The MCU has brought in so many new fans and inspired them to start reading comics. The problem is that because Marvel has been around so long jumping into comics is kind of a terrifying process. So I am here to help you find where to start in comics based on your favorite MCU character and movie.
So we are starting with Tony Stark, otherwise known as Iron Man. One of the longest running characters in the Marvel universe and therefore a character with obviously an insane amount of stories. So we are going to go movie by movie that features Iron Man for the best places to start. If you are a fan of the first Iron Man film and want to see his origin story then I will point you to Tales of Suspense #39, created by Stan Lee, Don Heck, Larry Lieber and Jack Kirby. Here is where you will see the original design of Iron Man’s armor.
Now if you are a fan of Iron Man 2, then we are going to talk about comics where Whiplash is featured. Whiplash has been the title of several different characters across the comics, including a single female Whiplash. The MCU Whiplash was um…weirdly adapted so prepare yourself for some changes between the Ivan Vankof you’ve seen and the Whiplash that exists on the page. But let's start with his initial introduction, Tales of Suspense #97. You might have noticed by now that a lot of major Iron Man moments that reflect those that happened on screen don’t actually occur in Iron Man comics. If you want more conflict and a Whiplash death you can turn to Iron Man volume 4, #28. For context the entirety of Iron Man volume 4 is a great place to start.
If Iron Man 3 interests you, we should talk about your media tastes, because that’s a poor decision but we should also direct you to some comics featuring the actual Mandarin. We will ignore the poor storytelling and execution of the third Iron Man and go back to Tales of Suspense #50 for the Mandarin’s origin, for some great interactions with Tony we go to The Invincible Iron Man #180-181. The Mandarin is one of Tony Stark's main recurring enemies, so the likelihood of you coming across him in other Iron Man centered comics is pretty high.
And of course if you want to see Iron Man as a founding member of the Avengers, see the very first issue of the Avengers. Most of the Avengers runs feature Iron Man. He of course is in the original run but for most of the Avengers existence has involved Iron Man as either a featured player or as the leader.
The MCU has always been very good at taking a handful of comics and taking bits and pieces from all of them, condensing them and putting together a cohesive story on the screen. For the most part the characterizations that you see on screen are comic book accurate even if the stories aren’t. So when you switch mediums the characters should still feel familiar but you will also get to experience new and different stories. Now obviously there are 1000 different Iron Man stories but if you want to start in a familiar place and then find something new, these are my recommendations. Comics are also kind of at a point where you can start wherever you want. Some more recent stories will include tags for previous stories in the new story points. So you can go ahead and read back if you want more context.