The character, along with other well-known and loved superhero characters, was conceived by Stan Lee. Iron Man first appeared in issue number 39 of the Tales of Suspense in March of 1963. The premiere story was written by Larry Lieber as Stan Lee had a pending deadline to beat. The character was sort of a dare and a challenge to his self for the creator to create. Iron Man embodied what the audience disliked in those times. The prevailing sentiments of the readers were against the military, war and capitalism, concepts which the character actually embodied.
The first Iron Man was shown to be wearing a grey armor that looked bulky which was updated into a gold colored one for the next issue. The sleek red and gold suit that has now become the trademark look of Iron Man first appeared on the cover art of issue #48 of the Tales of Suspense that came out in December of 1963. The personality of the alter ego, Anthony Edward Stark or Tony, was based on the infamous Howard Hughes.
Major Themes and Enemies of Iron Man
Stan Lee played with the Iron Man story line to strongly reflect the social climate upon publication. Starting with Cold War themed story lines and basis for plots and moving into more current themes like corporate conspiracies and the pressing matters on terrorism. Even the background story of how Tony Stark first became the superhero has been updated to reflect current events of the period. The first series depicted Stark being abducted during the Vietnam War, and then changed into being set in the first Gulf War, and more recently altered to be set in Afghanistan. Despite the changing themes and plot lines, major characters have always stayed the same to preserve continuity of the character. Characters like the companion of Stark during his captivity in the person of Ho Yinsen and his loyal secretary Pepper Potts.
In the span of at least forty years of almost continuous publications, Iron Man has faced a multitude of enemies. The character of Mandarin has been deemed as his archenemy. Even Captain America was depicted as a foe to Iron Man for a short period in the Cold War era. Other major opponents included the Iron Monger, the Titanium Man, the Ghost, Blacklash and Crimson Dynamo. Justin Hammer is a villain to the superhero Iron Man and a corporate rival of Tony Stark. All in all, there have been at least sixty-five entities, individuals or groups, which Iron Man fought against.
Iron Man in Several Media
The success of the Iron Man franchise has enabled it to be featured in several forms of media. The character has appeared in several animated programs for television, including his own series. Iron Man has also appeared in animated films from Marvel Animations. There are also several motion pictures that feature the character as a member of the Avengers or appearing as a minor character on top of a successful movie franchise solely dedicated to the character. A motion comics has also been created to showcase the character. Iron Man is the only non-X-Men character featured in a series of books about the group of mutants. There have been several forms of games that feature Iron Man as the main character or a simple acknowledgment to the identity, from pinball games to action figures and video games.
Investing in the comic books collection of the Iron Man character has remained the top choice for fans and the most lucrative deal for Marvel. As a collector, starting to collect the issues published for more than forty years will be a daunting task but a worthwhile endeavor. Marvel Comics has released collections that group several issues into a relevant or encompassing theme or storyline that make collecting all the issues a little easier. For those who have started their collections early, holding on to mint condition issues will prove very rewarding. A quick search will reveal that the first few issues can fetch up to a couple of thousand dollars when sold, even if already used. Just imagine how much mint condition and unopened issues amount to in dollars today.