In recent years, no doubt in thanks to the live-action movies bearing his name, Iron Man has become one of Marvel’s most popular superheroes. Which is weird because when he designed the character, Stan Lee wanted everyone to fucking hate him.
To understand why, it’s important to realise that the character of Iron Man was first conceived way back in the 1960’s when peace, love and not solving our problems with giant chest cannons or rocket powered punches to the testes was all the rage. The character of Iron Man wasn’t just a slap in the face for readers back then, it was an active attempt on Stan Lee’s part to piss them off as much as possible.
Think about it, Iron Man is the exact opposite of what the youth in the 60’s were all about, he’s an abusive, alcoholic, billionaire weapons dealer who worked hand in hand with the government for decades. He couldn’t be a more quintessential 60’s badguy if he wore terrible suits and had a shitty goatee, oh right …
Tony Stark is an unapologetic capitalist who made a literal killing selling weapons of death to the highest bidder, even if you take into account his later heroics and the fact he eventually decided to stop making weapons, it doesn’t change the fact he made billions of dollars inventing new ways to shoot people in the dickhole. Of course you could say that Tony Stark is supposed to be an anti-hero, but we’re not talking about today, we’re talking about when the character was first introduced to an audience of eager, 60’s values holding teens. They should have by all accounts hated the character. Which was exactly Stan Lee’s plan.
To quote the man himself about the man with the iron crotch plate:
“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.”
Essentially, Stan Lee discerned exactly the kind of character his audience would hate and then proceeded to create a character with every trait and flaw that audience would despite magnified to the “hundredth degree” just to see if he could make them like him if he advertised him enough, and it fucking worked. Iron Man quickly became one of Marvel’s standout characters and he continues to ride a wave of good will to this day.
Like, why do politicians and big business even bother hiring PR people when Stan Lee exists? That’s not a rhetorical question, we’re genuinely asking why because if he could make the flower power generation like a guy who was intentionally written to be as much of an abrasive dickhead as possible, imagine the wonders he could do for the Republican party?
For more Marvel facts, why not read about how Spider-man can, according to the comics, literally stick to anything, including the Hulk.