Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Pimp My Briefcase

Iron Man 118

When Denny O'Neil wrote this book, they could have used this same cover but replaced the gauntlet with a bottle of Jack Daniels. "Must... save... booooozzze...!"

The one thing about Iron Man that really strained my suspension of disbelief was that darn briefcase. I just couldn't buy that Iron Man could cram his entire suit of armor inside the thing! Powerful rockets and pop-out roller skates on the bottom of the boots? Sure, why not? A device on the palm of the glove that can blast through a brick wall and yet doesn't tear Iron Man's arm off with the recoil? If you say so, man... whatever. Just don't try to tell me that a man-size suit of armor that's able to withstand the impact of a bazooka shell is collapsible and can fit inside a briefcase. His name is Tony Stark, not George Jetson. Yeah, yeah, I know there've been countless nerdy schematics drawn up to try and support this crazy idea. "But the armor is really flexible!" the nerds squeak, pathetically. "It's like chainmail!" Yeah, not buyin' it.

On the cover to "Iron Man" #118 (January 1979), artist Bob Layton makes it appear that Tony Stark was already wearing the chest plate under his clothes, like he used to do in the Olden Times when he needed it to keep his heart from going kablooey. I like that idea... because it frees up more space in the briefcase! Not sure what that would do to the fit of his crisp designer suits, though. He'd have to wear big baggy shirts and jackets all the time. Like the Beyonder! (Ew.) And inside the comic, where Layton is finishing John Byrne's layouts, the actual scene is a bit different:

free fall

Do you believe that his entire suit of armor fit inside that dinky little briefcase? Well, good for you, because I sure as hell don't. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.

So let's forget about the armor. What else do you think he managed to stuff in that briefcase? I'll start!

1. Fully-stocked sushi bar
2. Pint-sized homunculus valet, packed in dry ice
3. Hot tub!
4. Go-kart
5. Crystal chandelier
6. Pipe organ
7. Wig, mink coat, and one-of-a-kind Bob Mackie gown, for special "undercover" missions
8. A complete Sentinel robot. Just because he can.
9. One of the islands in the West Indies; I forget which one
10. His soul

Your turn!


Anonymous said...

11. Signed affadavits from Titanium Man, Crimson Dynamo, et. al., swearing that really, truly they didn't know they stole his idea. Plus several filing cabinets to store the legal documents accompanying them.

Oddly, I was thinking about this in a mentally wan moment last week. That armor has to be ultra-flexible in a ridiculous way, otherwise he wouldn't be able to move and pose the way he's usually depicted doing--there aren't any knee or elbow joints, for instance. And the chestplate (in the cover drawing, anyway) moves with him like a quality undershirt.

Eh. Go figure. Now that they have the tech concepts to explain how it could work, the armor is draw obsessively well-articulated.

Brett said...

The obvious one is a big ol bottle of whiskey, but not so much now.

Bully said...

Remember when it was a bit of a risky gamble to have a character say "damn" in a mainstream comic?

You know, now I wanna see the adventures of the $300 Pierre Cardin jacket he tossed away, and how it changes the lives of a tribal bushman when it falls out of the sky.

Anonymous said...

"The Alcoholic Industrial Magnates Must be Crazy"?

EM said...

I'd buy a comic featuring the pint-sized homunculus valet!

Marc Burkhardt said...

Oh. My. God.

I never knew Tony spoke Valley Girl.

Jim said...

... How does he lift the briefcase? If he's got the whole suit in there it's gotta be heavy as hell and he's only really strong when he's wearing the armor. I- I- *cries*

Anonymous said...

12. A Betamax tape of Moonraker.

13. Apparently he has a pocket knife for cutting off the sleeve that wouldn't go over the cord attaching his briefcase to his wrist (I love that cord. That's someone's concession to "realism" there).

14. Another $300 Pierre Cardin jacket (C'mon he's Tony Stark!).

Scipio said...

15. A signed photograph of him with Burt Reynolds, suitable for any borrowed penthouse apartment.

Even I am not enough of a queen to be worried about my jacket when I'm falling to my death, Tony dear...!

Jeremy Rizza said...

Aw, bless all y'all! Too funny!

And Bully, I bet if Geoff Johns wrote Iron Man, he'd reveal that his $300 Pierre Cardin Jacket landed on the bald noggin of one Mister Obidiah Stane -- right before he went in to interview for a job as a sales clerk at Circuit City, thus ensuring his status as an evil business magnate who would take over Stark Industries.

joncormier said...

16. A Hummer that transforms into an Iron-Man remote controlled robot.

17. Hairdryer. C'mon, look at that coiffure!

18. Moustache clippers.

19. Replacement briefcase.

Hey wait a second. His briefcase is a TARDIS!

Bully said...

20. Teen Tony Stark.

Sleestak said...

NEVER mention Teen Tony.

And don't forget: The Titanium Man armor and the operator once fit on a credit card!

So there.

Anonymous said...

All his past suits of armor.

Anonymous said...

21/22. The Scarlet Witch and the Vision's babies.

23. The Microverse