The History of Iron Man
- Universe: Marvel Universe
- Real Name: Anthony Edward "Tony" Stark
- Identity: Publicly known
- Citizenship: U.S.A.
- Place of Birth: Long Island, New York
- First Appearance: Tales of Suspence #39 (1963)
- Origin: Tales of Suspence #39 (1963)
In the Comics
Before The Hero
Anthony "Tony" Stark was born to Howard Anthony Stark and Maria Collins Carbonell Stark, owners of the prominent US firm, Stark Industries. As a boy, Tony was fascinated with building and controlling machines. At the age of 15 Tony entered the undergraduate electrical engineering program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and graduated with two master’s degrees by age 19. Tony went to work for Stark Industries, but showed more interest in living a reckless playboy lifestyle than using his engineering skills. At the age of 21, Tony inherited Stark Enterprises when his parents were killed in a car accident secretly orchestrated by rival corporation Republic Oil (later ROXXON). Still lacking in business acumen, Tony promoted secretary Virginia "Pepper" Potts to be his executive assistant and left the majority of his workload on her so that he could avoid what he saw as a burden.
The Beginning of Everything
Tony personally attended a field test of his military hardware at one of his international plants; however, soon after his arrival Stark’s party was attacked by a gang of terrorists led by the Sin-Cong revolutionary Wong Chu. During the skirmish, a land mine went off and lodged a piece of shrapnel near Tony’s heart. Taken back to Wong-Chu’s camp, Tony shared a cell with Professor Ho Yinsen, a world-famous physicist. Wong-Chu demanded that the two scientists develop advanced weaponry for his forces. Knowing that he could not live long with the shrapnel so close to his heart, Tony proposed that he and Yinsen devote their gifts to creating one of the battlesuits he had been developing, equipped with a magnetic field generator to prevent the shrapnel from reaching his heart. The armor they created became the first true Iron Man armor and was equipped with crude magnetic weaponry for defense. While the armor’s battery was being powered, some of Wong-Chu’s men attempted to break in on the proceedings. Yinsen went to create a diversion and was shot to death by Wong-Chu’s men. When the battery had finished charging, Tony went into battle as Iron Man and tore Wong-Chu’s camp apart. He eventually returned to the USA with the aid of US Marine James "Rhodey" Rhodes. Tony offered Rhodey a job with his company should he ever need one.
At first, Tony found his new life a torment; his armor’s chest plate had to be worn constantly and required frequent recharging. He kept the armor a secret from everyone, including his fiancée, Joanna Nivena. Turning suicidal and drinking heavily, Tony was supported by Joanna, with whom he shared his secret identity. Joanna encouraged him to use his armor as a super hero, but ultimately called off the engagement knowing Tony would not be the family man she desired.
Tony worked to improve the Iron Man armor and claimed Iron Man was Tony Stark's personal bodyguard to disguise his identity. Tony played a dual-role with the formation of theAvengers both as the sponsor and, as Iron Man, as a founding member along with Thor, Ant-Man (Henry Pym), the Wasp (Janet van Dyne), and the Hulk. While pursuing Namor the Sub-Mariner, Iron Man came across the comatose body of Captain America (Steve Rogers) Rogers), the famous World War II super hero, preserved on ice. Revived, Captain America joined the Avengers and became an important teammate and friend to Tony. Later, Tony helped establish the international super-spy agency SHIELD to combat terrorist threats.
During these early years as a super hero, Iron Man battled Mandarin, Hawkeye, and the Black Widow(Natasha Romanova).
After Becoming the Hero
Renaming his corporation Stark International, Tony resolved to abandon munitions production in favor of electronics and computer engineering after witnessing firsthand the impact his company’s weapons had on innocent lives.
Despite seeming to have everything a man could want, Tony was under much stress. The machinations of rival industrialist Justin Hammer and SHIELD’s constant pressure drove Tony further into drinking. His girlfriend at the time, Bethany Kabe, kept Tony from continued succumbing to his alcoholism. Their relationship ended when Bethany’s presumed-dead husband was discovered alive.
In opposing Obidiah Stane's attempts at forming a major multinational conglomerate, Tony unwittingly made Stane a driven enemy. Obadiah Stane set up games of psychological warfare against Tony, which included physical attacks by his Chessmen super-operatives, outbidding Stark International for key contracts and having his lackey Indries Moomji romance Tony, all in an attempt to drive Tony to resort to drinking. As Stane’s pressure increased, Tony responded as anticipated, and after Indries rejected Tony, he virtually gave up trying to oppose Stane. When the villain Magma (Jonathan Darque) attacked Stark International, Tony proved too drunk to wage a competent battle and instead revealed his double identity to Rhodes. With Tony passed out, Rhodes donned the armor and defeated Magma. Tony told Rhodes to keep the armor and turned his back on Stark International while he proceeded to drink himself out of his company, property and fortune until all of his assets were frozen. Obadiah Stane stepped in and claimed Stark International, renaming it Stane International, but Rhodes prevented Stane from obtaining the Iron Man armors.
Tony had hit rock-bottom, homeless and perpetually drunk. However, helping deliver a baby put life into perspective and he began his path of recovery and sobriety joining Alcoholics Anonymous.
Tony, James, and James’ friends, Morley and Clytemnestra Erwin set up a California-based new corporation: Circuits Maximus. Obadiah planted a bomb in their laboratory, killing Morley and badly injuring Rhodes. Tony constructed his most advanced armor yet at the new West Coast Avengers Compound and confronted Stane, who had designed his own armored identity as the Iron Monger. When Tony defeated the Iron Monger, Stane committed suicide.
During a televised raid of a house containing escaped super villains from the Raft, the explosive villain Nitro detonated himself killing the majority of the New Warriors, children at a nearby elementary school and other local residents. In the wake of the tragedy, the federal Superhuman Registration Act was passed, requiring all super-powered beings to register their identities and subject themselves to federally mandated standards. While Tony spearheaded the support for the Act, convincing Spider-Man (Peter Parker) to publicly unmask in support of the Act, Captain America led an underground resistance defending heroes’ rights of privacy. Stark was accepted the position of Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Anthony Edward "Tony" Stark is an eccentric self-described genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist and the former head of Stark Industries. Using his own great wealth and exceptional technical knowledge, Stark enjoyed the playboy lifestyle for many years until he was kidnapped by the Ten Rings. With his life on the line, Stark created an armored suit which he used to escape his captors, returning home and becoming the armored superhero known as Iron Man, battling against terrorists as well as his own former business partner Obadiah Stane. Stark enjoyed the fame that came with his new secret identity and decided to share it with the world, publicly announcing himself as Iron Man.
Iron Man 2 and The Avengers
Fresh off from defeating enemies all over the world, Stark found himself dying due to his own Arc Reactor poisoning his body, all while he was challenged by the vengeful terrorist, Ivan Vanko who attempted to destroy his legacy. Due to their assistance in both these battles, Stark reluctantly agreed to serve as a consultant to Director Nick Fury's peacekeeping intelligence agency S.H.I.E.L.D. where he used his position to upgrade their technology while he began a relationship with Pepper Potts. With the world yet again being threatened, Stark was convinced to join the Avengers and helped defeat the Chitauri and Loki. Due to the battle, he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, leading him to create the Iron Legion to safeguard the world and help him retire.
Iron Man 3
Threats of the Mandarin forced Stark to come out of retirement to protect the world, only for his overconfidence to put his loved ones at risk and leave him defenseless when his home was destroyed. Stark continued his mission, finding Aldrich Killian was behind the attacks and Trevor Slattery was a pretend Mandarin and eventually Stark defeated Killian, almost losing Pepper Potts in the process. In the wake of the battle, Stark destroyed all of his armors with the Clean Slate Protocol. However, when the Avengers were officially remobilized due to the War on HYDRA, Stark built more armors and resumed his role as Iron Man, aiding them in the capture of Wolfgang von Strucker and acquiring Loki's Scepter.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Once the threat of HYDRA had been ended at last, Stark, with the help of Bruce Banner, built Ultron as a new peace-keeping A.I. to protect the world and allow the Avengers to retire. However, Ultron believed that humanity threatened the world and thus, according to his program, decided to extinguish humanity. Through the work of the Avengers, Ultron was defeated; however not at massive civilian cost and many lives being lost. After the Ultron Offensive, Stark retired from active duty, still haunted by his role in the chaos the A.I. created. The guilt of creating Ultron and causing so much destruction and loss of life eventually convinced Stark to support the Sokovia Accords. However, Stark's own strong support of the Accords lead to a disagreement with his ally Captain America, who opposed the act and what it meant for the team.
Captain America: Civil War
When Rogers then proceeded to further break the law to protect the Winter Soldier, Stark was forced to lead the manhunt for his old ally, igniting the Avengers Civil War. Eventually Stark learned that Helmut Zemo had manipulated them into conflict and rejoined his friend, only to have Zemo reveal that the Winter Soldier was responsible for the murder of his parents, causing Stark to seek revenge and fight both Rogers and Barnes, with the latter two successfully disabling his own armor and winning the battle. With Rogers and Barnes on the run, Stark returned back to New York and decided to become a mentor to Spider-Man and to guide him in order to make him a better hero than he ever was.