Howard Stark is a male comic character that features in Marvel Comics.
It was known that he had a brother by the name of Edward Stark. (Iron Man v1 #292) He came to inherit his family’s company of Stark Industries where he brought it into the modern age by bringing greater security through innovation. (Invincible Iron Man v1 #5). It was known that his brother eventually sold his shares in the family business to Howard giving him majority control over the corporation. (Iron Man v1 #292)
At some point, he was part of a secret program called Project Tomorrow that developed a contingency in case the Axis powers won World War II. This saw a cavern built with a series of Arsenal robots being created that were governed by the computer named Mistress that was programmed with the brain patterns of Maria Stark. (Avengers Annual v1 #9) Stark would later stage an attack on Peggy Carter's house in order to invite her for a meeting where he asked that she accompanied him on a mission to Russia. She would be intrigued and ultimately go there where the pair rendezvoused with Woodrow McCord who had acquired an alien relic on his mission. Howard would examine the artifact triggering a beacon leading to an alien attack at their location with the space craft targeting Stark. (Operation S.I.N. v1 #1)
In 1944, the Red Skull was responsible for kidnapping Howard Stark and used the captive Maria Stark as a hostage for information on the Manhattan Project. Captain America, Bucky Barnes along with Nick Fury and the Howling Commandos were sent to rescue them. (Captain America Annual v1 #9) During the 1950's, Howard Stark continued to operate as an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and worked alongside Nathaniel Richards. (S.H.I.E.L.D. v1 #1) In 1958, the Tribellian invasion of Earth began during World War II where they were defeated by the 'Man on the Wall' namely Woodrow McCord but this came at the cost of his life. His death was witnessed by both Nick Fury and Howard Stark with the latter covering up any trace of the battle. Stark later took Colonel Fury to the secret headquarters in the Rocky Mountains with Nick agreeing to take over from Woodrow but wanting to know about his life. Howard agreed to aid Nick Fury but stated that McCord had all but broken away from his own group but helped show him the fallen hero's journal. (Original Sin Annual v1 #1) By 1959, Stark was on a fact finding mission to Wakanda on behalf of the White House. He was infatuated with the Blonde Phantom and gave her along with Nick Fury a boat along with intelligence about the location of General Skul who had left Wakanda for Madripoor. (Avengers 1959 v1 #3)
At some point, he was inducted into the ranks of the Hellfire Club alongside Warren Worthing, Junior, Sebastian Shaw, and John Braddock. (X-Men: Hellfire Club v1 #4) By 1968, Stark kept in contact with Director Nick Fury who was serving as the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. yet at the same time operating as the Man on the Wall. He showcased the new Helicarrier claiming it as the perfect mobile headquarters for the peacekeeping organization. (Original Sin Annual v1 #1) At some point, he was developing a unique serum that consisted of a bio-nanite enhancement infusion that was under development. During this time, he was contacted by King T'Chaka from the nation of Wakanda whose existence was secret to the world. Contact was achieved through advanced Wakandan technology with T'Chaka asking for the serum in exchange for an ounce of Vibranium as he required it to save his wife N'Yami who was dying from an autoimmune disease. Upon learning of this, Stark agreed as he could see that T'Chaka was doing this for love and freely offered his experimental serum. However, the cure was destroyed before it could be transported by Wakandan traitors that had allied with Hydra. (Rise of the Black Panther v1 #1)
He along with his wife Maria attempted to get a child but she was unable to become pregnant and the doctors stated she would be unable to bear a healthy offspring. This led to Howard going around the world to people in California, London, Tibet, the Eternal City and even Mount Wundagore but each proved to be a failure. However, at Nevada he met an alien Grey who offered him a solution through a captive Rigellian Recorder. To free the robot, Howard assembled the Stark Seven that consisted of Jimmy Woo, the Bear, Nessa the Kitten, Dum Dum Dugan and Thunderbolt Ross. Together, they helped free the Recorder from his captivity in a Grey crime family. (Iron Man v5 #10) Recorder #451 proceeded with aiding the Starks but on the condition that the child be modified with a goal of accelerating humanity's technological development to withstand the cosmic forces in the universe that had now turned their eye to Earth. (Iron Man v5 #11) Howard, however, did not trust the alien robot and later learnt that the Recorder had engineered a suicide gene into his son so that he would slowly die after reaching 30 years of age. Stark then worked in secret to produce drugs to neutralize the effect but this had the consequence of leading to his son being crippled as a result. To hide the boy from Recorder #451, the Starks placed their son in a private ward and adopted Tony Stark to be their child. (Iron Man v5 #17)
Howard used to share a laboratory with his friend Eli Warren with the former telling the latter of his son Tony and being proud of him. (Iron Man v5 #5)
One of his rivals in the electronics industry was Creighton McCall with Howard learning that his eleven year old son Tony was deeply involved with his competitors daughter Meredith McCall. Both Creighton and Howard opposed the relationship between their children who were separated from one another with Meredith going to live with relatives whilst Tony went to study in Europe. (Iron Man v1 #28)
Republic Oil's Simon Krieger after approval from Hugh Jones plotted for the murders of Howard and Maria Stark. (Iron Man: The Iron Age v1 #1)
Personality and attributes
According to Tony Stark, his father was a strange person who did a lot yet somehow never really did anything in the end. This was despite his many achievements such as working on the Manhattan project and starting a business. In many ways, he was considered smarter than Tony Stark with him inventing guns and robots in his life. (Avengers: Endless Wartime v1 #1)
He was noted to had always asked for help from others and that if he did not know something then he asked. It was a trait that he was well known for among those that were close to Howard Stark. (Invincible Iron Man v1 #596)
With regards to his son, Howard often shouted a lot at Tony Stark and lectured him that he needed iron in his spine. (Avengers: Endless Wartime v1 #1)
He was noted for having a brother named Edward Stark who had a son that was Howard's nephew Morgan Stark. (Iron Man v1 #292)
Howard was noted to had drunk a lot in his life. (Avengers: Endless Wartime v1 #1)
Powers and abilities
Stark along with Nathaniel Richards were responsible for building the Vanguard used by the V-Battalion with it being a large mobile airbase built from reverse-engineered alien technology. (Citizen V and the V-Battalion v1 #1)
- Howard Stark was created by Archie Goodwin and Don Heck where he made his debut in Iron Man v1 #28 (August 1970).
- In Marvel Rising v1 #0 (2018), it was shown that the Howard Anthony Stark Institute for Technical Excellence was made in his honour and was located in New York City.
- In Marvel Adventures: Iron Man v1 #1 (2005), Howard Stark was shown to had existed in the alternate reality setting where he was the son of the engineer Arno Stark and had a son named Anthony Stark with his wife. He headed the company Stark Industries but was more of a businessman when compared to his engineer father and son. Around twenty years ago, he entered into a business relationship with rich corporate man Obadiah Stane and built him an underground bunker in Nebraska as he believed mankind was on the path to destroy itself. Howard's business executives believed the venture would earn a great deal of profit but Stane grew paranoid thinking Stark was his enemy and refused to pay. As a result, Howard was bankrupt with his wife and son losing much of his fortune with him disappearing from public life when in actuality he became trapped in the bunker. He constructed an artificial intelligence known as S.E.R.V.A.C. (Survivor Environment Remote Vanguard And Control) that operated the bunker along with primitive robots in the form of Iron Man Armor that his son Tony Stark had constructed when he was a boy. The intelligence was tasked with preserving the bunker and pass a message to Tony Stark about S.E.R.V.A.C.s Programmers fate to his family.
- In Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas v1 (2008), an alternate version of Howard Stark was referenced in a universe that was designated as Earth-80734. He was Tony Stark's father who was a close friend and associate of noted tomb raider Ulysses Bloodstone.
- In X-Men Forever v2 (2009), an alternate version of Howard Stark and his family line was shown in a reality designated as Earth-161. This version had the Stark family fortune going back generations with them being captains of industry. Howard Stark was shown as being an anti-Mutant bigot who helped smuggle the Trask family to South America during World II with the goal of developing anti-Mutant technology. As such, he bankrolled the research of the Trasks that led to the development of Sentinels. He was among the members of the hierarchy of the Consortium and had funded their operations.
- In Iron Man Noir v1 (2010), a version of Howard Stark was shown in an alternate world with the setting being in the 1930s. This version had been brainwashed by the Nazi's with a unique chemical compound leading to him becoming a loyal agent that took the name Baron Zemo.
- In Armor Wars v1 (2015), a version of Howard Stark was shown to reside on Battleworld in the realm of Technopolis. On this land, he was shown as the Baron who created the city that developed the Iron Man Armor for all its occupants to protect them from a virus that killed those not using its life support systems. He was the father of Tony Stark and Arno Stark with the former being made his successor as the new Baron. It was revealed though that he was responsible for the disastrous virus that infected Technopolis with this secret being maintained by his son Tony Stark.
- In Infinity Wars: Iron Hammer v1 (2018), an alternate world was created when Gamora using the Infinity Stones used its powers to merge various individuals with one another leading to Howard Stark along with Odin combined into a single entity called Howard Odin that had his own unique backstory.
In other media
- In Iron Man, the character made two appearances in the animated series but was referred to as Walter Stark where he was voiced by actor Neil Ross in season one and by actor Peter Renaday in season two. The two-part episode "The Origin of Iron Man" showed the character in a flashback sequence where he was shown to had married Martha Stark a blonde haired woman with them having a son named Tony Stark. Walter managed an industrial weapon designer company and was shown as being quite wealthy with him intending to teach his son about responsibility. However, Tony grew up in this life of luxury and instead resorted to a life of fun, parties along with women. Despite this attempts to instill discipline, his son did not change. At a military demonstration, he and Tony presented the automated Stark Helicopter drone that was destroyed by flak weapon fire. Walter was shocked at this development as he installed systems to combat flak but his son removed them to increase the speed leading to its destruction with the military contract going to Justin Hammer. Afterwards, Stark & Son faced numerous industrial incidents that culminated in the machinery going rogue causing an explosion that critically wounded Walter Stark. He was in the hospital where he told his son that Justin Hammer was responsible for the sabotage and though initially angry at Tony for not taking responsibility he relented saying it was not fair for his son to follow in his footsteps. It was implied that he died in the hospital but his death led to Tony Stark taking responsibility for the company as he always looked up to his father and wanted to follow in his footsteps.
- In Iron Man: Armored Adventures, the character would make an appearance where he was voiced by actor Fred Henderson. He was shown as being the CEO of Stark International with his teenage son being Tony Stark and one of his close business associate being Obadiah Stane. Howard was a noted weapon manufacturer where in the episode "Technovore" it was shown that he had built most of the systems for the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. This changed following the birth of his son as the episode "Designed Only for Chaos" had Roberta reveal this fact to Tony Stark. He was shown as desiring for his son to complete his education rather than take over the family company. Howard was believed to had been killed onboard his corporate jet when it exploded but the episode "Tales of Suspense" reveals that Gene Khan as the Mandarin saved him as he desired his knowledge to recover the remaining Makluan Rings. In "Doomsday", he along with Gene Khan and Iron Man unaware that the latter was secretly his son Tony Stark where he assisted in the battle against Doctor Doom. The episode "Dragonseed" showed him developing a weapon to neutralize the Makluan Rings and he was shown to be aware of his son being Iron Man as he knew that Tony was the only one capable of building such a sophisticated suit of armor.
- In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, the character only appeared in background material starting with the episode "Living Legend". Howard told his son Tony of the stories of Captain America and Bucky during World War II.
- In Avengers Assemble, the character would make an appearance in recordings with him first being mentioned in the episode "The Arsenal" with him being voiced by Stephen Collins. He was noted as being a genius who had written much in the field of xeno-metals. Stark would be greatly absorbed in his work to the point that he did not maintain much of a relationship with his son, Tony Stark. One of his experiments was Project Arsenal that was the creation of a humanoid robot that could manipulate immense amount of energy. Howard would also program the robot to become a friend to his son with Arsenal recording many messages from father to son in the future. At the Russian city of Poteryani Les, a gamma reactor went critical and Howard would dispatch Arsenal to contain the meltdown though this left the machine depowered deep within the abandoned settlement. When Tony Stark recovered Arsenal, he would study the robot and learnt from recordings of his father that he designed it to shunt excess energy into an extradimensional realm whilst including other persona messages but some of these had been corrupted over the years.
- In Agent Carter, the character made a returned appearance as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe where once again he was portrayed by Dominic Cooper. After World War II, he continued to operate as a business tycoon as shown in the pilot episode "Now is Not the End" where he created a number of advanced weapons that he called 'Bad Babies' kept in a Stark Industries vault. Someone was responsible for stealing these weapons and selling them on the black market leading to Stark being framed for the sale of advanced weaponry to America's enemies. He attempted to defend himself at a number of hearings but went on the run by the last one as he felt that he was being framed and that he needed to prove his innocence. Stark would get the aid of Agent Peggy Carter of the Strategic Scientific Reserve (S.S.R) and had the services of his butler Edwin Jarvis assist her. Howard would depart on a boat to pursue the sale of his weapons and stop them whilst Agent Carter proved his innocence. One of his creations that was sought by Leviathan was a chemical gas known as Midnight Oil that was initially used on the Russian army to motivate them to fight the Germans at Finow.
- In The Invincible Iron Man, Howard Stark appeared in a minor role in the animated movie where he as voiced by actor John McCook. He was shown as being the father of Tony Stark and chairman of Stark Enterprises. Unlike the comics, he never died but rather continued to manage the company but was forced to follow the wishes of its Board of Directors. This led to him reluctantly removing his son Tony from his position as head of the advanced technologies division when the Board grew unhappy with him. Afterwards, his lawyer told him that the Board was looking for a scapegoat when Stark weapons were found in the hands of the Chinese Jade Dragons. Howard's lawyer suggested putting the blame on Tony otherwise the Board would force him out of his own company.
- In Iron Man: Rise of the Technovore, the character did not appear but was referenced by his son Tony Stark who named the Stark Industries surveillance satellite H.O.W.A.R.D. (Hi-Definition Observation Worldwide Advanced Remote Device) after his father.
- In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Howard Stark made a number of appearances in the shared live-action setting.
- In Iron Man 2, the character was mentioned in the background where he was portrayed by actor John Slattery. It was revealed that he was one of the co-founders of S.H.I.E.L.D. He would co-develop the Arc Reactor with the aid of a defected Soviet scientist by the name of Anton Vanko. The potential power of the Arc Reactor was immense though Howard felt that it was simply a means of creating a new stable element that would render nuclear power obsolete. However, Vanko saw it as a means of getting rich and when Stark discovered his motivations he had Anton departed. Howard created a diorama for a plan for a giant Arc Reactor and left a video to explain why he was not more involved in his son's life. In the modern day, Tony Stark as Iron Man discovered that the Arc Reactor was slowly poisoning him due to the metal involved in its construction. After learning about his fathers past, Tony managed to come to terms with Howard and used the Arc Reactor process to forge a new metal to replace the material for his chest mounted Arc Reactor that kept his heart functioning.
- In Captain America: The First Avenger, a younger version of the character appeared where he was played by actor Dominic Cooper. He was shown as being a member of the Strategic Scientific Reserve and part of the Super Soldier Project. Among his contributions was created the costume and shield to Steve Rogers after he became Captain America. After the Hydra battleship that Captain America raided crashed into the ocean, Howard made attempts to find Rogers with one of these expeditions leading to the discovery of the Tesseract.
- In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it was revealed that both Howard Stark and his wife were killed in a car crash that had been caused by Hydra infiltrators within S.H.I.E.L.D.
- In Ant-Man, the character appeared in the movie where he was portrayed by actor John Slattery. He was shown as being on a committee that oversaw the deployment of Ant-Man Hank Pym in the 1980's. In 1989, Howard witnessed Hank resign from S.H.I.E.L.D. after Pym discovered that they were trying to replicate the formula for the Pym Particles. He later felt that Pym was justified in punching Mitchell Carson after he made an inappropriate comment about how Hank had allowed his wife to die on a mission.
- In Captain America: Civil War, Howard Stark made n appearance in the live-action film where he was portrayed by actor John Slattery.
- In Captain America: Super Soldier, the character made an appearance in the video game set during the events of the Captain America: The First Avenger movie where he was voiced by Liam O'Brien.
- Iron Man:
- Avengers Annual v1:
- Avengers 1959 v1:
- S.H.I.E.L.D. v1:
- Operation S.I.N. v1:
- Rise of the Black Panther v1: