Iron Man is a fictional character, a superhero that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appeared in Tales of Suspense #39 (March 1963), and was created by writer-editor Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, and artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby.
Born Anthony Edward "Tony" Stark, he suffers a severe heart injury during a kidnapping and is forced to build a destructive weapon. He instead creates a power suit to save his life and help him escape. He later decides to use the suit to protect the world as the superhero, Iron Man. He is a wealthy industrialist and genius inventor who created military weapons and whose metal suit is laden with technological devices that enable him to fight crime. Initially, Iron Man was a vehicle for Stan Lee to explore Cold War themes, particularly the role of American technology and business in the fight against communism. Subsequent re-imaginings of Iron Man have gradually removed the Cold War themes, replacing them with more contemporary concerns such as corporate crime and terrorism.
Throughout most of the comic's history, Iron Man has been a member of the superhero team the Avengers and has been featured in several incarnations of his own various comic book series. The character has been adapted for several animated TV shows, as well as for the live action films Iron Man, Iron Man II, the upcoming Iron Man III and a brief appearance in The Incredible Hulk where he is played by Robert Downey, Jr.