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Five Goofiest Moments in the First Five Ant-Man Stories

Every week, I’ll examine the five goofiest moments from a five-issue stretch of a particular comic book series. Here is a list of the moments featured so far.

This week, we look at Tales to Astonish #35-39, the first five Ant-Man stories, written by the brothers Lieber (Stan plots, Larry scripts) and drawn by Jack Kirby (pencils) and Dick Ayers (inks)….

As always, this is all in good fun. I don’t mean any of this as a serious criticism of the comics in question. Not only were these writers certainly never imagining people still reading these comics decades after they were written, great comics often have goofy moments (Kirby/Lee’s Fantastic Four is one of the best comic book runs of all-time and there were TONS of goofy stuff in those 100 plus issues!).

HONORABLE MENTIONS

I am sure that some writer explained that Reed Richards gave Hank Pym some unstable molecules for his costume, but I’d prefer the idea that unstable molecules are just really really easy to create in the Marvel Universe…

Something that comes up a lot during the Silver Age is that no matter how much of a hero you are, no matter how many good deeds you do, the public will turn on you on a DIME…

“Ant-Man must be doing this! Because we’re disloyal jerks!”

What’s funny is that this Ant-Man tale took place well after Rachel Carson’s work about DDT came out and became such a big deal…

I just love how angry Egghead is that they don’t realize that he screwed up. You fool, how can you not realize how incompetent I am!?!?

I dig how Ant-Man initially applied his serum. Just splashed that sucker on….

Okay, I get that Ant-Man has human strength in his Ant-Man form, but that doesn’t mean he’d be able to twirl a dude around like this, right?

I think Ant-Man is way overselling the threat of the insect population…

In Ant-Man’s first appearance, he makes a pointed effort to stay a secret…

But in the very next issue, Ant-Man is not only no longer a secret but he’s a famous hero now…

Obviously, stuff happened off-panel, but wow, that’s some fairly notable stuff to be skipping over.

I love how sloppy the Commies are….

Why does she need to have the mask on her person?

I just dig the awesomeness of “spoing”…

5. Perspective problems….

I guess this is a perspective problem by Kirby/Ayers, but I think it is cooler if ants really could carry stuff that big…

4. Yes…tell me more…

I don’t mind Ant-Man explaining what happened to the cops, but shouldn’t someone notice Egghead standing right there listening to the whole plan?

3. Inconsistent strength.

Ant-Man’s strength is like Hal Jordan’s weakness to yellow. It was applied really inconsistently.

To wit, he can flick an ant easily…

but he has to do some major plot to stop a beetle?

2. Ants-a-plenty…

I love how Stan Lee thinks ants are all over the place….

1. Stick the landing!

Ant-Man’s catapult system is messed up…

“Thanks, pals, for being a CUSHION for me!”

Not cool, Hank, not cool!

The next issues makes it even weirder…..

Just giant piles of ants out nowhere. So weird.

11 Comments

“I think Ant-Man is way overselling the threat of the insect population…”

http://www.si.edu/Encyclopedia_SI/nmnh/buginfo/bugnos.htm : “At any time, it is estimated that there are some 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) individual insects alive.”

or more than a billion insects per human. Even without thinking about tens of thousands of fire ant or black fly bites or bee and wasp stings per person, I’m pretty sure they could just suffocate us all with sheer biomass if they decided to. Ant-Man saved Earth-616 from a particularly unpleasant kind of human extinction!

Billy Bissette

March 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm

#2 isn’t silly, at least not in the “I love how Stan Lee thinks ants are all over the place” way. The narration outright says that Antman has planted agent ants in police stations and newspaper offices around the city. The silliest thing in the art is that the ants are hanging around in plain sight. That, and maybe that they are about an inch long or larger. (Sure, you can pass the first two panels off as perspective, but the last panel has them on sheets of paper.)

As for #3’s inconsistent strength, you should include the Honorable Mention where he easily spins an adult human through the air.

Good Lord, you could find twenty in the first issue alone!

Ant-Man is a delight, but I confess I’m sad you didn’t include the fight with the Hijacker (the same issue where he launches himself out of that gun, I believe) where he fakes out the villain by pretending to come down with (of all things) appendicitis. Bizarre.

Ant-Man is a delight, but I confess I’m sad you didn’t include the fight with the Hijacker (the same issue where he launches himself out of that gun, I believe) where he fakes out the villain by pretending to come down with (of all things) appendicitis. Bizarre.

The Hijacker wasn’t in this set of stories. He appeared in #40. I will feature #40-44 some time in the future!

The really weird thing about the inconsistent strength thing is that he has the strength of a full grown man but he has the weight of an insect as shown by his ability to ride ants and be picked up with ease. If you have the strength of a full grown man but the weight of an insect, you won’t be able to whip a guy around on a string because you’ll never be able to plant yourself firmly enough. You’d just lift yourself off the ground instead of lifting him.

#2 is silly because it presumes no one in New York ever squishes an ant.

Also, am I reading that right? Did Egghead seriously try to defeat Ant-Man by convincing the ants not to help him anymore?

Also, am I reading that right? Did Egghead seriously try to defeat Ant-Man by convincing the ants not to help him anymore?

Egghead presumed that Ant-Man was forcing the ants to do his bidding, so he offered to help them destroy their tormentor.

#2 reminds me of a Dali art exhibition.

These are awesome. I love the pseudo-science of those early Marvels. The cut-away of the boot totally sells the idea of a guy launching into space a couple of tiny springs.

Just three words: Silver. Age. AWESOMENESS.
Or: Stan and JACK!

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