Marvel Comics has made plenty of movie announcements over the last several weeks regarding casting of movies set for release in 2015. Most recently they announced that the movie starring Marvel’s smallest hero, Ant-Man, has been moved up on the release schedule to Summer 2015.
Marvel Studios has made its reputation on bringing their pathos filled heroes to the big screen in stunning fashion since the release of “Iron Man” in 2008 using heroes that were known by the comic book reading fans but who do not have the same wide acclaim as other Marvel Heroes like Spider-Man or Wolverine. The gamble to feature Ant-Man in a major role is not that much of a risk given the track record of Marvel Studios. But who is the Ant-Man and what makes him a compelling character?
The answer might be that even he does not know who he is. The man known as Ant-Man has worn no less than six different super hero identities and even more costumes.
Ant-Man is in fact Doctor Henry “Hank” Pym a brilliant biochemist who discovered the Pym Particle. The Pym Particle allows an object to change in size from large to small and back again. Using this on himself Doctor Pym shrank down to the size of an ant in a Marvel Comics story featured in “Tales to Astonish” #27 (January 1962). The story titled “The Man in the Ant Hill” featured Pym’s adventure in what else, an ant hill. This was the early stages of the Marvel super hero stories and Pym’s story was reminiscent of the sci-fi genre that Marvel had focused on in the 1950s. Following his escape from the ant hill Pym’s adventures were sidelined.
It was not until “Tales to Astonish” #35 (September 1962) that Doctor Pym returned and first donned the heroic tights of Ant-Man. Making his debut this miniaturized hero had created a cybernetic helmet that allowed him to talk to and command the ants he once ran from. A new hero was born.
His adventures continued and he soon gained a sidekick in the Wasp who became his girlfriend and later wife. Ant-Man would also join the Avengers as one of the founding members (“Avengers” #1, September 1963). Surrounded by the power of the Hulk, Thor and Iron Man the little hero felt overmatched and there began his problems.
Though the reasoning was not much explored at the time, in “Tales to Astonish” #49 (November 1963) Ant-Man became Giant-Man using his Pym Particles to take him in a new direction, up. Pym was now a powerhouse. But the change in identity was not the last and the hero underwent many changes over the years.
Pym’s heroics inspired many copycat heroes and even some copycat villains who made use of the Pym Particles to change size and even taking on the discarded identities of Pym. The list looks at the changes to Ant-Man and some of the others to wear his costumes.