You know, as different and varied as our life experiences are, we all have one thing in common: profoundly embarrassing photos from our younger years! Whether it's the dorky hairstyles, goofy clothes, or some bizarre, faddish phase we went through, photographic proof of those awkward times haunts us all. In fact, even comic book characters have embarrassing aspects of their early years they'd just as soon forget...even a box-office bigshot like Iron-Man!
In between Tony Stark's original grey armor and his more familiar red and gold togs was a suit of golden armor. Patterned after his bulky grey suit from his debut in Tales of Suspense #39 (1963), Version II (appearing in the very next issue) featured several upgrades... including a skirt-like apron! (click on the image for a larger view)
Why the apron? It's not clear...though considering Tony's love for the ladies, perhaps the metallic skirt was designed to be extra protection for his..uh... "command center". Whatever the reason, the apron made an already cumbersome costume design even more odd looking, not only for it's nebulous purpose, but also for it's decidedly non-metallic, almost cloth-like appearance. Mercifully, the gold armor (and the apron) lasted only a few months, making way for the more streamlined look of Stark's red and gold armor.
Of course, Iron-Man isn't the only comic book character to harbor a secret shame from his earliest adventures...as you'll see in upcoming installments of Humble Beginnings!