Ant-man (Hank Pym) – Character Bio

Ant-manHello interweb, Nate here.  A while ago (can’t remember when) requested a character bio about Ant-man (I assume do to the upcoming Ant-man movie).  While I had this bio almost finished, I learned that the Ant-man the movie will be focusing on is not Hank Pym, but his successor Scott Lang.  This ticked me off (pun unintended) not only because that mean I’ve been spending weeks working on the Character Bio of the wrong character, but the Ant-man I personally have been waiting to show up ever since the first Avengers movie came out won’t be coming.  Either way, I’m not going to let this change make me throw away this bio simply because they chose the wrong Ant-man so here you guys go.  Whether or not I’ll do Scott Lang is unknown right now, I may do him closer to the movie’s release date (July 17) or not at all.  Either way here’s Hank Pym’s Character Bio, you can see my other Character Bios here.

 

Character Data

Name: Henry Johnathan “Hank” Pym

Alias: Ant-man, Giant-man, Goliath, Wasp, Yellowjacket

Occupation: Biochemist, Scientist, Superhero

Affiliations: Avengers

Powers/Abilities: Due to being “scientist supreme”, Hank is extremely knowledgeable in scientific fields.  Due to this, he is able to shrink himself to microscopic size or grow to to the height of a skyscraper.  Although while he losses mass when he shrinks, he still somehow keeps his normal strength but when he grows his strength increases with his mass (because comics!).  He’s also skilled in robotics/cybernetics (aren’t all biochemists?) and thus allows him to create things like his helmet (see equipment below).  He’s also skilled in Judo.

Equipment: Hank wears a special helmet that allows him to communicate with insect but mostly ants, hence the name.

Weaknesses: Hank has had a history of mental instability.

 

Creation History

Stan Lee

Stan Lee

Larry Lieber

Larry Lieber

Creator: Stan Lee and Larry Lieber

Tales to Astonish #27Debuted in: Tales to Astonish #27 (January 1962)

Hank Pym first appeared in Tales of Astonish during the “The Man in the Ant Hill” story.  That story sold so well that comic book legend Stan Lee deciding that he would make a pretty good superhero.  As time progressed, he would get his own solo adventures in the title and eventually gain a girlfriend/lab assistant Janet Van Dyne.  He would soon become a founding member of the Avengers along with Janet who has become the Wasp before said event.

Hank Pym was never that popular of a character compared to characters like Iron Man, Thor, or Captain America and Stan Lee blamed this on the artist, but if I would to explain the Avengers to someone and say that there’s a thunder god, a man in a robot battle suit, a patriotic super soldier, a green radiated monster that get’s stronger the angrier he gets, and a guy who can shrink and talk to bugs…yeah I think that he would be the least popular of the bunch.

“I loved Ant-Man, but the stories were never really successful. In order for Ant-Man to be successful, he had to be drawn this small next to big things and you would be getting pictures that were visually interesting. The artists who drew him, no matter how much I kept reminding them, they kept forgetting that fact. They would draw him standing on a tabletop and they would draw a heroic-looking guy. I would say, ‘Draw a matchbook cover next to him, so we see the difference in size.’ But they kept forgetting. So when you would look at the panels, you thought you were looking at a normal guy wearing an underwear costume like all of them. It didn’t have the interest.”

-Stan Lee

The funny thing about Hank is that his career as a superhero had many ups, but it had just as many if not more downs.  You’ll see in his Biography section what I mean, but sometimes his life sucked so bad that it wasn’t even funny.  Also he’s constantly changing his superhero name so that can also help to get such a bad rep.

 

Ant-man’s Biography

Dr. Hank Pym was an American biochemist that was married to a Hungarian woman named Maria Troyvaya.  While on a trip to Hungary after their marriage, Hank would soon find his wife murdered by the agents of the secret police there.  Upset at his wife’s murder, Hank would return to America and decided to do whatever he can to stop injustice.

Pym ParticlesHank eventually discovered what he called “Pym Particles” that allowed him to create two formulas: one to shrink and one to return to normal size.  He tested the shrinking formula on himself but it was more powerful than he thought and it shrank him to insect size.  He then stumbled into an anthill and used his skills in Judo and his strength that did not decrease with his size to defend himself. Eventually he found a kind ant (because in the Marvel U, ants can think and chose to be good or bad) which helped him out of the anthill and to his growing Pym Particles to return him to normal size.  After returning to his normal size, he decided that the Pym Particles was too dangerous and poured them down his sink.  A week later, he realized his mistake and recreated the Pym Particles in the form of a gas and kept it a secret.

Ant-man's helmetInspired by his trip in the anthill, he studied how ants communicate.  Theorizing that ants communicate by psionic/electrical waves through their antennas, he created a helmet that allowed him to communicate with said ants.  Thinking that someday he might need to shrink again, he also had the Pym Particle placed in a special protective costume for future use.

Soon enough, the government took Pym and his fellow scientists hostage to make him create a gas that would make people temporarily immune to radiation.  Pym would eventually escape and use his helmet and suit to shrink himself down and have a swarm of ants defeat them and save his fellow scientists.  He later started fighting various villains under the alias Ant-man.

Ant-man and WaspAfter an alien being killed Hank’s colleague Vernon van Dyne, Pym revealed his identity as Ant-man to his daughter Janet van Dyne who wished to avenge his death.  Hank taught Janet how to use the Pym Particle and through biochemistry gave her the ability to grow insect-like wings when she shrank to allow her flight (because comics!).  The two became superhero partners with Janet taking on the alias of Wasp and Hank fell in love with her as she reminded him of Maria.  The two would move on to become founding members of the Avenger and was part of the group that found Captain America and brought him to the modern world (and by “modern world” I mean the 60s).

Giant-manThis would leave to a weird part in his life as he developed a formula that allowed him to increase size as well.  However he would only be able to grow up to 12 feet, but it’s comics so he was able to get around that and grow to extreme heights up to even 100-feet tall but due to the fact that he had trouble supporting himself at those heights he could only be very tall for about 15 minutes.  Do to this, he changed his name to Giant-man whenever he grew in size (yes, he had three aliases all at once depending on which size he was) as he preferred to fight at such sizes.  The problem with this is he felt that his extreme sized put Janet at danger as he believed fighting crime with her was a way to show his love.  As a result of this danger, he decided to quite his superhero activities and Janet decided to quite with him.  Goliath (Hank Pym)Later on however, Janet would be kidnapped (of course) and Hank would chose to rejoin the Avengers under the new alias of Goliath (cause I guess Giant-man was too old).  He would then save Janet and learn that both of them can alter their size at will without the Pym Particles due to their exposure to them over the years.

After that weird time in Hank’s life, things would go downhill and he goes from a great scientist and founding member of the Avengers and having a great life, to just having a terrible life and just not getting a break.  This would start with Pym realizing that he hasn’t made any contributions to science since the Pym Particles and decided to create a robot with high amounts of strength and an extremely intelligent AI.  This robot called himself Ultron (yes, the Ultron) and became of the Avenger’s greatest enemy.  After he admitted that he created Ultron, the Avengers kicked him off the team.  He eventually smashed some vials full of various chemicals in his lab and the gas altered his mind causing his personality to change.  Yellowjacket (Hank Pym)He then went and attacked the Avengers under the new alias Yellowjacket and claimed to have killed Hank Pym.  As Yellowjacket, he kidnapped Janet and asked her to marry him.  The Avengers went to Janet Marring Hanksave Janet but much to their surprise, Janet agreed to the proposal as she knew that Hank was still in their and she didn’t want his condition to worsen.  In the middle of the wedding, supervillains attacked (of course) and Hank eventually snapped back to normal but decided to keep his identity as Yellowjacket.  It was around this time where he had periods of depression as he hasn’t contributed to science since the Pym Particles, he created Ultron which became a very powerful villain, and his wife was the main source of money in their marriage as a fashion designer.  Hank would vent out his frustration by verbally abusing Janet.  At one point a villain came around and Captain America attempted to calm her down but Yellowjacket wouldn’t consider what Cap was doing and attacked her and putting innocents in harms way.  The Avengers proceed to kick Yellowjacket off the team, permanently this time, and Hank would attempt to build a robot to fight the Avengers so Hank could stop the robot, be a hero again, and be welcomed back on the team (cause the first robot turned out so well).  Janet would tell Yellowjacket that this was a terrible idea (ya think?) but Hank abuse JanetYellowjacket turned around and back handed her in the face.  The robot would attack the Avengers, but Wasp would be the one to stop it and would divorce him.

Yellowjacket would then become penniless as it was Janet who was his main source of income.  At one point a villain named Egghead (yes that’s his name, not making this up) asked Yellowjacket to make a bionic arm for his niece in exchange for a large sum of money.  Because he needed the money, Yellowjacket created the bionic arm but Egghead blackmailed him saying that he made the arm to detonate if he didn’t do what he asked.  Yellowjacket then was forced to steal adamantium (a fictional metal) from the government only for the Avengers to stop him.  After being defeated, he told them what happened but because the arm turned out to have not been booby-trapped he had no evidence and was jailed.

suicidal hank pymThings would start looking up as one of Egghead’s goons would tell the Avengers what happened and Hank would be charged as not guilty.  After this, Hank would want to dedicate himself to science, but returned to the Avengers not as a superhero, but an Avengers Compound Manager.  During this time, he became suicidal and the only reason he probably survived that period without taking his life was due to the teammate Tigra as her cat-like need for attention drove her to form a relationship with Hank.  Then he and Wasp would start having feelings for each other again but Wasp refused to marry him again.

After this a series of events would occur.  First, Ultron would kidnap Hank and a few others and create a robot named Jocasta who turned on Ultron and saved Hank and the others with help from the Avengers.  When Scarlet Witch (a very powerful mutant and member of the Avengers) has a breakdown that temporarily ended the Avengers, Hank would stay with Janet as she was knocked unconscious during this event.  The two decided to give their relationship another shot and moved to England and joined Oxford.

Civil War MarvelHank and Janet would break up and Hank would find a girl at Oxford that he would form a relationship with.  But the girl turned out to be a Skrull (an alien) and Hank was replaced by a Skrull himself and this would be part of the Skrull invasion (long story).  When he returned, he found the aftermath of Civil War (I guess the Yellowjacket from that story was a skrull) and the death of Wasp.  He decided to adopt the identity of Wasp himself and along with Jocasta to form the Mighty Avengers.

After this another weird thing happened and Norman Osborn would create superhuman teens.  After saving these teens, Hank formed the Avengers Academy and taught them how to use their powers while he tried to find a way to cure them.  He would then change his name to Giant-man after fighting Absorbing Man (don’t ask).

AvXSoon AVX happened but Hank didn’t play any important role in that.  Then they found Janet in the Microverse (you didn’t think she actually died, did you?) and a bunch of other unimportant events would occur for Hank.  Then Age of Ultron occurred (that name sounds familiar :P) but despite the fact that he played a major role in it, the only major thing that affected him was that he permanently shut Ultron down.

This leads to present day where you guys can pick up whatever comics Hank is currently in if you wish.

 

Trivia

  • On March 29, 2011 writer Jim Shooter stated that Hank was not a “wife-beater” but Bob Hall, who was a new artist at the time, drew it so it appeared intentional even though it as meant to be an accidental slap.
  • Ant-man seems to have a close connection as when a winged-ant named Korr sacrificed himself to save Hank, Hank was greatly disturbed the it’s death.
  • In Avengers Academy #28, Hank stated that he was an atheist.

 

Comics to check out

  • Tales of Astonish #27 (Essential Series Vol 1 Ant-Man 1 may be easier to find as it’s a modern day reprint of the original comic)
  • Marvel Feature Vol. 1 #4-10
  • Ant-Man & The Wasp Vol. 1

 

Last Week’s Poll Results

Last post I asked you guys whether or not you were a fan of the recent Marvel reboot announcements and the results are as follows:

I don’t really know, too early to tell: 50.00% (3 votes)

Yes, about time: 33.33% (2 votes)

No, this is the worst thing ever: 16.67% (1 vote)

 

So it seems that most of you guys are either happy or at least open-minded about the reboot.

 

End Poll

Do you guys like Hank Pym, dislike him, or just don’t care about him?

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