Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Classics - Tales to Astonish #53

   This week's news included a few features about the upcoming movie Ant-Man (which I'm looking forward to if just because of the director, Edgar Wright), so it seemed like a good time to dig out an old issue of Tales to Astonish for this week's "Classic" review.

   As I've mentioned before, I was a big fan of the original Giant-Man series (by the time I discovered the series, Hank Pym had just changed from Ant-Man to Giant-Man), even though, in retrospect, the stories were just average at best.

   This issue, published in 1964, was a favorite for several reasons. It has a terrific cover by Jack Kirby, the script is by Stan Lee (though not his best work), and it features the Porcupine, a villain I particularly liked, even though he never rose about the "D" list.

   He was (basically) the equivalent of an evil Iron Man, with a mechanized suit loaded with weapons. But when he took the suit off, he was just a dumpy guy with a beard.

   In this issue's lackluster battle, he actually comes close to defeating an injured Giant-Man, but (in a clear indication of how ho-hum this series was), he actually defeats himself (and was rarely seen again after this issue).

   And yet I loved the series! Perhaps it was the warm (if chaste) relationship between Giant-Man and the Wasp, perhaps it was the clear storytelling by artist Dick Ayers, perhaps I just always wanted to be taller.

   Whatever the reason,  I have nothing but fondness of this series, and I have high hopes for the film - hopefully it'll spark that same fondness in the hearts of fans everywhere.

Grade: C+



Anonymous said...

That was a harsh grade, Chuck. We're talking classic Marvel, with hands-on talent by Lee, Kirby and Ayers, and starring an Original Avenger! That should earn this comic from the REAL Marvel Age at least a B to B-...C grades are for Brand Ecch!

Sam Kujava

Chuck said...

You're right, Sam, that grade was a bit harsh - but sadly, it's really just an average comic. I actually started to give it a B-, but it just doesn't merit that good a score. If I were grading it for how much I enjoyed it as (especially when I was a kid), it would rank much higher. I love the characters, I love the creative team - but they all did much better work than this.