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Iron Man Runs Into a True Political Firebrand

This is a feature called "A Political World," where we spotlight 20th Century comic book stories that came out back when comic books were not political at all, unlike comic books nowadays.

My buddy Fraser S. suggested that I spotlight this old Iron Man story (in Iron Man #27) by Archie Goodwin, Don Heck and Johnny Craig that introduced the villain known as Firebrand.

To quickly set the scene, Eddie March was a black boxing champion who developed a blood clot that kept him from boxing again. He ended up filling in as Iron Man and so now Tony Stark and Iron Man each owe Eddie a good deal and so Tony Stark plans to set Eddie up with a job as the head of a new community center that the Iron Man Foundation is building in Eddie's hometown of Bay City. Okay, very quickly, this is super confusing to me, as how does Iron Man have his own foundation and not Tony Stark, who is supposed to be Iron Man's boss according to the set-up in the comics? You'd think that this would be the STARK Foundation, right? I guess later writers decided to go that route, as you don't really hear much about the Iron Man Foundation in the future.

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Anyhow, there are a couple of protesters getting ready to protest the opening of the community center and a new villain called Firebrand shows up to make sure that they are ready to use any means necessary to get this community center blocked. They're wary, but he's pretty persuasive.

So the breaking ground of the community center ceremony is about to start when protesters show up to, well, you know, protest it. The councilman who set it up basically taunts them. Then Firebrand shows up and he is a real oratory, well, you know, firebrand...

Seeing as how Firebrand isn't black, it's awfully sketchy that he called Eddie an Uncle Tom.

Iron Man freaks out when he realizes that Firebrand is packing a whole lot of fire-powered stuff in his suit, so he goes to make sure that he doesn't accidentally burn everyone alive. The protesters, though, think Iron Man is trying to shut them up and this causes a riot...

As you can see, someone at Marvel had trouble spelling "fascist." Okay, so a riot commences.

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