In 1962, the legacy of Ant-Man began; today, over five decades later, the legend has come to encompass multiple heroes and will take shape as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2015.
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Marvel as well as prepare for Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” coming to theaters on July 17, 2015, learn all about the history of this unique hero.
Scientist, inventor, Avenger: as Ant-Man, Hank Pym founded an identity that served him well at the beginning of the new Heroic Age, one he subsequently bequeathed to others. Never quite standing as tall as his teammates like Iron Man, Thor, or the Hulk, Ant-Man nonetheless made an indelible imprint on the populace he swore to protect with his incredible discoveries and passion for science.
Having discovered a growth potion in TALES TO ASTONISH #27, scientist Henry “Hank” Pym made the fateful decision to experiment with it on himself, shrinking him to insect-size and literally heading down an ant hole. That adventure made Pym pause and ponder the implications of everything he’d experienced among the miniscule beings whose home he’d inadvertently invaded.
In TALES TO ASTONISH #35, Pym reconsidered his discovery and developed a special protective costume and helmet with which he could communicate with ants. Shrinking down to their size once again, he foiled the scheme of Russian agents to steal an anti-radiation formula as Ant-Man, a new champion for justice.
Later, in TALES TO ASTONISH #36, he worked his potion into gas form and continued to help the police department against such menaces as Comrade X and the racketeer called the Protector.
Ant-Man faced off against the first real challenge to his intellect in TALES TO ASTONISH #38 when he met Egghead, a criminal genius who sought out the super hero to defeat him for a mob of gangsters. A string of strange cases followed, as Pym combated the likes of the Scarlet Beetle in TALES TO ASTONISH #39, the other-dimensional Kulla in TALES TO ASTONISH #41, and the Master of Time in TALES TO ASTONISH #43.
Under siege by the gigantic alien Kosmos in TALES TO ASTONISH #44, Ant-Man took on a partner. The beautiful Janet Van Dyne, who’d just lost her father to Kosmos’ brusque entry into our world, became the Wasp and stood alongside Ant-Man to defeat the alien criminal. Hank and Janet also began to fall in love with each other, bonding as a super heroic duo like none other.
Egghead returned in TALES TO ASTONISH #45 to fight Ant-Man and the Wasp, and the diminutive hero aided the Fantastic Four against Doctor Doom and his subjugation of a microscopic world in FANTASTIC FOUR #16. After a few more challenges, Pym and Van Dyne joined with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to found the Avengers, the first great super team of the new era, as seen in AVENGERS #1.
After defeating the Porcupine in TALES TO ASTONISH #48, Ant-Man continued to develop his technology and made the first of many identity changes in TALES TO ASTONISH #49. Now able to grow to a fantastic height as well as shrink, Pym renamed himself Giant Man, though he still operated as Ant-Man for a short while when he operated at reduced size in special circumstances. Eventually, though, he abandoned the Ant-Man persona in favor of the great potential of Giant Man and introduced the identity to his fellow heroes in AVENGERS #2.
For the most part, Pym continued to operate beyond the Ant-Man name, save for rare occasions such as AVENGERS #93, when he re-adopted the role to examine the Vision from the inside during the Kree-Skrull War, and then years later when he succumbed to mind control under the artificial brain of Ultron, one of his own robotic creations, in AVENGERS #161 and #162. Then, with no memory of adventures as Giant Man, he once again wore the mask of Ant-Man until the Avengers set him right and together they defeated Ultron.
Finally, believing he’d set aside his first super heroic persona forever, Pym met a young man who’d pick up the legacy of Ant-Man and make it his own…