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The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – What’s the Deal With Jarvis and Tony Stark?

by  in Comic News Comment
The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – What’s the Deal With Jarvis and Tony Stark?

Every week, we will be examining comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today we look at the abrupt transformation of the relationship between Edwin Jarvis and Tony Stark from employee/employer to father figure/son figure.


I freely admit that this is a bit of a stretch as an “Abandoned an’ Forsaked” bit, but when commenter Mike K asked when Jarvis first met the Avengers in the comments section of my recent “When We First Met: Avengers Edition” feature, I realized that I could answer Mike’s question and use an old bit I did about Jarvis for this edition of Abandoned An’ Forsaked.

Jarvis (Tony Stark’s butler who he loaned to the Avengers when he gave them the use of his mansion for their headquarters) surprisingly did not appear in the Avengers until the famous issue where Hawkeye tried to show off for the Avengers by tying Jarvis up…

While Jarvis continued to have a place in the Avengers and Tales of Suspense (where he interacted with Captain America, who was living in Avengers Mansion) it took until the first Avengers Annual before either Iron Man or Tony Stark actually interacted with Jarvis in a comic…

Jarvis and Iron Man/Tony Stark barely interacted at all for years. Heck, check out this bit from an Iron Man comic in the #50’s…

Jarvis’ attitude toward Stark is basically that of a guy who happens to work for a man but he doesn’t really know him at all.

It was nearly 60 issues before the two had another substantial interaction, and you’ll note that it was not exactly a familiar one (it was right in the middle of the Demon in a Bottle storyline)…

(and yes, this is THAT resignation letter that I dealt with in a previous edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed

Even when Jarvis was severely injured during the Siege on Avengers Mansion, the relationship between the two was clearly an employee/employer one…

Heck, when Tony Stark was presumed dead in the early 1990s, note that we don’t even get a reaction shot from Jarvis….

And Jarvis is not among those at Tony’s funeral (those ashes are fake – Tony faked his death because he was trying some experimental procedure to reverse a life-threatening injury that WAS going to kill him unless he tried the procedure. But since the procedure very likely was GOING to kill him, he didn’t want anyone to know about it in case it did, in fact, end his life)…

In that same story, when we see Tony in stasis while recovering, he has a flashback to his youth…

Jarvis isn’t even the butler when Tony was a kid!

This all changed with Terry Kavanagh.

First, in the Avengers: The Crossing storyline, when the Avengers go back in time to get to Tony Stark BEFORE he is corrupted by Kang the Conqueror (as in the present it is revealed that Tony is a sleeper agent working for Kang), the present say Jarvis has to prove himself to the Jarvis of the past (note that now Jarvis is the Stark butler from Tony’s youth)…

At the end of the Crossing, the present day Tony sacrifices himself to atone for his sins. The teenaged Tony from the past is brought to the present where he takes over as Iron Man. At the reading of Tony’s will (in an issue written by Kavanagh), we see a different side of his relationship with Jarvis…

Jarvis continues as a supporting cast member in the short-lived Teen Tony run…

Essentially, Kavanagh abruptly just turned Jarvis/Tony into Alfred/Bruce Wayne.

Once the adult Tony returns after the events of Onslaught, the Jarvis/Tony relationship returns to employer/employee. They’ve only had a handful of interactions over the last decade plus.

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