Can Superheroes Defeat Their Own Demons? Understanding Alcoholism in the Pages of Iron Man.
Tony Stark’s alcoholism is one of his defining traits, and its addition to his character by Bob Layton and David Michelinie in 1979 is an important moment in superhero comics history. ‘The infamous Demon in a Bottle’ storyline slowly built Tony Stark’s dependence on alcohol to the point of a drunken breakdown, expanding upon the Marvel’s archetypal flawed hero to become one of the first comics that dealt with real social issues. However, while everyone remembers this first storyline, it is arguably the character’s second struggle with alcoholism which made the most of Stark’s addiction as a part of his character, rather than as a plot point. Tempted by both his enemies and his own mind, Tony Stark was unable to pull back from the brink for a second time, losing everything and living on the streets while someone else piloted the Iron Man suit. From 1982-1986 Dennis O’Neil used Stark’s relapse and eventual recovery to explore the nature of Tony Stark, Iron Man, and what it means to be a superhero, all grounded in the realistic and relatable problem of addiction. By investigating and comparing these two portrayals of Tony Stark’s struggle with addiction, this article will consider the importance of alcoholism to Tony Stark’s character and the Iron Man title.
When the Demon in a Bottle storyline was released in 1979, it was desperately needed to revitalise the title. The new artist, Bob Layton, recalls that he and his writing partner, David Michelinie, were offered the Iron Man title precisely because it was failing. The reasons for this were heavily tied up in Tony Stark’s identity as a capitalist; his alter-ego, Iron Man, had been born in the Vietnam war, and throughout the 1960s Tony Stark made money by fuelling the was as a weapons manufacturer, and fought ‘Commies’ as Iron Man. In the 1970s this attitude had fallen out of favour, and Iron Man’s adventures changed as a result. Some titles, such as Captain America, responded by making their characters more liberal, but Iron Man struggled to make the same shift in priorities. The title’s stories throughout the 1970s inched towards a more liberal character, but primarily dealt with non-political storylines which lacked the touch of realism that made Marvel popular. When his creative team did attempt to deal with social issues, their efforts to reconcile Stark’s role as a symbol of capitalism with the social problems of the day often went awry.  In addition, his readers found it difficult to ignore his past actions. Captain America had espoused conservative views, but Stark had deliberately profited by selling weapons during the Vietnam War, an action which many Americans now considered immoral. His character required a greater shift to have him remain a ‘hero’ in the eyes of the readers. With these problems compounded by frequent changes in Iron Man’s creative team, it is unsurprising that by the time Tony Stark definitively stopped selling weapons due to a new moral stance, many readers had already abandoned the title.
This exodus was assisted by the lack of originality and realism which resulted from Iron Man’s determinedly apolitical storylines. The only feature still facilitating any empathy between the average reader and the millionaire playboy Tony Stark was his artificial heart. Unlike many of the other Marvel heroes, Tony Stark’s life of wealth and privilege was not easy to relate to, but his greatest strength, the Iron Man suit, was also his greatest weakness. As well as enabling him to do extraordinary things, the Iron Man armour was initially a prosthesis used to cope with Tony Stark’s disability. After his heart was damaged during the kidnapping which led to his creation of Iron Man, he had had to wear the suit’s chest-plate continuously in order to keep his heart beating, and the need to keep the chest-plate ‘charged’ added tension to many of his stories. He also gave up on romantic relationships, fearing that the chest-plate would reveal his identity, and made few emotional connections at all, worried that his weak heart would lead to an early death and not wanting to leave people to mourn. This made him tragically but relatably lonely. Eventually, Tony received an artificial heart, ridding him of the constant need for a chest plate, but also depriving him of the weakness which had made him human and lent pathos to his character. In an attempt to regain some of the Iron Man’s former success, Tony Stark’s artificial heart failed him several times, but by the late 1970s this gimmick was wearing thin. As Layton pointed out, heart transplants were possible with contemporary technology. It was boring and nonsensical for this storyline to continually be reused.
That Iron Man was in danger of cancellation in the late 1970s was therefore not surprising. The title was mired in monotony, dealing with social issues badly or not at all, and unable to make Tony relatable in an interesting way. This allowed Layton and Michelinie greater artistic, as there was little they could do to make sales worse, and it was obvious that a drastic change in direction was warranted. The ‘Demon in a Bottle’ storyline took some time to come to fruition, but many of Tony’s supporting characters were replaced immediately. They then positioned him in direct opposition to S.H.I.E.L.D., who wanted the weapons which Stark International had manufactured before ceasing production. This had the effect of placing Tony much more firmly in line with a contemporary liberal agenda. He was no longer a war profiteer who had decided to mend his ways; he was actively defending the world from what the government might do with his weapons, in direct opposition to his own stance from the 1960s, and erasing that past with his present actions. Despite his wealth and power, Layton and Michelinie had found a way to cast Tony Stark as the underdog. His refusal to give into S.H.I.E.L.D. made a virtue out of his privileged attitude; he was used to being in charge and getting what he wanted, and he now utilised the stubbornness that entitlement gave him in pursuit of a moral anti-war agenda. His creative team preserved his character, but gave him a direction both more palatable and more interesting to his audience.
However, Tony Stark still retained his status as a rich, powerful playboy, and when Layton and Michelinie looked for a new weakness to offset this, they decided to make it Tony Stark’s weakness, rather than Iron Man’s. Iron Man’s weaknesses would always centre around technology, which could always be overcome by Stark’s intellect or tenacity. Making Tony’s weakness intrinsic to his civilian identity produced a far more interesting problem. Layton called alcoholism ‘the corporate man’s disease’; alcoholism was a plausible response from a millionaire playboy beset by problems on all sides. It also meant a new take on Iron Man embodying Tony’s strengths and weaknesses. Although his flaw was no longer inherent to the suit, giving in to it made using the suit dangerous; while drunk, Iron Man was not a hero, but a menace. In Inventing Iron Man (2011), Paul Zehr explores how dangerous using the suit while drunk would be. While Tony Stark’s alcoholism could have devastating personal consequences, using the suit while drunk would be disastrous and potentially deadly for many other people as well, as Demon in a Bottle illustrated [Fig. 1].
Alcoholism also answered the need to connect with modern social issues, while avoiding the problem of overly political storylines. As comic fans grew older in the 1970s, stories which dealt with more mature issues were appreciated, and the letters pages made it clear that this story hit home for many of the readers. One was drawn to the story because “my father is an alcoholic, but won’t admit that he needs help.” Another believed “IRON MAN… is tearing down the entire traditional structure of what can and can’t be done in a comic book”. Layton and Michelinie made history with ‘Demon in a Bottle’. Although comics had begun to deal with issues of addiction earlier in the 1970s, Tony Stark was the first title character to suffer from addiction. One letter praised the storyline as “depicting everyone’s favourite millionaire in a fantastically realistic light.” Initially only issue #128 was titled ‘Demon in a Bottle’, but the storyline rang true because it was woven throughout the 9 issue story arc which is now known by that name. In issue #120 the problem is minor; Tony indulges in a few too many martinis, and later thinks ruefully that this had been a bad idea when he needs to don the Iron Man suit. [Fig. 2]
His drinking and consequent behaviour were built up slowly from that point, as small scenes of him drinking or acting irrationally became more frequent with each issue. By the time he had a complete break-down in issue #128, it was a natural a conclusion to the storyline.  This unflinching depiction of his total desperation and misery inspired many positive responses, such as those seen above. By portraying Tony Stark as an alcoholic, Layton and Michelinie revitalised a dying title, and made a relic of the 1960s once again relevant as America headed into the 1980s.
While the creation of Tony Stark’s alcoholism was important, however, his relapse was arguably more so. Although revolutionary, Layton and Michelinie’s story was problematic in how it understood addiction. Tony’s slow slide into alcoholism was given nine issues to come to fruition, but his recovery merited just a single page. [Fig.3] As one reader pointed out, “There’s a lot more to alcohol withdrawal than leaning on someone’s shoulder for a few weeks.”
Another woman’s letter claimed that the issue had inspired her to once again be there for her alcoholic father, despite his many broken promises of recovery. Tony’s swift recovery with the help of his girlfriend, Bethany Cabe, promises that simply pouring enough support into an alcoholic will result in recovery, a false and potentially damaging view in the real world which influenced at least one reader to make a major life decision. Academic Jason Sacks was also persuaded by this view, as in his work ‘Demon in a Bottle and Feet of Clay’ (2015), he calls Stark’s recovery an act of heroism, and considers him “a better man because he had transcended his own faults.” He articulates the narrative’s understanding of Stark’s alcoholism as a villain to be defeated, without acknowledging the fact that addiction is a life-long problem. His essay does not mention Stark’s relapse at all, because it does not fit this narrative.
This view is rooted in Layton’s own understanding of alcoholism. He disapproved of Stark’s later relapse, stating that Tony Stark as he wrote him was a ‘winner’, and ‘the smartest guy in the room’, not someone who would ever to relapse once he understood the consequences. He acknowledges that the new writer, Dennis O’Neil, is himself a recovering alcoholic who drew on his own experiences in his writing, but this does not change Layton’s opinion. Layton did have practical reasons for his position. His worry that giving more space to Tony’s alcoholism would be ‘a drag’ was not completely unfounded; during his run one reader wrote in to say that while they were enjoying the story, they did not want to see Tony “in a park, drinking motor oil from a brown paper bag”. O’Neil’s narrative showed Tony utterly overtaken by his need for alcohol, eventually abandoning his role of Iron Man, forced out his company, and living on the streets. The writer admits that reactions to his storyline were mixed, disturbing many readers, and that “if we had to do it again it would be six issues shorter”. However, the title remained popular during O’Neil’s run, and Layton’s objections are primarily rooted in his rigid perception of Tony’s relapse as a failure not worthy of a superhero. While Layton was willing to take the accolades for tackling a socially conscious theme, he was not concerned with the responsibility that came with rooting Tony’s weakness in the real world, refusing to explore too deeply what made Stark’s alcoholism so interesting. Dennis O’Neil stepped in.
Matt Fraction, Iron Man’s writer in 2009, described Tony’s recovery in ‘Demon in Bottle’ as “he just kind of white-knuckled it for a night and was fine.” Dennis O’Neil replied “Yeah, if it was that easy, everybody would do it.” In direct contrast to Layton’s position, O’Neil acknowledged the ongoing nature of alcoholism. The first page of Iron Man #160 is a single image, drawn by a different artist to the rest of the issue, Marie Severin. It shows a drunk Tony in the armour, helmet discarded, and whiskey bottle in hand. The people surrounding him shrink from him in fear; the art renders him almost monstrous, hunched over with an angry grimace. He threatens those around him with a broken bottle, clearly unable to utilise the suit. His words are slurred; despite his threats, he is pathetic in his impotent anger, as his angry boasts confirm only that being Tony Stark or Iron Man means nothing when he is drunk [Fig. 4].
Tony then wakes up, revealing that succumbing to his alcoholism again is his worst nightmare. As Layton says, it is not a place to which Tony wishes to return. But Tony also admits morosely that “I could almost taste the liquor.” He is afraid precisely because he knows that relapse is possible. The issue emphasises Tony’s understanding that relapsing is undesirable, but ends with him wondering if he “will ever be free of the nightmare at the bottom of the bottle”, acknowledging the perpetual nature of addiction. As O’Neil’s run continues, Tony has to resist the temptation of alcohol continuously. Sometimes the desire is internal, at others it is clear that someone is tempting him to drink, such as when someone plants a bottle of whiskey in his room [Fig. 5]. In both cases, however, it is made clear that recovery does not release someone from the desire to drink. Instead, remaining sober is a continuous choice.
However, even as he concedes how difficult it is to fight addiction, O’Neil is careful not to allow Tony to abdicate all responsibility. O’Neil’s villain is Obadiah Stane, who deliberately sets out to push Tony into drinking again with the help of Indries Moomji, an expert manipulator. But while Tony might have resisted temptation for longer without an extra push, the narrative is clear that alcoholism cannot be imposed from the outside. Indries tells Tony’s close friend, James Rhodes, “I cannot make a man a drunk -- who does not, in some part of himself, wish to become a drunk. That I cannot do. No one alive can. Tony Stark drinks because he has never really decided not to drink." O’Neil accepts the culpability of both Tony and Indries in Tony’s relapse, while pointing a slightly accusatory finger at Layton and Michelinie’s underwhelming depiction of Tony’s initial recovery.
By recognising that the final responsibility for Tony’s sobriety lay with him, O’Neil also acknowledged the problematic nature of Tony originally becoming sober for his girlfriend, Bethany Cabe. She persuades him to stop drinking by explaining that she blames herself for not trying harder to support her husband, who died when driving while high. This places the responsibility for an individual’s sobriety on the ability of the people who care about them to be supportive and persuasive, as much as the alcoholic themselves. O’Neil undermines this idea by demonstrating that although Tony’s friends try to help him, an alcoholic has to want help for that to matter. In Iron Man #172 Captain America tries to help Tony after he resigns from the team, and gives the suit to his friend, James Rhodes. Steve Rogers wants answers, but Tony can only say ‘You don’t understand. If you could be inside my skin… you’d know that I’ve got to drink. I’ve got to.” Steve Rogers responds “A man has to want to be helped. Let me know when you do.” [Fig 6] This is the culmination of offers of help from all of Tony’s friends, within Stark International and within the Avengers. Steve speaks for all of them here, acknowledging the pain caused to loved ones by an alcoholic, and that eventually the only thing to do is let them know that help is waiting when it is wanted.
O’Neil not only presents a more realistic and socially conscious depiction of alcoholism, he uses the opportunity to explore Tony Stark, Iron Man, and the world they live in, in some cases building on themes introduced by Layton and Michelinie in ‘Demon in a Bottle’. In issue #128 Tony decides that as Tony Stark causes all his problems, he will simply be Iron Man. O’Neil develops on this idea by depicting Iron Man as Tony’s secondary addiction, expanding of Iron Man’s status as Tony’s greatest weakness. In considering Batman, Roz Kaveney is of the opinion that Batman needs Bruce Wayne not only as an alter-ego, but to have a part of his life that exists in the light, not the darkness. Although Tony Stark is in many ways Batman’s analogue in the Marvel Universe, a millionaire who uses technology to become a superhero, his relationship to Iron Man reverses this dynamic. When Tony Stark encounters the ugliness of human existence, his purpose is often to exist among it, as O’Neil demonstrated in issue #160. Tony sees no way out of going to a party where he expects ‘gallons of alcohol’, and where he is forced to endure offers of scotch and the prolonged presence of a drunk woman. When Iron Man encounters humanity’s negative side, his job is to fix the problem, such as when he stops the Serpent Squad attacking the party which Tony Stark attends. Iron Man’s obligations are comparatively clear cut and easy to carry out. It is Stark that Stane attacks, and Stark who Indries rejects as a romantic partner. Iron Man is only caught in the crossfire. Unlike Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark is forced to endure humanity’s darkness, while his alter ago can not only rise above it, but occasionally shed some light. Tony acknowledges that both ‘Tony Stark’ and ‘Iron Man’ are personas, or costumes, and it is clear that Iron Man is the costume he prefers to wear [Fig. 8].
After Tony Stark’s first recovery, Iron Man replaces alcohol as a ‘safety valve’ for the pressures of Tony Stark’s life. Its importance to him is obvious in issue #170, as, after relapsing, he tries desperately to sober up enough to put on an Iron Man suit. Ostensibly, this is to help James Rhodes, who has been forced to wear an armour to fight a supervillain, but his greater fear of who he is without the suit is obvious. Equally clear is the loathing he feels for himself as Tony Stark, emphasised by his grotesque and pitiable appearance in Luke McDonnell’s artwork [Fig. 8]. His struggle with his addiction is not entirely lost the first time he drinks, but rather when the alcohol renders him incapable of being Iron Man. Taking on the Iron Man persona made the problems of the Tony Stark persona bearable, so when he abandoned the former he was forced to discard the latter alongside it. Without Iron Man, there is no Tony Stark, and all that remains is an alcoholic.
This abandonment of his two lives leads to Tony appearing as the letter-writer in issue #130 had hoped that he would not; a drunk on the streets. When Captain America finds him in the bowery, he is distinguishable from its other drunk inhabitants only because the readers know him. This was a complete reversal for one of the few superheroes who was potentially more famous in his civilian identity. O’Neil took the concept of alcoholism as a relatable flaw and ran with it; Tony fell far deeper into alcoholism with far great consequences, and in the process lost all the trappings which had acted as a barrier between himself and the reader, and far more besides. Issue #178 shows Tony take a bet to earn $50, in sharp contrast to O’Neil’s first Iron Man, 20 issues previously, when he had casually bet $32,000 at a casino. Although his situation deteriorates more quickly than it might for others in the 1% due to interference by Stane, the message O’Neil hammers home is that this could happen to anyone; Tony’s status as a public figure or as a superhero could not save him from his addiction. During their confrontation, Steve Rogers lists all the reasons why he thinks Tony should not need to turn to alcohol; his wealth; his intelligence; his ease with beautiful women, all traits which readers could aspire, if not necessarily relate to. O’Neil renders all this meaningless in the face of Tony’s addiction and strips it away, leaving Tony not just ordinary, but one of the people society deliberately looks past on a daily basis: a homeless drunk. He took the character beyond relatable weakness for the vast majority of readers; Layton and Michelinie acknowledged that Stark’s lifestyle could lead to alcoholism, but O’Neil presented some of the worst consequences of that disease.
If anyone, even Tony Stark, could lose everything, the reverse also required consideration; could anyone be Iron Man? Tony Stark needed to be Iron Man, but did Iron Man need to be Tony Stark? These questions had always been inherent to Iron Man’s existence, as Tony had no innate superpowers, but created them by using the suit. Although there had been previous attempts to put someone else into the armour, none had been successful. However, after his relapse Tony himself tells James Rhodes “Anybody who wears the armor is Iron Man,” and Rhodes puts on the armour at Tony’s request, seemingly confirming that Iron Man did not require Tony Stark.  Rhodes remained Iron Man for two years, and in many of issues after he took on the role Tony Stark made only small appearances, sometimes not appearing at all. Iron Man was about the man in the suit, and Tony became a supporting character in what had once been his comic. Even after Tony returned to sobriety, he did not want the armour back, instead assisting James Rhodes in his heroic endeavour. However, while Iron Man was no longer synonymous with Tony Stark, it became clear that being Iron Man was difficult for anyone else. Tony built and maintained the armour, had it keyed to his brainwaves, and had a genius level intellect. Problems which Tony would have thought through, Rhodes had to bulldoze through instead, and the supporting cast gained two ex-Stark International scientists who Rhodes needed to help him understand and operate the Iron Man armour. The reactions to this change landed all over the spectrum; some wanted Tony back in the armour, some wanted Rhodes to remain with Stark as his mentor, and others wanted Tony gone for good, with Rhodes as the permanent Iron Man.  Eventually, the fact that armour was controlled by cybernetics calibrated for another man took its toll on Rhodes’ mental health; he acted erratically while using the armour and was paranoid that it would be taken away, eventually requiring Tony to become Iron Man once again. Rhodes later becomes War Machine, an identity which allowed him to be himself, rather than an imitation of Tony Stark.. As Julian Chambliss points out, there is a racial component to Rhodes’ ultimate inability to be Iron Man, which deserves to be considered in more depth than it can be here. However, it left the question of Tony Stark’s necessity to Iron Man contemplated but not fully answered. While Rhodes might not have been the right pilot, someone else could be, and Rhodes’ eventual debut as War Machine acknowledged that there were other stories to be told about people in Iron Suits.
At the end of Marvel Comics' Civil War event in 2007, the only positive thing that Tony Stark can find to say is that at least he never take a drink [Fig 9], despite having previously had his body enhance and healed by the Extremis Virus. Even with a body programmed to be healthy, Tony Stark is still an alcoholic. When the film Iron Man came out in 2008, the first image the audience sees of Tony Stark is his hand holding a glass full of whiskey. In 2009, Matt Fraction wrote Tony as a ‘dry drunk’, not drinking, but still displaying all the unhealthy controlling and isolating behaviours which fed into his alcoholism. Even after almost 20 years of sobriety, Tony Stark’s alcoholism remains not only important to his character, but one of its defining features. He cannot be understood without it. Bob Layton and David Michelinie created the perfect weakness for Iron Man, revitalising the character and making comics in the process. But without Dennis O’Neil, this facet of his character could have faded into the background. By building on his predecessors’ innovations, O’Neil treated Tony’s alcoholism with the respect and seriousness it deserved, and contemplated not just the possibility of a human weakness in a superhero, but how that weakness interacted with the worlds of both the superhero, and the reader.
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 Bob Layton, David Michelinie & John Romita Jr., 'Demon in a Bottle': Iron Man Volume 1, #120-129, ed. by Roger Stern (New York: Marvel Comics, 1979).
 Jason Sacks, Bob Layton: The "Corporate Man's Disease" Hits Tony Stark (2014) <http://comicsbulletin.com/bob-layton-corporate-mans-disease-hits-tony-stark/> [accessed 19 April 2019].
 Will Cooley & Mark C. Rogers, 'Ikes's Nightmare: Iron Man and the Military-Industrial Complex', in The Ages of Iron Man: Essays on the Armored Avenger in Changing Times, ed. by Joseph J. Darowski (North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, 2015).
 J. Richard Stevens, '"Let's Rap with Cap": Redefining American Patriotism Through Popular Discourse and Letters', Journal of Popular Culture, 44.3, (2011), 606-623.
 Charles Henebry, 'Socking It to Shell-Head: How Fan Mail Saved a Hero From the Military-Industrial Complex', in The Ages of Iron Man: Essays on the Armored Avenger in Changing Times, ed. by Joseph J. Darowski (North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, 2015).
 Jason Sacks, 'Demon in a Bottle and Feet of Clay: David Michelinie and Bob Layton on Iron Man', in The Ages of Iron Man: Essays on the Armored Avenger in Changing Times, ed. by Joseph J. Darowski (North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, 2015), p. 138.
 Craig This, 'Tony Stark: Disabled Vietnam Veteran?', in The Ages of Iron Man: Essays on the Armored Avenger in Changing Times, ed. by Joseph J. Darowski (North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, 2015), p. 20.
 Sacks, Bob Layton: The "Corporate Man's Disease" Hits Tony Stark, (2014).
 Sacks, The Ages of Iron Man, (2015) p. 142.
 Sacks, Bob Layton: The "Corporate Man's Disease" Hits Tony Stark, (2014)
 Bob Layton, David Michelinie & John Romita Jr., Iron Man Volume 1, #120, ed. by Roger Stern (New York: Marvel Comics, 1979), p. 3.
 Sacks, Bob Layton: The "Corporate Man's Disease" Hits Tony Stark, (2014).
 Paul Zehr, Inventing Iron Man (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2011), pp. 109-114.
 Sacks, The Ages of Iron Man (2015). p. 143.
 Bob Layton, David Michelinie & John Romita Jr., Iron Man Volume 1, #131, ed. by Roger Stern (New York: Marvel Comics, 1980), Letters Page.
 Bob Layton, David Michelinie & John Romita Jr., Iron Man Volume 1, #134, ed. by Roger Stern (New York: Marvel Comics, 1980), Letters Page.
 Bradford W. Wright, Comic Book Nation; The Transformation of Youth Culture in America (Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, 2001); Sacks, The Ages of Iron Man, p. 143.
 Layton, Michelinie & Jr., Iron Man #134 (1980), Letters Page.
 Layton, Michelinie & Romita Jr., Iron Man #128 (1979), Cover Page.
 Layton, Michelinie & Romita Jr., Iron Man #134 (1980), Letters Page.
 Sacks, The Ages of Iron Man, (2015) p. 143.
 Sacks, Bob Layton: The "Corporate Man's Disease" Hits Tony Stark, (2014)
 Layton, Michelinie & Romita Jr., Iron Man, #130, Letters Page.
 Dennis O'Neil & Luke McDonnell, Iron Man, Volume 1, #176, ed. by Mark Gruenwald (New York: Marvel Comics, 1983), Letters page; Kirsty Valenti, 'Denny O'Neil and Matt Fraction', Comics Journal #300, November 2009, p. 150.
 Valenti, 'Denny O'Neil and Matt Fraction', (2009), p. 150.
 Dennis O'Neil, Steve Ditko & Marie Severin, Iron Man, Volume 1, #160, ed. by Mark Gruenwald (New York: Marvel Comics, 1982), p. 2.
 Ibid. p. 22.
 Dennis O'Neil & Luke McDonnell, Iron Man, Volume 1, #169, ed. by Mark Gruenwald (New York: Marvel Comics, 1983), p. 8.
 Dennis O'Neil & Luke McDonnell, Iron Man, Volume 1, #173, ed. by Mark Gruenwald (New York: Marvel Comics, 1983), p. 20.
 Layton, Michelinie & Romita Jr., Iron Man, #128 (1979), p. 14.
 Layton, Michelinie & Romita Jr., Iron Man, #128 (1979), p. 3.
 Roz Kaveney, Superheroes: Caped Crusaders in Comics and Films (London: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., 2008), p. 112.
 O'Neil, Ditko & Severin, Iron Man, #160, (1982), p. 2, p. 4.
 Ibid. p. 21.
 O'Neil & McDonnell, Iron Man, #167, (1982), p.21
 Dennis O'Neil & Luke McDonnell, Iron Man, Volume 1, #178, ed. by Mark Gruenwald (New York: Marvel Comics, 1984), p. 3; O'Neil & McDonnell, Iron Man, #158, (1982), p. 6.
 O'Neil & McDonnell, Iron Man, #172, (1983), p. 12.
 O'Neil & McDonnell, Iron Man, #170, (1983), p.21
 Dennis O'Neil & Luke McDonnell, Iron Man, Volume 1, #183, ed. by Mark Gruenwald (New York: Marvel Comics, 1984), p.21; Dennis O'Neil & Luke McDonnell, Iron Man, Volume 1, #185, ed. by Mark Gruenwald (New York: Marvel Comics, 1984), p.18.
 Julian C. Chambliss, 'War Machine: Blackness, Power And Identity', in The Ages of Iron Man: Essays on the Armored Avenger in Changing Times, ed. by Joseph J. Darowski(North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers, 2015).
 Dennis O'Neil & Luke McDonnell, Iron Man, Volume 1, #177-79, ed. by Mark Gruenwald (New York: Marvel Comics, 1983-4), Letters Pages.
 Chambliss, The Ages of Iron Man (2015), p. 153; Dennis O'Neil & Luke McDonnell, Iron Man, Volume 1, #192, ed. by Mark Gruenwald (New York: Marvel Comics, 1984).
 Chambliss, The Ages of Iron Man (2015)
 Warren Ellis & Adi Granov, Iron Man, Volume 4, #1-6, ed. by Tom Breevort (New York: Marvel Comics, 2005).
 Sacks, The Ages of Iron Man (2015), p. 136.
 Valenti, Comics Journal #300 (2009), p. 150.