Posted: Dec 03 2014
by: Neal Haworth

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10 Interesting Facts About Iron Man


He First Appeared In 1963

Iron Man is the brainchild of living comic book legend Stan Lee, who first published the metal-wearing superhero in a 1963 edition of Tales of Suspense. Lee collaborated with script editor Larry Lieber and design artist Don Heck to turn his vision of a businessman superhero into a reality – well, at least on paper.

Like many of the early Marvel Universe comics, Iron Man explored the theme of Cold war on numerous occasions. This was fitting given that most young Marvel readers had a strong opposition to war. Later, however, the story arcs shifted more to terrorism and corporate crime.

“I think I gave myself a dare. It was the height of the Cold War. The readers, the young readers, if there was one thing they hated, it was war, it was the military....So I got a hero who represented that to the hundredth degree. He was a weapons manufacturer, he was providing weapons for the Army, he was rich, he was an industrialist....I thought it would be fun to take the kind of character that nobody would like, none of our readers would like, and shove him down their throats and make them like him....And he became very popular,” said Lee, when describing his thought process in creating Iron Man.

Tony Stark Is Loosely Based Off of Howard Hughes

It's a little-known fact that Tony Stark's character is based off of billionaire business tycoon, pilot, aerospace engineer, inventor and filmmaker Howard Robard Hughes. Born in Houston, Texas on Christmas Eve, Hughes was known throughout the world as being one of the most influential figures in aviation. He set numerous world records, invented multiple airplanes (including the Hughes H-1 Racer and H-4 Hercules), and even acquired Trans World Airlines, which of course later merged with the modern-day American Airlines.

Tony Stark's physical appearance and personality were both modeled after the late Howard Hughes. Stan Lee once called Hughes “one of the most colorful men of our time,” adding that he was a multi-billionaire, a ladies' man and a nutcase. That sounds pretty much like Tony Stark! Of course, Robert Downy Jr. is the perfect fit for such a character, given his natural laid back, humor-filled personality.

Super Stark

About mid-way through the Iron Man comics, Stark suffers a serious injury while battling Mallen. In order to save his own life, Stark's force to inject a modified techno virus into his nervous system (known as Extremis Process). This essentially rewrites Stark's biology, saving his live while subsequently granting him enhances abilities, such as the ability to recover from injury or disease (healing factor). The Extremis Process also merged Stark with his Iron Man suit, at least partially. This eliminated Stark's reliance on artificial intelligence systems, as he could control her suit technopathically.

Variety of Iron Man Suits

Tony Stark has developed a wide range of specialized Iron Man suits for various purposes, some of which includes a space travel suit, a deep-sea diving suit, a cloaking/stealth suit, and several more. He even engineered a suit designed specifically for engaging the Incredible Hulk. Rightfully known as the Hulkbuster Heavy Armor, it's composed of superior-strength modular armor that's able to withstand the smashing and bashing from the Incredible Hulk.

Later in the Iron Man franchise (comic books), Tony Stark developed a specialized power suit to use against Thor. This particular suit was modeled after the enchanted Asgardian armor suit Destroyer, which Odin forged to protect Asgard from other-worldly invaders. Of all the Iron Man suits in Stark's arsenal, this was arguably the most powerful.

Tony Stark Is Well-Educated

Tony Stark is largely regarded as one of the smartest characters in the Marvel Universe. At the young age of just 17, he graduated with honors from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), receiving advanced degrees in both physics and engineering. While other superheroes are given special powers and abilities, Stark's intelligence (and his Iron Man suit) provide him with the upper-hand in battling foes like Mandarin, Crimson Dynamo, Iron Monger and Justin Hammer.

Stark Trained With Captain America

There was a time in the Iron Man franchise when Tony Stark was unable to use his Iron Man suit. So, how does he manage without the most important item at his disposal? Stark teams up with Captain America to receive formal combat training. This allows Stark to develop some key combat skills, which he later uses against his opponents. Stark often battles other members of The Avengers, but Captain American remains a loyal ally through thick and thin.

Goodbye Robert Downy Jr.?

Would you continue watching Iron Man movies if Robert Downy Jr. handed the iconic metal suit over to another actor? Downy has played Iron Man ever since the first film in the franchise hit theaters over six years ago. His name is synonymous with the Marvel character, and most people couldn't picture the film franchise without him.

But RDJ may very well give up the role of Iron Man. After starring in three standalone Iron Man films and The Avengers (plus several additional Marvel films that are currently in production), Downy hinted that his time as Iron Man may be coming to an end.

Let’s just say that the only thing I ever let go of had claw marks in it. There’s a little bit of soul reclamation going on. I feel that the first time I played Tony, I did it best. Sorry! The affinity with Tony now is: How do you sustain something? I’m not stupid, I like to play ball, I love the company, I love the character, and the business side of things, I’m not too picky about that either,” said Downy in an interview with Empire.

That's a pretty disheartening statement for most Iron Man fans. However, nothing is written in stone (at least not yet), so hopefully we'll see Downy wearing the Iron Man suit in future Marvel films. Besides, producers already replaced James Rhodes, who was played by Terrance Howard in the first Iron Man, with Don Cheadle.

Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War

Okay, you're probably a little bummed about hearing news that Robert Downy Jr. may give up the role of Iron Man, but here's some good news: RDJ has signed on to play the iron-suit superhero in both Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War.

We still don't know the full details of the Avengers: Age of Ultron, but we do know that Tony Stark will play a pivotal role in the story. According to a press release, Tony Stark will attempt to relaunch an expired peacekeeping program using a self-aware, self-teaching artificial intelligence system known as Ultron (hence the film's name). Something obviously goes haywire with Tony's plan, however, and the Avengers – Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye – are forced to reunite in an effort to bring down Ultron.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is scheduled to be released on May 1, 2015, while Captain America: Civil War will be released on May 6, 2016. No details have been released regarding the plot of Captain America: Civil War.

Multiple Weapon Systems

Iron Man's primary offensive weapon is a repulsor ray that's fired from the suit's gauntlets. Although it requires both power and time to charge, this has long been the standard weapon of choice for Tony Stark while donning the Iron Man suit. Being the ingenious weapons expert and inventor that he is, however, Stark has developed other systems for the Iron Man suit worth nothing.

Other offensive weapons used by Iron Man include the uni-beam projector (similar to repulsor ray but shoots from chest), kinetic energy-based pulse bolts, freeze beam, magnetic field manipulation, and an electromagnetic pulse generator. Stark also developed a 360-degree energy shield to protect against flying projectiles.

There's a Real Iron Man Suit In Production

It may not have the same pulsar weapons systems and other perks engineered by Tony Stark, but Lockheed Martin is reportedly developing a suit similar to the Iron Man. It features a next-generation exoskeleton that's both durable and lightweight, and is designed to assist soldiers in carrying heavy loads of up to 200 pounds. Lockheed Martin actually sold a few of these suits last year for medical purposes, but a military version could be years away.

And in case you were wondering, the real-life Iron Man suit costs about $70,000.


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