14Demon In A Bottle (1979)
Contrary to popular belief, comics did actually deal with dark storylines prior to the mid-eighties. Granted, it wasn’t that common to see comics go truly dark, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t a select group of writers looking to push the moral code of comic book storytelling. Other
writers, however, simply didn’t even realize that they were doing something unusual. For instance, when Bob Layton was tapped to field the next Iron Man storyline, he simply decided to make alcoholism the villain. In his mind, he was just dealing with a topic that would have affected businessmen such as Tony Stark.
What he was really doing, however, was penning the definitive Iron Man story arc. By exploring the very vulnerable person in the Iron Man suit, Layton humanized the mighty warrior. This storyline didn’t make Tony Stark an alcoholic; it rightfully justified that Stark was probably an alcoholic all along. Tony’s bottles of brown liquor were the silver bullet that tied the character’s design together, and made him a compelling example of how even superheroes must battle their demons.