- What is, and always will be, my greatest creation... is you...
- -- Howard Stark
- -- Howard Stark
- 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
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. Growing up, he learned that there were limits based on one's economical status or gender, so he became good at lying to get what he needed.
He become an industrial genius, inventor, and businessman, attending multiple international conferences, such as the one where he met Doctor Abraham Erskine in Geneva, Switzerland, in May 1934.
World War II
- My father helped defeat Nazis. He worked on the Manhattan Project."
- --Tony Stark about Howard Stark
In 1939, Howard Stark launched Stark Industries. A year later, at Ciro's, Los Angeles, California, Howard began a demonstration which would showcase Vibranium, a metal discovered by Stark Industries researchers in Africa.
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, Howard 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. 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 undergoes in order to become the U.S. Army's first super soldier. Stark built a machine that used up half of the power in Brooklyn to douse Rogers with Vita Radiation after receiving the Super Soldier Serum from Dr. Abraham Erskine. The process successfully transformed scrawny Steve Rogers into the muscular Captain America. However immediately after the experiment, Erskine was assassinated. Rogers managed to catch the assassin, who killed himself before he could be arrested. Rogers did capture the HYDRA submarine that the assassin tried to escape in and Stark was tasked with understanding its technology, which he said was years ahead of the Allies technology.
With the death of Erskine, the formula of the Super Soldier Serum was lost 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.
Steve Rogers was then used as propaganda 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 date; Rogers thought they were already in a relationship. Rogers leapt out of the plane and he completed his mission, helping all the soldiers escape.
After 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. He explained to Rogers what he meant by the earlier fondue reference and they had a brief talk about women. Stark then showed Rogers a collection of new shields he had designed for him, as Rogers had grown attached to the one he had taken on the mission. Rogers choose a prototype Vibranium shield; while trying it on for size, Peggy Carter fired four gunshots at him to test its strength. Rogers then told Stark that he had his own ideas for his costume.
After Steve Rogers' successful mission to the HYDRA factory, Stark was given a piece of HYDRA tech that had been captured by Steve Rogers and seemingly was powered by the Tesseract. Stark and his team of scientists were tasked with testing the power source, trying to learn its potential and its origin; however when the device was touched, it exploded, shattering the glass and throwing Stark backwards. Stunned by the amount of force, Stark could only jokingly say "write that down".
- My lab was raided. They took my samples, my research, all on the orders of general McGinnis. The next day, they dropped it on the Russians to help them take Finow. I flew there afterward to see with my own eyes. What those men did to each other, you can't imagine.
- --Howard Stark
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 Army. However, General McGinnis had other plans, stealing the gas which his soldiers dropped on the Soviet troops near the German town of 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.
Losing Captain America
- HYDRA's secret weapon."
"Howard Stark fished that out of the ocean when he was looking for you. He thought what we think, the Tesseract could be the key to unlimited sustainable energy. That's something the world sorely needs.
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. Two months later, though they failed in their search, they did discover the Tesseract, lying on the floor of the ocean after falling out of the Valkyrie during the crash. He attempted to figure out how the Tesseract worked, but had less than helpful results.
Later, in 1945, 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 safe guard people against dangerous technology and to monitor people like Howard Stark.
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.
- Did you knowingly sell military grade technology to enemies of the United States?"
"Did you do it unknowingly?"
"Well, by definition, that would be impossible to answer.
- --Senator Webster and Howard Stark
In December, 1945, Stark dated Ida Emke and tried to impress her by inviting her to his mansion to see his inventions.
In January, 1946, Stark attempted to buy Roxxon Oil Corporation from Hugh Jones; the friendship and deal ended when Stark had an affair with Jones' wife.
Later that year, some of his inventions, including a document with the formula of the explosive Molecular Nitramene, were stolen. 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.
He decided to travel overseas to avoid being arrested and to recover his property. Howard Stark met with Peggy Carter and commissioned Carter to recover the document before it was sold on the black market. He left his butler Edwin Jarvis to assist his friend on her mission. However, his absence of the hearings caused him to be labelled a fugitive, which put him on the opposite side of the Strategic Scientific Reserve.
Stark returned from overseas and was rescued from subordinates of Otto Mink by Peggy Carter and Edwin Jarvis. However, they soon discovered that the SSR was staking out Stark's intended safehouse; the SSR was more determined to apprehend Stark, believing him responsible for Ray Krzeminski's death. Stark went to the Griffith Hotel, much to Carter's dismay because she had to hide his presence from Miriam Fry, which Stark did not make easy with his flings with Lorraine and other tenants.
Stark asked Carter to obtain from the New York Bell Company the Blitzkrieg Button, a container holding Steve Rogers' blood. Stark figured that Rogers' blood had extraordinary abilities, including the cure for the common cold. 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 city wide black out if handled incorrectly.
When Carter returned with the Blitzkrieg Button, she had already opened it and learnt of 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 lies to protect himself and others from the truth. He apologised but Carter did not accept.
He later had Edwin Jarvis try and speak to her, but Carter ignored him as well. Stark waited at a shoeshine vendor for Jarvis, who claimed that, despite all the many times he had apologiesed for Stark over the years, he also was disgusted by Stark's behaviour. Just 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; tired and frustrated, Stark handed the paper to the man.
Howard Stark and Edwin Jarvis entered the New York Bell Company Office and were greeted with guns drawn; Stark explained that since he was not hired to build the security systems, he could easily bypass them. Stark knew that Johann Fennhoff wanted revenge on him and killed Roger Dooley and various others in his quest; however, Stark had no idea why.
To draw Fennhoff into the open, Stark and the SSR set up a press conference presenting Stark as no longer a fugitive, but a hero. Fennhoff was not deceived; using Officer Pike of the New York City Police Department as his thrall, he was able to capture the inventor.
Dottie Underwood and Fennhoff took Stark to one of his warehouses that Stark had shown Underwood six months earlier; he did not recognize her as "Ida Emke". Fennhoff explained his hatred for Stark; his brother was killed when Midnight Oil was deployed in Finow, Germany 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.
Stark under mind control tries to crash his plane carrying Midnight Oil into New York 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. Stark listened and returned to the hangar.
With New York City saved, Stark thanked Carter and Angie Martinelli by giving them one of his houses. He 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.
Start of S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Apparently, you knew him better than I did."
"As a matter of fact, I did; he was one of the founding members of S.H.I.E.L.D."
In 1946, Agent John Flynn disciplined Peggy Carter for her insubordination in the 'Zodiac' case until the phone rang. Stark informed Flynn that the mission was more a notch in Carter’s belt than a feather in her cap and told Flynn that Carter was going to run S.H.I.E.L.D. with him, and that Flynn was to inform Carter and ‘let her know you’re honored to bring her the news’. Afterwards, Stark sat by a swimming pool wearing a robe later worn by his son Tony. Dum Dum Dugan sat with him as they discussed bikinis–Dum Dum asked Howard if he invented them and he said no, bikinis were French.
In 1954, Howard 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.
Stark eventually married a woman named Maria.
He continued developing weapons for the United States Armed Forces 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.
He also co-developed the Arc Reactor with defected Soviet scientist Anton Vanko. Though the power of the arc reactor was immense, Howard saw it as the stepping stone to create a new, stable element that would render nuclear power obsolete. However, Anton saw the arc reactor as a way to get rich and when Howard 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. Howard rarely showed his son any love. However, deep down, he cared about his son.
Howard was limited by the technology of his time and could not finish the new element, 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. Howard says that Tony "is and always will be" his greatest creation.
Working with Hank Pym
- The Pym Particle is a miracle. Please. Don't let your past determine the future."
"As long as I am alive, nobody will ever get that formula.
- --Howard Stark and Henry Pym
In 1987, Stark asked a teenage Henry Pym for his Pym Particles so that S.H.I.E.L.D. agents can use them to stop radicals in Berlin who were reverse-engineering HYDRA technology. Pym refused and said that he will be the only person to use the 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 his girlfriend 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 use his technology.
Death and Legacy
- I never got to say goodbye to my father. 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
Stark became an obstacle to HYDRA's (who had infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D.) plans. Howard and Maria Stark were killed in an automobile "accident" secretly arranged by HYDRA on Long Island in 1991. Tony Stark inherited Stark Industries becoming, at age 21, the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Twenty-one 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.
Powers and Abilities
Equipment: None known.
Transportation: None known.
Weapons: None known.
- No special notes.
- No trivia.
- Appearances of Howard Stark (Earth-1010)
- Character Gallery: Howard Stark (Earth-1010)
- Quotations by Howard Stark (Earth-1010)
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