Full Text | PDF | Volume 1 (Issue 2) | Request Permissions

A Foe He Can’t Fight: Tony Stark, Addiction, and PTSD

Matthew Wincherauk

Abstract: This article investigates the manifestation of the character Tony Stark’s post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how he attempts to cope with his traumatic past throughout the Iron Man film trilogy and The Avengers ensemble movie. I analyze how Tony’s traditionally masculine superhero traits affect his PTSD, its management, and how his inability to cope with trauma develops into an addiction to his Iron Man suits. This article challenges traditional notions of masculinity and investigates how Tony’s character refutes the stereotypes of the male American hero. In the end, the focus on trauma and addiction in the Iron Man movies proves to be helpful in beginning conversations about mental illness.

Keywords: Iron Man, PTSD, trauma, heroism, addiction

Matthew Wincherauk is a Master’s student from Trent University, and is currently in the process of finishing his thesis “The Students’ Bell Tower: The Legacy of the University of Regina’s The Carillon in the Digital Age,” an exploration of the functions of the university newspaper and their relationship with their student and university publics. Matthew enjoys reading comic books and graphic novels, and going for adventures with his dog, Tonks.