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Classic Comic Cover Corner – Tales to Astonish #35

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Every Sunday morning we showcase a classic comic cover, complete with compelling commentary, for your cordial contemplation. It’s the Classic Comic Cover Corner!

Tales to Astonish #35 – September, 1962

Cover Art by Jack Kirby

Tales to Astonish #35 - September, 1962
Tales to Astonish #35 – September, 1962

Marvel Studios (aka Walt Disney Studios) announced this week that veteran actor Michael Douglas will be taking on the role of Dr. Henry (Hank) Pym in their upcoming Ant-Man film (currently scheduled to hit theaters in July, 2015.) From its inception, Pym has played a pivotal part in the shaping of Marvel’s superhero universe; so it’s rather odd that by the time Hank sees the big screen it will have taken ten films (from Marvel’s “phase one” and “phase two”) for him to be introduced to the world of moviegoers.

Pym first appeared in Marvel’s Tales to Astonish #27 (January, 1962), in a sort of Twilight Zone tale that also borrows from the 1957 film, The Incredible Shrinking Man. The tale has the scientist experimenting with technology that makes him the size of an insect. It turned out to be a popular storyline, so a few issues later Stan Lee decided to make a superhero out of the good Doctor and Ant-Man was born. It happened in Tales to Astonish #35 (September, 1962) in a story titled, “The Return of the Ant-Man!

Tales to Astonish #27
Tales to Astonish #27

In Tales to Astonish #49 (November, 1963), Hank gives up his pint-sized guise and uses his “Pym particles” to become the super-sized Giant-Man; who of course goes on to become a founding member of The Avengers. That said, it’s unclear what Henry Pym’s connection to the Avengers will be (if any) in the upcoming Marvel films.

To make things even more complicated, in the comics Dr. Pym also created the villainous robot Ultron, who is featured in the next Avengers film, which comes out before Hank’s introduction in the Ant-Man flick. For fans, it is a MUST that Henry Pym eventually be a part of the Avengers team in the Marvel film universe. I’m guessing we might see this in Avengers 3, or maybe even a cameo in Avengers 2, but the powers-that-be are certainly taking an unorthodox route to make that connection (if, in fact, they are planning on it.)

As for Michael Douglas (who is best known for playing Gordon “greed is good” Gekko from Oliver Stone’s Wall Street films), while I applaud the idea of having a star of his caliber involved in the Marvel films, I don’t think Hank Pym is where I would have placed the award winning actor. Doctor Strange? Yes. Even as an old school Nick Fury (if Marvel had went that route), but having the 69 year-old star as Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath or Yellowjacket . I just don’t see it.

Of course I also need to mention that it’s not clear whether Douglas will even don the Ant-Man helmet in the Ant-Man film. That role goes to Paul Rudd, who will play the second Ant-Man, Scott Lang, who steals Pym’s technology in order to save his terminally ill daughter. Oh what a tangled ant-farm they are weaving; let’s hope it all comes together in a great movie.

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About the author

Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.