Japanese and American comics have been cross-pollinating for a few years now, and it becomes easy to forget that once upon a time the two creative worlds lived in relative isolation. It’s all the more impressive, then, when common themes occur from stories which are decades old. One such example is the comparison between one Tony Stark and one Kaneda Shoutarou, two characters who are associated with the term “Iron Man.”
Tony Stark, hero of the Marvel Comic and recent film “Iron Man,” is a weapons manufacturer who dons a suit of armor to protect the world when he is made to realize that he can do far more good preventing war than being responsible for it. Kaneda Shoutarou, hero of Tetsujin 28 (Iron Man 28, aka Gigantor) is a boy who fights crime with the help of a remote-controlled metal giant, a remnant of Japan’s desire to defeat America in World War II created by his very own father prior to his death. Both characters are faced with artifacts of war, and both characters choose to re-invent their tools of destruction to try and achieve peace.
It’s not surprising that two stories which utilize an “Iron Man” would have such a similar theme of trying to learn from past mistakes, even when applied to different cultures. When speaking of periods of humanity, the Iron Age is always most closely associated with mankind. Golden, Silver, Bronze, and other such precious metals speak of easier, more innocent times, and neither Stark nor Kaneda have quite that amount of luxury. Iron, more than any other metal, is associated with forging and bending to human will, after all. That said, I should point out that their respective comics debuted in what amounts to the Silver and Golden Age of comics, respectively, in their native countries.