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CSBG Archive

Five Goofiest Moments from the Ant-Man Feature in Tales to Astonish #40-44

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 the next five issues of the Ant-Man feature in Tales to Astonish #40-44, written by Stan Lee (plots for all the issues), Larry Lieber (scripts for #40-43) and Ernest Hart (script for #44) and drawn by Jack Kirby (pencils for #40 and #44), Don Heck (pencils and inks for #41-43, inks on #44) and Sol Brodsky (inks on #40).

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!).


Talk about hardcore! Ant-Man ends up on an alien world where a bunch of scientists have been abducted to work on essentially a death ray. Ant-Man manages to communicate with the alien version of ants. Well, after getting splashed with a paralyzing agent, Ant-Man seems doomed…


The alien ants gunned the bad guy down! When informed of this, Captain America spent three issues of Tales of Suspense in mourning over the death of the alien.

Ernest Hart must have thought that Stan Lee was paying him by the word. Check out his intro page for #44….


Then again, Larry Leiber also tried often to use a dozen words when four would suffice. Check out the verbosity of Hank Pym here…

Hank Pym sounds like that Miss South Carolina contestant. “I believe that the missing scientists like such as in South Africa and the Iraq, everywhere like such as”

In #43, some dude invents a device that can turn people old. He tests it out…

Now, later in the issue, he uses it on a crowd and he reverses it. However, they never mention this early subject. I would imagine that they would have eventually found her and reversed it in her case, too, but it amuses me that they never actually show it happening.

This would be higher if I didn’t feature it twice the first time around, but here Ant-Man once again shows how ridiculous his traveling system is….

Gotta love any transport system that almost splats you on a wall.

5. Laryngitis in a bottle

So the bad guy, The Voice, can make people do whatever he wants just by telling them to do it. Ant-Man stops him through…bottled laryngitis!!!

Awesome. I love that the laryngitis took away his power for good.

4. When all else fails, fake appendicitis…

That’s exactly what Ant-Man does in #40…

Now that the bad guy is unsuspecting, Ant-Man stows away and surprises him! He explains how he got to the bad guy’s car…

I love how the model plane flies like a regular plane.

3. Ah, radioactivity, what CAN’T you do?

Speaking of the Voice, here is his awesomely bizarre origin…

2. Great plan, Maria!

In #44, Hank Pym thinks back to his dead wife, Maria…

Isn’t that amazing? “Nah, don’t worry, Hank, they don’t take this stuff seriously.”

How insane is that?

And what’s great is that the cosmos waits until Hank agrees with her before she is taken away…

This is some dark stuff….

Note for the future. If you escape a country, don’t go back there to sight see.

1. I shall become…an ant!!!

Maria also hilariously inspires Hank to become Ant-Man in one of the sillier origins of the era…

What if she had told him a different Proverb, like “A scoundrel is a furnace of evil, and on his lips there is a scorching fire”…would he have become a pyromaniac? Let alone if she had told him, “The whip for the horse, the bridle for the ass, and the rod for the back of fools”….


If any superhero were to brainwash people into respecting him, it would of course be Ant-Man.

Given the off-panel death, I’m surprised no one’s ever tried to bring back Pym’s first wife.

I think she did return in the early issues of Avengers: West Coast.

How about something really difficult, like the five *least* goofy moments from these issues?

“We don’t even have a DOG but we can eat it OURSELVES!”


This stuff is priceless. I can’t believe the corny exposition and zany dialogue used in these stories.

Actually, Michael, Englehart brought Pym’s wife back in West Coast Avengers. I think she got turned into a lady MODOK. It may have been reconned away at some point.

I stand corrected.

interesting that not only did hank have a first wife before the wasp but also that he became ant man because of her not to mention using ants to be his kill squad talk about a little nuts

Was Maria supposed to be Hungarian? Because Trovaya is not a Hungarian name. I mean, it’s not a real name at all, but it sounds more Slavic than anything, and Hungary is not a Slavic country.


I had those issues! They also had The Voice, and Hank (as Dr Pym) takng out lots of controlled Avengers. I loved ‘Dr. Pym’ thought he was awesome.

I’ll burn in hell for this but if Maria had married the Ultimate Antman, she’d still be alive. He wouldn’t let her leave the kitchen, let alone go to another country.

– It’s easy to forget that Pym was by far Marvel’s most red-baiting superhero; even Iron Man seemed to have fewer such villains than Pym. Even the villains you don’t think of as being Red Scare baddies, like the evil Black Knight or Egghead, are introduced as government scientists who were disgraced and forced into a life of crime after selling secrets to those dirty Commies. And the Human Top’s big scheme in his first appearance is to steal missile defense plans and sell them to a hostile foreign power. Pym couldn’t walk downt he street without tripping over a costumed Alger Hiss wannabe.

— Maria Pym did indeed return in Engelhart’s West Coast Avengers, mutated into a huge-brained woman (who still had her normal, attractive face and body otherwise.) Prbably to get Pym back into circulation, it was later revealed that this was all a ruse; the fake Maria was actually SODAM, a female MODOK who was hastily renamed MODAM, presumably after someone said “SODAM” out loud and caught the pun.

SOMODAM (MOSODAM?) ran around for a while in the 1990s fighting people like Quasar and Iron Man, and eventually we learned that her real name was Olga Somethingrussiansounding and that in her pre-mutated state she’d apparently pissed off Omega Red in one of those “we met once in the unseen past” retcons the 1990s loved. MODAM died when Mark Gruenwald brought back MODOK in a terrible crossover called “Taking AIM,” and aside from a cameo of her dead body in Mark Waid’s second Captain America run and a joke in Nextwave, she’s still gone.

— Gee, Hank, maybe the Hungarian Reds wouldn’t have realized Maria Pym was really Maria Trovaya if you hadn’t said her full maiden name out loud in public!!

I have to imagine that Ultimate Pym’s Maria would be one of those mail-order brides from Eastern Europe that creepy, abusive men with no social skills think will be subservient, meek sexbots.

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