12 Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Stark Family

List Rules
Vote up the most interesting details about Iron Man's family.

Robert Downey Jr. and Marvel Studios put Iron Man on the map in a big way back in 2008 - but what do you actually know about Tony Stark's comic book family? Stark has been around since 1963 and has appeared in thousands of Marvel comic books, so he's bound to have an extensive family tree. With that in mind, can you name anything about the Stark family that isn't from the MCU?

For instance, did you know Tony was adopted by Howard and Maria Stark, and he has an adoptive brother, Arno? Did you know his biological mother, Amanda Armstrong, was a rock star who led a double life as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent? And there's plenty more you probably don't know about the Stark family. 


  • 1
    7 VOTES

    Alien Technology Helped Howard And Maria Stark Give Birth To Their Only Biological Son, Arno

    Tony Stark is not the biological child of Howard and Maria Stark, a relatively recent development in the annals of Marvel Comics that ret-conned years of what fans thought they knew about the Stark family. Arno Stark is the only biological son of Howard and Maria. But his birth almost didn't happen.

    If human technology were all Howard Stark had access to in Marvel Comics, Arno wouldn't have survived the birth. Howard scours the globe in search of medical aid to save his son. Eventually, he finds help in the form of the sentient robot Rigellian Recorder 451. Using technology beyond the capabilities of modern humanity, Howard and 451 manage to save Arno's life. Why would 451 agree to help the Starks with nothing in return? Well, let's just say the robot has his own motives and leave it at that.

    7 votes
  • 2
    8 VOTES

    Amanda Armstrong, Tony's Biological Mother, Was A Rock Star/S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent

    Amanda Armstrong is Tony Stark's adoptive mother. Not since Alison Blaire has a Marvel character been able to kick butt and rock out at the same time like Amanda. Granted, Dazzler does more popping than rocking, but the point still stands.

    Although Amanda isn't a super-spy, she is still involved in the world of espionage. And like many a punk rocker, she knows how to handle herself in a pinch. Based on the true nature of Tony's biological father, those instincts end up being pretty vital.

    8 votes
  • 3
    7 VOTES

    The Starks Adopted Tony To Protect Their First Son From Extraterrestrial Revenge Plots

    Due to the complications of Arno's birth, the Starks have to put blind faith in an alien robot. But is Rigellian Recorder 451 really helping Howard and Maria out of the goodness of his cold, metal heart? Of course not. The robot genetically modifies Arno with Kree technology to alter his mind, making Arno a relentless practical thinker who focuses on advanced weaponry above all else. Howard figures out that 451 is doing something to Arno and tries to counteract it as best he can. What father would let a rogue alien robot tinker with the very fiber of his son's being?

    Howard's attempt to save Arno does not work and leaves the boy in a weakened physical state for the majority of his life. Not wanting 451 to return and take his only true son from him for whatever the robot intended, Howard comes up with the idea to hide Arno and adopt another son in his place: Anthony Edward Stark. The Starks never manage to tell Tony of his true parentage before they perish, leaving him to figure it out for himself years later and find his adoptive brother Arno hidden away in a hospital.

    7 votes
  • 4
    5 VOTES

    Arno Stark Teamed With Tony To Transform The Mandarin's Former Base Into A Futuristic Utopia

    When Arno and Tony Stark first meet in 2013's Iron Man #17, Arno tells his brother he's spent his entire life in a hospital bed ruminating on the state of the world: "Tony! I've spent my life here thinking. Earth has problems. I'd like to work on solutions. I have... ideas." Without much of a choice, Tony agrees to team with his newfound brother, and their first project is very civic and ambitious. The cover of the very next Iron Man issue proclaims, "Stark Works - Building the City of the Future Today."

    The two Starks put their minds together on a problem Tony lays out succinctly: "We need to have a better city to live in. We need a better way to live." They choose Mandarin City, an independent territory off the shore of China. The brothers call their new city "Troy" and get to work, but Iron Man's enemies keep getting in the way. So Tony takes a step back and Arno becomes the face of Troy. Not much has been made of Troy in the various Stark-related comic books since 2014, but that might have something to do with Tony and Arno having a bit of a falling out.

    5 votes
  • 5
    4 VOTES

    Thanks To Time Travel, Howard Stark Teamed With Some Of The Most Famous People In History

    Marvel writer Jonathan Hickman's jam is constructing complex, multilayered tales. And there isn't a Marvel story written by Hickman wilder than S.H.I.E.L.D. Over the course of two volumes, Hickman teamed with Dustin Weaver to create a mind-melting, time-bending tale that brought some of history's most famous icons into the pages of Marvel Comics.

    Howard Stark and Nathaniel Richards team up with the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Nostradamus, and Nikola Tesla to fight off the machinations of Sir Isaac Newton (who also happens to be the Sorcerer Supreme, at one point). Honestly, S.H.I.E.L.D. defies explanation. It is a comic book series that needs to be read to be believed. 

    4 votes
  • 6
    3 VOTES

    Tony's Biological Grandfather Was A Federal Agent Slain In The Line Of Duty

    Not much is known about Tony's biological grandfather on his mother's side. What we do know comes from International Iron Man #6, in which Tony's biological mother, Amanda, is offered a job by Valentina Allegra de Fontaine, then an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Julia Louis-Dreyfus's incarnation of Valentina from the MCU is clearly on the shady side, but the comic book version of the character starts out as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent (and lover of Nick Fury) before becoming Madame Hydra years later.

    Valentina tells Amanda that her father, a federal agent, wasn't felled by a drug cartel as she was originally told. Rather, he was slain by Advanced Idea Mechanics in the line of duty. Val also informs Tony's mother that S.H.I.E.L.D. already got the guys that eliminated her father, and they want her to become an undercover agent using her musical career as a facade for her international travel. 

    3 votes