Iron Man is a Marvel Comics superhero, who is actually millionaire industralist Tony Stark. Injured and captured in Vietnam, Stark had to design a protective plate with the help of a fellow prisoner to keep his heart ticking.
He wears a suit of power armor – really an advanced exo-skeleton that gave him tremendous strength and the ability to fly – that not only kept him alive, but made him a superhero. Iron Man is one of the founding members of Marvel's superhero team, The Avengers.
The main cover for Iron Man is that he is the bodyguard and corporate mascot of Tony Stark. To that end, the superhero fought both threats to his company as well as Communist opponents and independent villains like the Mandarin. The comic took a rabidly rightwing stance in the early years, which was dramatically softened as the comics readership displayed opposition to the Vietnam War.
Another noted element of the character is, unlike other superheroes, his appearance and abilities are continually in flux as Tony Stark continually modifies and upgrades his equipment. This is most obvious with the regularly changing appearance of his armor. In addition, writer David Michelini also had Stark develop several specialized function armour suits for space travel, deep sea diving, stealth etc.
Eventually, Stark's heart condition was discovered by the public and eventually cured with the installation of an artificial heart. However, this was soon replaced with Stark developing a serious problem with alcoholism with seriously impacted on his life and career in two major periods.
The latter was the greater of the two when a ruthless rival, Obadiah Stane, manipulated him emotionally into relapsing and as a result lost his company, became a homeless vagrant and give up his armour for his pilot Jim Rhodes, who became War Machine. Eventually, Stark recovered and started a new company, Circuits Maximus, which came under assault from Stane. Finally, Stark defeated Stane in personal combat where his superior skill with his new armour proved superior over Stane's unskilled use of his own variant suit.