In Ant-Man and the Wasp, Scott Lang and Nadia Van Dyne take over the identities of Ant-Man and Wasp from Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne, respectively. That makes sense, as one of the key parts of Hank Pym’s comic book career has been coming up with superhero identities and then passing them on to new people, something that he has been doing for over four decades now.
With so many identities over the years, it is sometimes hard to keep track of all of Hank Pym’s identities, so we thought it would be nice to give you an easy to follow history of them all, starting from his pre-superhero origins!
NOT A HERO YET
Hank Pym made his debut in 1961’s Tales to Astonish #27 (by Stan Lee, Larry Leiber, Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers), which came out right around the same time that the Fantastic Four was debuting, so there really weren’t any superhero comics at Marvel. They had a variety of genres, like westerns and teen humor, but their most popular titles were science fiction and horror anthologies.
Henry Pym, then, was a fairly typical scientist in these types of stories. A guy who invented a shrinking serum and got caught up in the world of ants…
These stories were all meant to be one-off stories, though.
However, when the Fantastic Four made it clear that superheroes were going to be a big part of the future of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee decided to re-visit the Henry Pym character and in 1962’s Tales to Astonish #35 (by Lee, Kirby and Ayers), they had Henry Pym become a superhero named Ant-Man…
Ant-Man became the lead feature in Tales to Astonish (which still had science fiction stories as back-ups in the comic). In Tales to Astonish #44, Ant-Man gained a partner in crime in the superhero known as the Wasp. Wasp and Ant-Man were then founding members of the Avengers. The original team included the super-strong Hulk, but he quickly left the team. Lee likely believed that it would be more interesting to see Hank step up and become the new “strong man” of the group.
That led to Tales to Astonish #49 (by Lee, Kirby and inker Don Heck), where Hank worked on his shrinking serum and turned it into a growth serum, turning him into Giant-Man!
However, after Giant-Man and the Wasp began to share Tales to Astonish with the Hulk (who had had his own series in the early 1960s that was canceled after just six issues, but he was now making a big comeback), they soon lost their spot in the book entirely as Namor the Sub-Mariner took over their spot. They then took a leave of absence from the Avengers entirely.
In Avengers #28 (by Stan Lee, Don Heck and Frank Giacoia), Lee brought Hank Pym and the Wasp back to the Avengers, only now Hank got a brand-new costume and a new name, Goliath!
Perhaps feeling that Giant-Man was too powerful, Lee made it so that Goliath had a limit to how large he could grow. However, Hank also got trapped in his “Goliath” form for a while, which really messed with his head.
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