According to the L.A. Police Department there is a current investigation into the disappearance of a certain suit worn by Robert Downey Jr. I am not talking about the Dolce & Gabbana he wore in Civil War with the three-piece dinner suit, sporting a red paisley print silk tie, and the cool two-tone red-tinted lense sunglasses (source: The Grooming Artist). No folks, Five-O has been searching high and low for the original Iron Man suit since it was stolen. This very first armor was worn by Robert Downey Jr. in the movie Iron Man. The iconic suit was taken from a prop storage warehouse in Los Angeles sometime between February and April 2018. Needless to say, the L.A.P.D. has zero leads on the theft. Keep an eye out, who knows where this armor will end up. The interesting thing is the heist of the armor puts a value of the original Iron Man suit at $325,000. Some lucky super villain is flying high as the now notorious thief that pilfered the Iron Man suit (source: Esquire Mag).
Since our individual liberty is a tad more important than speculating; we can’t all abscond with Iron Man’s armor. The next best thing is stealing some of the hype by picking up Iron Man keys while they are still under $100. Three keys show real promise as “steal of a deal” issues: Iron Man #100 Anniversary issue, Iron Man #118 first appearance of James Rhodes, and IM #282 first appearance of the dreaded War Machine.
Iron Man #100 ($.35 variant) is an excellent key to own. This comic had an incredible creative team of Jim Starlin (pencils, inks), George Tuska (pencils), Mike Esposito (inks), and Bill Mantlo (script). This is the 100th Anniversary issue for Iron Man. These centennial keys are slow on ROI, but they do stand the test of time. Currently, #100 Superman is a very sought after issue for example. Also, Iron Man #100 had a low distribution and a .35 cent variant that is still very reasonable to own. On May 1st one auction house sold a (9.6) in May for only $66.
Iron Man #118 (1979) is the first appearance of James Rhodes. Created by Bob Layton (script and pencils) with John Byrne ( pencils). This key book is still relatively undervalued in the Marvel pantheon of Iron Man comics. Let’s be honest Iron Man is a lot more interesting when paired with his pal James Rhodes. The two of them make a compelling team, and of course, everyone knows that Rhodes eventually goes on to becomes War Machine in Iron Man #282.
The numbers are still good for speculation purposes even in the 21st Century. Over the last three years, Iron Man #118 has doubled in price from $36.50 in 2015 to $69.99 in August 2017, in very fine plus to near mint (9.0) These old Iron Man keys are forgotten but will over time heat up. Currently, the (9.0) has returned close to 91.7%. Not bad, for the first appearance of Iron Man’s right-hand man, Rhodey.
The issue Iron Man #282 (1992) is the first appearance of War Machine (Overstreet). This book was massively printed during the 1990’s and very popular, so don’t get carried away and purchase ten of them. That being said, it is a good, necessary, and simple key to own and not beyond reach. The last sale for Iron Man #282 in May was for $169 in (9.8) this shows a small return of 6% (GoCollect); that is not bad for an early 1990 book. The grade of (9.4) indicates even higher returns of 185%, but there could be some skew there due to only 9 sales over the last several years. The cool thing about War Machine is he has additional accessory weapons that he can punish opponents with. This arsenal of free enterprise has moved up 433 ranks to make Iron Man #282 the 127th most popular Modern Age comic books (GoCollect).
Repulsor Toward the Bronze Age
Whether you own the first War Machine, or the 100th Anniversary issue or even the first appearance of a key character like Jim Rhodes; all these comics are a steal. The older Bronze Age Iron Man comics have been slow to react to the current movie hype. Inevitably their time is coming and price increases are bound to continue. Being a good speculator is seeing value before the majority of the public does. Though please don’t take it to the extremes like the folks who stole the original Iron Man armor. Repulsor toward the Bronze Age of comics and pick up Iron Man before someone else swipes them all.