the Iron Man Earth 616 canon.

The story begins with Rhodes putting on the Iron Man armor to fight against Magma, a villain that is destroying the headquarters of Stark Industries. Rhodes tries to wake up Tony, but he has falling off the wagon and is too drunk, passed out. Rhodes is faced with learning how to use the armor "on the fly." He eventually finds out how to use the armor (with the help of Morley Erwin and Stark) and at the end, Rhodes is able to apprehend and arrest Magma. The story concludes with Tony saying he doesn't want to be Iron Man anymore, he just want to have fun. Stark leaves his factory and his armor in the care of Jim Rhodes, who begins to assume to role of Iron Man for several years after and eventually went on to become War Machine.

Note: While the month on the cover says "MAY" - this book actually came out on the news stands on February 8, 1983.

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