|Never fear, Ant-Man's here! From "Fantastic Four" #16, by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby & Dick Ayers|
This week's post in The Year In Comics series over at Sequart Publishing's site - find it here - discusses the misadventures of Henry Pym in the earliest years of the Marvel Revolution of the 1960s. It's a piece which asks why the Ant-Man and Giant-Man stories in Tales To Astonish often seemed so very ill-suited to the company's line of books during the period. I hope you might consider popping over and taking a look.
It's possible that there might appear to be a theme linking recent posts in the series, and that's because there is. I'm taking the opportunity to spend some time in the company of Marvel earliest super-books, as preparation for something which I might be taking a crack at later in 2012. As such, the next few weeks will see a couple more essays about the period which began with the arrival of the Fantastic Four and ended with the debut of Daredevil. After that, I'd like to take the opportunity to discuss some entirely costume-free comicbooks.
But what if you've popped in and you've no interest in a link to a post about poor old Henry Pym in the Camelot era? Perhaps I might offer you, by way of the compensation of a moment's admittedly-trivial distraction, ten of my favourite examples of Silver Age daftness from the Ant-Man strips of the 1962-3 period, just as a mark of my gratitude for your having dropped by in the first place.
However it might appear, I always loved the early-60s Ant-Man stories.
1. Ant-Man As The Tiny, Helmeted Stranger
|Furthermore, ants don't tend to amble onwards as horses do, which means that Pym is either really bobbing away at great speed, or deliberately moving so slowly for effect that it'll take forever to leave the room. (TTA#40)|
2. Ant-Man's Secret Ant-Base
4. Key Ant-Man Fighting Techniques No 1975: Sock Invasion
5. Key Ant-Man Fighting Techniques No 329: Arm Up Your Ant Army With DDT Spray
|From the perspective of 2012, the very idea of DDT being readily available is somewhat shocking. The idea of an army of ants collaborating in its use against another army of bugs is simply bizarre. (TTA#39)|
6. Key Ant-Man Fighting Techniques No 56: Distribute Your Ants Throughout The Villain's Truck In Anticipation Of A Desperate Punch-Up
|In a plot-twist too obscure to follow, Ant-Man orders a crack team of ants to set an armoured truck's windscreen wipers going because ... he just might have got himself into a fight and be standing near them. File under "hyper-planning". (TTA#40)|
7. Key Ant-Man Fighting Techniques No 56: Tying Up A Master Villain's Shoe-Laces
|The speed and gentle care with which Ant-Man could work was astonishing. In the above, Pym manages to swiftly untie and then re-tie the laces of the seated, menacing Comrade X., and without him noticing either.(TTA#36)|
8. Key Ant-Man Fighting Techniques No 5962: In Anticipation Of Gun-Fights, Carry Swiftly Honey-Secreting Honey Ants Into Battle With You
9. Key Ant-Man Fighting Techniques No 17: Make Sure You've An Army Of Ants To Carry Full-Sized Weapons And Ammunition Into Battle When Space Monsters Threaten
|Part of the absurd wonder of these earliest Pym tales lies in the way that they encourage the reader to imagine how such fantastic scenarios would work. Didn't anyone see this parade as it slowly made its way through New York City? (TTA#44)|
10. And Finally, Do You Remember The Time Ant-Man Asked A Woman He Barely Knew To Be His Partner, Gave Her Super-Powers And A Costume, Brought Her To A Showdown With A Giant Alien Invader, And Only Then Properly Explained How Her New Abilities Worked?
|"You will find" says Pym at the very last moment, remembering that he hasn't taken Janet Van Dyne through her new super-powers yet. Fisti-cuffs first, self-orientation second. (TTA#44)|
This week's post in The Year In Comics series can be found here.