Tony Stark, alias Iron Man, is suave, brilliant, mega-rich and dripping with beautiful women. Sounds an awful lot like Elon Musk, the South African entrepreneurial wunderkind who spent his Tuesday shooting a rocket into space and making a major advance in electric vehicles.
The 40-year-old served as an inspiration for the fictional genius billionaire in the "Iron Man"movies, according to director Jon Favreau. Musk even makes a cameo in one of the films.
But the comparisons are really getting some traction now, with the comic book character playing a pivotal role in the blockbuster "The Avengers" at the same time that Musk kicks two of his grandest ventures into high gear.
“Elon Musk is obviously Tony Stark from another universe,” tweeted user Dromeda.
On Tuesday, Musk’s Tesla Motors Inc. said it would begin delivering its Model S high-end electric car to customers in late June, ahead of schedule.
There are more than 10,000 orders already for the battery-powered car, according to the Palo Alto-based company, which Musk co-founded in 2003.
But Musk was already occupied Tuesday, watching his Falcon 9 rocket launch with an unmanned Dragon capsule on a mission to the International Space Station. The project, developed by Musk’s Hawthorne-based SpaceX, marks the first time a private company has sent a spacecraft to the space station.
He helped cousins Lyndon and Peter Rive come up with the idea for their soon-to-be public SolarCity solar panel company, which he serves as chairman. Oh, by the way, Musk also founded PayPal, which he sold to EBay for $1.5 billion.
The parallels to American industrialist-engineer Stark -- whose expertise in mathematics, chemistry, computer science, alternative energy and more helps him design a technologically advanced suit that aids in his crime-fighting efforts -- have been irresistible to fans.
“Phenomenal,” tweeted user Archit Gupta. “Elon Musk is like real-life Tony Stark. Boys, go big or go home.”
“Yeah!! He needs a Musk tower .. and some body armor,” wrote user MorgothG.
“We need more comic book style billionaires,” tweeted Zachary Cohn of Seattle.
But lest we spend all our time fawning over Musk’s accomplishments, we should also point out that his glamorous life has had its pitfalls.
Just like his fictional quasi-counterpart, he’s been accused of narcissism and overreaching ambition.
He recently split with his actress wife, Talulah Riley. His first wife, author Justine Musk, publicly detailed her role as Musk’s “starter wife.” Their contentious divorce revealed the fact that, in 2010, Musk completely ran out of cash and had to depend on loans from friends.
Each of his companies has met with intense investor skepticism. He has said in the past that several of his companies were on the brink of failure during the recession.
For now, though, Musk is basking in glory. And if President Obama can get his own comic book, seems like Musk and his larger-than-life history deserve one too.