My Life With Iron Man

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About Rick Belden

Rick Belden is the author of Iron Man Family Outing: Poems about Transition into a More Conscious Manhood. His book is widely used in the United States and internationally by therapists, counselors, and men’s groups as an aid in the exploration of masculine psychology and men’s issues, and as a resource for men who grew up in dysfunctional, abusive, or neglectful family systems. His second book, Scapegoat’s Cross: Poems about Finding and Reclaiming the Lost Man Within, is currently awaiting publication. He lives in Austin, Texas.

More information, including excerpts from Rick’s books, is available at his website. His first book, "Iron Man Family Outing," is available here. You can follow Rick Belden on Facebook.


  1. I love this piece.

  2. Interesting reading.

    during my childhood of the 80s(im 36, uk) the lead hero role – saving the day, leading the line, appealed to me as i wrote in another thread. eg hannibal in the a-team, knight rider, the fall guy, buck rogers in the 25th century

    the super hero i identified most with, and wanted to be like, was the 80s superman of christopher reeve. [honourable mention to 'weeeeeeeeee have the technology' "6million dollar man" of lee majors. * hears the dervishlike disco strings of the theme in his head*]
    his heroic aura as superman was just, well who wouldnt want to save the world after watching him.
    his heroism came from a place of good – ‘ i will use my awesome superpowers to protect the weak. without compensation or ego’. the incredible hulk needed to be angry to be heroic, that put me off a bit.

    superman was so cool, so wholesome – and damn didnt christopher reeves look amazing as superman, such lovely tights

  3. just read your piece (how you mirrored and modeled your masculinity upon iron man’s) again. actually, i love it too

  4. Thanks to Joanna, Black and Blue Man, and jameseq for your enthusiastic comments. Much appreciated.

    I’d also like to thank Eivind Figenschau Skjellum at for inviting me to review the “Iron Man” movie on his site and for suggesting I also write this companion post to provide additional personal background for the review. Writing this piece gave me a great opportunity to pull many years of process work and life experience together into a coherent narrative in a way I never had before, and I found it highly beneficial, as well as highly integrative, to do so.

    It’s always been my intention and my heartfelt desire that my work would provide transformational opportunities for others as well as for myself. I hope this story contributes in some small way to our evolving understanding of the masculine psyche and the inner lives of boys and men.

  5. Todd Mauldin says:

    Terrific article, Rick. I’m glad I found it, and you. I was (and am) a big Iron Man fan too, for all of the reasons you described. I saw a lot of my story in yours, with ol’ shellhead. Keep writing for us.

  6. Rick, I haven’t read your book, but I have seen the title of it over and over again, and never put together that Iron Man was the IRON MAN. This was such an interesting look into how that character touched your life.

    I love that you found yourself, all those years later, being reunited with him.

    • Thanks, Tracie. Sometimes the stories that begin in our childhoods weave in and out of our lives through the years and take the better part of a lifetime to play out. I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to see this one through.

  7. Great piece,
    I to have often looked to comic book hero’s to give me strength in everyday life, the marvel characters in particular. Marvel ones, like iron man, often serve to be the best to inspire as they are flawed characters that over comes their problems to be better men (or women). Glad you found your armour again Rick, and just like Tony Stark i hope you keep evolving it to face the newer challenges and make yourself a little stronger each day.

    To those who enjoyed this piece i highly recommend you seek out “Invincible Iron Man” by Matt Fraction (2008), its the modern take on the iron man mythos, written for Adults (even more so then the movies) it is a great look at a man dealing with a modern and changing world, with great symbolism such as “rebooting” oneself to move forward. A great companion piece to Ricks work here.


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