So, here I will speak of why I am a fan of Tony Stark. I am not going to go into massive quoting of comics and quotes to defend 'x' action, I know there are plenty of Pro and Con Tony snips floating around, I don't care to be another. This is a personal account of why I love Tony Stark and remain an Iron Man fan, logic probably not applying.
Well. My childhood was lonely and screwed up. I won't go into more detail. I will say that the highlight of my month would be going to the comic store and buying the new issues of almost every Marvel comic published. Come home, spread them out on the floor and lay on my tummy and read them. To me, the characters were real and they felt like family. They sustained me, they protected me, they created some bubble around me that no one could penetrate and I existed heavily in fantasy. I learned from them, I admired them, I adored them. They helped me get through things.
Iron Man was my favorite, though not many other kids liked Iron Man. I was happy when they started to play the Iron Man animated show with Spiderman and X-men on Saturday morning cartoons (when FOX network was cool?). The Marvel Action Hour. Most kids were nuts about Spiderman. Now, I loved your friendly neighborhood Spiderman as well but Mr. Stark was my main man. I liked Tony. He was different, he was more human to me. His faults were things I knew were real, things I saw everyday in my life. He was handsome, he was cool, he drove sexy cars, he was brilliant, confident. I wanted to be like him. Not afraid of people, successful, independent, smart. And having a suit of armor wouldn't hurt either. I related to the little tidbits in those 80s & 90s comics about Tony's own childhood with a father who drank and said cruel things, about loving knights and needing to be like iron to get by, on having to change from being sensitive and shy to something else to survive and please. I saw that Tony was a sad kid and I was a sad kid too... but he grew up and was strong. I wanted to be that. We were sad kids together and he gave me hope that I could beat my demons, even if I fall off the horse, I can get back on. If I make mistakes, I'm not evil-- I'm human and I can correct them.
I was a kindred spirit with Stark and I continued to feel that way as I got older, no matter what Marvel does to Stark, he's always a hero in my book and can do no wrong. To me, he reached through those pages with his hand out. Lets be business partners, kid. I'll show you how we do things. I shook his hand. He's never let me down.
Things are more complicated, of course, but I believe this is a serious enough and more personal answer than I almost feel comfortable giving. So I shall present it as this. Yes, I have suffered some major abuses as a child (among other psychological issues) and some other rather odd hardships, so perhaps my feeling of a fictional character being more of a parent to me than my own is screwed up. Life can be screwed up but you do what you have to do to get by, to survive in whatever way you're lacking. Iron Man helped me survive.
I am happy to see the popularity of Iron Man boom from the two movies and I hope it continues and draws in more life-long fans who keep buying Iron Man comics every month.