Ant-Man and Friends
The latest installment in the growing Marvel Cinematic Universe hit the theaters this week with the debut of Ant-Man, an important, if somewhat unknown character from Marvel Comics. In the movie, the Ant-Man character is played by actor Paul Rudd, while the man who invented the Ant-Man tech is played by legendary actor Michael Douglas.
For those of you who are a bit unfamiliar with the history of Ant-Man, here are ten fast Ant-Man facts from the comics for you to digest before you head out to see the new Ant-Man movie:
- The superhero known as Ant-Man, has been split between three Marvel comics characters: Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym, the scientist who invented all of the Ant-Man tech, and Scott Lang, a reformed thief who took over the identity of Ant-Man, and Eric O'Grady, a former SHIELD agent who stole one of Pym's Ant-Man suits to lead a life of crime. In the movie, Pym is played by Michael Douglas, while Lang is played by Paul Rudd.
- The Hank Pym character was the second Silver Age hero, after the Fantastic Four, first appearing in Tales to Astonish #27 in January, 1962. In this issue, he appeared as a scientist develops a process to shrink himself and communicate with insects. He is not, at this point, a superhero. That comes in Tales to Astonish #35 in September, 1962, as the costumed hero, Ant-Man.
Tales to Astonish #27
- Pym's girlfriend, Janet Van Dyne, becomes the heroine, The Wasp, in Tales to Astonish #44. They form a superheroic duo on and off. They later marry.
- Unlike in the movies, Ant-Man was a founding member of the Avengers, along with his girlfriend, the Wasp.
Ant-Man and Wasp in Tales to Astonish #48
- Again, unlike in the movies, Hank Pym was the scientist who invented the evil robot Ultron. In the Marvel movies, Ultron is created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner. In both situations, inventing Ultron turned out to be a bad idea.
- Pym, constantly inventing new technology, changes his superhero identity multiple times, becoming Giant-Man, Goliath , Yellowjacket, and, for a short time, the Wasp.
- In part due to his shrinking and growing tech ("Pym Particles"), Hank Pym develops mental instability, causing him to become a villain at times (Yellowjacket was originally one of his evil personas), and to abuse his wife. She eventually got smart and divorced him.
- Scott Lang became the second Ant-Man (when another character takes on a superhero or supervillain code name, they are usually designated by Marvel and the Geek universe as, in this case, Ant-Man II, in order to keep everything in order). Ant-Man II came about when Lang, a thief and electronics expert, needed money to save his very sick daughter, Cassie. He stole Pym's Ant-Man suit and Pym Particle formula. Most of his career has been spent as a good guy though, and has belonged to the Avengers, as well as other superhero teams.
- Ant-Man III was an ex-SHIELD agent named Eric O'Grady, who stole one of Pym's Ant-Man suits (Pym really needs to employ better security for his tech), and launched into a criminal career. Usually referred to as the Irredeemable Ant-Man, first appearing in the very originally title Irredeemable Ant-Man #1 in December, 2006.
- Ant-Man's Rogue Gallery of Villains is somewhat lame, with a few exceptions
- Egghead, an evil scientist with an egg-shaped noggin. Dumb name, but dangerous. Currently dead.
- Whirlwind (formerly known as the Human Top), a mutant with the power to spin quickly like a human top or whirlwind. He is a sick puppy who has rape and murder fantasies about Janet Van Dyne (the Wasp), thus making him a mortal foe to both Pym and the Wasp.
- Ultron, the living robot created by Pym. Ultron in the comics is constantly trying to conquer the world, destroy the Avengers, and kill daddy Pym, not always in that order of importance.
Ultron and Ant-Man's Helmet