Over the years here at the Comics Cave there have been a large number of re-reading threads. Several different Legionnaires have tackled various series, across the ages: Golden, Silver, Bronze, modern, and current. Many fine discussions, and links can be found here:
For myself, I'm currently doing four threads, all set in the Silver Age: Avengers, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Thor. I have a pretty full plate but that doesn't stop me from thinking of doing other threads in the future. However, I'm not pleased with my own pace and at this time doing additional threads is simply not going to happen (check back in a few years). But certainly Legionnaires like Randy Jackson, Richard Mantle, The Baron, Philip Portelli, Jeff of Earth-J, Chris Fluit (just to name a few) and many more have started many great re-reading threads. I would like to encourage these fine folks - and indeed all members of this board, even if you haven't ever started such a thread before - to consider beginning new discussions. Since Silver Age Marvel threads are what's in my wheelhouse at the moment, I'm going to share my thoughts on threads we haven't had yet .... but hopefully may see in the future.
Those are all worthwhile candidates, Jeff. I would happily participate in all of those discussions.
That would make for an interesting 3rd volume for Ant-Man. Also it tells me that a 2nd volume would have to include several issues of the Avengers, as Pym's feature in TTA # 60-69 were about 13 pages each.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
Two discussions I would be intertested in seeing:
Walt Simonson's Thor
John Byrne's Fantastic Four
Perhaps Miller's Daredevil and Michelinie/Layton Iron Man as well.
On the DC side, Perez's Wonder Woman and Byrne's Superman.
I wouldn't be able to host any of these, but I would participate.
There is a third volume of Ant-Man/Giant-Man coming soon, featuring Henry Pym from Marvel Feature, Bill Foster from Black Goliath (and Champions) and Scott Lang from Marvel Premiere.
The Ant-Man/Giant-Man volume I mentioned is the third in the Marvel Masterworks series.
Just for everyone's information, here are the various collections featuring Henry Pym:
Essential Ant-Man Vol 1: a black and white softcover collecting Tales to Astonish 27 and 35-69.
Marvel Masterworks Ant-Man/Giant-Man Vol 1: hardcover collecting TTA 27 and 35-52.
Marvel Masterworks Ant-Man/Giant-Man Vol 2: hardcover collecting TTA 53-69.
Ant-Man Epic Collection Vol 1: softcover collecting TTA 27 and 35-59.
And in June of this year, as Jeff said there will be a 3rd volume of Marvel Masterworks, collecting Iron Man 44, Marvel Feature 4-10, Power Man 24-25, Black Goliath 1-5, Champions 11-13, and Marvel Premiere 47-48. IM 44 had a 10 page Ant-Man back-up; MF 4-10 had Ant-Man headlining; PM 24-25, BG 1-5, and CH 11-13 all featured Bill Foster as Goliath; and MP was the debut of Scott Lang as Ant-Man.
Richard Willis said:
Richard Mantle said:
Why oh why are the later adventures of Pym so elusive?
The 1st Epic Collection stopped just as things started moving.
I'm not sure how far the Epic collection goes, but since AntMan/Giant-Man is not really popular, I was able to pick up his two Masterworks (one hardbound, one not) cheaply. They take him from his first non-hero appearance through the end of his Tales to Astonish run, minus his appearances in other titles..
Jeff of Earth-J said:
John Byrne's Fantastic Four
... Michelinie/Layton Iron Man as well.
That FF run is big for me. I have delusions of being able to lead that one but work has been crazy lately. I don't know if I'd even be able to contribute much if someone else did it.
And I'd love to read along with that Iron Man discussion. But probably wouldn't be able to contribute much there either.
I mean to resume reviewing Sea Devils soon. An EC fan could try an EC series. I might do Piracy sometime.
One last comment on Hank Pym: when I started reading comics in 1979, he was Yellowjacket, and I didn't know about his back story at first. I pieced it together with various issues of Avengers I acquired and also their reprint title Marvel Super Action. But I was under the impression that Hank had changed identities or code names seamlessly and chronologically. In 1980 I liked him best as Goliath from the '60's reprints. He was a two-fisted man of action, briefly the powerhouse of the team, and his dialogue was closer to Hawkeye (another favorite of mine) than Reed Richards. When I encountered him in the current books of 1979-80, he felt older to me, a stuffy pipe-smoking type, and he seemed semi-retired from the team. Of course, as we all well know, Hank as a character would go through an upheaval in 1981 and was never the same again.
What I didn't realize then, and only found out in the last few years, was that Hank never completely abandoned the Ant-Man identity until he passed on the mantle to Scott Lang in Marvel Premiere #47-48. Indeed, there were various occasions where he reverted to Ant-Man after he was calling himself Giant-Man and then Goliath. I found it strange that after he became YJ in Avengers #59 (Dec 1968), he only stayed in that identity for a little over a year! He took a leave of absence from the Avengers in #75 (Apr 1970). He makes one more appearance as YJ in #90 (July 1971) and then goes back to being Ant-Man in his next appearance in #93 (Nov 1971). Hank makes a few more appearances at Ant-Man and then gets his own series in Marvel Feature # 4-10 (July 72-July 73). I'm guessing it sold poorly as it did not lead to an ongoing series. Hank next appears as Ant-Man in Captain Marvel # 35 (Nov 1974). He becomes YJ again in Giant-Size Defenders #4 (Apr 1975), rejoins the Avengers a few months later in # 137 (July 1975), and is featured fairly regularly for the next few years.
I just find it bizarre how Hank was YJ for a year and a bit and then that identity gets mothballed in favor of being Ant-Man for five years, and then he just goes back to being YJ in 1975 like that had never happened.
EDITED TO ADD:
Two questions -
1) I wonder why Roy Thomas wrote YJ out of the Avengers so soon after introducing him?
2) I wonder if it was Defenders writer Steve Gerber's idea to have Hank go back to being YJ, or Avengers writer Steve Englehart as he brought him back to the team full-time for the first time in years? And if so, why? Or was it an editorial decision because they gave Ant-Man another try in the early '70's and it flopped?
You're right! I didn't realise that had happened.
IIRC, in Giant-Size Defenders #4, Hank decides to go after Egghead as Yellowjacket because that case was best suited to that...suit! It took place during the winter so since YJ could fly on his own, not have to shrink or grow so he could do some detective work and be able to confront the Oval-Domed Offender face-to-face, Yellowjacket it was!
btw, YJ also guested in Defenders #21-25 in one of my favorite portrayals of the character.
I think Thomas has said Lee preferred a team of four members, while he preferred five. So its my guess he dropped Hank and Jan so he could bring back Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch and write about them for a bit.
Hank's reversion to Ant-Man in The Avengers #93 coincided with the arrival of new artist Neal Adams, who co-plotted. So it could be Adams just liked Ant-Man more, or Marvel was already thinking of giving "Ant-Man" another try as a feature. "Ant-Man" is the better name for a character aimed at a mass audience. The name explains the character concept.
The thing about Ant-Man is he's supposed to be ant-sized, which is really tiny. He can't be any bigger than that and ride about on ants. (The Wasp was originally the same size, but when he became Giant-Man she got bigger.)
In the Marvel Feature series Hank and Jan were permanently trapped at a small size (but somewhat bigger than ant size), and ran into trouble in their back yard. The inspiration may have been The Incredible Shrinking Man, but the concept also reminds me of a Golden Age feature called "Minimidget". The first instalment imitated Doll Man's partnership with his dog Elmo.
Yellowjacket was the better version of the character for a team. In that identity he had weapons and could fly, and he looked cool full-sized. Possibly the idea of using him was Gerber's: he also introduced another version of the Red Guardian, hearkening back to the same Avengers era.
I wonder if the back-and-forth identities (I didn't know all of that) was to keep trademarks on all of his names? I thought the Yellowjacket costume was the best one for a cover to excite the casual buyer. They should have modified it to show his face. As for flying, he should given himself wings when shrunken like he did for Jan.
I know his stories were always a little clunky, but I have a soft spot for him because he was one of the earliest Marvel heroes, as I was one of the earliest Marvel readers.
Marvel Super-Heroes #12 and 13 (Dec 67, March 68), Captain Marvel #1-21 (May 68 - Aug 70).
Marvel's first Captain Marvel was a Kree soldier named, wait for it, Mar-Vell. Publisher Martin Goodman didn't want any other comics companies having a series with the word Marvel in the title, so this was given the green light. Marvel Super-Heroes was previously the all-reprint title Fantasy Masterpieces, which reprinted stories from Marvel's Golden Age. Captain Marvel #1 was part 3 of a three part story, and originally was going to be Marvel Super-Heroes #14, but CM got his own title as part of the 1968 expansion. The CM series was monthly for the first 19 issues, with the exception of not having an issue cover dated July 69, between #14 and 15; the title went on hiatus for six months, and two more issues were released, cover dated June and Aug 70 (#20 and 21). The series was then cancelled, but revived two years later, which would see acclaimed work from Jim Starlin and others.
This Captain Marvel was created mainly to establish a trademark. The series goes through several creators and gets a few soft reboots in the first 21 issues, including a costume change from an (imo) ugly green and white one that obscures most of the hero's face to a much better red and blue outfit. It borrows conventions liberally from Superman (alien has super-strength, speed, and flying like leaping ability due to Earth's lighter gravity, plus the name Mar-Vell is similar to Kal-El in a way-) and the Fawcett Captain Marvel, with Rick Jones filling the Billy Batson role.
The series is a mixed bag at best. Mar-Vell himself is a bland lead, the frequent turnover in creators gives it an inconsistent stop and start feel, and generally the stories themselves are not very interesting. There are also lots of elements that first show up in the pages of Fantastic Four which says to be an FF guest appearance or crossover would be a natural thing, but it did not happen in those days.
I think a better candidate for a re-reading thread featuring this Captain Marvel would be the Jim Starlin issues, CM #25-33.
While Captain Marvel's first outfit wasn't "cool", it was different than the other Marvel heroes. I agree with so many changes between this Mar-Vell and Starlin's, they could be different characters. One thing which was added later was the prejudice that the Blue Kree had against the Pink Kree yet all the Kree we see initially are pink!
Then again, to paraphrase Not Brand Ecch's version, it's hard to root for a hero who's a "No Good Kree(p) Spy!"