The terrorist group that kidnaps Tony is The Ten Rings, a group well known in Iron Man comics, and their logo can be seen on the flag behind them.
The theme from the classic Iron Man cartoons from 1966 is replayed throughout the film including in the opening casino scene by a band and later as Rhodie's ring tone on his flip phone.
A character first created by John Jackson Miller and Jorge Lucas in Iron Man Vol. 3 #75. Everhart made her comic book debut in 2004 where she worked for The Daily Bugle.
"Jarvis" was originally the name of the butler that looked after Avengers Mansion for Earth's Mightiest Heroes, thus the AI that care's for Tony's home was given the name in the film.
Though everyone knows Iron Man primarily by his slick red and yellow suit, the first suit he creates that lead to that version makes an appearance in the film, and it's pretty close to Iron Man's first comic book suit.
This is the TV series "Mad Money with Jim Cramer," a stock market series that continues to air on CNBC.
In a true blink-and-you-miss-it fashion, a poster for the comic book villain Fing Fang Foom appears in the background of the film. Fittingly enough, the art is by Adi Granov for the comic miniseries Iron Man: Viva Las Vegas, which was written by Iron Man's director Jon Favreau.
Before Tony adds the "Hot Rod Red" to the design, JARVIS shows him a model of the Mark III armor that is entirely gold. This is in reference to the "Model 1 Mark III" armor from the comics which was entirely gold.
Iron Man co-creator Stan Lee made his trademark cameo in the film playing the role of Hugh Hefner.
One of the fighter pilots chasing Tony calls out to the other, identifying them as Whiplash One. Whiplash is a classic Iron Man villain who would go on to appear in the sequel.
A disassembled version of Captain America's shield can be seen on Tony's workbench.
The Roxxon Corporation is an oil company from Marvel Comics that have frequent dealings with villains.
The Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division would go on to become a major part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but this marks the first time they were actually referred to as their acronym.
The closing credits for Iron Man feature the blueprints for War Machine's armor, with his trademark machine gun.
This marks Samuel L. Jackson's first appearance as Nick Fury in a Marvel Studios movie, and it laid the groundwork for the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This is a double Easter egg as well, since the Ultimate Marvel comic series (which the MCU is based on) reimagined Nick Fury as a black man who was drawn to resemble Jackson.
The portrayal of Howard Stark at the Stark Expo in the film is meant to call back to Walt Disney. Fittingly enough, this was still years before Marvel was sold to The Walt Disney Company.
In Iron Man 2, Lee's cameo is meant to be as journalist Larry King.
What was just a cameo that would become a major character, the grilling senator in the hearing is played by the late comedian Gary Shandling.
This line is meant as a meta-joke to the replacement of Terrence Howard as Rhodey with Don Cheadle, who makes his first appearance here.
A staple of Iron Man's armory in the source material is his Hall of Armors, the first of which we see assembled here with the suits from the first film.
We know of course that Natalie is actually Natasha, aka The Black Widow, but more fitting is that the Black Widow character made her first appearance in an Iron Man comic book.
In the pages of Marvel Comics, Tony would carry his suit around, neatly folded, in a briefcase. The Mark V armor from Iron Man 2 is a reference to that.
Though not explicitly revealed in the film, Jon Favreau confirmed that this man, who helps Ivan Vanko escape from prison, is actually a member of The Ten Rings.
As Tony looks through his father's stuff in the film, very briefly we can see the corner of the cover to Captain America Comics #1 inside one of the boxes.
Here we see Howard's plans for how to use the Tesseract as an energy source, something we know he experimented with after the events of Captain America: The First Avenger (released after Iron Man 2).
Captain America's shield appears once again in Tony's workshop.
The secretary in the film is credited as "Bambi Arbogast," a character from Marvel comics who made her debut in Iron Man #118 back in 1979.
The closing of this film shows the news cast of The Hulk's attack on the college in The Incredible Hulk playing on a screen.
The map in the room highlights the location of activity related to other potential avengers, including Captain America, Thor, The Hulk, Iron Man, Black Panther, and maybe even Namor.
The post-credit tease hints at the next film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the arrival of Thor's hammer in the New Mexico desert.
The prologue for Iron Man 3 brings back Shaun Toub as Yinsen, the man who would share the cave with Tony in the events of the first film.
Only briefly seen in the film, The Mandarin has a Captain America "A" shield tattoo on the back of his neck.
The Iron Patriot armor was first introduced in Marvel Comics as being worn by Norman Osborn. During the "Dark Reign" storyline, Osborn lead his own version of The Avengers and made an amalgamation of Captain American and Iron Man in Iron Patriot.
In the pages of Marvel Comics, Pepper Potts does briefly suit up in armor made for her by Tony. At the time, her hero name was RESCUE.
Roxxon Oil gets another shout out in an Iron Man movie.
Stan Lee appears in Iron Man 3 as a beauty pageant judge.
One of Iron Man's most popular variant armors, The Silver Centurion, finally made its appearance in Iron Man 3.
Kevin Feige revealed that every movie in Marvel's Phase Two has a character losing an arm or a hand as a reference to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. In Iron Man 3 it's Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian who loses his hand.