Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Minor Addition to the Collection

I picked up a nice copy of TALES TO ASTONISH #56. Marvel was still publishing the backlog of monster and science-fiction stories in their inventory when this issue appeared. It took Lee a few years to clear that stuff out after Kirby and Ditko increased sales for the company with their superhero creations.

It is stories such as the lead one here that are among the many proofs of who was doing the writing at Marvel. It was not the editor who was claiming to be the "writer", but was in fact that various artists who were plotting, penciling, and in some cases inking the stories all on their own. Witness the wild swings in writing styles between stories that were supposedly only illustrated by Kirby, Ditko, and Ayers. You can tell by reading the work of these three men that three different men were writing them. Not one writer, but three. Not the editor, but the artist/writers.

Jack Kirby wrote.

Steve Ditko wrote.

Dick Ayers wrote.

The editor edited (but did not write).

I was very pleased with the condition of this book. An early appearance of Giant Man, formerly known as Ant Man.

Back cover. These guys must have done well with their ads on Marvel's books.


Kirk G said...

Wow, that IS a clean copy! Is this the story where Jan shoot's a blast of compressed air at his coat tails, wedging them into the escalator, pinning him down?

Kirk G said...

Just remember what Roger Stern said when a kid asked him if he should remove the comic from the sealed bag to read it...."If you don't take it out of the bag, it isn't worth a dime..."

James Robert Smith said...

Nope. The Wasp spends most of the story imprisoned by the villain. At the end she does succeed in saving the day, but not by trapping his coattails in an escalator.

This story was done completely by Ayers. It isn't one of the instances of him doing finish work over Kirby's layouts. So the story is pretty goofy (even by early Marvel standards) with none of the snap of a Kirby yarn.

One neat thing that I always forget until I read one of these old Giant Man stories is that he's constantly popping pills! When he wants to shrink, he pops a pill. When he needs to grown giant, he pops a pill. When he has to be normal again, he pops a pill. And all before Jefferson Airplane did the "White Rabbit" song.

Also, I forget that in these stories as Giant Man, he was still technically Ant Man, too. I need to get more of these issues.

James Robert Smith said...

Oh. And sorry for the delay in answering. Was busy working on novel projects.

MarkGelbart said...

This is another example of a kind of rip-off.

Who came first--DC's The Atom or Marvel's Ant Man?

James Robert Smith said...

Doll Man preceded them both. He was a Quality Comics character from the Golden Age. He was created in 1939 by Will Eisner. As with Ant Man, he could reduce himself to tiny size, but retained the strength of a full-sized human.

The DC Silver Age superhero The Atom first appeared in 1961. Ant Man technically first appeared in 1962, although not as a costumed hero. That didn't happen until a few months later, also in 1962.

The Golden Age superhero The Atom could not shrink. He was just a tough short guy.

Kirk G said...

Clear Henry Pym's habit inspired Jefferson Airplane to write that song...LOL!

James Robert Smith said...

I would have to agree.

Kirk G said...

I was going to say that probably Henry Pym and Ray Parker (Atom) were both inspired by the film "The Incredible Shrinking Man", more than Doll Man. I'm not sure of the relative release dates, but I'm pretty sure they're all extremely early 1960s.

James Robert Smith said...

All early 60s. Except for Doll Man which was a 1940s creation.

Then of course Tom Thumb has them all whipped.