Iron Man

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Iron Man is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963), and was created by writer-editor Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, and artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby. Anthony "Tony" Edward Stark, after suffering a severe heart injury and being kidnapped, was forced to build a devastating weapon. He instead created a suit of power armor to save his life and help protect the world as the superhero Iron Man. He is a wealthy industrialist and genius inventor (MIT alum) who created military weapons and whose metal suit is laden with technological devices that enable him to fight crime.

Throughout most of his career, Iron Man has been a member of the superhero team the Avengers and has been featured in several incarnations of his own various comic book series. The character has been adapted for several animated TV shows, as well as for the 2008 live action film Iron Man starring Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. Forbes has ranked Iron Man among the wealthiest fictional characters on their annual ranking. BusinessWeek has also ranked Iron Man as one of the top ten most intelligent fictional characters in American comics.


Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963): Iron Man debuts. Cover art by Jack Kirby and Don Heck.

Iron Man's premiere was a collaboration among editor and story-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, story-artist Don Heck, and Jack Kirby. In 1963, Lee had been toying with the idea of a businessman superhero. He set out to make the new character a rich, glamorous ladies' man, but one with a secret that would plague and torment him as well.[1] Lee based this playboy's personality on Howard Hughes, explaining, "Howard Hughes was one of the most colorful men of our time. He was an inventor, an adventurer, a multi-billionaire, a ladies' man and finally a nutcase".[2] While Lee intended to write the story himself, he eventually handed the premier issue over to Lieber, who fleshed out the story.[1] The art, meanwhile, was split between Kirby and Heck. "He designed the costume", Heck said of Kirby, "because he was doing the cover. The covers were always done first. But I created the look of the characters, like Tony Stark and his secretary Pepper Potts".[3]

Iron Man first appeared in 13- to 18-page stories in Tales of Suspense, which featured anthology science fiction and supernatural stories. The character's original costume was a bulky grey armor, which later turned golden in his second story (issue #40, April 1963), and then redesigned again as a sleeker red-and-golden armor starting in issue #48 (Dec. 1963), drawn by Steve Ditko. In his premiere, Iron Man was an anti-communist hero, defeating various Vietnamese agents; Lee later regretted this early focus.[4] Throughout the character’s comic book series, technological advancement and national defense were constant themes for Iron Man, but later issues developed Stark into a more complex and vulnerable character as they depicted his battle with alcoholism and other personal difficulties.

From issue #59 (Nov. 1964) to its final issue #99 (March 1968), the anthological science-fiction backup stories in Tales of Suspense were replaced by a feature starring the superhero Captain America. After issue #99 (March 1968), the book's title was changed to Captain America. Iron Man stories moved to the title Iron Man and Sub-Mariner in April 1968, before the "Golden Avenger" made his solo debut with The Invincible Iron Man #1 (May 1968).

Writers have updated the war in which Stark is injured. In the original 1963 story, it was Vietnam. Later, in the 1990s, it was updated to be the first Gulf War, and then updated again to be Afghanistan. However, his time with the Asian scientist Yin Sen is consistent through nearly all incarnations of the Iron Man origin, depicting Stark and Yin Sen building the original armor together. One exception is the direct-to-DVD animated feature film The Invincible Iron Man, in which the first armor Stark uses is not the first Iron Man suit.


List of Iron Man titles

  • Tales of Suspense #39-99 (March 1963 - March 1968)
  • Iron Man and the Sub-Mariner (April 1968)
  • Iron Man Vol. 1, #1-332 (May 1968 - Sept. 1996)
  • Iron Man Annual #1-15 (1970-1994)
  • Iron Man Annual '98-2001
  • Giant-Size Iron Man (1975)
  • Iron Man: Crash (1988)
  • Iron Manual (1993)
  • Iron Man 2020 (Aug. 1994)
  • Age of Innocence: The Rebirth of Iron Man (Feb. 1996)
  • Iron Man Vol. 2, #1-13 (Nov. 1996 - Nov. 1997)
  • Iron Man Vol. 3, #1-89 (Feb. 1998 - Dec. 2004)
  • Iron Man: The Iron Age #1-2 (Aug.- Sept. 1998)
  • Iron Man: Bad Blood #1-4 (Sept.- Dec. 2000)
  • Iron Man Vol. 4, #1 -  (Jan. 2005 - Present) (this series was officially titled as The Invincible Iron Man for issues #17-28 in the comic's legal indicia; Retitled Iron Man (Director of SHIELD) from issue 15 onwards on covers only; the comic book would not officially be retitled until issue 29 (July 2008) in the comic's legal indicia).[5]
  • Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Annual #1 (Jan. 2008)
  • Invincible Iron Man #1 - (July 2008 - Present)
  • Ultimate Iron Man Vol. 1: #1-5 (Mar. 2005 - Dec. 2005)
  • Ultimate Iron Man Vol. 2: #1-5 (Dec. 2007 - Apr. 2008)
  • Iron Man: The Inevitable #1-6 (Feb. 2006 - July 2006)
  • Iron Man: Hypervelocity #1-6 (March 2007 - Aug. 2007)
  • Marvel Adventures: Iron Man #1- (May 2007- Present
  • Iron Man: Enter the Mandarin #1-6 (Sep. 2007 - March 2008)
  • Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas #1 - (May 2008 - Present)
  • Iron Man: Legacy Of Doom #1 - (April 2008 - Present)

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Lee, Son of Origins, pp. 46-48
  2. Lee, Stan (December 1997). "Stan's Soapbox" from Bullpen Bulletins: Marvel Comics.
  3. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Maskarticle
  4. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named origins_45
  5. Marvel Catalog: Iron Man Director of Shield


External links