Iron Man (aka Anthony Edward Stark/ Tony Stark) first appeared on Tales of Suspense #39 in 1963. The idea for the character was a collaboration among editor and story-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, story-artist Don Heck, and cover-artist and character-designer Jack Kirby. In 1963, Lee had been toying with the idea of a businessman superhero. He wanted to create the "quintessential capitalist", a character that would go against the spirit of the times and Marvel's readership. It was a dare he posed to himself at that time.

Tony Stark was set out to be a wealthy, glamorous ladies' man, but one with a secret that would plague and torment him for a long time.

Stark was the adopted son of wealthy industrialist and head of Stark Industries, Howard Stark, and Maria Stark, was born on Long Island. At the age of 15, the highly intelligent Tony Stark enters MIT to study electrical engineering and later receives master's degrees in electrical engineering and physics. After his parents are killed in a car accident, he inherits his father's company.

During an incident, Stark is injured by a booby trap and captured by enemy forces. The bad guys ordered Stark to build weapons for them, but his injuries are dire and a shrapnel is moving towards his heart.

A fellow prisoner, Ho Yinsen, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist whose work Stark had greatly admired during college, constructs a magnetic chest plate to keep the shrapnel from reaching Stark's heart, keeping him alive. In secret, Stark and Yinsen use the workshop to design and construct a suit of powered armor, which Stark uses to escape. But during the escape attempt, Yinsen sacrifices his life to save Stark.

Stark takes revenge on his kidnappers and heads back to rejoin the American forces, on his way meeting a wounded American Marine fighter pilot, James "Rhodey" Rhodes.

Later, Stark discovers that the shrapnel fragment lodged in his chest cannot be removed without killing him, and he is forced to wear the armor's chestplate beneath his clothes to act as a regulator for his heart. He must recharge the chestplate every day or else risk the shrapnel killing him. At this point of time, Stark had told the media and public that the Ironman is his personal bodyguard, and Ironman begins his fights against threats posing to his company from all directions. It was illustrated that his persuasion was further enhanced by his strong public image of being merely a rich playboy and industrialist. Thus, everybody buys his explanation.

Two notable members of the series' supporting cast, at this point, are his personal chauffeur Harold "Happy" Hogan, and secretary Virginia "Pepper" Potts—to both of whom he eventually reveals his dual identity. Meanwhile, James Rhodes finds his own niche as Stark's personal pilot, ultimately revealing himself to be a man of extraordinary skill and daring, in his own right.

Harold "Happy" Hogan

Tony Stark's chauffer and PA. First appeared in Tales of Suspense #45, 1963.

Virginia "Pepper" Potts

First appeared in Tales of Suspense #45, 1963. Hired by Stark fixing an accounting error made by himself. Continue to be the love interest between Stark and Happy, till she eventually marries the latter.

From the past to present, the iron armour changed hands a few times. Upgraded constantly. But in the main stream, two characters were recognised as the Iron Man officially other than Tony Stark.

James Rhodes

First appearance in Iron Man #118, 1979.

Took on the suit in Iron Man #170, 1983.

Riri Williams

First appeared in Invincible Iron Man  #7 (volume 2), 2016.

Riri has thus far been described as an MIT student who built her own Iron Man suit out of scrap pieces and, as such, attracted Stark's attention.

She will star in the upcoming volume of Invincible Iron Man as Ironheart.