Leader and Hulk continue the longstanding argument about the superiority of intellect & strength!

Every Friday we use the powers of Marvel Unlimited to look back at the very first appearance of a major character, place or object that made waves this week.

Great villains often show the darker potential of the heroes they face off against on a regular basis. In the case of The Leader – who reappeared in this week’s SHE-HULK #159 – he represented the brain side while Hulk clearly leaned towards brawn.

With his return, it’s a great time to look back at this character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and his rise to power starting in 1964! The man simply known as The Leader debuted in TALES TO ASTONISH #62 as a masked figure sending The Chameleon to the base that Bruce Banner worked at to steal his military secrets. 

Tales to Astonish (1959) #62

Tales to Astonish (1959) #62

  • Published: December 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Steve Ditko
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
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In the following issue, we learned not only that this man sported an enlarged head but also green skin! He also very helpfully revealed his origin! A simple laborer at a chemical research plant happened to pass a Gamma Ray Cylinder as it exploded. Though seemingly unhurt at first, the man gained an intense thirst for knowledge and an uncanny ability to retain what he read. More shockingly, though, he eventually developed a larger cranium and his skin turned an emerald color!

At first, The Leader didn’t even know about the Hulk, but wanted Banner’s secrets. However, when he sent a Humanoid to do his bidding, the Hulk popped up to defeat it. During this time, Banner did his best to keep his double life as the Hulk a secret from his boss, General Thunderbolt Ross.

Enthralled by the appearance of a fellow green-skinned human with abilities far beyond mortal men, The Leader intended to partner up with the Hulk at first, or else destroy him!

Though The Leader would attempt to use even more Humanoids to steal the secrets and grab the Hulk, he didn’t take into account the fact that Hulk would turn into Banner if he got too agitated. After that happened without the Leader seeing, Banner made a break for it, turned back into the Hulk and wound up swimming far out into the ocean where a Russian sub picked him up.

The Leader worked with the Russians at that time, but decided to sit back and wait until Banner and Hulk broke back through the Iron Curtain. That happened in TALES TO ASTONISH #68 – now drawn by Jack Kirby – wherein Leader attempted to steal Banner’s Absorbatron with the help of cell-sized Humanoids that could grow to much larger sizes.  

Tales to Astonish (1959) #68

Tales to Astonish (1959) #68

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The two gamma-powered individuals finally met face-to-face in #69 when the Humanoids brought a knocked-out Hulk to the Leader’s lab. Upon finally waking up, the Hulk destroyed Leader’s lab. Not long after, Hulk seemed to actually consider the Leader’s offer of partnering up and they did after a fashion as Leader sent Hulk to get the Ultimate Machine from the Watcher. The Jade Giant succeeded, but the immense amount of galactic knowledge absorbed by The Leader seemed to kill him! 

Tales to Astonish (1959) #69

Tales to Astonish (1959) #69

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Of course, good villains never stay dead and the big brain returned to hassle Hulk and other heroes on more than one occasion. Considered one of Hulk’s main villains, Leader – now also known as Samuel Sterns – made the jump to other media ranging from cartoons and video games to the big screen!

Flash Forward

Curious about how The Leader recovered from his apparent brain drain? Well, readers found out for themselves in the pages of INCREDIBLE HULK #115. In that issue by Stan Lee and Herb Trimpe, Leader said that he’d taken precautions before using the Ultimate Machine. He’d set it up so that, if his heart stopped beating, a specially-designed Humanoid would use a Revivor Beam to bring him back! He then spent his time planning his revenge on his nemesis!

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Stan Lee and Jack Kirby team-up to tell a Hulk story for the ages!

1917 to 2017: 100 years of Kirby.

Join us to celebrate Jack “King” Kirby’s 100th birthday by learning about the characters and stories he created that changed comics forever. To commemorate Jack’s centennial, we’ve sat down with the modern-day creators he influenced—and the decades of work he gifted us all.

One year after the first volume of INCREDIBLE HULK ended with issue #6, the Jade Giant threw down once again—this time with his former Avengers teammate Hank Pym—in the pages of TALES TO ASTONISH #59! The team-up proved to be such a hit that Hulk stuck around the series until it became the second volume of INCREDIBLE HULK with issue #102.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #102

Tales to Astonish (1959) #102

  • Published: April 01, 1968
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: May 02, 2016
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Though he drew covers for the Hulk’s monthly return, Jack Kirby wouldn’t start penciling interior adventures until issue #68, when he reintroduced The Leader. At the time, Bruce Banner had been branded a potential Communist for seeming to help The Hulk—whom the government had a great suspicion in. Banner even appeared to die by a gunshot wound at the end of issue #69!

In TALES TO ASTONISH #70, the U.S. Army investigated the Leader’s lab in search of The Hulk—before concluding that the Jade Giant had escaped and that Banner’s body went missing. Turns out, Banner’s old friend Rick Jones previously snuck into the lab, stole the body and drove it to one of Bruce’s own laboratories—where he hoped to revive The Hulk, and with him, Bruce!

Rick succeeded in reviving them, but inadvertently brought Bruce’s consciousness back in the Hulk’s body. Banner quickly realized that, if he changed back into his human form, the bullet lodged in his brain would kill him instantly. To stave off such an event, Dr. Banner needed to stay in his Hulk form as long as possible.

The Leader, meanwhile, unleashed a 500-foot-tall Humanoid to take on all comers. In response, The Hulk and the army formed a temporary truce to deal with the new, more urgent menace. The Leader’s invention, however, proved powerful enough to withstand the onslaught—until issue #71.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #71

Tales to Astonish (1959) #71

  • Published: September 10, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 28, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Gene Colan
What is Marvel Unlimited?

In that book, General Ross launched a missile called “the Sunday Puncher” at—and seemed to destroy—the Humanoid. In response to the attack, The Leader commanded his creation to immolate itself, so that the military had nothing to study. And The Hulk remained in his Banner-controlled state until he found a solution and turned back into his human form.

Stay tuned to Marvel.com for more Kirby klassics! And join the conversation on all of our social channels with the hashtag #Kirby100.

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Criminal Freddy Sykes eventually learns the truth about being careful what you wish for!

With so many classic creatures on the loose in Monsters Unleashed, we turn to their earlier adventures thanks to Marvel Unlimited.

Unlike many of the other Monsters Unleashed creatures, Genie doesn’t do anything terrible on his own accord. In 1960’s TALES TO ASTONISH #8, thanks to the artistic talents of Jack Kirby on pencils and Steve Ditko on inks, we meet the wish-granting being. Unfortunately for Genie—and the world—he found himself bound to a scheming ex-con named Freddy Sykes who read “Arabian Knights” while locked up in prison and eventually tracked down a stray lamp in a southern swamp after serving his time.

At first Freddy wished for opulent, but ultimately harmless items like a solid gold castle and a winged horse. After that, though, his requests became more harmful and megalomaniacal. He wished for the oceans to dry up and then to block the whole sun. Genie disapproved of each request, but had to fulfill them thanks to the rules binding his kind.

Just as Freddy intended to use the lack of water and sun to make himself the most powerful man on the planet, he had another idea: “If I traded places with the Genie—if I became the Genie, then I wouldn’t be dependent on him [anymore]! I would have all his magic powers and I could do whatever I wanted myself!”

Tales to Astonish (1959) #8

Tales to Astonish (1959) #8

  • Published: March 01, 1960
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Don Heck
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Well, apparently ol’ Freddy didn’t read all the same Genie stories we’ve seen because he completely forgot that they tend to be cursed into granting only the wishes of the one who freed them. With their roles reversed, Genie ordered Freddy to return the ocean and unmake the castle and horse before sending him back into his new home: the bottle. As Genie walked away, he pledged to live a life worth living while also hoping that Freddy would spend enough time cursed to learn his own lesson.

That didn’t quite pan out as Freddy the Genie appeared in the following issue of TALES TO ASTONISH. He’d floated around the swamp for a while, building up a layer of grime on his bottle, so when a passerby found it, he didn’t see anything inside but left it uncorked allowing Freddy to escape! The ne’er-do-well immediately flew to New York City and negated gravity before going on a country-wide tour of mayhem that also included bringing the moon to Earth. He then planned to take over the planet and extend his empire into space before realizing he lost his abilities outside of Earth’s atmosphere!

Quickly returned to the bottle, Freddy understood his punishment: “I know now that I’ll remain here until the greed and avarice are purged from my soul! And then—in time—who knows?” Who knows indeed?

Tomorrow, witness the birth of Devil Dinosaur and his pal Moon Boy thanks to the master monster maker Jack Kirby!

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The Abomination comes to life, the Green Goliath travels to space, and more!

For over 50 years, the Incredible Hulk has been smashing his way through the Marvel Universe and into the hearts of fans. Whether you’ve discovered the tale of Bruce Banner and his other self through comics, TV, or film, get the whole story here…

The Hulk threw down against the late Leader’s most monstrous Humanoid yet in TALES TO ASTONISH #87, little realizing the machinations of the villainous Boomerang behind the scenes. High voltage aided the green giant in defeating his foe, but it knocked him for a loop, too.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #91

Tales to Astonish (1959) #91

  • Published: May 10, 1967
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 28, 2007
  • Penciller: Gil Kane
  • Cover Artist: Gil Kane
What is Marvel Unlimited?

The President offered a pardon to the Hulk in TALES TO ASTONISH #88, and Bruce Banner’s alter ego enjoyed a few moments of peace until enraged by Boomerang to the point of appearing as a menace again. After defeating the costumed criminal, the Hulk witnessed the arrival of the alien Stranger on Earth in TALES TO ASTONISH #89, and fell under the titan’s spell.

The Stranger left his new lackey to demolish the planet in TALES TO ASTONISH #90, but when Bruce sought to end his own life—and therefore the Hulk’s—a foreign spy stepped up and used Banner’s gamma machine to transform himself into the Abomination. The scientist lured the Abomination back to the army base in TALES TO ASTONISH #91 to thrash him, but the battle ended when the Stranger looked in on things and decided the new gamma-spawned monstrosity made for a better servant than the Hulk.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #93

Tales to Astonish (1959) #93

  • Published: July 10, 1967
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 28, 2007
  • Cover Artist: Marie Severin
What is Marvel Unlimited?

After hearing of the Supreme Hydra’s announcement to the world of a Death-Spore Bomb in STRANGE TALES #156, the Hulk saw what he believed to be a flying saucer in TALES TO ASTONISH #92, and, hoping to be whisked far away from Earth, leapt in pursuit of it. Capturing the Silver Surfer instead, he angered the former Galactus herald in TALES TO ASTONISH #93 and lost his chance to be cured of the gamma radiation which flowed through his form.

The High Evolutionary looked down upon the Earth from the planet Wundagore II in TALES TO ASTONISH #94 and saw in the Hulk an ally to use against the attacking New Men. The green giant turned back into Banner while on the journey to the alien world, which mightily disappointed the Evolutionary in TALES TO ASTONISH #95, and so thought to hyper-evolve the scientist one-thousand years on the human evolutionary track. When the New Men broke in, they interrupted the process in TALES TO ASTONISH #96, and brought about their own downfall.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #97

Tales to Astonish (1959) #97

What is Marvel Unlimited?

TALES TO ASTONISH #97 told of the Hulk’s unfortunate run-in with the twisted militia band known as the Living Lightning, and their subjugation of him for their own purposes. Tricked into thinking the band to be his friends, the Hulk turned his fury on Thunderbolt Ross’ army base in TALES TO ASTONISH #98, opening it up for the Lord of the Living Lightning to take ultimate control of it.

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General Ross, Boomerang, Hercules, Tyrannus, and more challenge the emerald giant!

For over 50 years, the Incredible Hulk has been smashing his way through the Marvel Universe and into the hearts of fans. Whether you’ve discovered the tale of Bruce Banner and his other self through comics, TV, or film, get the whole story here…

With the Leader seemingly destroyed, the Hulk learned that General “Thunderbolt” Ross and the U.S. Army had seized Rick Jones in TALES TO ASTONISH #75. Zapped with Bruce Banner’s “T-Gun” while attempting to jump to the White House, the green behemoth found himself transported to the far, far future.

In TALES TO ASTONISH #76, the Hulk entered into direct conflict with King Arricam, the leader in the future, and when captured, asked to join forces with the monarch against the Executioner. Hulk battled the Asgardian in TALES TO ASTONISH #77, and then afterward returned to the present day. Rick, thinking Banner and his alter ego dead, revealed the scientist’s horrible secret to his adversary, Major Talbot.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #77

Tales to Astonish (1959) #77

What is Marvel Unlimited?

In addition, Betty Ross also learned Banner’s secret in TALES TO ASTONISH #78, unaware of Hulk’s capture at the hands of the army. Banner’s replacement at Gamma Base, Dr. Zaxon, schemed to control the Hulk’s power, but in TALES TO ASTONISH #79 lost his own life while attempting to do so. The demigod Hercules ran afoul of the Hulk’s fiery temper, and their grudge match ended undecided.

With the Hulk on the move again in TALES TO ASTONISH #80, the emerald giant met up with his old foe Tyrannus, who requested aid against the wily Mole Man and his Octo-Sapien robot. After the battle, the Hulk wandered into a fountain of youth, which transformed him back into Bruce Banner once more.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #79

Tales to Astonish (1959) #79

  • Published: May 10, 1966
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

The mysterious Secret Empire hired super villain Boomerang in TALES TO ASTONISH #81 to bring them back a new Orion missile being tested by General Ross and the military. Banner managed to escape the underground world to rescue Betty Ross from Boomerang in TALES TO ASTONISH #82, and drove off the villain as the Hulk. The general believed the Hulk held Betty prisoner in TALES TO ASTONISH #83, but when Boomerang once again went after the missile, his attention splintered.

Finding Gamma Base empty in TALES TO ASTONISH #84, Hulk decided to head to New York City to enlist the aid of his old allies the Avengers. Rick Jones picked up a job transporting a car to New York, but when its owner, the foreign spy Gorki, used a device to divert the Orion missile toward the city in TALES TO ASTONISH #85, the Hulk entered the picture to stop it.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #81

Tales to Astonish (1959) #81

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Unfortunately, the monster changed back to Bruce Banner while clinging to the flying missile in TALES TO ASTONISH #86, but the scientist’s smarts saved the day by changing the warhead’s course. Still furious at the Hulk for perceived injustices upon his mission, General Ross activated the Leader’s most powerful Humanoid to bring the monster in…

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A reluctant partnership with the Leader could mean life or death for Bruce Banner!

For over 50 years, the Incredible Hulk has been smashing his way through the Marvel Universe and into the hearts of fans. Whether you’ve discovered the tale of Bruce Banner and his other self through comics, TV, or film, get the whole story here…

As the Mighty Thor reminisced in JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #112 over his battle only a few months before with the Incredible Hulk, his former sparring partner faced off against the Leader’s Humanoid creation in TALES TO ASTONISH #63. After the fight, Hulk transformed back into his alter ego Bruce Banner, only to find himself arrested as a traitor.

Journey Into Mystery (1952) #112

Journey Into Mystery (1952) #112

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Banner settled upon tranquilizers in TALES TO ASTONISH #64 so as not to change into the Hulk again, but when Rick Jones wrangled his release through none other than the President of the United States, he headed off to Astra Island. There, protecting his invention, an absorbatron, he changed into the Hulk to fend off an entire Humanoid horde sent by the Leader. The green giant drove the army into the sea, where he wound up a prisoner in a passing Russian submarine in TALES TO ASTONISH #65.

The Hulk and another prisoner of the Russians escaped in TALES TO ASTONISH #66, but Banner’s companion sacrificed himself to save him from a proton gun blast, enraging the Hulk enough to beat his captors at their own game. He later flew off to the Himalayas in TALES TO ASTONISH #67, where his tormentor Major Talbot rescued him from a bandit lord. Together, the two fell off a cliff in TALES TO ASTONISH #68, but the Hulk made his way back to the States, back into incarceration, and then straight back to Astra Island after another pardon from the President.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #65

Tales to Astonish (1959) #65

  • Published: March 10, 1965
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: April 28, 2007
  • Penciller: Bob Powell
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

The Leader’s Humanoids captured the behemoth in TALES TO ASTONISH #69, and brought him before their creator. The Leader watched in horror as the Hulk destroyed the absorbatron, and later, when Major Talbot ordered Banner to be brought in at all costs, the scientist caught a bullet in the head for his troubles. At that same time, unbeknownst to Banner or the Hulk, the Avengers walked into a nearby trap by the Mole Man in AVENGERS #17, eager to find Banner’s alter ego somewhere in the desert and recruit him for membership again.

Rick Jones smartly applied Banner’s original gamma ray machine in TALES TO ASTONISH #70 to change the scientist into the Hulk, and thereby save his life. With Banner’s mind once again in his green form, the Hulk knew that to transform back into his true state meant a death sentence, due the bullet lodged in his brain. The Leader attacked “Thunderbolt” Ross’ army base in TALES TO ASTONISH #71, so the general used his “Sunday Punch” missile to end the crisis. Subsequently, the Leader offered an ultimatum to the Hulk: help to escape the army in exchange for total obedience. The Hulk complied.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #69

Tales to Astonish (1959) #69

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Whisked away to the Leader’s secret headquarters in TALES TO ASTONISH #72, the green goliath applied all his stamina not to change back to Banner, and thus bring about his death. Discovering the truth of it, the Leader used his science to dissolve the bullet in TALES TO ASTONISH #73, then teleported his “partner” to the Watcher’s homeworld to steal a fantastic device there.

The Hulk battled a powerful alien on the Watchers’ planet in TALES TO ASTONISH #74, and, allowed to bring the device back to Earth with him, delivered it to the Leader. The wily genius used it to insert all of the Watchers’ vast knowledge into his own enhanced brain, and seemingly died from the mental overload.

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The Green Goliath battles the Thing, meets Major Talbot, and more!

For over 50 years, the Incredible Hulk has been smashing his way through the Marvel Universe and into the hearts of fans. Whether you’ve discovered the tale of Bruce Banner and his other self through comics, TV, or film, get the whole story here…

After storming off from the team, the Hulk wanted nothing to do with the Avengers, but Earth’s Mightiest Heroes decided the green behemoth too unstable to run loose on his own. So, in AVENGERS #3, they attempted to track him down, not knowing that young Rick Jones set about to hide his friend. The Hulk formed a temporary team-up with an angry Namor the Sub-Mariner, but that fell apart following an indecisive tussle with the Avengers.

Later, dwelling on his condition, the Hulk reasoned that Rick’s “desertion” to the side of Captain America warranted a reprisal. He arrived in New York to find the young man in FANTASTIC FOUR #25, but the Thing and his teammates put up a bulwark against him. The epic battle between the Hulk and the Thing spilled over into FANTASTIC FOUR #26, and when the Avengers showed up to lend their help, the resulting clash nearly brought the entire city down.

Fantastic Four (1961) #26

Fantastic Four (1961) #26

  • Published: May 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Hiding out in the desert once more, the Hulk stumbled into the Avengers’ investigation of the Lava Men’s “living stone” in AVENGERS #5, and mixed it up with the heroes just for good measure. The Wasp tricked the green giant into smashing the stone, and during that implosion the Hulk changed back into Bruce Banner. Finding a nice, dark cave to hide away in after that, the Hulk’s solitude shattered when Spider-Man happened upon him in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #14. The Hulk tried to drive the web-slinger away, but Spidey turned the tables on him and left the monster more confused than ever.

Avengers member Giant-Man sought the Hulk in New Mexico in TALES TO ASTONISH #59, but the villainous Human Top also wanted the giant—to recruit him to his side. When the dust cleared from that brouhaha, Bruce Banner returned to “Thunderbolt” Ross’ army base to continue his work on a robot in TALES TO ASTONISH #60, but a spy made off with the mechanical marvel and pitted it against Banner’s alter ego, the Hulk. Later, with the robot gone, Ross’ anger over Banner’s loss echoed around the desert.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #59

Tales to Astonish (1959) #59

  • Published: September 10, 1964
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Dick Ayers
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Major Talbot arrived at the base in TALES TO ASTONISH #61 to head up the search for the Hulk and the robot, and when the spy’s missile knocked the behemoth unconscious, Talbot moved in to make a lucky capture. Chained up, the Hulk struggled to free himself in TALES TO ASTONISH #62, only to revert back to Banner and run afoul of the wily Chameleon posing as the meek scientist. A glimmer of the Hulk’s innate heroism arose when he smothered a gamma grenade set off to cover the Chameleon’s getaway.

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Flash back to the horror anthology title's debut issue featuring the work of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and more!

Every day this month a different supernatural character or story from the Marvel Universe gets the spooky spotlight leading up to Halloween!

Back in the first half of the 20th century, audiences enjoyed a variety of entertainment styles when they attended the cinema. Instead of sitting through commercials and previews before the feature, they saw a cartoon or two, a newsreel about the world, a serial and a film.

This multi-story presentation became reflected in comics of the day as well, leading to anthology titles of all kinds including TALES TO ASTONISH which launched in 1959.

For just 10 cents, readers of the first issue scored stories drawn by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Jack Davis, and Carl Burgos, also known as the man who created the original Human Torch in 1939. Reflecting the kinds of genre stories that filled movie houses at the time, TALES TO ASTONISH #1 featured giant mutated animals, cheeky ghosts, astronauts, other planets, complicated robots, and invading aliens.

The Kirby-drawn “We Found the Ninth Wonder of the World” features a bit of a King Kong-meets-Dr. Moreau vibe as a ship captain encounters a scientist whose experiments trying to create a hormone regulator serum resulted in massive creatures roaming the oceans.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #1

Tales to Astonish (1959) #1

  • Published: January 01, 1959
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Davis
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Moving on readers find themselves facing the sneering grin of the lead character in Ditko’s “I Know the Secret of the Poltergeist.” A paranormal investigator with a big secret does his best to convince a couple that their haunted house actually came poorly built.

After a prose story with a few Don Heck designs, “I Was the First Man to Set Foot on…The Mystery Planet” by Burgos stars a robot-hating businessman named Tom who realizes that a problem with worker bots lead to his company’s ruin. He eventually finds himself stuck on an alien planet that puts him in direct contact with the entities he hates, offering a semi-veiled lesson on bigotry.

Finally, the issue ends with “I Foiled an Enemy Invasion” by Davis which basically plays as an extended gag for English majors. All together, these short stories offer an amazing snapshot of the kinds of tales our fan forebears loved while also displaying the talents of comic book masters working on types of stories less common nowadays.

FRIGHT FACT: Monsters, mystics, and Martians eventually gave way to super heroes which meant that TALES TO ASTONISH became home to characters like Ant-Man, his alter ego Giant Man, Sub-Mariner, and Hulk who eventually took over this book’s numbering for his first solo series. Come to think of it, Hulk would fit in quite well with some of the other TTA all-stars like The Things on Easter Island, the Stone Men and Droom the Living Lizard.

Come back tomorrow for another Halloween Spooklight on Franken-Castle!

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Relive Hank Pym's first heroic identity, his partnering with the Wasp and Avengers, battles against Egghead, plus much more

In 1962, the legacy of Ant-Man began; today, over five decades later, the legend has come to encompass multiple heroes and will take shape as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2015.

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Marvel as well as prepare for Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” coming to theaters on July 17, 2015, learn all about the history of this unique hero.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #27

Tales to Astonish (1959) #27

  • Published: January 10, 1962
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Steve Ditko
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
What is Marvel Unlimited?

Scientist, inventor, Avenger: as Ant-Man, Hank Pym founded an identity that served him well at the beginning of the new Heroic Age, one he subsequently bequeathed to others. Never quite standing as tall as his teammates like Iron Man, Thor, or the Hulk, Ant-Man nonetheless made an indelible imprint on the populace he swore to protect with his incredible discoveries and passion for science.

Having discovered a growth potion in TALES TO ASTONISH #27, scientist Henry “Hank” Pym made the fateful decision to experiment with it on himself, shrinking him to insect-size and literally heading down an ant hole. That adventure made Pym pause and ponder the implications of everything he’d experienced among the miniscule beings whose home he’d inadvertently invaded.

In TALES TO ASTONISH #35, Pym reconsidered his discovery and developed a special protective costume and helmet with which he could communicate with ants. Shrinking down to their size once again, he foiled the scheme of Russian agents to steal an anti-radiation formula as Ant-Man, a new champion for justice.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #35

Tales to Astonish (1959) #35

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Later, in TALES TO ASTONISH #36, he worked his potion into gas form and continued to help the police department against such menaces as Comrade X and the racketeer called the Protector.

Ant-Man faced off against the first real challenge to his intellect in TALES TO ASTONISH #38 when he met Egghead, a criminal genius who sought out the super hero to defeat him for a mob of gangsters. A string of strange cases followed, as Pym combated the likes of the Scarlet Beetle in TALES TO ASTONISH #39, the other-dimensional Kulla in TALES TO ASTONISH #41, and the Master of Time in TALES TO ASTONISH #43.

Under siege by the gigantic alien Kosmos in TALES TO ASTONISH #44, Ant-Man took on a partner. The beautiful Janet Van Dyne, who’d just lost her father to Kosmos’ brusque entry into our world, became the Wasp and stood alongside Ant-Man to defeat the alien criminal. Hank and Janet also began to fall in love with each other, bonding as a super heroic duo like none other.

Tales to Astonish (1959) #44

Tales to Astonish (1959) #44

What is Marvel Unlimited?

Egghead returned in TALES TO ASTONISH #45 to fight Ant-Man and the Wasp, and the diminutive hero aided the Fantastic Four against Doctor Doom and his subjugation of a microscopic world in FANTASTIC FOUR #16. After a few more challenges, Pym and Van Dyne joined with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to found the Avengers, the first great super team of the new era, as seen in AVENGERS #1.

After defeating the Porcupine in TALES TO ASTONISH #48, Ant-Man continued to develop his technology and made the first of many identity changes in TALES TO ASTONISH #49. Now able to grow to a fantastic height as well as shrink, Pym renamed himself Giant Man, though he still operated as Ant-Man for a short while when he operated at reduced size in special circumstances. Eventually, though, he abandoned the Ant-Man persona in favor of the great potential of Giant Man and introduced the identity to his fellow heroes in AVENGERS #2.

Avengers (1963) #2

Avengers (1963) #2

  • Published: November 10, 1963
  • Added to Marvel Unlimited: November 13, 2007
  • Penciller: Jack Kirby
  • Cover Artist: Jack Kirby
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For the most part, Pym continued to operate beyond the Ant-Man name, save for rare occasions such as AVENGERS #93, when he re-adopted the role to examine the Vision from the inside during the Kree-Skrull War, and then years later when he succumbed to mind control under the artificial brain of Ultron, one of his own robotic creations, in AVENGERS #161 and #162. Then, with no memory of adventures as Giant Man, he once again wore the mask of Ant-Man until the Avengers set him right and together they defeated Ultron.

Finally, believing he’d set aside his first super heroic persona forever, Pym met a young man who’d pick up the legacy of Ant-Man and make it his own…

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