Stan Lee’s Most Unforgettable Characters: Iron Man

Tony Stark, otherwise known as Iron Man, is a billionaire, a philanthropist, a playboy, and a super hero—talk about a busy schedule. Lee based the character’s personality on Howard Hughes, explaining that he was “one of the most colorful men of our time. He was an inventor, an adventurer, a multi-millionaire, a ladies’ man, and finally, a nutcase.” In German, the character’s last name means “strong.” Since debuting in Tales of Suspense #38 in March 1963, Tony Stark has made quite the splash: ranking #4 on list of 15 wealthiest fictional characters (he has a net work of $8.8 billion, no big deal), and in BusinessWeek’s top ten most intelligent fictional characters in American comics.