Sunday, March 6, 2016

That's Just Dumb

Doug: Some things, in the hands of the ignorant, are dangerous. As this is the endless season of elections here in the States, we are inundated with poll after poll. But it's a poll I saw on Twitter a couple of days ago (and actually voted in) that has drawn my ire. Have a look for yourself:

Doug: Really? Now you all could guess that I voted for Goliath. Yup -- finished dead last. Check out the number of voters. Over 13K... and over 8100 of those nitwits chose Ant-Man as their favorite alias of Hank Pym? Clearly, these weren't Bronze Age Babies voting in this poll.


Edo Bosnar said...

That is an odd result - were mostly, now quite old, Silver Age fans voting (which I find hard to believe)? I mean, after the early '60s, Hank only assumed the Ant Man i.d. a few times, and only briefly at that. I'm guessing the responses were simply influenced by the current popularity of Ant Man, even though he's been Scott Lang for ages now.
Personally, since I'm a slightly younger Bronze Ager, I'd pick Yellowjacket.

Humanbelly said...

Such a great cover-!

As with anything involving Hank Pym, the question is rather muddy and complex, isn't it? I mean, Giant-Man and Goliath are essentially the same thing, right? And he was Yellowjacket FAR longer than any other identity, if I'm not mistaken. And there's his recent (disturbing) foray into being The Wasp. And heck, where's Dr Pym from the WCA on this list??

Ahhh, I'm sorry Doug, but I have to go with the majority here-- I liked Hank as Ant-Man the best, because that seemed to be the identity he had the most visceral connection to-- what with his remarkable rapport with his insect buddies & such.

Probably Goliath would be my second choice, simply because his costume was so cool. But Hank tended to be a physical and mental disaster through most of that time (stuck at 10', etc), so he wasn't an incredibly appealing character.

Dr Pym (yep, I'm goin' STRAIGHT there!) is definitely my third choice, 'cause it was a very, very brave, outside-the-box concept for the writer (Englehart?) to pursue-- very unconventional & kinda cool. But the writing itself was so weak in WCA at that point that Dr Pym never came to satisfying fruition.

Yellowjackt-- always, always my least favorite identity. Even before the total mental breakdown. NOTHING special or unique about that identity at all-- and to my thinking, always the least impressive power-set of them all. Just kind of an "enh" generic super-guy.


Doug said...

HB -

Edo seems a bit more in tune with my "get off my lawn" stance on the poll in question. I think the results show a definite slant toward participation by millennials and whatever has come after (I have heard "Generation Z). That's fine, as perhaps they are the largest demographic on Twitter - don't know. But I agree with Edo in that Ant-Man was surely the ID with the shortest tenure on Hank Pym's resume. The results of this poll are directly related to Ant-Man's growing presence in the MCU. While that may be OK, it may not from the perspective of a curmudgeonly Bronze Age Baby. It just rubbed me the wrong way. In the past 20 years, I would think people would still identify Hank as Giant-Man or Yellowjacket, his two roles toward the end of Avengers, vol. 1 and Avengers, vol. 3.

I am going to take a deep breath now...

Oh, and if anyone wanted to know, my favorite Pym stories remain Avengers #28 (1st Goliath) and Avengers #s 139-140, where he is Yellowjacket but uses the full scope of his prowess in defeating Whirlwind. All three of those issues can be found in the BAB Library of Reviews.

Have a great Sunday, all.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm sure it's just because of the movie that everyone picked Ant Man; most people probably don't even know the other IDs.

For the record, I'd pick Yellowjacket.

Mike Wilson

William said...

Well, since the origin of Scott Lang becoming Ant-Man is one of my all-time favorite comic stories, I almost always think of him as being Ant-Man. And since of most of my early exposure to Hank Pym was as Yellowjacket, I guess I'd have to go with YJ as being my favorite Hank Pym identity.

Rip Jagger said...

Goliath all the way. The blue and yellow costume with the groovy goggles is one of the best ever designed, a stunner!

Rip Off

Martinex1 said...

Reminds me of a poll in which Civil War was Captain America's best story. Good maybe, maybe even very good, but best???? Recent is the right answer.

I would vote for YJ. Avengers 59 was one of the first comics I read. I thought YJ actually killed Hank. Ha.

Hard to believe that Scott Lang has been consistently in the Ant Man persona for about 30 years. I think Hank was the original Ant Man for less than a decade.

Martinex1 said...

I am pretty sure if you asked who was on the original Avengers, Black Widow and Hawkeye would get amajority of votes over Hank and Jan.

We are the dinosaurs watching the meteor in the sky. I'd yell at the kids to get off the lawn but it's all going to be plastic AstroTurf soon anyway! Ha.

Humanbelly said...

I see, it's more of a "Let me tell you whippersnappers about the REAL Avengers" sort of thing, eh? "Back in my day, they made secondary colors with MIXED DOTS. . . and we thanked god FOR it!"

But nah-- it's not a travesty or an injustice at all, really, is it? It's simply numbers and popular exposure. Heck, I imagine that even among casual or semi-regular comic book readers over the last 25 years, there would probably be a definite minority of folks that even knew Hank had ever taken on the name of Goliath at one point. Even fewer would have been aware of his many months "tragically" trapped at his 10' (or 12'...or 9'. . . it was terribly inconsistent)size. There will be a tiny sliver of youngsters today who are intrigued with the comic book backstory of this character, and for them we rejoice in the richness of the discoveries that lie ahead. Yep?

HB (feeling grandfatherly, somehow. . . not minding the kids on the lawn. . . )

Humanbelly said...

An afterthought--
If anyone out there has access to Incredible Hulk #128, Thunderbolt Ross' reaction to the arrival of the "new" Avengers team (Vision, Black Panther, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Clint-Goliath) is the eppy-tome of our own curmudgeonly bent, here-- heh. He bemoans the absence of "real" Avengers like Cap, Thor, and Iron Man. . .

If ever there was a character born to holler "Get off my lawn. . . !", it'd be ol' T-Bolt. Golly, he and J Jonah Jameson would make quite a formidable pair of old neighborhood grouches, wouldn't they?


Edo Bosnar said...

HB, I remember reading that story in the late '70s (in the reprints in Marvel SuperHeroes). Your suggested team-up between JJJ and T-bolt Ross made me think how cool it would be if there were a Muppet Show version of the Marvel Universe, with those two as Statler and Waldorf...

Martinex1 said...

With us all getting up in age, I can see Marvel pandering to us with a team of senior citizens. THE SALTY CURMUDGEONS. T-bolt Ross, JJ, Aunt May, Willie Lumpkin, and the Whizzer. With a rallying cry of "TURN OFF YOUR DIRECTIONAL" they can take on the likes of the Vulture and Madame Web.

Heck they have been adding young characters and sidekicks for years to draw in young readers, I think it's time to cross market with the AARP.

J.A. Morris said...

Here's a question:

When Pym was Goliath, why did some of his Goliath costumes still have antennae on the head (such as the one depicted on the cover of Avengers #51) even though he was no longer an "insect-based" superhero? Things like this keep me awake all night.

What's my favorite Pym persona? I'll go with Goliath, he was featured in the Marvel Super Action Avengers reprints I read in the late 70s/early 80s. But my first exposure to Pym occurred when I saw Yellow Jacket on my 1970s Aladdin Marvel lunch box.

Doug said...

J.A. --

I think Hank could still control ants when he was Goliath. However, that doesn't explain why he did not have the antennae for the first 15 or so issues that he was Goliath.

Martinex -- I'm there on your suggested AARP team.


Karen said...

I like Ant-Man best.


pfgavigan said...


For me Humanbelly hit it right on the head, and I'm certain he would do so again if he had a proper alibi for the police. Yes, Englehart's writing on WCA wasn't what it used to be, but he did succeed in his re imagining of Henry Pym. It was a little awkward, Pym's story line had a sense of "meanwhile, back at the ranch." But I did believe in Hank finding a sense of purpose and worth in himself and when the character was written out I pretty much dropped the book.

Has anybody else even wondered if the reason why Hank Pym never really worked as a superhero was that he didn't have any real motivation to slip on the spandex? He never got his beloved uncle killed due to a moment of selfish apathy, nor was he a member of a new branch of humanity with strange abilities and by the time he got stuck at ten feet tall the whole 'outcast due to my freakishness' role was already occupied by others.

I've had a head cold for several days and the medications I've been taking to relieve the symptoms ((home brewed VERY hard apple cider)) have turned off my sense of self preservation and a question has occurred to me that I would like to present to the community.

What would our response had been if, back in Avengers 213, Janet had hit Hank instead of the reverse? Sort of the cliche of 'slapping some sense into him'. Would the comic fan base react with the same sense of outrage? Or would there have been a double standard involved? Quite frankly, I don't know. But am interested in reading what you guys might think.



Redartz said...

Ok, I like Ant Man best too (no argument from me, Karen). I always found him and his powers more interesting than growth, especially liking the ant-style helmet. Of course as Martinex1 noted, Scott Lang has worn the 'Ant Mantle' for quite awhile now. That being the case, Yellowjacket would be my role of choice for Mr. Pym. He had a lot of good Bronze Age appearances, in Avengers and in Defenders.

PFG- hope you are feeling better (your choice of medication should help, one would think :) ). Interesting question you pose; first reaction is that chivalry would lead many to side with Jan in that case. Double standard, perhaps; maybe less so now than it would have when the story first appeared. This vastly-graying Bronze Age Baby is gladdened by the likelihood of abuse by either gender to be held contemptible. As a young man, I dated a woman with a temper. She would occasionally become physical; I was never really harmed, but would be confused and embarrassed. At the time it never occurred to me that there was anything fundamentally wrong about the situation. Nowadays, there seems more information available, and less tolerance for abuse throughout society (or should be, hope springs eternal).

Sorry, didn't mean to do the infamous thread hijack or to slip into such a downer of a subject; the question just got me thinking. Much as the Pym abuse story has garnered negative consideration over the years, perhaps there is some benefit to the exposure it gave in our beloved four-color medium to the issue...

Martinex1 said...

Since I have some time today with family battling the flu, and in the spirit of US Primary season, if I had to rank the IDs and their percentage take (of my own preference) I would say:

1) Yellowjacket 40%. He just generates the fondest memories of my Avengers reading over the years. That whirlwind story was indeed great. Best costume of the set; even beating out the Ant-Man helmet. Loved his appearance against the Invaders in Avengers 71.
2) Ant-Man 25%. Cool costume. And how can I forget his reemergence in Avengers 161.
3) Goliath 19%. Again, better costume than the below and a bit more confidence.
4) Giant Man 15%. Kind of splits the vote with Goliath. His appearance on every cover of that era of the Avengers was noticeable though. And I liked the battle with Living Laser.
5) Dr. Pym. 1%. I just didn't feel it. I guess the Pym particles shrunk my appreciation. And that jacket stolen from Wonder Man's closet needed to go.
6) Wasp 0%. Just say no!

Regarding the slap heard around the world, I agree almost verbatim with Redartz.

Until we find out Hank is really Ray Palmer with dyed hair, make mine BAB! (by the way, why was Hank's hair red in the Goliath days? Uh oh).

Martinex1 said...

My comments about appearance on covers and battle with LL should have gone under Goliath ...not sure how I did that.

Rip Jagger said...

For the record Hank Pym as Goliath had to go into the anthill again in a memorable issue (forty-six) of the Avengers and he gets back in touch with his Ant-Man roots, and that's when he adds the antennae back onto his costume. The title of that story tells it all - "The Agony and the Ant-hill".

Rip Off

Big Al said...

I was just about to say what Rip just said. And in Avengers 51 Hank changes from a yellow and blue costume to the red and blue version.

david_b said...

Pretty much agreed with Martinex1 on standings... my take:

1) Yellowjacket: My fondest recollection was his non-Avenger adventures, especially in the Defenders/Sons of the Serpent storyline.

He was perfect as a Gerber Defender along side the Hulk and Val, and I suspect he would have shined well if he stayed longer, PLUS the nice switch to a more 'laid-back' Defenders membership would have been just the trick to keep him in visible in the '70s especially during the time the Avengers were getting a bit crowded.

2) Ant-Man: Thought it was only so-so until Avengers 161. It took Perez to really show me how kewl the outfit and powers could be.

3) Goliath: The Marvel Universe figures caused me to buy BOTH colored uniforms, I didn't like the Donny Heck Avengers art for him, but like the more later-day Goliath appearances.

4) Giant Man: Again, love the Marvel Legends BAF figure of him, been collecting some good Silver Age TOA stories, not my favorite but a solid retro hero.

5) Dr. Pym: Nope, nope, nope. Somehow I'd suspect that of all the Marvel Bronze writers.., that Englehart would exonerate Hank's past and return him earnestly to a more heroic footing again, with all the scientific knowhow, leadership wisdom from his tenure as team chairman back around Vish's origin issues, you name it.

Nope, just fell upon lousy '80s WCA writing.

The Wasp doesn't even merit a mention.

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

Hope you’re all well. Please forgive my protracted absence. Just think of it as being written out of the team mag to preserve the continuity of my own comic!

I’m going to go with a statistical answer to this one (which is why I score big with the girls, obviously). One thing I love about Ant Man is that statistically he is the greatest Avenger. Whilst other Avengers are in some cracking stories that he is not in , they are also in some right old duffers (see anything between 200 and 255) which drags down their grade point average. Hank as Ant Man only crops up 4 times:

Avengers #1, which I think we can all agree is an iconic milestone, if no one’s favourite story (Hulk in the circus, anyone? Thought not).
Next #93, Neil Adams halting the K/S war because he went to the cinema that week should have been inexcusable, but it was brilliant.
#100 – Barry Smith draws the assault on Olympus, featuring….everyone, what more do you want?
And finally #161, undoubtedly his finest hour, where he batters the entire team drawn by Perez.
Even if we allow the Agony & the Anthill (seems to be lot of justifiable love here) that is also a Thomas/Buscema corker.

There are no bad Ant man issues. Who else can you say that about? Apart from Starfox, obviously.


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