TALES TO ASTONISH #35 (1962): 1st Ant-Man!

TtoA was an anthology series, kind of a like short “Twilight Zone” stories.  We already met Hank Pym in Tales #27, in a neat little story about a scientist who learned how to shrink.  Now, in this comic, he returns–and becomes a full-fledged superhero.  Also starting now, Tales to Astonish becomes an official Marvel 616 book–because Ant-Man will have a tale in each issue.

Here, Pym creates his ant-speaking helmet…

 …and puts on a costume made of “unstable molecules,” which were a Reed Richards discovery in Fantastic Four #6—which hit the stands around the same time. 

It’s notable as well that in Fantastic Four #7, Richards would use a “shrinking gas.”  Reed wouldn’t give credit to Pym, but it’s interesting synergy there—early examples of a shared universe, even if it’s not explicit.  And there’s a story later on where they actually say that Reed gave Hank his costume, but it’s not clear here.

I know people give Stan Lee grief for being controlling and taking too much credit, but these examples show the benefit of having the Marvel Universe spring from the head of a single person’s vision–improved, supplemented, augmented, etc. by some equally visionary artists. Having a narrative focus was part of what made it all hang together.

As for the story, it’s pretty bad.  Like many early Marvel characters, he fights Communists in this issue.

I gave this book a C, meaning it’s average. Quality-wise, the story isn’t very good, but the importance and the ideas elevate it.

FANTASTIC FOUR HOUSE AD (1962)

From 1962.  Reed is using a gun, Johnny looks like the Torch from the 1950s, Thing has boots, and Invisible Girl looks…Terrified and sad.  This is what happens when you…