Tony Stark is most of the time described as a businessman and philanthropist. But he only made his debut in March 1963 in Tales of Suspense #39 which is almost 20 years later than Captain America. On Marvel.com, Tony is noted down as 6ft 1in and weighs 225lbs. Interesting is that in his armour, he weighs 425 lbs and stands 6ft 6in tall.
One of the things that people often argue about is if Tony was adopted by Howard Stark. So you can close that discussion now once and for all, he was adopted indeed. But how did Tony become Iron Man? In a nutshell, he got kidnapped by terrorists and he used his genius intellect to build an armour to escape. After he got away, he perfectionized his suit and the rest is history.
How it all began for Iron Man?
Anthony “Tony” Edward Stark is the adopted child of Howard Stark and Maria Stark, a rich billionaire and the founder of Stark Industries. The Young prodigy enrolls in the engineering program at MIT at age 15 and goes on to get master’s degrees in both physics and engineering. Upon the death of his parents, he is left to inherit the organization that his father founded.
A booby trap injures Stark, and Chu Wong-soldiers arrest him. However, Wong-Chu forces Tony to begin developing weapons even though his wounds are severe and shrapnel is going towards his heart. To prevent the fragments from harming Stark’s heart, Ho Yinsen, builds a magnetic chest armor. They work together in secret to create a suit of armor for Tony, which they use to flee. Yinsen risks his life to keep Tony alive during the escape. On his trip back to the United States and Tony plots vengeance against his captors.
Back home, the fragmented pieces trapped in Tony’s chest can’t be dislodged without harming him, thus the armour’s chest plate must be worn under his clothing as a cardiac regulator at all time. Tony has to recharge the chest plate on a daily basis to avoid being killed by the leftover shrapnel.
Howard Anthony Stark | Foster Father
Tony’s father always challenged Tony to become the best, reminding him that to be effective, one needs to always have “iron in their backbone.”. Nevertheless, he was an alcoholic who struggled to bond with his son. When it came to machinery, Howard could be devoted and reverent, but he didn’t seem to care for his son at all.
Maria Collins Carbonell “Maria Stark” | Foster Mother
As a result of Howard’s increasingly excessive drinking problems, he was cold with his adoptive son, but Maria cherished him completely and shielded him from the violence during Howard’s bouts of depression. Howard’s alcohol abuse ruined his marriage with Maria and Tony would even face the same problems at a later stage.
Jude and Amanda Armstrong| Biological Parents
Jude was a double agent that worked for both Hydra and S.H.I.E.L.D. He had no loyalty to either organization as he was just interested in the money. When Jude decided to come clean about his double life to Amanda Armstrong who was pregnant at the time of Tony, things went wrong. Amanda was shocked that he played both sides and killed Jude. She was concerned Hydra would learn about the baby’s whereabouts and take it away from her. So she chose to give him up for adoption
Arno Stark | Foster Brother
According to the Recorder 451, Arno has been genetically modified so that when he grows up, he may wear an armor set called the Godkiller. As soon as Howard Stark found out, he disrupted the experiment, leaving Arno handicapped and unable to communicate without the aid of robotics. His presence was deliberately concealed until Tony Stark found him years later.
War Machine | James Rupert “Rhodey” Rhodes)
After being blown out of the sky by the Viet Cong, he was trapped in the wilderness. Here he meets Tony Stark, who fled from Wong Chu’s prison. As Rhodes and Tony battle the Viet Cong troops who had surrounded them, they uncovered an enemy rocket base. Rhodes and Tony demolish the Viet Cong facility with a hijacked chopper before returning to safety.
Virginia “Pepper” Potts | Secretary / Love Interest
Pepper’s history is quite complicated with Tony as it had many ups and downs. We can actually speak of a love triangle between Pepper, Tony and Happy. For those who have not read the comics, Pepper actually gets married to Happy and they eventually leave Stark Industries to live a normal life. But after many setbacks like losing custody of their kids and divorce, both Happy and Pepper return to Stark Industries.
Harold Joseph “Happy” Hogan| Chauffeur / Bodyguard
Happy was a former boxer who saved Tony’s life after he was involved in a car crash. In order to express his gratitude, Tony hired Happy as his chauffeur and bodyguard. At Stark Industries, Happy met Pepper which he fell immediately in love with and both lived a turbulent life together.
J.A.R.V.I.S. | Artificial Intelligence
J.A.R.V.I.S. became very popular after the first Iron Man movie. Do you know what J.A.R.V.I.S. actually stands for? Just A Rather Very Intelligent System. First appearing in The Invincible Iron Man #11 as a software that assists Pepper Potts with her rescue suit, J.A.R.V.I.S. Because of the Iron Man’s inability to use the Rescue armor, JARVIS advises Pepper to put it on, which she does.
F.R.I.D.A.Y. | Artificial Intelligence
Tony Stark came to the conclusion that attempting to find a new secretary was a waste of time and money. So he developed his own version of “girl Friday,” a hologram of a young lady, using an artificial intelligence (A.I.) software. When Tony needed her, she’d be there with a smile.
Which Iron Man Comics should every fan read?
TALES OF SUSPENSE (1959) #39
This is the comic where it all began for Tony Stark and Iron Man. Wong-Chu and his soldiers attacked arms dealer Tony Stark in the wilderness, imprisoning him with a chest full of shrapnel. Instead of building weaponry for his kidnappers, Tony collaborated with Professor Yinsen to create the initial Iron Man suit as a means of evading capture and escaping.
Demon In A Bottle
Another story that is crucial to learn about Tony’s history is Demon In A Bottle. In this issue, Iron Man has to take on 2 demons. On the one hand, Justin Hammer, a corrupt entrepreneur, and his legion of super-villains and on the other hand alcoholism, an old enemy that his father struggled with as well.
Tony Stark feels a sense of guilt when he learns that some of the technology he developed to build the Iron Man suit, is also being used by villains. Stark vows to put a stop to the oppression and will reclaim what’s rightfully his. In Armor Wars, Iron Man will have to deal with some of the strongest foes so far: Beetle, Stilt-Man, Controller, Stingray, Firepower, the Mandroids and the Guardsmen.
Enter The Mandarin
Discover the truth behind the origin of Iron Man’s fiercest foe. There are truths about Tony’s initial contact with the worldwide tyrant known as The Mandarin that nobody ever expected! There’s still a LOT you don’t know even if you’ve read the comics before.
The Man Who Killed Tony Stark
The Mandarin, Iron Man’s longtime foe, has returned, and he is going to test the Golden Avenger to find his limits. First, he challenges Iron Man to a titanic showdown with the Invincible Hulk in which only one will emerge victorious. But he doesn’t stop there, after finding out Iron Man’s true identity, The Mandarin won’t stop until he has Tony Stark on his knees.
As Tony starts again with his company, old and new foes remind him that his job is far from done!! Despite the distractions of love, competition, and robots, will Tony be able to aid Warbird, another member of the Avengers, in her battle against her own deadliest enemy…alcohol? In addition, Iron Man has to cope with his old enemy the Mandarin. Captain America and Iron Man partner together to take on M.O.D.O.K. Also, get ready for the Black Widow and War Machine in this storyline
If you would ever wonder how Iron Man would fit in the 21st century, you should definitely read Extremis. It is a masterpiece written by Warren Ellis and Adi Granov which shines a whole new light on the Iron Man saga.
Some other interesting facts about Iron Man
Is Tony Stark adopted?
Yes, he is. This is revealed in 2013’s Iron Man #17.