Often, I get a lot of static for my belief that the Invincible Iron Man has never looked better than he did between issue 200 and the end of the Armor Wars back in the mid-80s.  The usual complaints are that he abandoned the trademark red-and-gold armor colors (which I can understand, although there have been additional palette adjustments since then that are more drastic) and that the shoulder pads and gauntlets looked awkward and derivative of the Transformers.  In my mind, Iron Man looked like he was wearing an actual armored costume made of metal for the first time since he gave up his bulky gold suit back in ’65, and the additional bulk made him seem like a peer to Thor and the Hulk again.  Still, once the Armor Wars has run its course, the creators had made it clear what they thought about the Silver Centurion armor (note that it was NUKED in its final appearance) and now that iconic look is nothing more than the comic-book equivalent of aviator shades and a perm.  (Which, now that you mention it, Tony Stark was also rockin’ at the time of the S.C. armor.)

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) makes you feel he’s a cool exec with a heart of steel, asking: What to do when a favorite character changes appearance and you don’t like it?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. I go find solace from back issues when character still had awesome costume and hope its just a phase. I shall also place statue or action figure of that particular character with cool costume in prominent place so i can rest my eyes while reading issues with new inferior look.

  2. I started reading comics in the early 90s, so most character redesigns (losing all the belts and pouches) were for the better. What to do though? I guess if you don’t like the design of a character and it’s a big enough deal for you, vote with your wallet and decide not to buy the book.

  3. I get used to it, most of my the things I like are things I didn’t much care for at first. As long as the writing stays solid and true to the character, than I can deal with a redesign.

  4. that was the reason i read iron man in the 80’s,just to see what new armor tony was going to have this month.

  5. If it isn’t a completely terrible change, I usually end up getting used to it over time. This has been the case most of the time as I don’t really tend to hate a new look, I just don’t like change if I liked something the way it was.

    If it is something so terrible I cannot stand it, I’ve actually stopped reading a title unless something in the title outweighs my dislike of the appearance that I dislike. Thankfully this hasn’t happened very often.

    In the case of series where the costumes change often (Super Sentai and Kamen Rider for instance), I have just waited until the next series came along (or if it was an older series, skipped most of it and just watched select episodes or moved on to the next/another series).

  6. That’s a simple one: quit buying the comic. When Howard Chaykin got bored with American Flagg and hired other artists to take over the book, none of whom could match his unique art style, I quit buying it. When WaRp spun Elfquest off into so many different series that Wendi couldn’t keep up and they had other artists come in to work on Elfquest, none of whom could match Wendi’s unique art style, I quit buying the books. When Eric Larsen got bored with drawing The Savage Dragon and so cut the number of art pages in half, replacing them with ads and up to 12 pages of editorial rants or letter columns, I quit buying that book too. Admittedly, those were creator owned titles, so when the creator slacked off, it made a terrible difference. It’s a bit different when it’s a company owned property, like a DC or Marvel book. Grew up reading comics during the Bill Finger and Kurt Swan era, when those men pretty much defined the “house” art style. There have been a few artists whose stile I detested so much that I was led to quit buying a series simply because of the art. I didn’t like Steve Ditka’s flakey art style, so when he took over art chores on a series I’d quit buying it. And I had the same reaction to Jack Kirby’s artwork that Stephen and Matthew have to Rob Liefeldt’s work. As consumers, we have a voice in what the publisher’s do – and that voice is our pocketbook. If you hate the work of an artist or writer, you’ve got the option to quit buying the book. The reverse is also true – when I find an artist whose work I admire, I’ll buy the book. What a pity that artists like Dave Stevens and Marshall Rogers died so young. Now if only Kaluta would get off his duff and finish Starstruck, I could die a happy man.

  7. Antonio Sanciolo on

    I think the writer/artist responsible has to be given room to justify the change. Maybe a story-arc’s worth before judgement can fully be laid down.

    True hindsight always comes after the FOLLOWING redesign with the obligatory “this is even WORSE than x” or “At least this is no X”

  8. As long as the story’s there, I’ll deal with it. Like real people, characters evolve over time and as long as changes seem organic as opposed to contrived to serve the next variant cover, its fine.

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