Welcome to the three hundredth and ninth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, we discover a hidden secret about Hank Pym’s domestic abuse incident, learn about the comic book writer who discussed radiation creating “Homo Superior” ten years before X-Men #1 and figure out whether Jack Kirby invented the double-page comic book spread!
Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and eight.
COMIC LEGEND: Jim Shooter did not intend for Hank Pym to punch Janet Van Dyne in Avengers #213.
STATUS: Apparently True
In Avengers #213, Yellowjacket (Hank Pym) is under court martial by his fellow Avengers for actions in the previous issue (where he blasted a villain from behind while she was getting ready to surrender).
Pym spends the issue dreading the decision of his teammates, and he comes up with a bizarre plan to build a robot to attack his teammates (he, of course, would know how to stop it so he would look good in front of them all). His wife and fellow Avenger the Wasp (Janet Van Dyne) tried to convince him of the folly of his ways but this led to the following page, which still reverberates in Marvel Comics to this day…
Interestingly enough, on his blog (which is a really fun read), Jim Shooter revealed a secret about that page (in a piece titled “Hank Pym Was Not a Wife-Beater”):
In that story (issue 213, I think), there is a scene in which Hank is supposed to have accidentally struck Jan while throwing his hands up in despair and frustration—making a sort of “get away from me” gesture while not looking at her. Bob Hall, who had been taught by John Buscema to always go for the most extreme action, turned that into a right cross! There was no time to have it redrawn, which, to this day has caused the tragic story of Hank Pym to be known as the “wife-beater” story.
When that issue came out, Bill Sienkiewicz came to me upset that I hadn’t asked him to draw it! He saw the intent right through Hall’s mistake, and was moved enough by the story to wish he’d had the chance to do it properly
Isn’t that amazing?
One SLIGHT change in the art and that story would have been seen so differently over the years. Imagine what that would have meant to the character of Hank Pym!!
Bob Hall posted on Bleeding Cool about the story and effectively states that he can’t say that Shooter is wrong (be sure to check out the link to see Hall’s well-written response to the topic).
Thanks to Andy E Nystrom for letting me know that Shooter had written this, and thanks to Jim Shooter for the information! And thanks to Rich Johnston and Bob Hall for Hall’s take on the topic!
Check out some entertainment and sports legends from this week at Legends Revealed:
What rather gross lengths did C+C Music Factory go to to hide the identity of the female lead vocalist on their mega hit “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)?”
On the next page, did Otto Binder write about “Homo Superior” 10 years before X-Men #1?
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