Who Is Tony Stark?

Who Is Tony Stark?

Love him or not, Marvel's Iron Avenger is one of the world's hottest properties right now and wherever Marvel travels, Stark follows. From America to Asia, the world is hooked. But, what's beneath the armor? Hit the jump to check out what made the Man (made) of Steel, who he is!

"Genius, Billionaire, Playboy, Philanthropist". It's a line engraved in comic book history. It's the standard alter ego; a mantle taken up by heroes such as Batman, the Green Arrow and (some of) the Green Lanterns. To Wayne and Queen it's a second mask, who would suspect the party animal of wearing the cape and cowl come nightfall? But Stark? There is no mask. So what makes Iron Man the man that he is? Well, let's rewind, back to the 1960!

The world is in turmoil! The nuclear age is upon us, bringing with it it's impending doom! Meanwhile, the world's two largest powers are busy having a pissing contest, what we know as the Cold War. Soviet US tension is at an all time high. And in a time of great need Marvel Comics do what they do best, exploit the general public to the best of their ability. Marvel rolled the dice on a character named Anthony Edward Stark, and it payed off. Why? He, just as Captain America had before him, swooped in and took the world (okay, the US) by storm. But why? It's simple really, here's why:

The country was at war (not a lively war but still a war), but no matter how hard the Soviets pushed, one thing would never break: the American spirit! So what did Marvel do? They personified the American Dream, giving a face to the ideal. marvel created a character that everyone could relate to. He was a genius, he could pull any woman at ease, but he never let the corrupt beat him, just as the average man at the time tried. Tony Stark was both the perfect man and every man.

Remember kids, the Americans said that communism was wrong, that means it's wrong. The world feared Soviets, Russia and China were the global threats to the World Police Force America. Nuclear war was on the horizon, every day the Cold War crawled on was a day closer to the end of the world. But what if someone was fighting the Soviets for America? Wouldn't they be the best that you could be?

Let's take a minute to look at Iron Man's rouges gallery. We have:

  • Whiplash: Russian genius, the anti-Stark

  • The Crimson Dynamo: A Russian general with his own suit

  • The Mandarin: A Chinese warlord, hellbent on the destruction of the west

  • And for a short time:
  • Black Widow: A Russian spy infiltrating America

  • See a trend? It's no coincidence that Tony Stark took on the world's most fearsome Soviets. And while we're on the topic of Soviet's...

    What did America hate? Soviets! Why did they hate them? Oppression! So what did Marvel do? Make someone as far from Soviet ideals, of course! Tony Stark doesn't live by the rules, he can't be stopped or held back. If he needs something, he makes it. He even made the weapons S.H.I.E.L.D were using against (wait for it, it's surprising) Soviet nations!

    So, in conclusion, what made Iron Man the man that he is? The American view on the world. just as Superman was shaped by 1920's ideals, Iron Man was a product of the Cold War paranoia, an example of a nation's attempt at escaping the fears that surrounded them. Or, in short, the Soviets. I should add that I have nothing against Soviets. But what do you think? Am I right? Sign off your thoughts below!

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    TheManFromMars - 2/23/2014, 2:56 PM
    "I should add that I have nothing against Soviets"

    Commie supporter detected! I'm calling Senator McCarthy!
    DEVLIN712 - 2/23/2014, 2:59 PM
    NO! I ain't getting deported!

    ALmazing - 2/23/2014, 3:21 PM
    Good article, should have mentioned Howard Hughes somewhere in there.
    cipher - 2/23/2014, 3:38 PM
    Hahaha, McCarthy's ghost is gonna be on you like flies on a corpse.

    I remember reading somethin' a while back where Stan was talkin' about how he was tryin' to make Tony the kinda guy that people should hate but ended up lovin' instead. I mean, he's rich, he manufactured weapons for the military.. but ol' Stan said that that was the point, he wanted to write a guy that you SHOULD dislike, but instead he was gonna actually make you like him, and he was gonna do that by making him brave and inventive. I mean, I always thought that was an interesting way to approach writing a superhero in the 60s, y'know?

    But, yeah.. as for the Soviet angle, Stan said they would just sometimes pick a bad guy or somethin', and make 'em communist. It was just considered normal to do that at the time, just like the Nazis were always featured as the villains during the war. Anyway, I don't want to ramble- good write-up, mate.

    cipher - 2/23/2014, 3:45 PM
    Hehehe, "World Police Force".. maybe the yanks will summon the bastard's ghost to get you.

    DEVLIN712 - 2/23/2014, 4:06 PM
    I'm Irish, I'm used to most of the flies and the shit
    Jollem - 2/23/2014, 4:07 PM
    didn't care about iron man before 2008 and still don't
    Doopie - 2/23/2014, 4:33 PM
    nice article DEV!

    Stan really did have a knack back in the day of taking socially hot-topics and turning them into comic book gold. The FF was the 'nuclear' family which mixed space travel and 'advanced' science, The X-Men tapped into the civil rights movement, Spidey engaged with the still emerging teen demographic (whilst also touching on social issues) and the Hulk like the FF revolved around the new era of science that was closely linked to the Cold War.

    It must be said though that as much as Stan did a great job creating characters that could be identified with and engaged the readers on issues that directly involved them, he wouldn't have been as successful without the incredible artists he worked with (and in some cases robbed!). Without Ditko and in particular Kirby, we may not have the CBMs we love so much today.

    Again great article, perhaps some more on the other big books to come out of the Silver Age?
    GliderMan - 2/23/2014, 4:55 PM
    tony stark is iron man
    cipher - 2/23/2014, 4:58 PM
    DEV- Hahahahahahaha.
    cipher - 2/23/2014, 5:03 PM
    Yeah, the people Stan worked with contributed GREATLY, of course. That should never be forgotten.

    The funny thing about Iron Man's armour, was that for the longest time Stan was never happy with the design. He thought the first one was too clunky, so he just decided to let the artists that came on do whatever they wanted with the armour.

    So, yeah.. it if wasn't for them, we wouldn't have gotten half of those suits.
    WYLEEJAY - 2/23/2014, 5:07 PM
    Yeah Iron mans rogues are geared either towards corrupt business or international threats.

    Justin Hammer and Obidiah Stane...

    Mandarin, Doctor Doom and Radioactive Man...

    Then you also have the tech side of things, Titanium Man, Crimson Dynamo, Whiplash, Ghost...

    You see there, funny how most of those guys can fall into at least two of those three categories. Iron Mans rogues are better than they get credit for. We just need some good writers to treat them properly. I personally find the rogues he shares with other heroes to be his most interesting.

    Thor........Radioactive Man.
    Fantastic Four..........Dr Doom.
    Captain America.............MODOK.
    Norman Osborn............Spider Man.

    Etc.........but they always work that villain into Tony Starks stories easily. When your hero lives outside of the normal standards for a super hero (public identity), everyone can find ways to target him. His ego is his biggest weakness because of it. Tony wants so badly to fix the wrongs from his younger years, but I think he definitely learns the hard way. I found it really entertaining when Spider Man used to spend a lot of time with Tony, because Peter looked up to him and hoped for a little guidance. When actually, Tony could of learned even more from Peter Parker. Thats the way Tony entertains me.
    cipher - 2/23/2014, 5:08 PM
    My favourite suit is the Centurion. Always was, always will be.

    I loved the way Grell did his version of the armour, too. His interpretation's probably my favourite behind Granov's.
    WYLEEJAY - 2/23/2014, 5:20 PM
    And lets not forget the Alien elements and villains.....

    Mandarins rings...
    Fin Fang Foom...

    Those are popular too.
    MightyZeus - 2/23/2014, 5:56 PM
    Great article.

    You made me realism that Tony Stark is not just awesome, he's "super" awesome.
    BubSnikt - 2/23/2014, 6:07 PM
    While Tony Stark is the great capitalist, he's enemies are usually of Communist origin, or corrupt businessmen. Even a dragon (Fin Fang Foom) is made out to be Chinese.

    And someone said earlier that Iron Man's rogue gallery is underrated, which I completely agree with. It would be interesting to see a cast like the one in Infinity: Heist, but without the skrulls. Maybe Armor Wars?
    BubSnikt - 2/23/2014, 6:15 PM
    Actually, an Armor Wars movie would be pretty awesome, with slight changes of course. Spymaster could break Hammer out of prison, setting the thing in motion. Stilt-Man (who could also be featured in the Daredevil Netflix show), the real Crimson Dynamo, and Titanium Man could be back-up villains. Throughout the movie, a "mysterious" person would be seen giving orders to the team of villains, but only his hands would be shown. With 10 rings of course. It would be similar to this image from avengers alliance.

    WYLEEJAY - 2/23/2014, 6:18 PM
    @Bubsnikt. Its unfortunate that the only good versions of either Blizzard, Crimson Dynamo or Whiplash were on the animated Iron Man Armored adventures. These characters get treated poorly in the other cartoons. I didnt even really like that show, but it did have excellent versions of these villains.
    BubSnikt - 2/23/2014, 6:51 PM
    @WYLEEJAY It had a weird concept, but kind of worked. You're right, it handled the villains better than other adaptations.
    anthonyEstark - 2/23/2014, 9:13 PM
    Well everyone knows who Tony Stark is, I am! But honestly, good write up DEV
    dellamorte1872 - 2/24/2014, 6:31 AM
    TITANIUM MAN + MANDARIN are definitely my two favorites
    GuardianDevil - 2/24/2014, 7:53 PM
    Who is Tony Stark?

    In the comics: he's a flawed yet selfless hero who has had to overcome so many obstacles to become who he is.

    In the movies: An obnoxious ass who never really learned anything. The fact that he keeps on going back to being an irresponsible jerk in IM2 and IM3 kinda ruins the epic character development in IM1.
    GuardianDevil - 2/24/2014, 7:56 PM
    Didn't care about him before 2008 and I started liking him then in recent years he's kinda lost me again...

    And btw, I like IM2/IM3 as individual films but if you look at the series AS A TRILOGY it's terrible. He keeps going back to his old irresponsible, selfish ways.
    dethpillow - 2/24/2014, 9:18 PM
    @JJ63 - yeah, well until the very last two minutes of Iron Man 3, when he suddenly has an epiphany for no reason about what really matters in life.

    ha. yeah right. watch him be the same fakey-OCD-ridden, "quirky" and geniusally eccentric quipster that they've turned the character into for the MCU.

    i love RDJ as Iron Man, but it doesn't touch the Real Tony Stark. who is actually a weird and complex creation and has changed a lot over the years. i wouldn't say completely naturally all the time, but way better than the mess of full circle that Iron Man 3 vomited up in it's last 15 minutes or so of screen time.
    dethpillow - 2/24/2014, 9:18 PM
    and this coming from a person who loved Iron Man 3. haha. that movie has some problems for sure.
    dethpillow - 2/24/2014, 9:28 PM
    @BubSnikt - right on about Heist. i'm halfway thru that and loving it. Spymaster just whaled on Blizzard in the park, the other two also and left them there, i'd love to see something like that in certain ways. Unicorn's gotten a pretty cool reimagining in it, not sure if that's recent to Heist or before that tho.

    I also love Ghost and Madame Masque. Living Laser is kinda dull, whatever. but it's not really about the character, cuz like in Iron Man 2, Whiplash was really a great villain to start off with, they just lost it and took a big shit on themselves after Monaco. Iron Man 2 was great up until Monaco ended, and then it's like they just didn't even care what kind of crap happened.

    Whiplash was rad. for all the un-source accuracy and mashing up of characters... Whiplash could've been so rad. Iron Man 2 is one of the movies that I most wish i knew exactly where it went wrong and exactly what was planned for it in certain versions. it seems like the result of 2 and a half different stories kinda mashed up together and the whole thing with Whiplash's legs even suggests that possibly things were up in the air well into the production of the movie. i can see why Mickey Rourke on that one was disgusted. he was ready to kill it.

    Hugo Weaving too. I don't blame him for being pissed at all after what happened with Red Skull in Cap TFA. like you guys are having me come down here and do all this ridiculous ass makeup so that i can basically just do nothing good in every scene? ok, cool. i'm Hugo Weaving, no big deal, it's not like I got better things I could be doing for my time. sure the dude's getting paid, but he still wants to do something real. and none of that was his fault. Red Skull got the shaft real hard. and that's a shame cuz he's Marvel Studio's probably #1 strongest property as far as villains goes.

    that's true but it's not true too, they could turn any villain into a great role if they did it right, but just saying... Red Skull. c'mon. how lame do you have to be to mess that up as bad as Cap TFA did? Red Skull is rad.

    Red Skull and Nazis. and look what they did with that...? ridiculous.
    GuardianDevil - 2/25/2014, 10:46 PM
    Lol the thing is, I actually loved all three Iron Man movies and Avengers as individual films but a series it doesn't make sense. Iron Man 1 he lives irresponsibly, makes some bad decisions, acts like a jerk...has a time of maturation and grows into a hero. Iron Man 2 he starts living irresponsibly again, makes some more bad decisions and acts like a jerk again until the end where he "matures" again and becomes a better hero. Avengers, Tony is pretty irresponsible and kinda acts like a jerk, until he matures as a person and almost gives his life for his friends. Iron Man 3 Tony acts irresponsibly, like a jerk until he learns yet " another lesson" and "matures" yet again. It's like damn...stop using the same fricking arc already! They're all good/great movies individually but as a series it makes zero sense. It was interesting the first time, maybe even a little bit the second time, the third time it was getting redundant, by the fourth time it's like WTF?

    Agree about Whiplash though, I actually thought he was really deep and really interesting but in like the last third of the movie he just disappears and then reappears as a badass for about ten seconds. He coulda been amazing, but I feel sloppy writing stripped him of his potential. Skull is the same way, I think Weaving was born to play the Skull but he's written so poorly and he barely does anything the whole movie.
    GuardianDevil - 2/25/2014, 10:51 PM
    Same shit happened with Kingsley in Iron Man 3. Kingsleys acting is NOTHING BUT PHENOMENAL but the writers just fail to use his character and focus on the less than interesting Killian. Just like Vanko and Hammer in IM2..

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