Seven things non-geeks should know about Iron Man

Maybe you knew enough about Spider-Man not to embarrass yourself. And yeah, most folks know the basics of Batman. And seriously, even my grandma knows Superman well enough to carry on a decent conversation. But Iron Man? Even with the first movie under your belt, what with the fog of any origin story, you still might be a little hazy on the specs of the Tony Stark mythoi.

And if you didn't know that Tony Stark is Iron Man's real name? Skip this article and save your money for the next Shrek. It's a little easier.

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7. Iron Man was originally created as a response to the counter-culture 60s Stan Lee says that he created Iron Man as sort of a challenge to himself -- if his readers were anti-war and anti-capitalist, then he'd turn a character who represented exactly that into someone they could root for. Sort of like a Howard Hughes character, only without the long hair, the untrimmed nails, and the mason jars of urine everywhere. 6. Tony Stark is the fourth richest man in the world That's according to this month's issue of Forbes magazine, mind you, where they list his net worth at $8.8 billion. A little less cash than Richie Rich, but a touch more than Jed Clampett: that's Stark. He can buy and sell you and your little dog and pony show--but he won't, because he's a good egg. 5. Whiplash is stupid in the comic books too Don't feel like you're alone in thinking that the villainous Whiplash in the new movie is sort of goofy. He is. But seriously, when your Rogue's Gallery includes such losers as the Unicorn and Mr. Doll, you know you don't have much to choose from. Batman might have the Joker, Spidey has Green Goblin, and Iron Man just has ... rust. 4. Iron Man has an armor (or gadget) for every occasion There are many, many armor styles from which Iron Man can choose--from the sleek Stealth model to the ultra-strong model dubbed the "Hulkbuster." And the armor has had a few questionable features, as well. Like the roller skates built into the boots ... what is this, Xanadu? A million lights are shining, Tony, and there you are. A shooting star. In fucking roller skates. 3. Tony Stark is a pimp That's right--there's really no beating Tony Stark in the stud department in the Marvel Universe. He's slept with more female superheroes than anyone else (powered or not), and the notches on his bedpost in just one of his many homes worldwide would make Tiger look like Queen Elizabeth I. Seriously, if any man can boast that he took a date from the arms of Tony Stark? That's some serious bragging rights. Good for you, Pete. Good for you. 2. Tony Stark is also a Friend of Bill W. Or is a member of the twelve-step Marvel equivalent, anyway. As a recovering alcoholic, Iron Man's biggest battle has been with the bottle. And he's not always been successful at it--if you made a list of Iron Man's worst moments? They'd have nothing to do with super-villains, and a lot to do with Macallan Fine and Rare 1926. 1. Iron Man's greatest weakness isn't his heart Sure, his chestpiece (at least for most of his career) may have been the thing keeping Stark's heart pumping, but his Achilles Heel has always been his ego. Never before was this more apparent than in the Marvel series "Civil War," in which Tony helped establish and enforce the Superhuman Registration Act. His counterpart, on the Anti-Registration side, was none other than Captain America. And really, if Captain America says you're behaving un-American, you might want to check yourself. Way to turn into Doctor Doom, Iron Man.

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