Word is that Mr. Silver age will be hosting a Trivia panel at C2E2 this weekend and because of the movie this summer, some of the questions will feature my favorite Marvel super-hero, Ant-Man. By coincidence, I just finished reading DC's Atom archives. Here are some similar covers featuring the two characters.

Some of these are a stretch, but close enough. And good luck at the trivia panel, Craig!

--your pal, Hoy

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The Jack Kirby Collector said he'd learn how to draw from different points of view by going out and picking fights with strangers. If he won a fight he'd remember how it looked to stand over a beaten opponent and look down at him. If he lost he'd remember how it looked to get knocked down and look up at a triumphant opponent.

Ant-Man was The Astonishing Ant-Man because he was in Tales to Astonish. Spider-Man was the Amazing Spider-Man because he got his start in Amazing Fantasy. And Dr. Strange was in Strange Tales (perhaps he would have been Dr. Mystery if he'd been in Journey into Mystery?) So why was it The Mighty Thor instead of The Mysterious Thor, and The Invincible Iron Man instead of The Suspenseful Iron Man? When Namor  booted Hank out why didn't he become The Astonishing Sub-Mariner?

Ant-Man's rarely used hole-digging power.

In those early days, Stan apparently didn't know what powers these guys should have (or what would prove useful in the long run). That's not really a hole-digging power, that's just him using his full-size strength to dig a hole a few inches deep. Even so, with those teeny-tiny hands, he's doing it with apparent super-speed.

And again, growing even a foot would've put this danger to rest. Maybe the ants wouldn't have taken kindly to him growing to full size and squashing him.Hard to say.

Did Ant-Man always have his full-size strength? I don't remember it coming up by the time I was reading him (which wasn't long after his beetle adventures, but I didn't get those off the rack). The Atom used it a lot, but he had to crank it up if he wanted it, as it wasn't his default setting. The Atom's molecular control made that seem more plausible, but in Ant-Man it just seems conveeeeenient.

-- MSA

Sometimes Stan (or Jack) seemed to think Hank and Jan's costumes would disappear like the Atom's if they grew to normal size. Like when Hank set up a projector and told Jan to get in front of it so they could be seen.

It could have been two. Tales of Suspense#40 makes it look like he's been Iron Man for quite awhile. So a plane might have picked him up in #39 if the story had just been a page longer.
Luke Blanchard said:

Iron Man couldn't have done it till three months(1) later. In the meantime the Scarlet Beetle and his minions would've marched into Washington and forced passage of all kinds of horrors, such as criminalisation of pesticides, bans on the disposal of decaying fruit and the renaming of Stag beetles Stud beetles.

I notice that Kirby shifts the perspective here between the foreground and background. The foreground is seen from above, and the background frontally. He did the same thing on Tales to Astonish #42. This reflects how you'd see a scene if you had to look down at what was in the foreground, and across at what was in the distance.

(1) In Tales of Suspense #40, since he first had to get back from Vietnam.

If the Atom's momentum doesn't increase when his mass does his increasing-his-weight-just-before-impact trick shouldn't work. As he increased his mass he'd slow, until he was hardly moving. Even if it does, his body can't be as resilient at a tiny size as it is at a large size - his bones are so much smaller, but apparently not denser - so the impact should kill him. Moreover, he often didn't hit people with his full body, just his fist, which couldn't be more devastating, even on the feature's premises, than just hitting them with his fist at full size (except the impact would be concentrated in a smaller area and probably rip open his opponent's jaw. He might be in danger of drowning in his opponent's blood).

If his momentum does increase when his weight does he wouldn't need to let a gang know he was there. He could reduce himself to dust-mote size and take out a whole gang without their knowing what was happening."There's no time to stuff around! I"ll just reduce my size, maximise my density and launch myself through his heart."  They'd spend the last moments of their lives in terror as they watched their compatriots fall.

I think the dwarf star would help with the density but hinder the momentum since those things are incredibly dense and heavy. An Earth sized white dwarf would weigh about 200,000 times as much as the Earth. Actually he must be super strong if he was able to get that fragment to his lab to experiment on it.

I never thought of that. The stories always spoke of him as increasing his weight to his full 180 pounds but that should have been his weight plus the weight of his dwarf star matter lens and costume. Perhaps he had a fail-safe in his size and weight device that prevented him going over 180 pounds.

On reflection, one can hit harder if one can get the momentum of one's body behind a blow, and being tiny-sized might make that easier, but to do that he would've had to keep his shoulder behind the blow. (And the point brings me back to whether his shoulder would've stood the strain.)

Just before impact he makes his shoulder super dense?

Why not use the power to make his enemies too heavy to fight him? There was an rpg, GURPS Supers, that included a dwarf with density powers (and a fondness for tall women, the taller the better) who called himself Dwarfstar. His favorite tactic was to say to his enemies "What are you, dense?" Then he'd increase their weight and density until they collapsed. "Well, you are now!"

I don't know he doesn't become denser when he shrinks, but I've never heard so. I suppose it's possible since he can increase his weight at that size to the full 180 pounds. I don't know if the human body could still work if it were smaller and denser.

Less-heavy objects have smaller terminal velocities. Ant-Man must become lighter when he shrinks - an ant can carry him - so catching him (as in Hoy's image top p.2) need not be all that difficult for ants. Arguably, in Avengers #7 he would have done better to shrink than grow when Thor attacks the aircraft (except for the shrapnel danger).

Regarding using his power to make his enemies heavier: it would've been fun if he'd been able to use his lens that way - I can imagine the Atom shining a ray on the crooks he's fighting from his belt - but I don't think he could make things heavier than they were originally. However, he could've defeated his opponents by making them lighter. If he made them lighter than air they would've risen the roof. And they wouldn't have dared get away because once outside they would've flown away like balloons.

There might've been a technical hitch. He couldn't use his lens to shrink things other than himself and then enlarge them: they always exploded! I don't know if he could lighten things and re-increase their weight without that effect.

I'll leave open whether his civilian clothes (and the air in his lungs) should've exploded whenever he grew since the nature of the mysterious force that allowed him to enlarge without this happening was never defined.

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