- "You're too young to understand this right now, so I thought I would put it on film for you. I built this for you, and some day you'll realize that it represents a whole lot more than just people's inventions. It represents my life's work. This is the key to the future. I'm limited by the technology of my time, but one day you'll figure this out. And when you do, you will change the world. What is, and always will be my greatest creation... is you."
- ―Howard Stark
Howard Anthony Walter Stark was an inventor, engineer, movie director, businessman and founder of Stark Industries. During World War II he worked on various government projects, including the Manhattan Project and Project Rebirth, and helped the Strategic Scientific Reserve fight against HYDRA. He constructed the second shield of Captain America, and after the war he located the Tesseract, which had been lost in the Atlantic Ocean.
A year after the end of the war, Howard was framed for distributing weapons to enemies of the United States. He put his friend Peggy Carter in charge of the effort of finding proof of his innocence. Eventually his name was cleared when it was proved that Johann Fennhoff was framing Stark in an attempt to gain revenge for the Battle of Finow. He later founded Stark Pictures while assisting Carter research and understand Zero Matter.
Later in life, Howard married a woman named Maria and had a son, Tony. He also co-developed the Arc Reactor with defected Soviet scientist Anton Vanko. Stark was also one of the founding members of S.H.I.E.L.D. where he worked with Ant-Man. Eventually, Stark would push his son away, but did care for Tony and had high hopes that he would change the world. When he became a threat to HYDRA, having managed to either create or obtain the Super Soldier Serum, Stark and his wife were assassinated by his former ally Bucky Barnes, better known as Winter Soldier.
- "I grew up on the lower east side. My father sold fruit. My mother sewed shirtwaists for a factory. Let me tell you, you don't get to climb the American ladder without picking up some bad habits on the way."
- ―Howard Stark to Peggy Carter
Howard Stark was born on Wednesday, August 15, 1917 in Richford, New York to a father who sold fruit and a mother who sewed shirtwaists for livings. Whilst growing up in the lower east side in New York City he became good friends with future gangster Joseph Manfredi. Growing up, he learned that society puts limits to success based on ones' economical status or gender, so he became good at lying to get what he needed. He became an industrial genius, multi millionaire, inventor, and businessman, attending multiple international conferences, such as the one where he met Doctor Abraham Erskine in Geneva, Switzerland, in May 1934.
- "Mr. Stark? If I could have a word."
"Colonel Phillips! What are you doing skulking in the shadows? The show's just getting started."
- ―Chester Phillips and Howard Stark
In 1939, Stark launched Stark Industries. A year later, at Ciro's, Los Angeles, California, Stark began a demonstration which would showcase Vibranium, a metal discovered by Stark Industries researchers in Africa. Later, Stark met with Colonel Chester Phillips after being attacked by HYDRA assassins. He agreed to join Phillips' newly created Strategic Scientific Reserve.
He participated in the rescue operation where the SSR agent Peggy Carter saved Doctor Abraham Erskine from the castle of Johann Schmidt, the head of Hitler's special weapons division HYDRA. Under Stark's guidance, his company began producing planes for the American war effort following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. His innovations later earned him a spot working on the Manhattan Project.
In 1943, Stark was at the Modern Marvels of Tomorrow exhibition, demonstrating new technology that could allow cars to hover; however, the technology was not yet perfected and the car crashed to the ground. In the audience watching the performance were Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes along with their dates Connie and Bonnie. Secretly, Stark was working with the Allies in order to help in World War II, performing multiple experiments for them and working as their weapons specialist.
Stark was instrumental in "Project Rebirth", the project of the SSR that Steve Rogers underwent in order to become the U.S. Army's first super soldier. When Doctor Abraham Erskine asked how things were progressing, he confirmed everything was ready although there was a risk they would take much of the power away from the city when they began.
Stark and Erskine began their work as they used the Vita-Ray Chamber Stark had built to douse Rogers with Vita Radiation after receiving the Super Soldier Serum from Doctor Erskine. Once Erskine had given a speech to Chester Phillips and the others attending the experiment, Stark activated the machine. When Rogers screamed in pain, Stark was ordered by Peggy Carter to shut down the machine only for Rogers to insist they continue, despite his reluctance due to the risk of killing Rogers, Stark continued to raise the levels to one hundred percent. The process successfully transformed scrawny Steve Rogers into the muscular Captain America.
However immediately after the experiment concluded, Erskine was assassinated. Rogers managed to catch the assassin, who killed himself with a Cyanide Pill before he could be arrested and then interrogated. Rogers did however capture the HYDRA submarine that the assassin had attempted to escape in and Stark was tasked with understanding its technology, which he said was years ahead of the Allied technology. With the death of Erskine, the only formula of the Super Soldier Serum was lost forever as well. Blood samples of Steve Rogers were taken to try to recreate the serum; from the twelve taken, one was given to Howard Stark.
Working with Captain America
Instead of being used as the soldier he was intended to be, Steve Rogers was used as a propaganda tool and traveled to help spread encouragement and hope. Shortly before one of his performances in Italy, many soldiers were captured by the enemy. Peggy Carter convinced Stark to fly Rogers to the HYDRA factory in Austria. Stark asked Carter if she wanted to join him after the mission for a late night fondue; Rogers thought they were already in a relationship. Rogers leapt from the plane and he completed his mission, helping all the allied soldiers escape.
Once Rogers had returned from the mission Stark was stationed at a secret SSR base and met with Steve Rogers again, who gave him a piece of HYDRA tech which Rogers claimed was the most powerful explosive known to man; Stark was doubtful but took the device for testing anyway. Stark questioned that Roger should be giving a speech now but Roger claimed he had ended his show tour. They were then greeted by Chester Phillips who congratulated Rogers on humiliating Senator Brandt by not showing up.
Stark later explained to Rogers what he meant by the earlier fondue reference and they had a brief talk about minds of women, as Rogers had upset Agent Peggy Carter by making some misguided and foolish comments and being caught kissing Private Lorraine. Stark noted that rather than think too much about the mindset of women, he preferred to focus his efforts on his work, which currently involved keeping Rogers alive during his next mission against Red Skull. Stark then showed Rogers a collection of new shields he had designed for him, as Rogers had now grown attached to the one he had taken on the mission, which had since been damaged by Red Skull.
Rogers chose a prototype Vibranium shield; while trying it on for size, Stark explained that it was made from the rarest metal on Earth, which could only be found in Wakanda and therefore they could not make more than one version. Finding the pair admiring the shield, Agent Peggy Carter arrived and fired four gunshots at him to test its strength, noting that it did indeed work. Rogers then told Stark that he had his own design ideas for his new uniform.
Testing the Tesseract
- "Admission signature is unusual, alpha beta ray neutral, but I doubt Rogers picked up on that. Seems harmless enough, hard to see what all the fuss is about... Write that down."
- ―Howard Stark
Stark and his team of scientists were tasked with testing the power source of the weapon that Steve Rogers had given him earlier after stealing it from the Red Skull's Austrian HYDRA Weapons Facility, trying to learn its potential as well as it's possible origin. As the experiments took place and Stark's team made notes about the device's energy signatures, Stark felt the device was not as impressive as he was told it was and commented on Rogers' lack of scientific understanding of the device power while Stark continued his own experiments.
Believing that the Tesseract was in fact harmless and Rogers had misunderstood and over-exaggerated it's power, Stark prepared to pull it apart with his machinery. However, when the device was touched, it exploded unexpectedly, shattering the glass and throwing Stark backwards. Stunned by the amount of force, Stark could only jokingly say "write that down". Stark began working on ways to understand and counter HYDRA's deadly new power.
In 1944, Stark was ordered by General John McGinnis of the US Army to design a gas that would keep soldiers awake for days. However, his experiments failed. The final product, which he named the Midnight Oil, caused symptoms similar to sleep deprivation, anger, hallucinations, and psychosis. Stark decided not to hand it over to the United States Armed Forces in fear of the damage that it could cause to allied or enemy soldiers.
However, McGinnis had other plans, stealing the gas which his soldiers dropped on the Soviet troops near Finow, hoping to help them crush the German defenses. The gas turned the soldiers into bloodthirsty savages, and hundreds of them killed each other. A day later, Stark arrived at Finow and saw the carnage. He returned from there distressed and began construction of his vault in his mansion.
- "Schmidt's working with powers beyond our capabilities. He gets across the Atlantic, he will wipe out the entire eastern seaboard in an hour."
- ―Howard Stark
When Captain America successfully captured the HYDRA scientist Arnim Zola, at the loss of Bucky Barnes, the Allies were able to learn of Red Skull's plan to attack the United States. Howard Stark joined Captain America and the Howling Commandos as Chester Phillips discussed their mission plan, noting what was at risk if Red Skull succeeded in his plan. A plan was devised by Rogers to attack the base alone then be joined by the rest of the US army.
Losing Captain America
- "Just keep looking."
- ―Howard Stark
In March 1945, Captain America crashed the Valkyrie in the ocean with the Tesseract. Stark refused to abandon his friend, and charted multiple expeditions out the ocean to search for him. A month later, Peggy Carter led a team including Dum Dum Dugan and Jim Morita to the HYDRA Research Facility Number 4, where Werner Reinhardt and his soldiers were arrested. The objects confiscated there, including the Obelisk, were sent to Stark to be studied. While there, Carter felt that an organization would be needed during peace time to safeguard people against dangerous technology and to monitor people like Howard Stark.
According to Peggy Carter, in May 1945, when Nazi Germany surrendered, Stark tried to kiss her to celebrate the victory, and she knocked him into the Thames river. Since he did not know how to swim, a group of frogmen had to fish him out and save him from drowning. However, it is possible that this story is just Carter's fabrication. Shortly after the V-E Day, while searching for Captain America in the Atlantic, Stark's expedition discovered the Tesseract, lying on the floor of the ocean after falling out of the Valkyrie during the crash. Stark attempted to figure out how the Tesseract worked, but had less than helpful results.
The Last Task
After the disappearance of Captain America, Howard Stark joined the Manhattan Project and helped the Allied scientists build the first Atomic Bomb. The new weapon was used against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which forced the Japanese militarist government to surrender, effectively ending World War II.
With the war over, Stark began enjoying the playboy lifestyle, parting with many high class celebrity women and sleeping with many others, always having Edwin Jarvis give them a Stark Special Bracelet as a parting gift to remember their time together. He continued to invent new weapons to be used in day to day situations, although many found new purposes such as the Constrictor.
In December 1945, Stark dated Ida Emke and tried to impress her by inviting her to his mansion and one of his warehouses to see many of his inventions, including a self-flying plane and his vault full of weapons. The pair enjoyed each other's company for the weekend before Stark had Jarvis give her a Bracelet as the traditional parting gift. In January, 1946, Stark attempted to buy the Roxxon Corporation from his friend Hugh Jones; however, the friendship and deal ended when Stark had an affair with Jones' wife, turning the pair into bitter rivals.
Stark and Dugan
Agent John Flynn disciplined Peggy Carter for her insubordination in the 'Zodiac' case until the phone rang. Stark informed Flynn that the successful mission was more a notch in Carter’s belt than a feather in her cap. He went on to tell Flynn that he had decided that Carter was going to run S.H.I.E.L.D. alongside him.
Enjoying his discomfort at the concept, Stark then told Flynn that he was to inform Carter that he was honored to bring her the news. Stark later sat by his mansion's swimming pool wearing a robe later worn by his son Tony many years later. Dum Dum Dugan sat with Stark as they discussed bikinis. Dugan asked Stark if he invented them and he said no, bikinis were invented by the French, with Dugan transfixed by the beautiful women wearing them by the pool.
On return from holiday, however, some of his inventions, including a document with the formula of the explosive Molecular Nitramene as well as many other weapons, were stolen. This put the plans for S.H.I.E.L.D. on hold. He had discovered that someone had cut a hole into the vault in his mansion when he returned from a pleasurable trip to Monaco. Congressional hearings led by Senator Webster were held to determine if Stark was a traitor when some inventions were found overseas in enemy hands. Although Stark defended himself, much of America believed he had sold the weapons to the Russian army.
Believing that he would never be able to convince the public or government of his innocence, Stark decided to travel overseas to avoid being arrested and to recover his property. Stark met with Peggy Carter and commissioned Carter to recover his weapons and the Nitramene document before it was sold on the black market. He left his butler Edwin Jarvis to assist his friend on her mission, despite Carter's protests, before getting on a boat and leaving the United States. However, his absence at the hearings caused him to be labelled a fugitive, which put him on the top of the Strategic Scientific Reserve's most wanted list.
Return to America
Stark paid smuggler Otto Mink a considerable sum to return from overseas and was collected by Peggy Carter and Edwin Jarvis. Mink's men attempted to get more money from Jarvis; however they were soon knocked out by Carter and Stark. As they were driving back to Stark's mansion, they soon discovered that several SSR agents were staking out Stark's intended safehouse; the SSR was more determined than ever to apprehend Stark, believing him responsible for Agent Ray Krzeminski's murder.
With nowhere else to turn, Carter was forced to take Stark to the Griffith Hotel where she was now living and where Stark had previously had affairs, much to Carter's dismay because she had to hide his presence from Miriam Fry. Once they arrived, Carter hid Stark in the dumbwaiter as she distracted Fry. Although they managed to get to Carter's floor, Stark did not make hiding easy with his flings with Lorraine and other tenants. The frustrated Carter pushed Stark into her room and claimed he was her cousin.
Stark promised that he would only be staying at the Griffith for three days before he flew to Rio de Janeiro, but first he asked Carter to go into the New York Bell Company and explore their lab to discover which of his inventions they currently held so he knew which ones were still being sold on the black market. When Carter asked why he was the one asking her to do this and not Jarvis, he explained that Jarvis did not have a Camera Pen, which he proudly revealed to her. Stark explained how it could be used so she could bring images of the inventions back to him.
Once Peggy Carter returned they looked through the images together, including some earlier pictures Stark had taken of a previous lover. Stark informed her that he needed her to steal the Blitzkrieg Button, a container holding Steve Rogers' blood. Stark figured that Rogers' blood had extraordinary abilities, including the cure for the common cold, which he did not want to lose to the Strategic Scientific Reserve. However Stark did not want Carter to know what the device held, so he instead told her that it was a device which would cause a blackout throughout New York City if handled incorrectly.
When Carter returned with the Blitzkrieg Button, she had already opened it and discovered Stark's lie; she did not give Stark the sample. Furious at his lies, Carter punched and berated Stark for attempting to use something of their friend's for personal gain. Stark tried to defend himself, claiming that because of his family history he lied to protect himself and others from the truth, insisting that Rogers' blood could be used for so much good, keeping his legacy alive. Accepting that he should not have lied to his friend, Stark apologized but Carter did not accept and ordered him to leave.
Feeling guilty about his actions in lying to her, Stark later had Edwin Jarvis try to speak to Peggy Carter and reason with her, but the furious Carter ignored him as well. Stark waited at a shoeshine vendor for Jarvis, who claimed that, despite all the many times he had apologized for Stark over the years for various reasons, he also was disgusted by Stark's behavior with how he had treated Agent Carter. Shortly after Jarvis had left, the man sitting next to Stark asked to borrow the sports section of the newspaper Stark was using to hide his face from police; tired and frustrated, Stark handed the entire newspaper to the man.
Surrender to the SSR
Howard Stark and Edwin Jarvis entered the New York Bell Company Office and found it in ruins after a massive explosion just outside the window. They were greeted with guns drawn as Daniel Sousa ordered him to surrender; Stark explained that since he was not hired to build the security systems, he could easily bypass them, despite them being used in the White House. When Peggy Carter rolled her eyes, Stark joked that she had been missing him.
Stark was questioned by Jack Thompson who took offence at his laid-back attitude, reminding him of the deaths of Roger Dooley and Ray Krzeminski among those killed in the Massacre at the Cinema Theater. Stark explained that Johann Fennhoff was using a device called Midnight Oil which had been used by General John McGinnis in the Battle of Finow. He told the agents how he had invented the gas to give the allied soldiers more energy, but accidentally made a poison gas which McGinnis had used without his permission and Fennhoff wanted revenge for the massacre of Russian soldiers.
A plan was devised for Stark to make a public announcement where Fennhoff would likely attempt to kill him, allowing the SSR to capture him. As Stark had Jarvis assist him with getting ready, he also spoke to Carter about the plan, with Stark noting that the bullet proof vest provided was junk. He took time to examine his inventions and was horrified at how they had been kept before finding his own bullet proof vest. Carter insisted that he reconsider the plan but Stark claimed he needed to redeem himself in her eyes. As they were leaving Stark quietly stole the Blitzkrieg Button.
- "Look, if you're gonna kill me, go ahead. I probably deserve it, but... leave innocent people out of it."
"I have no intention of killing you, Mr. Stark. I am going to make you suffer."
- ―Howard Stark and Johann Fennhoff
In their attempt to draw Johann Fennhoff into the open so he could be captured, Stark and the SSR set up a press conference presenting Stark as no longer a fugitive, but a hero, believing that Fennhoff would be forced to come and attempt to kill him. Stark ensured that Jack Thompson gave a long winded speech where he continued to compliment Stark, much to Thompson's annoyance. Fennhoff was not deceived; setting up a rifle to fire at the hearing.
When Stark and Edwin Jarvis attempted to escape in the chaos, they discovered that Fennhoff was using Officer Pike of the New York City Police Department as his thrall and he was able to capture Stark while Jarvis was helpless to save him. Pike did not listen to Stark's attempted bribes and delivered him to Fennhoff and Dottie Underwood, who killed the officer. As they drove along, Underwood held Stark at gunpoint and reminded him of their time together a few months earlier, although Stark failed to remember her name of "Ida Emke" and as a result was hit in the face.
Dottie Underwood and Fennhoff took Stark to one of his warehouses that Stark had shown Underwood months earlier; he still did not recognize her as "Ida Emke". Fennhoff explained his hatred for Stark; his brother was killed when Midnight Oil was deployed in Finow and, since Stark was its creator, Stark was ultimately to blame. Stark explained that he did not want the gas deployed; Fennhoff did not care and hypnotized him to fly a plane over the V-E Day anniversary celebration in Times Square, dispensing nine canisters of Midnight Oil, hoping the chaos would destroy New York City.
Flying the plane, Stark was continually hypnotized by Fennhoff using the radio. Suddenly Peggy Carter interrupted and begged Stark to return to normal. In his trance, he revealed that Captain America was his greatest creation and he wanted to find his true friend so he and Carter could be reunited. Knowing that if Stark reached the city, Jarvis was tasked to shoot him from the sky, Carter cried for Stark to let Rogers rest in peace and let him go. Carter's words finally got through to Stark and he freed himself of Fennhoff's mind control before turning around and returning to the hanger.
With New York City saved, Stark hugged Carter and Jarvis, thanking them for their help before he finally remembered Ida Emke's name. Stark thanked Carter and Angie Martinelli by giving them one of his houses free of charge. In response to the incident, Stark decided that no one could be trusted with his inventions, so he began a legal battle with the United States Government to have them returned and destroyed. Stark was informed by Jarvis that the Blitzkrieg Button was lost when he was captured by Fennhoff, leading him to believe that Captain America's blood was gone forever.
Moving out to Los Angeles to procure a defense contract, Stark was impressed by the scene and founded Stark Pictures, his own movie production company. Bringing Edwin Jarvis and his wife Ana Jarvis with him, Stark focused his efforts on seducing the location scout while also purchasing exotic animals, including a pet flamingo he named Bernard Stark, much to Jarvis' frustration.
During this time, Stark added to a special car that he had for dates. In this leisure car was a button that adjusted the driver seat to a fully horizontal position if necessary, a special compartment with a change of clothes, and windows with adjustable tints for privacy. There was also a beacon inside, which Jarvis called "the sock on the doorknob", which Stark would activate when he wanted Jarvis to retrieve the car if Stark had abandoned it.
To get the favor of any elected official, Stark gave campaign contributions to all candidates; this garnered him tickets to campaign parties and rallies. Two tickets in his name were given to Edwin Jarvis for the campaign fundraiser Calvin Chadwick was having.
Stark started directing his movie based on the Kid Colt comic book. During the filming of a major duel, Peggy Carter and Edwin Jarvis disrupted production by accidentally getting in the shot. The frustrated Stark called for lunch and went to speak to the pair, suggesting that Carter play one of the roles while she claimed a movie based on a comic book was a terrible idea, despite Stark arguing that the movie was actually a historical drama about a real life cowboy.
Returning to Stark's home in Los Angeles, Carter showed him footage of the creation of Zero Matter. Stark was incredibly impressed by the discovery and listened as Carter explained how Jason Wilkes had worked on it and been framed as a communist after his death as a result. Stark found a pin seemingly belonging to Wilkes which would make him a member of the Arena Club, a group which only allowed white older males as members which Stark had refused to join. Carter revealed that Dottie Underwood had tried to steal one of the pins, but Stark struggled to remember his own past kidnapper.
Stark continued to relax and think with a collection of beautiful women he called his production assistants. Carter and Jarvis returned to discuss the Arena Club further, but Stark continued to dismiss them as nothing more than old rich white men. Carter explained she wished to sneak a recorder into their meeting room to make them incriminate themselves which Stark dismissed as a dull plan. Carter however insisted that it would be to his liking and stole his drink to convince him to listen to her further.
Following Peggy Carter's plan, Stark and Edwin Jarvis went to the Arena Club claiming they were interested in becoming members. Stark however complained about not getting a martini and the lack of anything exciting happening. Stating that the club needed more women, Stark opened the doors and welcomed his production assistants inside, which also allowed Carter to sneak through the club.
Stark was tasked with ensuring that the members and staff of the club were too distracted by the chaos him and his ladies were causing to notice Carter's investigation, a task he took great pleasure in, giving Jarvis the task of making the martinis while he enjoyed the company of the women and watched the security teams panic. Stark continued to speak to Torrance about how he was now enjoying the club until Jarvis informed him it was time to leave, at which point he claimed the club was terrible and left with the women to go back to his swimming pool.
Working with Jason Wilkes
Peggy Carter returned to Stark's home in a panic as she had seemingly been infected by Zero Matter. While Stark ran some experiments, Daniel Sousa questioned how and why this was happening. Stark revealed that Carter was colder than everything around her, like Jane Scott, Meltzer and Andrew Henry before they died. Stark however believed that Carter was not dying due to the strange gravitational field around her and set about proving his theory.
Stark and Edwin Jarvis went into his lab where he had been working on a chemical mixture for processing film reels, intended to push Stark Pictures ahead of the competition. Spraying the mixture around Carter, he revealed Jason Wilkes, who had been turned invisible in the Zero Matter explosion, although Carter was unable to touch him. Wilkes revealed that when he had tried to steal the Zero Matter, Whitney Frost had stopped him and caused the explosion. Before he could reveal anything more, he began to fade away again before Stark could bring him back.
Stark and Jarvis stepped outside where he asked for more materials to bring Wilkes back, also requesting cheese and Fondue. Stark commented on how good a team Jarvis and Agent Carter made, noting that she put a spring in his friend's step; Stark made it clear that if Jarvis wished to leave his position to work alongside Carter full time then he would support the decision, but Jarvis assured him he was happy in his current position. Carter joined them and asked if she could help at all but Stark insisted that he would work day and night to figure out the solution in order to help save Wilkes.
Remaining true to his word, Stark stayed up all night drinking coffee until he made Wilkes visible for an extended period of time, becoming so casual around Wilkes that he began walking through his body in the search for more coffee. After a second full night of working, Wilkes impressed Stark enough to be ordered a position in Stark Industries, Stark decided to go to Peru to seek the help of Abner Brody. Stark informed Agent Carter of this decision, while she tried to convince him to get some sleep. While Stark frantically got ready to leave, he put Wilkes in charge and told him that Jarvis would help in anyway that he could before storming out to find his passport.
Stopping Whitney Frost
Stark sent Peggy Carter a design for a Gamma Cannon to assist her in her mission against Whitney Frost; later, he and Edwin Jarvis were called by Aloysius Samberly to help him rescue Carter, Jason Wilkes, Jack Thompson, and Daniel Sousa from Frost. Stark was driven by Jarvis to the Los Angeles Waste Management Facility where their car struck Frost, much to Stark's horror due to Frost's reputation as a movie starlet but Jarvis reassured him that she would be fine. They then ordered everyone to get in the cars to escape.
Stark and the rest went to the Strategic Scientific Reserve office to study Wilkes and form a plan to stop Frost. Wilkes described his experience inside the Zero Matter rift as filled with nothing but darkness, much to Stark's annoyance as he had hoped for something more interesting than nothing. However Wilkes insisted that Zero Matter was like a cancer that if Frost got her hands on, she could use to infect the entire planet. Stark then confirmed that Wilkes was completely clear of Zero Matter, although he was mildly ill before joking about how Carter's life was often being threatened.
Deal with the Devil
- "How do the most successful scientists achieve greatness?"
"Given your history, drinking copious amounts of alcohol and cavorting with loss women."
"That's a good guess but it's wrong. Nope, they get smarter people to do the research, then they steal it for themselves."
- ―Howard Stark and Edwin Jarvis
Stark returned to his mansion, where as he ate with Peggy Carter and Jason Wilkes, they discussed the number of portraits Stark had of himself around the mansion. Wilkes commented on their plan to build a new Gamma Cannon as it would still cause the Zero Matter to be struck on Earth; Stark suggested they build a containment unit so he could study it in greater detail at Stark Industries. Carter called it a terrible and clearly highly selfish idea.
When Stark ran out of mustard, he shouted for Edwin Jarvis to bring more. However, Jarvis was held captive by Joseph Manfredi. Stark soon revealed that they knew each other. Manfredi asked the group to help him save Frost from the Zero Matter. Manfredi told Stark that Frost was planning to open another rift and Carter came up with a plan to beat Frost at her own plan by opening the rift first and taking the Zero Matter from her. Stark suggested they steal Frost's plans, and Carter and Daniel Sousa then left with Manfredi for him to distract Frost while they retrieved her research.
Once he had copies of Frost's plans, Stark began studying them with Wilkes and Aloysius Samberly at the Auerbach Theatrical Agency. The three quickly figured out what Frost had planned and progressed to arguing over the naming rights to the machine. Carter broke in and asked if they had made a plan; Wilkes replied that there were many problems to overcome. Carter told the three that they were brilliant and would solve the problem, walking away and naming the machine herself. Stark, Samberly, and Wilkes agreed that her name idea was good and returned back to their real work.
While everyone worked together to build the machine, Stark worked closely with Rose Roberts, flirting with her about her hands, much to the annoyance of Samberly who tried and failed to join in with the conversation. Eventually they were interrupted when Jack Thompson arrived and asked how he could help; Carter asked him to collect the dinner orders, which he agreed to due to his lack of skills as a scientist. Working through the night they eventually built what Carter had already named as the Rift Generator.
Creating the Final Rift
- "There is one other option but it's not good, we could use the manual override."
"Well then use it."
"The crank is on the device, on the right hand side of the base."
- ―Howard Stark and Peggy Carter
The next morning they set up with Rift Generator at Stark Industries and discussed their plan for attracting creating the Rift that would undoubtedly attract Whitney Frost to them. Once Jason Wilkes had discussed the dangers of their experiment, noting that they could not step too close to the rift for fear of being sucked inside, Stark activated the machine and caused the rift to open in front of the group.
While they waited for Frost to arrive, Stark amused himself by playing golf and attempting to hit the balls into the rift, although he struggled to get even close. When Peggy Carter asked for an update, Wilkes mocked Stark for his misunderstanding of his priorities. Becoming more and more frustrated by constantly failing to hit the rift, Stark asked Edwin Jarvis what he was doing wrong, Jarvis commented on the fact that they were currently standing in front of what he described as an incomprehensible rip within the fabric of their world, before suggesting he instead use a different club for his swing.
Eventually Daniel Sousa warned the group that Frost had finally arrived on the set and was making her way towards the rift. Stark and Jarvis got behind the Gamma Cannon, took aim and fired it at Frost, causing the Zero Matter to be ripped from her body and sucked inside the rift, while she begged them to get it back, Carter, Sousa and Jack Thompson took her into custody. Stark however quickly realized that there was an issue with the machine as it was not closing the portal, noting that Cannon was still recharging and the machine could only be shut down by getting close to it. Stark bravely volunteered to shut it down himself as did the rest of the group until they realized that Sousa was already doing it by himself.
As they watched Sousa attempted to shut down the machine by hand, they discussed other methods, with Jarvis running to try something. Suddenly Sousa's rope broke free and the group were forced to hold on to it to keep him out of the rift. However Jarvis returned and decided to use Stark's Hovercar to drop the Gamma Cannon inside the rift and detonate it there. The plan worked and when the hover car exploded, the rift was shut down, with Stark commenting to Jason Wilkes that it did indeed work as Wilkes had previously doubted it, while the exhausted Sousa was left to collapse.
Hiring Jason Wilkes
Back at Howard Stark's Mansion, Stark and Peggy Carter argued about him being given the Zero Matter to research for the benefit of humanity until Jason Wilkes arrived and teased him about it. Stark then revealed to Carter that he had decided to hire Wilkes into Stark Industries to work on some new and exciting project that he had come up with while working in Peru. Stark then informed the pair that he would be going for a swim, warning them that he intended to do it in the nude.
Start of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Stark founded S.H.I.E.L.D. in 1949, along with Peggy Carter and Chester Phillips. The SSR was reformed as the scientific division of S.H.I.E.L.D. and continued to work on researching the advanced weapons captured from HYDRA as well as the mysterious Tesseract. According to Operation Paperclip, scientists from former Nazi Germany were recruited to work, but unknowingly for Stark, Arnim Zola and others secretly used S.H.I.E.L.D. resources for their own Winter Soldier Program. Stark's portrait, along with Carter's and Phillips's adorned the wall of a secret bunker hidden beneath Camp Lehigh, even years after its abandonment.
- "Everything is achievable through technology - better living, robust health and for the first time in human history, the possibility of world peace. I'm Howard Stark, and everything you'll need in the future can be found right here."
- ―Howard Stark
In 1954, Stark created the Stark Expo, a world wide technology fair where the world's new technology would be presented to show a bright future for mankind, promising a better world for everyone. Stark eventually married a woman named Maria. He continued developing weapons for the United States Armed Forces and S.H.I.E.L.D. during the Cold War. He met several American presidents, including Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon.
Stark co-developed the Arc Reactor with Anton Vanko. Though the power of the Arc Reactor was immense, Stark saw it as the stepping stone to create a new, stable element that would render nuclear power obsolete. However, Vanko saw the Arc Reactor as a way to get rich and when Stark found out, he had Vanko deported. Some time after that, he took on Obadiah Stane as a partner. In 1970, Howard and Maria had a son, Anthony "Tony" Stark.
Stark was limited by the technology of his time and could not finish the new element he had discovered, so he embedded the atomic structure of the new element in the 1974 Stark Expo model, and a message to Tony in one of his old home movies, stating that he had high hopes that Tony could figure it out with the current technology and change the world. Stark told his son in the film that he "is and always will be" his greatest creation.
Working with Hank Pym
In 1987, Stark asked Hank Pym for his Ant-Man Suit so that S.H.I.E.L.D. agents could use it to stop the radicals in East Berlin who were reverse-engineering HYDRA technology. Pym refused and said that he will be the only person to use the Pym Particles, accepting the mission for himself. Peggy Carter helped Pym train for the upcoming mission. When Pym returned, he informed Stark and Carter about what had happened during his time in Berlin. Stark tried to forbid Pym from doing any more missions, but Pym reiterated his statement that he would be the only one to use the particles and implied that he was willing to do further missions for the organization.
However, in 1989, Hank Pym announced his resignation from the organization before Stark, Peggy Carter and Mitchell Carson, after he had discovered that S.H.I.E.L.D. was trying to replicate the Pym Particles from the Ant-Man Suit, showing his anger by slamming Carson's head on the desk after he insulted him. Stark tried to convince him to stay, noting that he should not let the death of his beloved wife Janet van Dyne ruin the good work he had done. Pym did not listen and left the Triskelion and went into retirement, vowing to never allow anyone to get his formula.
One Christmas, Stark and his wife prepared to go away for a few days and leave their son alone, although Stark remained highly skeptical about how responsible Tony would be while they were gone. Eventually, Howard managed to recreate the Super Soldier Serum. Unfortunately for him, HYDRA's operative Vasily Karpov learned about his success. Howard and his wife Maria were killed in an automobile "accident" secretly arranged by HYDRA on Long Island in 1991.
As the Winter Soldier attacked his car and made it crash against a tree, Stark managed to get out and call for help for his wife Maria. He recognized the Winter Soldier as Sergeant Bucky Barnes, a former member of the Howling Commandos, but the Winter Soldier attacked Stark by repeatedly punching him in the face with his metal arm and cracked his skull - so Stark would appear to have died by his head crashing into the steering wheel - and then he placed the deceased body back in the seat before strangling the horrified Maria to death and stealing the Super Soldier Serum from the car.
Tony Stark's Struggles
- "There's questions I would've asked him. I would've asked him how he felt about what his company did, if he was conflicted, if he ever had doubts. Or maybe he was every inch of man we remember from the newsreels."
- ―Tony Stark
Tony Stark inherited Stark Industries becoming, at age 21, the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Nearly twenty years after becoming CEO, Tony watched the 1974 message video and examined the Expo model, helping him discover the new element, noting that his father was still teaching him even after being dead for nearly two decades. The new element was the key to a safer and more powerful Arc Reactor, which Tony needed to power the electromagnet protecting his heart without poisoning his blood.
Creating a miniature Particle Accelerator in his basement lab, Tony was able to synthesize the new element, upgrade the design of the Arc Reactor to clean his blood, and create the Mark VI armor. Captain America was happy for his old friend that had a successful life and raised a family, seeing a lot of him in his son, Tony. Unfortunately, Rogers would later have to fight Tony after they discovered that Rogers's ally, the Winter Soldier, had murdered Tony's parents. After defeating Tony, Steve gives up his shield when Tony tells him that it belongs to Howard as he helped make it, out of sympathy for both Tony and Howard.
Howard was memorialized in a mural in Midtown School of Science and Technology and he had a highway named in his memory, Howard Stark Memorial Parkway, in Long Beach, California. In 2015 a biography was published about him entitled "The Life and Times of Industrialist Howard Stark."
- "I'm glad Howard got married. I only knew him while he was young and single."
- ―Steve Rogers
During his early life, Howard was considered to be quite charismatic and comical. He was well-known for having flings with different women, sometimes attending the Academy Awards to be around actresses. He had a jeweler create the "Stark Special", a bracelet created of the highest quality of gold and diamonds, to be given to each lover after he had Edwin Jarvis dismiss them. This trait eventually landed him in deep trouble when one of his dates ended up stealing weapons he developed. However, he eventually settled with a woman named Maria and had a son, whom they named Tony. In addition, even beforehand, he also made clear to Captain America after an incident where the latter accused Peggy Carter of "fonduing" with Howard during a fight between the two (referring to an earlier remark that Howard made to Carter where he asked her out to eat fondue afterwards) that, while he had his proclivities, he made sure to avoid indulging in them during the events of the war and focus on his work.
Sometime after his son's birth, his personality drastically changed. Howard's relationship with Tony was a strained one and Tony, for most of his life, saw Howard as a cold, calculating man who wanted to be rid of Tony, so much that he believed Howard's happiest day was when he sent Tony off to boarding school.
Howard was shown to be very cautious as he left a film message for Tony in the event he died before Tony was old enough to understand the contents of the message. The contents of the film stated Howard left something very important behind for Tony, which ended up saving his life. Howard called Tony his "greatest creation" and trusted that he would carry on his legacy. Tony's attitude towards his father's memory had changed after this, as he was shown to be willing to work with authoritative figures, evidenced by aligning the Avengers with the Sokovia Accords for a better future. When Tony later fought and was defeated by Captain America who lied to him about his father's death, Tony said to the latter that his shield was Howard's property and he didn’t deserve it.
According to Tony, Howard had a habit of talking about Captain America non-stop. He felt that, before the birth of Tony, that Captain America was his greatest creation largely due to the perception that all he created were weapons of mass destruction. Howard also saw Captain America as a good friend and was deeply loyal to him, having made several attempts to find him after he disappeared in the Ocean. Even though he tried everything in his power, Stark kept an underlying guilt about not finding Steve Rogers when he sought him after his disappearance.
Howard is also shown to be quite sarcastic, a trait he carried with him until his death. Mere hours before his death, he sarcastically insulted Tony who just got home from studying abroad by asking who the "homeless person on the couch" was. He also believed sarcasm is correlated to a person's intellectual potential, possibly stemming from his own intellect and sarcasm. As such, he believed Tony would amount to great things with his life, having told his son that during their last conversation.
- "The Great Howard Stark, I have heard much of your genius."
- ―Johann Fennhoff
- Genius-level Intellect: Howard Stark was an exceptionally intelligent person, creating weapons and devices that were considered futuristic to most, including other geniuses. Indeed, Howard is one of the few modern scientists famous and prominent enough to be pictured in the science lab of Midtown School of Science and Technology.
- Master Engineer: Howard Stark has created formidable inventions that induced his friends, notably Peggy Carter, fear him and wish him monitored.
- Master Scientist: Stark was brilliant in several scientific fields, having helped in the creation of Captain America in Project Rebirth, theorized a new element helped develop the atomic bomb in the Manhattan Project, and created many formidable inventions, most notably molecular Nitramene and Midnight Oil, which were all devastating in the wrong hands. Howard also managed to finally recreate the Super Soldier Serum shortly before his death, with it being used by HYDRA to create the Winter Soldiers.
- Master Businessman: Howard Stark, despite his poor upbringing, was able to found the company Stark Industries, which became viewed as the apex among its competitors, and made him a rags-to-riches millionaire. Howard would also later help Peggy Carter and Chester Phillips found the agency S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Master Pilot: Howard, according to Peggy Carter, was the best civilian pilot she had ever seen, with her enlisting his help to fly over enemy airspace during World War II, while transporting Captain America to Austria.
- Multilingualism: Howard Stark was fluent in his native English, as well as Latin, Spanish, French, Japanese and Korean.
Howard Stark's Designs
- Modified Car
- Vita-Ray Chamber
- Captain America's Shield
- Captain America's Uniform
- Captain America's Motorcycle
- Blitzkrieg Button
- Camera Pen
- Havoc Reactor
- Photonic Amplifier
- Midnight Oil
- Stark Heat Vest
- Self-Piloting Airplane
- Gamma Cannon
- Tony Stark's New Element
|Appearances for Howard Stark|
In chronological order:
In an alternate timeline:
- In the comics, Howard Stark was retconned as no longer being Tony's biological father: he and Maria adopted him after their child, Arno, had to be hidden away due to a developmental disorder.
Behind the Scenes
- Howard Stark was played by actor Gerard Sanders in Iron Man, John Slattery in Iron Man 2, Ant-Man and Captain America: Civil War, and Dominic Cooper in Captain America: The First Avenger, Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the television series Agent Carter. In the video game Captain America: Super Soldier he was voiced by Liam O'Brien.
- In Avengers: Age of Ultron when Ultron is processing information when he became self-aware, an image of Howard Stark can be seen, being a morphed image of both Dominic Cooper and John Slattery.
- Howard Stark is one of a few characters to be played by a different actor in different films. The others are James Rhodes, Bruce Banner, Fandral, Thanos, and Red Skull.
- Additionally, Howard Stark is the only character in the movies to be played by three different actors.
- In an unused draft of Iron Man, Howard Stark was featured as still alive, a ruthless businessman and the main villain, who adopted the identity of "War Machine".
- Howard Stark's appearance and personality in Iron Man 2 were based on that of Walt Disney, founder of the The Walt Disney Company, the parent company of Marvel Studios and Marvel Entertainment, though they had not yet acquired Marvel at the time Iron Man 2 was filming. Howard's appearance and personality in Captain America: The First Avenger and Agent Carter, however, much like his son, is based that of Howard Hughes. Much like Hughes, Howard Stark is a successful inventor, industrialist, and pilot, who had relations with a bevy of women, including several famous movie stars, and who also ventured into the film industry.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 S.H.I.E.L.D. Files
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Iron Man
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Captain America: Civil War
- ↑ EXCLUSIVE: John Slattery Filmed Scenes For ‘AVENGERS 4’
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Agent Carter: 1.04: The Blitzkrieg Button
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Captain America: First Vengeance
- ↑ Captain America: First Vengeance, Volume 5
- ↑ Captain America: First Vengeance, Volume 3
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Iron Man Novelization, pg. 15
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 Captain America: The First Avenger
- ↑ Captain America: The First Avenger Deleted Scene
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Agent Carter: 1.08: Valediction
- ↑ Agent Carter: 1.06: A Sin to Err
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 2.01: Shadows
- ↑ 16.0 16.1 Agent Carter: 1.01: Now is Not the End
- ↑ Agent Carter: 1.02: Bridge and Tunnel
- ↑ Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter
- ↑ Agent Carter: 2.01: The Lady in the Lake
- ↑ Agent Carter: 2.02: A View in the Dark
- ↑ Agent Carter: 2.06: Life of the Party
- ↑ 22.0 22.1 22.2 Agent Carter: 2.03:Better Angels
- ↑ Agent Carter: 2.08: The Edge of Mystery
- ↑ 24.0 24.1 24.2 24.3 Agent Carter: 2.10: Hollywood Ending
- ↑ Peggy Carter's S.H.I.E.L.D. file
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.12: Seeds
- ↑ The Avengers
- ↑ 28.0 28.1 28.2 Iron Man 2
- ↑ 29.0 29.1 29.2 Iron Man 2: Public Identity
- ↑ Ant-Man Prelude
- ↑ Ant-Man
- ↑ Spider-Man: Homecoming
- ↑ WHIH EXCLUSIVE: Scott Lang Interview
|CEO of Stark Industries|
1939 - 1991