Hollywood has been one of the most important influences to pop culture globally. Actors, movies, and props contribute to the impact on music, fashion, pop culture, and related ideas as well. Ironman is one such character who, at one point, got major attention from the public and created a major impact on pop culture due to the movie being a major success. From movies to books, comics, toys, music, books, drawings, and even funfairs, Ironman has been quite significant in impacting the pop culture in America as well as other parts of the world.
Who is Iron Man?
Iron Man is a superhero character that was introduced by Marvel Comics in the early 60s. The character was created by Stan Lee and developed by Larry Lieber. The first known appearance of Iron Man was in Tales of Suspense in March 1963. Since then, Iron Man has become a superhero who has also been the founding member of the Avengers movie series. Iron Man was also ranked 12th on Top 100 Comic Book Heroes in 2011 while it was 3rd in the list of Top 50 Avengers in 2012.
As far as the characteristics of Iron Man are concerned, he was introduced by Stan Lee as a business magnate, playboy, inventor, and ingenious scientist. His actual name was Anthony Edward Stark and was kidnapped to create a weapon of mass destruction. However, he created a mechanized suit of armor to save his life and escape from the prison of kidnappers. Stark keeps improving his suits and thereby becomes the superhero Iron Man who protects the world.
Impact of Iron Man on Pop Culture
Iron Man was created as just a comic character initially. However, the presence of Iron Man in mass media impacted pop culture in numerous ways.
Iron Man in Comics
Back in the 1960 – the 1970s, comics were quite popular all over America. This is the era where many superheroes were born in the form of comics. Superman, Batman, Iron Man, and many other characters have emerged from comics. In fact, the character emerged from the comic called “Tales of Suspense”. In issue 39, Iron Man was introduced for the first time. While it did not get much attention from the comics initially, things changed later on.
The uniform of the character was improved by the developers. Soon afterward, there was much public interest and people actually started to like the appearance of Iron Man in comic books. Therefore, in 1964, the developers decided to use Iron Man in the book as a half-split which meant that half of a comic was dedicated to Iron Man alone. However, with mass public interest and popularity, Iron Man debuted as an independent comic book in May 1968. Since then, there have been 5 volumes of the novel with many issues.
Not only kids, but hardcore fans of superheroes also liked Iron Man. On different comic cons, Iron Man was one of the most demanded superhero comics. On many occasions, the comics used to go out of stock as they were sold in a very short time. The comic book collections of Iron Man were amazing and people really enjoyed them. The most recent edition of Iron Man comics was published in the Marvel Now Series in July 2018 and was named “Invincible Iron Man: The Search for Tony Stark”.
Iron Man in Animation
The first appearance of Iron Man was in 1966 in the Marvel Super-Heroes animated series. Producers saw a huge potential in Iron Man as an animated character because it was already a major success in comic books and there was much demand for Iron Man. This was also the time the first Iron Man theme song was introduced which impacted pop culture in a major way. The song was often run on radios as well because it was quite popular at that time. At this point, the Iron Man animated series was quite new and did not have many episodes.
The show ran for a quite limited time. Nonetheless, due to overpopulation, the animated series was shown on television and other forms of media for the next twenty years. As Iron Man appeared for the first time in an animated series, different types of toys were also produced. However, as the show was short-lived, the toys were not in pop culture for a long time. Nonetheless, the animated series indicated that Iron Man could soon be seen in mass media such as in video games, television, and movies.
The animated series was heavily influencing the pop culture of that time. Mainly, it was a new superhero for the kids that could entertain them. Instead of the routine shows and basic cartoons, this was something new. It also highlighted the fact that the trend towards animated series is increasing compared to regular cartoons or shows that are being watched by adults or youngsters.
Iron Man in Video Games
As the popularity of Iron Man grew, there was a significant increase in technology as well. Iron Man video games were also released. The first Iron Man game was launched in a 1991 arcade game called Captain America and The Avengers where he was one of the four selectable heroes. Kids used to love this game and it went on trend. Upon seeing the success of Iron Man in video games, Marvel gave license to Capcom Games, a Japanese games developer company, to create further Iron Man games.
By this time, there were significant improvements in the overall design, uniform, color, and other aspects such as the superpowers of the hero. In the era of 2D fighting games, Iron Man appeared in the Marvel Super Heroes game released in 1995. There were many sequels of this game later. During this time, Iron Man was introduced in the Marvel vs Capcom game series as well. By the time the gaming industry reached 3D games, Iron Man was already performing well and games were introduced on gaming consoles like PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo, PSP, and others as well.
With the increase in characters by Marvel Studios, mixed superhero games were also released. For example, Iron Man appears in Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects and X-Men Legends II: Rise of Apocalypse as one of the playable characters. As the trend and demand for the Iron Man game increased, Marvel Studios launched hundreds of other games many of them in collaboration with other game developers. For this reason, Iron Man is known to be one of the best video game characters to impact pop culture.
Iron Man in Movies
Iron Man first appeared in the form of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends movie in 1981 but the appearance was just as Tony Stark. Later on, he made another appearance in Marvel Action Hour with Fantastic Four in his own series released in the 1990s. However, the first fully focused film on Iron Man was released in 2008 starring Robert Downey Jr. and Terrence Howard. With a budget of $140 million, the film was a huge success and reached a value of $585.5 million. It was produced by Marvel Studios and was the first film in Marvel Cinematic Universe.
There were sequels to the film released in 2008. A sequel written by Justin Theroux was released on 7th May 2010 while a third sequel was released on 3rd May 2013 as a joint venture between Walt Disney Studios and Marvel Studios.
The film had a major impact on the movie pop culture of that time which has become a major influence to date. It was the first time that a Marvel Cinematic Universe film was released and many people were impressed. The trend was changed from simple action movies to specifically designed 3D characters along with the action. From this time, Hollywood started to work more on superhero films. There was much demand from the public as well.
Most importantly, upon seeing the constant success of Iron Man movies, Marvel Studios started to produce character-based movies even more. Avengers: Endgame was one of the most popular Iron Man films and got popularity because of how well Robert Downey Jr. played the character of Iron Man. Today, Marvel Studios has become a big name in Hollywood because of countless Marvel character movies.
Iron Man in Theme Parties
Superheroes such as Iron Man, Super Man, Batman, and many others have impacted pop culture in numerous ways. From the mid-1990s to the modern day, we can see that there are different types of superhero theme parties as well instead of the regular theme parties. Fans, both adults and kids, actively take part in theme parties where superhero dress-up is required. The uniform of Iron Man is quite unique and has been improved by the developers in numerous ways. For this reason, it has gotten more popular and attracted many new fans as well. Comic-cons are one of the best examples of superhero theme parties.
Iron Man Collectibles
Iron Man action figures, mugs, caps, t-shirts, and other collectibles also got quite popular after the first Iron Man movie. As Marvel Studios progressed to make sequels of Iron Man and bring it in other movies as well, the popular culture also endorsed it. Die-hard fans of the superhero started to have collectibles of Iron Man. Even today, Iron Man collectible items are quite popular. The comic books are no longer issued which is why the old comic books are sold at a higher price.
Iron Man has impacted pop culture in many ways. From comics to movies, animations, video games, action figures and so much more, we see that Iron Man got popular fast and also led to the trend being changed from simple action to character-based action. The success of Iron Man also provided the idea that many other superheroes can also be created and launched for the mass media.