Ant-Man is a superhero created by Stan Lee, Larry Lieber, and Jack Kirby, first appearing in Tales to Astonish #35 (September 1962). The title has been used by three major characters; Hank Pym, Scott Lang, and Eric O'Grady.
The original Ant-Man, Dr. Henry "Hank" Pym, first made his Silver Age debut in Tales to Astonish #27 (January, 1962), as an ordinary, but brilliant biochemist. Happily married to Maria Trovaya, a political refugee, Hank was devastated when she was murdered on a trip to Hungary. Her death led to Hank's first mental breakdown, one of his defining attributes in later years. After recovering, Hank threw himself into his work, leading to the creation of a rare group of subatomic particles. Pym then uses the particles to create two serums: one that shrinks objects and one that makes them larger. Testing the first serum on himself, Pym shrinks to insect size for the first time but is unable to reverse the procedure. Now trapped in a nearby anthill, Pym nearly drowns in honey before being rescued by a friendly ant. The new friends fend off an attack by other ants looking for an easy meal before Pym makes it back to his lab. Using the second serum to return to normal size, Pym recognizes the danger of his discovery and decides to destroy the serums before they can do more harm.
Realizing that he was destroying a breakthrough, Hank recreated his serums a few weeks later. Inspired by his experience in the anthill, Pym uses the shrinking serum to become the superhero Ant-Man in Tales to Astonish #35 (September, 1962). He would pick up a partner a few issues later in the form of Janet van Dyne, a young socialite who closely resembled his dead wife. With her father dead thanks to the arrival of the creature from Kosmos, Janet volunteers to undergo genetic alteration at the hands of Pym to become "The Wasp". Together, the heroes defeat the Kosmosian and become partners. Later, the duo would join Iron Man and Thor in battle against the Hulk until the heroes realize that they've been manipulated by Loki, the God of Mischief. Banding together, the heroes defeat Loki and officially become The Avengers.
Pym soon tinkered with his serums further, complementing his shrinking abilities with ones that would make him grow larger; as a result he tweaked his codename to Giant-Man. He also experimented with other superhero identities through the Sixties, calling himself Goliath (which exclusively used the growth powers) and Yellowjacket.
With the Ant-Man title up for grabs, a new character, Scott Lang, was created to assume the Ant-Man moniker by David Michelinie and John Byrne, first appearing in Avengers #181 (March, 1979), and assuming the Ant-Man identity in Marvel Premiere #47 (April, 1979). An electronics expert on the brink of poverty, Lang turned to crime to support his family. A poor criminal, however, Lang was arrested during a botched robbery and sent to prison. Studying electronics in his free time, Lang earned himself a job offer from Stark International after being paroled early for good behavior.
Resuming his work in the field of electronics, Lang's life appeared to be on the upswing until his daughter, Cassie, was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition. The only person capable of curing her condition was Dr. Erica Sondheim, but she was being held prisoner at Cross Technological Enterprises (CTE). Desperate, Lang broke into Hank Pym's home and stole some of Ant-Man's equipment so as to confront Darren Cross, the owner of CTE. Engaging the villain as "Ant-Man", Lang successfully used his new powers to defeat Cross and rescue Dr. Sondheim.
Prepared to return to prison for theft, Lang was shocked when Hank Pym allowed him to keep the stolen Ant-Man equipment. Recognizing Lang's true nature, Pym's only condition was that Scott must use the Ant-Man persona to uphold the law. Relieved, Scott received more good news from Dr. Sondheim: Cassie's heart condition was successfully cured. Scott spent the rest of The Bronze Age of Comic Books as an Iron Man supporting character, and spent The Dark Age of Comic Books as a Fantastic Four supporting character. In the 21st century, he has been an Avenger, died and came back to life, returned to being a Fantastic Four supporting character, and (thanks to Nick Spencer and the Marvel Cinematic Universe) became the face of the Ant-Man brand.
In 2006, The Irredeemable Ant-Man was launched by Robert Kirkman and Phil Hester, introducing a new Ant-Man, Eric O'Grady. O'Grady was a low-level S.H.I.E.L.D. agent assigned to the Helicarrier, and was the kind of guy who would lie, cheat, and steal his way through life. Fortune struck one day when O'Grady and his best friend, Chris McCarthy, are put on guard duty outside Dr. Hank Pym's lab after Wolverine's dead body is brought aboard. Brainwashed by HYDRA, Wolverine is revived and starts killing everyone in sight. Panicking, O'Grady knocks Dr. Pym unconscious when the alarms start blaring. Messing around with the prototype Ant-Man suit in Hank's lab, Chris becomes trapped at insect size, causing O'Grady to panic again as HYDRA launches a full-scale attack on the Helicarrier. Lost in the Helicarrier, Chris returns to full size only to be shot in the head. Looking for a place to hide, O'Grady stumbles across Chris's dead body and steals the Ant-Man suit. The Helicarrier sustains heavy damage during the attack, eventually crash landing in Arkansas. Surviving the crash, O'Grady retains his job as S.H.I.E.L.D agent during the day while experimenting with the Ant-Man suit at night.
O'Grady quickly made a name for himself as the most hated superhero in the Marvel Universe, earning the ire of just about every respectable superhero (and villain) which he met. Despite this, O'Grady just rolled with the punches, and managed to land a spot on a number of super-teams, including the Initiative, Cap's Secret Avengers, and the Thunderbolts. However, this didn't last, and Eric wound up getting killed and replaced by an LMD... who, just to add insult to fatal injury, continued lowering Eric's name by acting exactly as he would, taking on the name of Black Ant.
See also The Wasp, Ant-Man's Distaff Counterpart. And note that Hank's Yellowjacket alias has no relation to the Golden Age Yellowjacket character.
Ant-Man appears in the following works:
Notable Comic Books
- Tales to Astonish (The original Silver Age stories)
- The Irredeemable Ant-Man (Eric O'Grady)
- Ant-Man & Wasp (3-issue miniseries with Eric O'Grady as Ant-Man and Hank Pym as Wasp)
- FF Vol. 2 (Scott Lang as a central character)
- Mighty Avengers: Hank Pym assembles and leads the second team to use this name.
- Avengers A.I.: A team made up entirely of artificial intelligences with Hank Pym as the leader.
- Secret Avengers (Eric O'Grady)
- Astonishing Ant-Man (originally Ant-Man): Starring Scott in the lead role.
- Spider-Man: A 2018-19 arc just before the strip's ongoing hiatus paired the title character with Scott Lang in an attempt to rescue the now retired Henry Pym from longtime foe Egghead.
- Ant-Man (2022)
- Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers: Hank Pym appears as Giant-Man, a former Avenger who was forced to retire when his powers started putting too much strain on his body.
- In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Paul Rudd plays the lead as the Scott Lang version of Ant-Man, while Michael Douglas portrays an older, retired version of Hank Pym.
- Ant-Man: The Yellowjacket persona also appears in this film, but is used by the movie's villain Darren Cross (from Scott's comic book origin).
- Captain America: Civil War: Scott uses the Giant-Man powers for the first time in this film, but is not identified as such.
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: The movie also introduces Bill Foster, who inherited the Giant-Man/Goliath powerset from Pym in the comics (he doesn't actually use such powers in the film, but claims to have helped test them in the past).
- Avengers: Endgame: Scott is a major character in the film, and his technology plays a vital role in the plot. A younger Hank makes a cameo appearance in a sequence set during the 1970s.
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania: Scott, his daughter Cassie and the Pym family confront Kang the Conqueror in the Quantum Realm.
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance: An unplayable Science Hero, Hank Pym appears between missions to offer advice. One objective for the Omega Base mission is to find Pym's Ant-Man helmet.
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2: Pym appears in his Yellowjacket persona as a boss for the Anti-Registration side.
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order: Scott appears as an NPC.
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Pym is a non-playable character, appearing as part of one of Hawkeye's hyper combos.
- Marvel: Avengers Alliance: Pym is the featured hero for the seventh Special Operations, in an amalgam of his various personas (notably, he's wearing his current Giant-Man uniform - at least as default). Lang is the featured hero for Special Operation 28, timed to coincide with the movie.
- Marvel Future Fight: An update timed with the movie introduces Ant-Man (Lang), Giant-Man (Pym), and Yellowjacket (Darren Cross) as playable characters (alongside Wasp); plus a Goliath alternate costume for Giant-Man. The Bill Foster Goliath was added with the Ant-Man and the Wasp update.
- Disney Infinity 3.0: A Captain America: Civil War-themed update introduced Lang as a playable character.
- Marvel Heroes: Scott Lang is the playable Ant-Man character while Henry Pym is the crafting NPC in Avengers Tower. Players who buy a premium costume can play as Pym instead of Lang.
- Marvel: Avengers Academy: Scott Lang is a default character, while Hank Pym is a supporting character on the Academy's faculty. During limited-time events, Pym, Cross, and Foster could be unlocked and recruited as Giant-Man, Yellowjacket, and Goliath, respectively. Lang could also get O'Grady's suit as an alternate costume.
- LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 2: Hank Pym plays a minor role in the main story as Giant-Man/Goliath (using the former's name and the latter's costume). A bonus level features Pym as both Ant-Man and Yellowjacket, and the Scott Lang Ant-Man can also be unlocked. DLC based on Ant-Man and the Wasp adds an additional level and the movie versions of Lang's Ant-Man and Giant-Man.
- Marvel's Avengers: Hank Pym appears in the story, sporting a look based on his more recent 'casual'◊ look from stories like Avengers A.I.
- The Marvel Super Heroes (Hank Pym appears with a combination of both Ant-Man and Giant-Man powersets.)
- The Avengers: United They Stand (Hank Pym)
- Ultimate Avengers (Hank Pym)
- Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes (Hank Pym)
- The Super Hero Squad Show (Hank Pym)
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (Hank Pym appears with a combination of both Ant-Man and Giant-Man powersets before passing his title to Scott Lang during the second season; after which Hank switches to Yellowjacket; Eric O'Grady also makes a cameo appearance in the episode “Nightmare in Red”)
- Avengers Assemble (Scott Lang)
- Ultimate Spider-Man (Scott Lang)
- Guardians of the Galaxy (2015) (Scott Lang)
- LEGO Marvel Superheroes: Avengers Reassembled (Scott Lang)
- Ant-Man (Scott Lang, with Hank Pym in a mentor role)
Ant-Man provides examples of the following tropes:
- Amicable Ants: Ant-Man is an ant-themed superhero with Sizeshifter powers and the ability to control ants.
- Animal-Themed Superbeing: Ants.
- Animal Theme Naming: Ant-Man, obviously. Hank Pym also used the code names Yellowjacket and Wasp.
- Applied Phlebotinum: The Pym Particles.
- Clothes Make the Superman: A prominent example in Marvel. None of them have innate powers, but they use a special suit to both shrink and control ants.
- Hand Blast: Each Ant-Man has blasters built into his gloves allowing him to fire bio-electric energy blasts from his hands.
- Legacy Character: Scott Lang and Eric O'Grady are legacy characters to Hank Pym; Stature (Scott's daughter, Cassie) is this to Scott and Hank; and Hank's own Wasp identity made him a legacy character to his own former sidekick.
- Made of Iron: Growing to giant size increases Ant-Man's density, giving him greater durability.
- My Suit Is Also Super: Each Ant-Man suit was exposed to Pym Particles, allowing it to change size with the hero that uses it.
- Pest Controller: the Ant-Man helmet allows the user to communicate with insects and order them around.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The Ant-Men retain their normal density and strength at insect size.
- Power Perversion Potential: Both Hank and Eric have tapped this potential in very different ways.
- Running Gag: Ant-Man legacies coming into possession of their powers by stealing a suit from Hank Pym. At this point, Scott Lang, Rita De Mara, Eric O'Grady and Darren Cross have acquired their original suits this way.
- Sizeshifter: Hank Pym initially required doses of Pym Particles in order to change size, requiring him to carry special pills or gas canisters. Later, Hank's body would start to generate Pym Particles on its own, allowing him to change size at will.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Each Ant-Man has a cybernetic helmet that allows him to communicate with insects.
- Super Strength: Only available in giant form. A portion of the strength goes to supporting Ant-Man's body, leading to diminishing returns if he grows too large.
- Comic-Book Limbo: The last issue's cover shows the titular character fighting many forgotten heroes and screaming that he will never share their fate.