In 1962’s “Tales to Astonish” #35 Stan Lee and Jack Kirby proved that gigantic adventure was possible for even the smallest of heroes when they introduced readers to their latest Marvel Comics creation, Ant-Man AKA Henry “Hank” Pym, a character who could both physically shrink in size and control ants. Ant-Man’s adventures resonated with readers and he was featured in the title on a regular basis. Several issues later, he gained a partner, a girlfriend and later a wife in Janet Van Dyne, who adopted the heroic identity of the Wasp. Yet another several months passed and Ant-Man and the Wasp made the jump to the “big time” when they became founding members of what would become one of the Marvel Universe’s premier superhero teams, The Avengers.
They didn’t know it back then, but Pym and Van Dyne were creating a legacy when they established the Ant-Man and Wasp identities. Several years after Pym had abandoned the Ant-Man powers and nomenclature for another heroic guise, a man named Scott Lang stole the Ant-Man costume and used it’s powers to help his ailing daughter. Pym respected Lang’s goal – but not his methods – and let him continue being Ant-Man as long as he promised to uphold the law. It was a promise Lang made good on, serving with distinction as a member of the Fantastic Four, Heroes for Hire and even the Avengers, before being killed in a surprise assault on Avengers Mansion.
Like Lang, the third and latest Ant-Man, Eric O’Grady, began his heroic career through thievery. Pym had no respect for O’Grady’s methods or motives though because he took Pym’s redesign of the Ant-Man costume in order to become a “hero” for selfish and amoral reasons. Eventually, the consequences of O’Grady’s behavior came back to haunt him in several painful and frightening ways, so he’s made an effort to try to be a better man. In his quest to do so, the current Ant Man joined The Initiative and was later selected for the Thunderbolts program. Most recently, none otter than Steve Rogers has chosen to believe in O’Grady, selecting the former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent turned thief turned hero for his “Secret Avengers” team.
However, while Rogers may believe in the new Ant-Man, Hank Pym still has plenty of reservations about him. Pym recently took up the mantle of the Wasp in order to honor the memory of his late wife and is currently an instructor at “Avengers Academy.” In November, Pym comes face to face with O’Grady when the the three issue “Ant-Man & the Wasp” miniseries debuts. CBR News spoke with writer and artist Tim Seeley (“Hack/Slash,” “WildCats”) about the project announced last week right here on CBR.
CBR News: So Tim, you’ve done art for some Marvel projects in the past, including “Weapon X: First Class” and “Realm of Kings: Inhumans,” but “Ant-Man & the Wasp” is your first Marvel assignment as a writer, correct? How does that feel?
Tim Seeley: It’s that perfect mix of excitement and sheer terror that reminds you that you’re alive. Seriously though, I’m totally psyched to get to unleash my brand of literary mayhem on the Marvel Universe. Add to those jitters the fact that I’m drawing from my own script, and you could see how I might have some serious night sweats and a need to eat Tums.
Eric O’Grady and Hank Pym are both very interesting characters and at first glance, they also appear to be two very different characters. What do you find most interesting about them and, in terms of personality, do you think they’re more similar or more different?
I have run that very question through my head a hundred times in the last few months, sometimes out loud to complete strangers. The answer to that question is going to be the very backbone of this miniseries. Hank and Eric are both men who occasionally make choices which hurt other people. Hank’s come from a desire to do good, but his intellect often gets in the way of his humanity. For Eric, his humanity often gets in the way of his intellect. Actually, his hormones get in the way of his intellect. But, for heroes, they’re both very flawed individuals who have to figure out a way to make those flaws mesh if they’re going to save a friend in danger.
How would you describe the initial dynamic between the two when “Ant-Man & the Wasp” begins? I know in one of their last big interactions in “Avengers: The Initiative,” the two came to blows, but that Hank turned out to be a Skrull impersonator. Do Hank and Eric share any common ground now that they’re both Avengers?
That’s what Eric hopes. Hank knows Eric is the guy carrying on his Ant-Man identity, and though Steve Rogers vouches for him, Hank can’t help but get a bad vibe from the guy. Eric, on the other hand, feels like being an Avenger has helped make up for a lot of the bad things he’s done, but it hasn’t cured him of being an oblivious jerk. He can’t figure out why Hank doesn’t like him, and that will lead him to do something potentially very bad for the Marvel U.
In terms of plot and theme, what is this series about? Who’s perspective is it told from?
This is about both men, and though there’s a plot involving AIM, a Sleepwalker, Black Fox, The Avengers Academy and a whole host of other craziness, it’s about the dynamic of these two guys and their views on redemption, both their own, and each other’s.
What can you tell us about the AIM cell that Hank and Eric are up against in “Ant-Man & the Wasp?” Does the group have a master mind? And if so, how dangerous is this character?
AIM’s Supreme Scientist, Monica Rappaccini will be calling the shots in this one, and she has a new agent she’s testing out to get what she wants. I have a lot of affection for AIM, as bad guys with cool outfits, but as I’m writing them, I’m really getting into their politics and agenda. They’re an evil, left wing, science terrorist squad in bee keeper uniforms, and they’ve got big plans. If it wasn’t for the “evilness” thing, I’d probably join up.
Who are some of the other important supporting players in this story? Do any of Ant-Man and the Wasp’s teammates from “Secret Avengers” and “Avengers Academy” play roles?
It’s a pretty short mini, so I didn’t want to steal too much time from our main guys, but there will be walk-ons from a bunch o’ Avenger guest stars.
What can you tell us about the settings of this story? Does it stick to one particular place or does it unfold in several different locales?
This is going to be a globe hopper. AIM is a global organization, and it’s going to take a lot of running around to keep up with them.
From what you’ve told us so far, it sort of sounds like a big action Stan Lee-Jack Kirby style tale meets the mismatched buddy dynamic of something like “Lethal Weapon” or “48 Hours…”
Oooh, I like that. The “buddy” dynamic will certainly be there, but I hope it plays a little less predictably. I’m letting Eric and Hank direct where their partnership goes here, and I think it’ll make for something fun and new.
As we know, in addition to writing, you’re also providing the interior art for this series. Will it be similar to some of your recent superhero style work like “WildCats” or “Realm of Kings: Inhumans,” or does this story call for you to do something new and completely different?
I don’t think I’ve intentionally changed up styles as I’ve been doing the superhero stuff, but I think I’ve evolved a more Marvel-ous style as I’ve been cracking out men in tights books, and that’s what I’ll be doing here. My goal is to mix the great storyteller art styles with the exciting “bad ass” art styles, so I hope that comes across here!
Are there any other upcoming comic projects, Marvel or otherwise, that you’d like to mention? From what I understand, your creator owned Image series “Hack/Slash, written by you and drawn by Daniel Leister, is especially new reader friendly right now?
I hear that it is as well! We have the current “My First Maniac” miniseries finishing up in September and a new “Hack/Slash” annual, subtitled “Murder Messiah” on the way. I’m also writing a one-shot for Dark Horse called “The Occultist.”
Any final thoughts you’d like to share about “Ant-Man & the Wasp?”
I think there’s a tendency to overlook Ant-Man, and maybe, specifically, Hank Pym. But over the years, some great Avengers writers like Dan Slott and Christos Gage have really expanded on Hank’s motives and personality, and I think, now, in his Wasp guise, he’s really come into his own. The same goes for Eric O’Grady, known to many as “jerk Ant-Man,” who I think will have one of these Deadpool-esque Renaissances one of these days. So, I hope people pick this series up despite the lack of Wolverine and Deadpool in it. I think it’s going to be a rock solid superhero story and a surprising bit of character study.