Respected as both a brilliant scientist and a ruthless businessman, Howard Stark was destined to be a great success, to help shape the 20th century, and to serve as both a role model and a haunting presence in the life of his Super Hero son, Tony.

Titan of Industry

Born and raised in Richford, New York, Howard Anthony Stark was heir to a railroad dynasty, and used his vast talents in science to expand and enrich the family business. He and his father founded Stark Industries, which specialized in engineering and technology, eventually gaining a widespread reputation as a company on the cutting edge.

During World War II, Stark Industries worked with the U.S. government on various programs intended to help defeat the Axis powers, including the Manhattan Project—the top-secret development of the atomic bomb—which led to victory for America and its allies. Through his company Stark Aircraft, Howard sought to innovate aviation by creating new, more advanced airplanes.

After the war, Stark continued his involvement in global affairs—but on a far greater scale. As a member of the Brotherhood of the Shield—an ancient organization created to keep Earth safe—he played a key role in defending the planet from supernatural and extraterrestrial threats.

Howard Stark

But perhaps Howard Stark’s greatest contribution to the world is his son Tony—also known as the armored Avenger, Iron Man. Their relationship was always with fraught with tension and conflict—a situation compounded by Howard’s addiction problems—but the father was undeniably a major influence on the son, and remains so to this day, many years after Howard and his wife, Maria, were killed in a car crash. Professionally and personally, for better and for worse, Tony Stark has followed in Howard’s formidable footsteps, and is pointing the world towards the future as his father once did.

Above Average

While Howard Stark is a normal human being without any super powers, there is nothing “regular” about him. He is a scientific genius, able to conceive, build, and improve technologies years ahead of any of his contemporaries and competitors. Stark is a particularly proficient in the areas of atomic physics, robotics, artificial intelligence, computer imagery, and biochemistry.

Howard Stark

He is also a skilled pilot, often flying airplanes that he designed himself.

Stark’s brilliance extends to the world of business, where he establishes himself as a hard-nosed, cut-throat executive (traits that eventually turn even his own brother and nephew against him). Howard builds several multimillion dollar companies, with Stark Industries serving as the center of his business empire. Government contracts bring in a significant amount of the company’s revenue, helping grow the weapons design and manufacturing divisions to unparalleled heights.

Faces of the Enemies

Given Howard Stark’s position as a leader in both science and business, it is only natural that he would make enemies along the way. And just as Stark is an exceptional man, so too are many of his adversaries.

During World War II, in April 1944, Howard and his wife are captured and tortured by the Nazi operative known as the Red Skull, who seeks atomic weapons for Germany. The Starks refuse to cooperate and manage to resist succumbing to the Red Skull’s brutal methods until they are rescued.

Howard Stark

Howard earns the animosity of his brother Edward after he brings out Edward’s shares in the Stark family business. Edward went to his death feeling that Howard had cheated him. Morgan Stark, Edward’s son, blames Howard for his father’s death. Similarly, Tiberius Stone, another scientist-businessman, blames his own father’s death on Howard. Stone’s father and Stark had been business rivals, and when Stone’s company couldn’t compete, it ended up on the verge of bankruptcy.

Howard’s conflicts occasionally have a negative impact on his son. As an adult, Tiberius Stone, seeks revenge for his father’s death by trying to ruin Tony’s life. Howard’s bitter feud with another competitor, Creighton McCall, causes the end of a romance between young Tony and McCall’s daughter, Meredith.

Howard Stark

While Stark manages to outsmart, outperform, and outlast many of his business opponents for decades, some of them may have taken drastic measures to stop him once and for all. The car crash that kills Howard and Maria may have been the result of faulty brakes arranged by rivals from Republic Oil & Gas, the company that later became the notorious Roxxon Energy Corporation.

Friends in High Places

Just as Howard Stark amasses an assortment of powerful adversaries, he also allies himself with some of the greatest heroes of the 20th century. After being captured by the Red Skull, Howard and his wife are rescued by Captain America, Bucky, and Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos. Stark even grabs an automatic weapon and joins the troops in combat. He meets Fury again several more times after World War II.

As an agent of the Brotherhood of the Shield, Howard partners with Nathaniel Richards, father of Reed Richards (of the Fantastic Four), on missions that take them around the world and even across time.

Howard Stark

Stark also becomes a member of the Hellfire Club, along with fellow businessmen Warren Worthington Jr. (father of Warren Worthington III, the X-Men’s Angel), Sebastian Shaw, and John Braddock, under the leadership of then-White King Edward Buckman.




170 lbs.






Gray with white temples (formerly black)

Universe, Other Aliases, Education, Place of Origin, Identity, Known Relatives
  • Universe

  • Other Aliases

  • Education

  • Place of Origin

  • Identity

  • Known Relatives

A Stark Existence

Howard Stark seemed to have it all: an extraordinary intellect, a successful career, and a beautiful family. But there was much about him that was kept from the public eye, and even from those closest to him.

After being rescued from the Red Skull, Howard and Maria returned to America, where Stark shifted his focus to automated defense systems. In late 1944, he joined a top-secret military program called Project Tomorrow, involving the development of robotic troops and a doomsday weapon against the Nazis. Through the program, at least two androids were built—Arsenal Alpha and Beta—along with an artificial intelligence operating system called Mistress, with its programming based on Maria Stark’s brain patterns. Arsenal was built with a fail-safe that would be triggered if the U.S. lost World War II. Following the Allies’ victory, Project Tomorrow was shut down and the androids were stored beneath Stark’s Manhattan mansion. Years later, the machines would be activated and on different occasions, they would battle Iron Man, Hulk, and She-Hulk.

Howard Stark

In the 1950s, as agents of the Brotherhood of the Shield, Stark and Nathaniel Richards met Uatu the Watcher, created the V-Battalion’s Vanguard craft using reverse-engineered alien technology, and battled Nikola Tesla, with whom they were accidentally thrust around 600,000 years into the future. Working together, the three scientists devised a way to return to their proper time.

Perhaps the biggest secret that both Howard and Maria Stark kept is one that was exposed only recently: the fact that Tony is not their biological son. Maria experienced a difficult pregnancy, and the unborn child was in grave danger. Howard searched worldwide for a way to ensure that his son would be born healthy. During his quest, Stark ended up rescuing a sentient alien robot, Rigellian Recorder 451, from its captors—an extraterrestrial race known as the Greys. In return, the Recorder genetically improved the baby while it was still in the womb. But Howard discovered that the Recorder included a hidden genetic “kill switch” that would end his son’s life when he became an adult. In secret, Howard developed a serum to nullify the kill switch. The baby was born healthy, and Howard and Maria named him Arno.

But a short time later, Arno’s health deteriorated rapidly—a side effect of Howard’s serum. The Starks feared what would happen if Recorder 451 learned about Howard’s tampering. They hid Arno in the Maria Stark Foundation Hospice and adopted a healthy baby boy, Tony, that they presented as their biological child. Well into his adulthood, Tony Stark remained completely unaware that he was adopted or that Arno even existed.

Howard Stark

Determined to toughen Tony up, Howard often treated him harshly throughout his childhood, criticizing him and eventually sending him to boarding school against Maria’s objections. But Howard also worked to encourage Tony intellectually, and to pass on his wisdom to the boy. Howard was therefore disappointed by Tony’s apparent lack of direction

Howard Stark

It was the car crash that killed Howard and Maria Stark that prompted Tony to start taking both business and his own scientific aptitude seriously. And while Tony has occasionally faltered, struggling with some of the same difficulties that plagued his father, he has proven himself more than worthy of the Stark legacy—and Howard’s credo that “Stark men are made of iron.”

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