Hephaestus‘s title may be the God of metalwork, however, he should be recognized for perseverance and industry. As a Greek god, he was born to Zeus, his father, the God of the Heavens and the ruler of Mount Olympus, and Hera, his mother, the Goddess of marriage and the Queen of gods. Zeus saw that he was not as handsome and strong as the rest of Olympus so he cast him aside. As Hephaestus fell to earth, he was saved by Euronyme and Thetis, who taught him craftsmanship. Through his industriousness, he was able to translate those skills into Metalwork and either used that to strengthen his body or to build his own suit of armor. Olympus was impressed and asked him to help with their weapons hence, Hephaestus was accepted back into the fold and was rewarded with marriage to Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty and love. She cheated on him with Ares, the god of war, and he used his talents to build a trap and caught them in the act. Though based on his patience and disinterest, it was believed that he was satisfied to spend his time in his forge.
Most Greek gods and goddesses have a clear and direct lesson or power to teach their disciples. Hephaestus, on the other hand, teaches a more subliminal understanding and lessons. His major characteristics are patience, perseverance, industry, and resilience. They are all more or less similar but they all feed into creating an amazingly intricate character that may have his virtues but still could be plagued by bad ones as well. Hephaestus would succeed in his metalwork but his success made him obsessed with spending time in his forge keeping his perceived ugliness away from the rest of Olympus.
The most important lesson that Hephaestus represents is perseverance. Although this has not always been true, it is a contemporary means of survival. It means that a person will keep working until they succeed. The second lesson is patience. To work the way Hephaestus did and survive the abandonment and the trials of learning a skill, be effective, and have a source of income. The final lesson is industry. This means that the god developed his abilities and worked beyond what is expected to become successful. He is an influence to the people who follow his teachings and use their intelligence to create new things and to defeat any adversity.
Tony Stark, also known as Iron Man, is the contemporary reincarnation of Hephaestus. They may not look similar though they are both weak physically compared to their companions. They are both hard workers and are interested in technology in their capacities and understanding. They both fell from grace and had to rise again by the virtue of their industriousness. The physical manifestation of their nature is turning their weak bodies into stronger ones whether by strengthening themselves physically or by building themselves a suit of armor. Their similarities do not end at their strengths.
Tony Start and Hephaestus interestingly have the same weaknesses. They both have issues with their fathers. This is because the god and the inventor were cast aside by them and were neglected. However, they did not lack parental figures and guidance. Tony Stark had Jarvis and Hephaestus had the water nymphs. The guides nurtured them and encouraged them to improve and feel loved in a way. Furthermore, both creators had issues with women. They were too busy working their time away to have a true romantic partner. Aphrodite cheated on Hephaestus and Tony Stark has had many relationships that did not last. They bring up the conversation that any virtue that is overdone could become a weakness.
Hephaestus has been a beacon of industry and an influencer to his worshippers and to the artists and writers that followed. Tony Stark as Iron man is an influencer for the current generation no matter his vices, like alcoholism in some storylines. He is the great inventor of the comic world. The world needs more inventors and creators and it needs the influencer to create more.