Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>Iron Man
Subject: Iron Man
Culture: American comics fandom
Setting: Marvel Comics


Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Misiroglu ed. 2004 p288
"Ever since his creation in early 1963 (in Tales of Suspense #39), Iron Man has been one of Marvel Comics' heavy hitters, a consistent seller in his own title and a regular guest in other comics, including The Avengers.  In his alter ego of Anthony (Tony) Stark, wealthy playboy inventor, owner of Stark International, and (let's not beat about the bush here) an international arms manufacturer, he was an unlikely figure for young readers to identify with.  In Marvel's early days, much was made of the company's creation of 'heroes with problems,' and Stark's was potentially fatal: While demonstrating some new weapons in the jungles of Vietnam, he is injured by a bomb and captured by a Vietcong warlord.  With his life ebbing away, Stark is forced to work for his captors, creating new weapons, but unknown to them he secretly builds himself a high-tech suit of armor taht will both keep him alive and make him a walking arsenal."


​* Superheroes 2008 p99
"The armored body reaches its apogee in Iron Man, another non-superpowered superhero.  Created by writers Stan Lee and Larry Lieber and artists Don Heck and Jack Kirby, he made his first appearance in Tales of Suspense No. 39, March 1963.  The product of the Cold War, specifically the Vietnam War, Iron Man's costume, like that of so many superheroes, is linked directly to his origin.  Tony Stark, munitions manufacturer, visits Vietnam to oversee experiments of his miniaturized transistors, which he tells a general are 'capable of solving your problem in Vietnam.'  A booby trap, which lodges pieces of shrapnel near his heart, results in his capture by the Viet Cong.  On learning that he is an inventor, they trick him into designing weapons in exchange for a false promise to remove the shrapnel.  Instead, he builds a suit of armor with a life-sustaining pacemaker from scrap iron.  Over the next few issues, the armor is redesigned, initially as a golden version of the original and then as the red-and-gold armor that has become his trademark.  Transforming Tony Stark into a machine, it quite literally embodies his power.  Like Batman, Iron Man serves as an effective metaphor for defensive paranoia, for our fears about human weaknesses, limitations, and vulnerabilities.  At the same time, he acts as a metaphor for our social reality, in which the distance between the body and technology is fast disappearing."