The Ages of Iron Man

Essays on the Armored Avenger in Changing Times


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About the Book

Billionaire industrialist, cold warrior, weapons designer, alcoholic, philanthropist, Avenger—Tony Stark, alter-ego of Marvel Comics’ Iron Man, has played many roles in his five decades as a superhero. From his 1963 comics debut in Tales of Suspense to the recent film adaptations—The Avengers (2012), Iron Man 3 (2013)—hundreds of creators have had a hand in writing the character with evolving depictions and distinct artistic styles. This collection of essays provides an historical overview of an important figure in American popular culture and a close reading of Iron Man’s most iconic story lines, including his origin in Vietnam, “Demon in a Bottle,” “Civil War,” and “Extremis.”

About the Author(s)

Joseph J. Darowski teaches English at Brigham Young University and has published on comic book superheroes such as the X-Men, Wonder Woman, and Superman as well as on television series such as Chuck and Frasier.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Joseph J. Darowski

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 236
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2015
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7842-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2074-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction—Joseph J. Darowski 1

“The Iron-Clad American”: Iron Man in the 1960s—Brian Patton 5
Tony Stark: Disabled Vietnam Veteran?—Craig This 17
“Gorgeous new menace”: Black Widow, Gender Roles and the Subversion of Cold War Expectations of Domesticity—Natalie R. Sheppard 29
Fu Manchu Meets Maklu-4: The Mandarin and Racial Stereotypes—Richard A. Iadonisi 39
Does Khrushchev Tell Kennedy? Superpowered Rivalry and Silver Age Iron Man—José Alaniz 51
Ike’s Nightmare: Iron Man and the Military-Industrial Complex—Will Cooley and Mark C. Rogers 77
Socking It to Shell-Head: How Fan Mail Saved a Hero from the Military-Industrial Complex—Charles Henebry 95
Countdown to #100: Escapist Heroism and the Challenges of Modernity in the Late 1970s—John M. Vohlidka 119
Demon in a Bottle and Feet of Clay: David Michelinie and Bob Layton on Iron Man—Jason Sacks 136
War Machine: Blackness, Power and Identity in Iron Man—Julian C. Chambliss 148
From Armor Wars to Iron Man 2.0: The Superhero Entrepreneur—Jean-Philipe Zanco 164
Cold Warrior at the End of the Cold War: John Byrne’s “War Games” in an Era of Transition—Joseph J. Darowski 171
“I would be the bad guy”: Tony Stark as Villain of Marvel’s Civil War—John Darowski 181
Feminizing the Iron: Tony Stark’s Rescue—Jason Michálek 192
Iron Icarus: Comics Futurism and the Man–Machine System—Rikk Mulligan 205

About the Contributors 221
Index 225

Book Reviews & Awards

“goes into extensive detail about the individual characters starting from their origins and their transition and evolution through the decades…makes for fascinating reading”—Collectors’ Corner