Undervalued Spotlight #104

Invincible Iron Man #47, Marvel Comics, June 1972

This week’s Undervalued Spotlight comes recommended by Mike Huddleston. Mike’s email notes that “…this story features great updated origin re-telling from Roy Thomas and artist Barry Smith. These two were in the middle of their successful Conan run at this time, and give the Iron Man origin a  bang-up treatment. Its the best looking “grey ” Iron Man you will ever see.” Mike also adds that “…this book serves as my Iron Man #1 for the bronze age and it is great starting point for the book. Not much happens to Iron Man in the 3 years previous, and this book seems to re-launch the character.”

I like this pick Mike, its one of those comics that really makes collecting fun!

I’ve noted many times on this blog that comic collecting is a very visual hobby. Great covers always create demand and when you can combine a great cover with a popular character and a legendary artist and make the issue a special one and have it from a very collectible era, well then we’re getting somewhere.

Iron Man #47 features the retelling of the origin of Iron Man. Roy Thomas scripts while legend Barry Windsor Smith pencils the 21 page “Why Must There Be an Iron Man”? The issue finds Tony Stark contemplating the whys while recalling his origin first told in Tales of Suspense #39 back in 1963 (then written by Stan Lee and drawn by Don Heck).

This is a great era for Iron Man collectors; the 2 year period from #43, the 25 cent November 1971 issue featuring the intro of the Guardsman through to #66 featuring the classic Thor/Iron Man battle cover gave collectors at least 6 must haves. The other 4 are our beloved #47, #54 featuring the 1st Moondragon and Iron Man battling Sub-Mariner, #55 featuring the 1st Thanos and #56 the sought after Jim Starlin art issue. These are all great comics and much like Lays Chips, you can’t just have one!

Our Spotlight issue has a strong dark border which makes high grade copies tough to find. Even mid grade copies are tough to find, this book is always one of those missing when you are going through a guys Bronze Age Iron Man bins.

The fan site comicbookresources.com lists Iron Man #47’s Gil Kane cover (with inks by Vince Colletta) as the 2nd most iconic cover in the Iron Man run, beating out #1 and coming second only to the Classic Alcoholism issue #128. Check out their post right here (personally I thought Iron Man #66 should have made this list). Note Jim Starlin’s obvious homage to #47 in his cover to Iron Man #100.

Iron Man #47 really is the next best thing to a Tales of Suspense #39, it is not a reprint but rather a retelling rendered by great creators. It never hurts that these scenes are the same as the ones interpreted in an updated way in the 1st Iron Man movie.

Iron Man is one of the most upwardly mobile of all the Silver Age Marvel characters and as the value of Tales of Suspense #39 continues to soar the value of Iron Man #47 will surely rise with it.

As of this post there are 68 graded of which a healthy 44 are graded at CGC 9.2 or better.

A nice CGC 9.6 can set you back $223 (that’s what 1 sold earlier this month for). I recommend finding a nice tight raw copy, if you dig a bit and haggle a bit  you’ll be able to find one at or below price guide prices. For those looking for graded copies I recommend getting a nice tight CGC 9.4 White Pages copy for around the $125 mark. A CGC 9.2 White Pages can be found for about $75 and again if it is well centered I think this is a nice book to have.

The guide is a bit low on this book but I think it will trend upwards as we see demand for this issue continue to stay strong. It is one of the more sought after minor key’s in a great title in a standout era.

The 41st edition of the Overstreet Price Guide shows $20/$30/$40 as the splits at the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grades.

Strengths that make this comic book a good long-term investment are:

  • Origin of Iron Man penciled by Barry Windsor Smith
  • Classic black cover by Gil Kane
  • Highly collected title especially the first 66 issues.

Please feel free to submit any comic you feel is undervalued. I’d love to feature it in the Spotlight!

Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

Articles: 1701


  1. And no matter what anyone tells you reading comic books is still the primary reason for their existence.
    – Anthony Falcone (July 12, 2011)

    I’ve noted many times on this blog that comic collecting is a very visual hobby.
    – Walter Durajlija (Nov 29, 2011)

    What’s this… discord amongst the CBD faction? It can’t be!

    So Walt, are you (and Mike) suggesting that all origin issues are of significance or just this particular IM issue? As a kid, my friends and I used to seek out origin issues. They updated new readers and we’re the next best thing to #1s.

    It was always interesting to read an updated take on origins by current creatives and sometimes they would provide more depth or insight to the story… often as flashbacks, skewed by the current storyline. And from my point of view, the DC52s is little more than the combination of origin + #1s.

    Coincidentally, I’m 4 books away from my IM 66 collection. It’s a VG-F set so I’m trying not to put too much money into it. The elusive book for me has been #55. I’m not a big Thanos fan so I don’t wanna pay any more for this book than the others.

  2. Charlie, I have to admit I am a sucker for good origin story told well. Updated re-tellings that enhance and fit into the current story line being my favourites. I don’t think all origin updates do that. As an example ASM#50 use of an origin retelling is excellent. ASM#94 looked like a lazy way to fill in pages of a story that was out of gas. Overstreet does give special notice and premium pricing to just about all origin books, so you and your freinds had it right all those years ago.

    Walt, glad you like the pick. Iron-ically (ugh) I did follow your advice on picking up a graded copy pretty closely back a couple months ago.In the September Comiclink auction I spicked up a 9.4 Pacific Coast copy of Iron Man #47 for $122. It did not have your white pages (cream to off white), so I will have to hope the “old blue label” and pedigree make up the difference.

    I also agree about the guide. I can’t imagine getting a 9.2 copy of this book for $40.


  3. PS spicked up is when you can’t make up your mind whether you scooped or picked up a book. LOL

  4. For the record I disagree with almost everything Falcone writes!

    All retold origin issues are special as far as I’m concerned especially when they add a bit more to the original like for example the Amazing Spider-Man #200 origin re-telling. Collectors back in the day did not have the easy access to the collected origins of heroes so readily available today and for many it was the first time reading the character’s origin story.

    I find it very cool that you are collecting a low to mid grade run. This is pure collecting Charlie, well done!! Hold out on that IM #55, the elation of finding it somewhere for $10 somewhere will be worth the wait.

  5. Pacific Coast is s good pedigree but I’d trade up for a White pager one day Mike.

    I’m sure the old Now and Then shop in Kitchener was selling 9.2 Iron Man #47s for $5 when everyone else wanted $15. We need more shops like Now and Then!

  6. Hmmmm…I live in Kitch/Waterloo….might have to check out “Now and Then”

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