Sunday, March 31, 2013

Discuss: The Big Guys (and Gal)



Rip Jagger said...

I recently expressed my affection for Hank Pym's Goliath identity. His gold and blue costume is perhaps my favorite superhero look ever. For all his trouble finding a role, his size-changing was effectively a metaphor for what he felt. Whether it was a sense of being diminished or feeling a need to compensate by adding growth, Hank always seemed to be that guy who was seeking a way to fit in. That complexity made him much more interesting than other size-changers.

Colossal Boy is a neat character but even given his size gets lost among the vast ranks of the Legion.

Clint Barton's turn as Goliath was memorable, but merely a phase ultimately and not essential to who he is as a hero or a man.

Bill Foster as Giant-Man was a sturdy replacement for many years, despite his early beginning as the regrettable "Black Goliath".

Atlas, formerly Goliath, formerly Smuggler, formerly Power Man was an interesting fellow to watch. His turn in Thunderbolts made him one of my favorites on that benighted team.

Apache Chief is a fun character, a cliche for sure, but at least his power doesn't reinforce the stereotype.

Nuklon of Infinity Inc. has a cool look, but like most of those characters didn't linger in my memory much beyond that.

Of the giants at DC, Rita Farr is the most interesting. The Doom Patrol was made much more intriguing by giving such a physical role to a woman at a time when they were usually given vague mental powers. Elasti-Girl grew in weird ways too, but seeing her as a giant was most impressive.

Meteor Man of the Galaxy Trio did something similar.

Giants are always fun, have been for a long time and will keep being so as long as fantasy fiction is produced.

Rip Off

Edo Bosnar said...

What? No Giganta?! And no Titan (from the Justice Machine)?!

Seriously, though, as I noted in my comments to the Black Goliath post, I always had a soft spot in my heart for Bill Foster, and I think it's unfortunate that he didn't become Marvel's standard giant-sized hero, instead of just being largely forgotten and making the occasional guest appearance in the team-up books, etc. All they had to do was drop the "black" and he would have been perfect (changing his name to Giant Man was thus an improvement). He would have been a great member of the Avengers, I think.
Otherwise - and this of course has everything to do with when I first saw them - but to me Hank Pym should be Yellowjacket and Clint Barton should be Hawkeye. Although based on those stories I read in the M. Super Action reprints, the latter did work surprisingly well as a big guy.
Also, I really like the idea of having a giant-sized bad guy as well, so I thought turning the otherwise forgettable Power Man into an extra-powerful, extra-mean giant was a stroke of genius. Although again, I have to say I would have loved a big throwdown between him and Bill Foster.
And I agree completely with Rip about Elasti Girl.

david_b said...

Agreed with Edo on Hank and Clint.., but having said that, Marvel seemed to do a lot more in the Big Guy category that DC..

I really liked the Goliath years of the Avengers, but I noticed that despite the praises we lauded on Mr. Heck for Avengers 19, he never really drew Goliath very well.. it wasn't until Colan, then later the Buscema's that Hank (or Clint) started to really look impressive when in 'massive mode'.

DC seemed to have many more villains as giants than heroes, as my various Bronze issues of JLA and Superman can attest. As Doug noted last year, Colossal Boy really has a neat outfit, very clean lines and well defined.

Ray Tomczak said...

No matter what costume they wore or what they called themselves, I've always preferred Clint Barton, as a character in general, to Henry Pym.
I've been a big fan of the Doom Patrol for years, and Keith Giffen did some really nice work with Rita Farr's character in the most recent DP series.
Speaking of more recent comics, I'm enjoying James Robinson's Earth-2, which features former Golden Age Atom Al Pratt as the giant Atom Smasher.

Matt Celis said...

Apache Chief was always a favorite Super Friend. I think he grew bigger than any of the others. It was also cool how Giganta stole her powers.

Elasti-Girl was the most versatile size & shape changer. Of course the Doom Patrol was the best written and drawn super team of the '60s.

Never much cared for Giant-Man, thought his power was pretty useless when he was limited to something like 12 feet and on a team with Thor and Iron Man. Ant-Man was a much cooler gig. Black Goliath, Bill Foster, Giant-Man 3, whatever you want to call him--I liked that guy! Shame he wasn't put to better use.

Never liked the Legion of Super Teens at all. Even their names I found dopey: This Lad, That Kid, The Other Boy, gimme a break. So Colossal Kid can take a hike...although that name is good for teaching vocabulary to kids and is certainly muh better than vague names
like Saturn Girl and Cosmic Lad.

Doug said...

Matt --

Those Legion names were a product of the time in which they were created and yes -- could be somewhat painful in the Bronze Age and beyond as they aged to young adulthood. This was one of the features that was attractive to me in the early 1990's reboot (sadly, there have been too many of those over the years) that included two titles: Legion of Super-Heroes and Legionnaires (well-drawn by Jeff Moy and WC Carani). For example, Colossal Boy became "Leviathan" and Light Lass became "Spark".


William Preston said...

I saw the headline before I saw the images and thought you wanted us to talk about how the comics dealt with God . . .

Anonymous said...

I was never a huge Hank Pym fan, and I always preferred Clint as Hawkeye not Goliath. Bill Foster was cool, but he was underused and then they came up with excuses for him not to use his powers...and finally killed him off in a really stupid way.

From a character point of view, Power Man/Goliath/Atlas is pretty interesting: he was with the Masters of Evil for years, had a connection with Wonder Man because their powers came from the same source, and ultimately turned out to be one of the better members of the Thunderbolts.

Mike W.

Matt Celis said...

I actually like the old names better...but really I just have no interest in comics set in the far-flung future in general, I like superheroes in the "real world" like Spider-Man. Never much cared for "cosmic" characters like Warlock, New Gods, Silver Surfer, etc.

Anonymous said...

Happy Easter everybody!

I loved the Henry Pym Goliath (blue/yellow costume), Bill Foster's Black Goliath and Erik Josten's really mean Power Man/Goliath characters. These three had real personality to go with the giant size.

Apache Chief was standard Saturday morning cartoon fare. Colossal Boy was OK, but I felt he was underutilized by the writers over at DC.

- Mike 'giant appetite for comics' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Doug said...

William P. --

The God conversation as it played out in comics would be a nice topic for a future post. Thanks for the inspiration!

I, as others have said, always have preferred the blue/yellow Goliath costume and never warmed to the red/blue version Hank wore right before switching to Yellowjacket. While I understand that the red/blue outfit was an homage to the Giant-Man days, I enjoyed the uniqueness of that blue/yellow outfit and thought it really became part of a nice palette during the Kooky Quartet days.

Colossal Boy was older than many of his contemporaries, wasn't he? At some point he was a policeman if I recall, but I'm not sure if he had that position when he joined with the Legion. Of course, as everything's been shaken and stirred through the years who knows what is canon any more?


Karen said...

I nearly choked on my banana bread when I read William P.'s comment!! Well, it IS Easter, after all...

But no, we'll not be getting that deep in this post my friend!

But that does get me to thinking - Marvel had not only the obvious god characters (the Asgardians and Olympians), but the godlike beings (Watcher, Galactus, High Evolutionary), and then those strange metaphysical beings (Eternity, Living Tribunal,Eon) -there's a lot of grist here for a post. I'm sure Doug and I can get one going.

I started working on a new writing project the last few weeks and there's a mysterious trio of gentlemen in the story that the main characters keep bumping into, and they aren't certain if they are real people or living representations of metaphysical concepts. Thank you Steve Ditko and Stan Lee.

Matt Celis said...

Didn't Galactus begin with Stan Lee wanting the FF vs. (I guess the Judeo-Christian) "God."

William Preston said...

Karen and Doug,

Glad to have prompted a future post!

(Sorry about the banana bread incident . . . )


PS: In the Legion reboot from the 2000s, wasn't Colossal Boy truly a giant from a planet of giants, his power being the ability to become our size?

Doug said...

Bill --

That is correct, about Colossal Boy -- at least in one of the reboots (bro-therrrrr).

Your "inspired post" is set to run on the 3rd, and we thank you, as that date was sitting there open until earlier today!


William Preston said...


david_b said...

Karen, don't waste good banana bread.

Geez, between your bread and my coffee intake, we best be keeping our keyboards covered.

William said...

I always liked Bill Foster. I agree with Edo that he should have become Marvel's go-to "big guy". He would have definitely made a cool member of the Avengers. Surprised they never did that.

I always preferred Clint Barton as Hawkeye rather than Goliath. I mean why wasted those archer skills after all.

My favorite identity for Hank Pym is probably Yellowjacket. (I prefer Scott Lang as Ant-Man). But I did like it when Hank was Goliath and he wore the blue and gold. I even have a very cool Marvel Legend figure of Hank in that costume which you can check out at the links below.

Goliath with the Avengers.

Goliath alone.

Fred W. Hill said...

I didn't start collecting the Avengers until a little less than a year after Clint resumed his Hawkeye identity and it was many years after that before I saw him first take Pym's magic potion to become Goliath, and he did look pretty impressive as depicted by Gene Colan! Also, Clint's brash personality seemed a better fit for a giant-sized character than either Pym or Bill Foster, but I'm just as happy he switched back to being Hawkeye. Other than by name, I'm not really familiar with any of the other Giant-Sized characters but although they've been around over 50 years it seems they fare better on teams than as solo or duo stars. At least, as far as I know, Pym's roughly 30 issue run as Giant-Man was the longest series to star any of them. Not to mention even in the Avengers, once Clint gave up being Goliath in 1972, the mighty assemblers were bereft of giants for the remainder of the Bronze Age and far beyond.

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