Monday, December 21, 2009

3: Tales to Astonish #27

Tales to Astonish #27
September 28, 1961

  • If you asked most comic readers who the next Marvel Silver Age hero was after the Fantastic Four, I've a feeling very few would peg Hank Pym. But this came out the same month as FF #2.

  • As Tales to Astonish was one of Marvel's ubiquitous anthology mags, so this first Hank Pym story was only 7 pages long. Other stories in the issue were "Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall..." (6 pages), "The Talking Horse" (5 pages), and "Dead Planet!" (5 pages). None of which were ever seen again.

  • But then, Pym was clearly never designed to have a long future either! At the end of the tale, having narrowly escaped his harrowing experiences, Pym deems the shrinking formula too dangerous and dumps it down the drain. On its own, it reads as an enjoyable (though not terribly special) pulp story of the era - so what made them resurrect the character some eight months later? Did sales figures and letters indicate the story had really struck home?

  • I thought I'd read this before, but if so then I can't imagine how the Alice in Wonderland connection never leaped out at me. I mean, it's pretty blatant: His troubles begin when he starts shrinking much faster than expected, and realizes that he left the antidote sitting on top of the table now towering above him....