IRON MASK

Real Name: Don Hertz

Identity/Class: Human, pre-modern (late 19th Century), blacksmith, United States citizen

Occupation: Blacksmith by day, criminal mastermind by night

Group Membership: Leader of The Circus of Crime (Bennington Brown, Fat Man, Dr. Danger)

Affiliations: Ally of the Living Totem, Hurricane, Rattler, Red Raven

Enemies: Kid Colt, Rawhide Kid, West Coast Avengers, Phantom Rider (Lincoln Slade), Two-Gun Kid

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: American midwest, usually Arizona (@ late 1800's)

First Appearance: Kid Colt, Outlaw#110 (May, 1963)

 

Powers: Iron Mask possessed no powers; initially, he wore an iron mask and an iron vest that made those sections of his body impervious to bullets; later, he developed full body armor, making him immune to bullets all over his body.

Height: 6'
Weight: 176 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Black

History: Iron Mask, a sinister blacksmith wearing an iron helmet and vest, built a reputation in the Old West as he seemed unkillable-- no one knew about the iron vest, giving him an almost supernatural reputation.

(Kid Colt, Outlaw#110)- For his latest crime, Iron Mask robbed the home of Mr. Thompson, a local rancher. Thompson put up a fight, but his bullets simply bounced off Iron Mask's chest. For resisting him, Iron Mask beat him horribly.

Unknown to Iron Mask, Kid Colt had been befriended by Thompson, and he decided to track Iron Mask down for vengeance. Certain that Iron Mask would need a blacksmith to create his helmet, he tracked down the local smith, but he denied involvement. That evening, Iron Mask robbed the payroll as it arrived in town from the train. Kid Colt was there to stop him, but his bullets were useless, and Iron Mask knocked him unconscious.

 

Colt promised the local lawmen that if they gave him one hour, he could apprehend Iron Mask. He rode to the blacksmith's shop, and sure enough, Iron Mask was there. This time when he drew, Colt shot Iron Mask in the arm, and he dropped his gun! Colt ripped open Iron Mask's shirt, revealing the iron vest that stopped all the bullets before, and beneath the mask was the blacksmith himself! Iron Mask was taken off to prison, and Colt was allowed to ride away, into the sunset.

(Kid Colt, Outlaw#114)- Iron Mask proved to be a model prisoner, and was allowed to work in the prison metal shop. Before long, he had re-fashioned his helmet, and built a complete set of armor, rendering him invulnerable! He broke out of the prison, snapping the locks with his iron finger, and resumed his career of robberies, but the thing he wanted the most was to get revenge on Kid Colt!

Kid Colt was, as usual, on the run from the law, but when the local lawmen heard Iron Mask was a comin' to town, they left the Kid alone to deal with him. Colt decided to make a break for it, but ran into Iron Mask by mistake! Unable to escape him, he tried shooting Iron Mask's arm again-- but this time, it didn't work! Then, Iron Mask shot back, and Colt fell from his horse, nearly dead.

Having revived, Colt wanted to join the effort to stop Iron Mask's assault on the town, but the lawmen refused. It wasn't until the local sheriff shot at Iron Mask-- and was hit by the ricochet of his own bullet-- that he changed his mind, and set Kid Colt free! When Iron Mask saw that Colt was alive, he forgot about robbing the banks, and pursued him! Colt tried lassoing him, but it didn't work, he snapped the rope! Then Colt rode off on his horse, Steel, and Iron Mask pursued him! Colt lead him through a lake and to the other side. There, Iron Mask was ready to slap leather, but found he was in for a surprise-- riding through the lake had rusted his armor, making him unable to move! Humiliated, his armor was stripped off, and Colt returned him to the law.

(Kid Colt, Outlaw#121)- The Rawhide Kid sought out Sam Hawk, the famous marshal known as "the Man-Hunter", to help him save Silvertown from Iron Mask, who had escaped jail. Hawk, however, arrested Rawhide instead, and placed him in prison next to Kid Colt, whom he had captured earlier that day. Colt broke out to go and stop Iron Mask, and Rawhide followed, hoping to enlist Colt's aid. Initially, they scuffled, but finally realized they were on the same side, and joined forces.

Sam Hawk and his men had meanwhile egaged Iron Mask in Silvertown, but his full body armor once again made him invincible. Iron Mask was just about to kill Hawk, when the Rawhide Kid and Kid Colt appeared, guns blazing! Iron Mask's gang scattered, but he confidently strode forth to deal with the Kids himself. The Rawhide Kid lead him down the town's streets, right over a set of wooden planks-- Iron Mask collapsed them, and fell into a pool of water! In danger of drowning, Iron Mask surrendered to them.

(Kid Colt, Outlaw#127)- Again free from prison and wearing new armor, Iron Mask enlisted three old foes of Kid Colt's-- Bennington Brown, Dr. Danger and the Fat Man-- in a scheme to rob the town of Phoenix, Arizona, as its new governor was sworn in. The four owlhoots disguised themselves as circus performers, with Iron Mask wearing the costume of a clown, his armor on beneath. To their surprise, Kid Colt appeared in town, hoping for a pardon from the governor, and they defeated him, earning a shot at entertaining the governor's dance that evening.

That evening at the dance, they revealed their true identities and began to rob the wealthy townspeople, but Kid Colt, having broken out of jail, arrived and defeated Iron Mask's cohorts. Iron Mask ran out of town into a cave, and managed to empty the Kid's gun by letting him shoot him, but Colt defeated him by knocking him to the ground, rattling him unconscious.

(West Coast Avengers II#18)- For his next scheme, Iron Mask not only re-enlisted the Fat Man and Dr. Danger, but also hired Hurricane, Rattler, the Red Raven, and the Living Totem, along with a gang of owlhoots to commit large scale crimes. This drew the attention of the Rawhide Kid, the Phantom Rider (Lincoln Slade) and the Two-Gun Kid (but strangely, not Kid Colt). Joined by the time-travelling West Coast Avengers, they were able to defeat the entire gang, including the Living Totem, whom Iron Mask had been keeping as a special reserve. Shocked by the Totem's easy defeat, Iron Mask tried to run, but was caught by the Avenger Mockingbird, and joined his gang in prison.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee and Jack Keller.

As Fred Hembeck once observed, Iron Mask was "the Dr. Doom of the Old West". Say, perhaps there's a story in that? Iron Mask journeyed to Tibet and founded an order of monks in his latter days, monks who would one day take in a lost Latverian traveler, and bestow their former master's armor upon...naaaaaaah.

A question/ponderance from Omar Karindu: Any chance Stan Lee knew about Ned Kelly, the real-life Aussie outlaw of the late 1800s who wore bulletproof armor and a mask in his famed last stand?

Thanks to Brandon Nash for pointing out Iron Mask's real name from Fat Man's profile in Avengers: Roll Call (2012).

Iron Mask has an entry in Marvel Legacy: The 1960s Handbook.

Profile by Prime Eternal

CLARIFICATIONS:
Iron Mask has known known connection to:

Iron Mask's Circus of Crime is obviously distinct from:


images
Kid Colt, Outlaw#127, Cover (Iron Mask in cave)


Other appearances:
Kid Colt, Outlaw#114 (January, 1964) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Keller (artist)
Kid Colt, Outlaw#121 (March, 1965) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Keller (artist)
Kid Colt, Outlaw#127 (March, 1966) - Steve Skeates & Roy Thomas (writers), Jack Keller (artist), Stan Lee (editor)
West Coast Avengers II#18 (March, 1987) - Steve Englehart (writer), Al Milgrom (pencils), Joe Sinnott (inks), Mark Gruenwald (editor)


Last updated: 09/03/16

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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