Iron Man was nothing but a B-list hero off the page before Jon Favreau and Robert Downey Jr. made him one of the biggest characters in Hollywood, and a cornerstone of the movie industry’s biggest cinematic universe at that.
Tony Stark has always been a heavy hitter on the page, but his rags-to-riches ascension on the big screen is an underdog story to rival Rocky. A decade ago, who’d have thought he would go on to outdo Spider-Man’s box office feats?
Created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, Don Heck and Jack Kirby, Iron Man made his comic book debut in 1963 on the pages of Tales of Suspense #39, and he’s been a linchpin in the Marvel Universe ever since. He was a founding member of the Avengers and is always a key player in the Big M’s major crossover events.
No matter where he appears, Stark always manages to steal the show with his roguish charm and wit. Part of this appeal stems from the fact his powers come from his own heart and mind. Unlike many of the other Avengers, he’s a mortal, albeit a truly exceptional one.
10. Tony Stark Was Based On Howard Hughes
Just as John Constantine was modelled on Sting and Clark Kent’s appearance was inspired by Harold Lloyd, Iron Man was also based on a real-life person.
Billionaire-industrialist and notorious recluse Howard Hughes was the blueprint for Tony Stark, and it’s easy to see which elements of the business magnate found their way into the character, from his lust for invention, to his lust for the ladies.
Iron Man co-creator Stan Lee once described Hughes as follows…
“Howard Hughes was one of the most colourful men of our time. He was an inventor, an adventurer, a ladies’ man and finally a nutcase. Without being crazy, [Iron Man] was Howard Hughes.”