Ant-Man is the Aquaman of the Marvel Universe. There, I said it. Ant-Man is a borderline joke hero who occasionally is able to be portrayed in an interesting way. But if you read my post on Aquaman, then you’ll know I like these quirky characters and apparently, given the movie deals going on, so do a lot of other people.
In less than a month (on July 6) the second Ant-Man movie will be released. Ant-Man and the Wasp has already had an impact on the comic collecting community. When news of the sequel and the casting of its central villain was announced, it had the effect of pushing up the price of (unbelievable but true) Iron Man #219.
The Ghost, who will be the villain this time around first appears in that comic. But I don’t recommend getting it right now. This is for two reasons: (1) its price is currently artificially high due to hype from the new Ant-Man movie, and (2) The Ghost is not the kind of villain whose first appearance will hold long term value. Remember what happened with Avengers #54 a few years back. That comic introduces a much more memorable villain (although, granted, not done justice by the film he appears in): Ultron. The price of Avengers #54 spiked up in the months just before the second Avengers film rolled out and is, currently, much more affordable. If you bought it at the time of the movie hype- when its price peaked- you overpaid. This can serve as a lesson, namely, that speculative comic book buying is all about timing.
So, if Iron Man #219 is best picked up after the new Ant-Man movie has come and gone, which Ant-Man comics or Ant-Man connected titles should we be seeking out right now?
In the comics Dr. Henry ‘Hank’ Pym and not Bruce Banner and Tony Stark creates Ultron. Hank Pym was a genius scientist and the inventor of ‘Pym Particles’, which were particles able to manipulate the mass and size of objects and living beings. Pym’s first appearance is Tales to Astonish #27. But that comic isn’t technically the first appearance of Ant-Man. You see, Stan Lee originally wrote that story as a one off science fiction style yarn. When the higher ups at Marvel learned of the sales numbers for TTA #27, demand for the Ant-Man was clear and he became a regular fixture in Tales to Astonish. Issue #35 is therefore technically his first appearance and this is a hot comic, but more affordable than TTA #27. A 5.0 can be had for around $600.00. Once people clue-in that TTA #27 is really a try out for Ant-Man, the value of this issue should climb.
Janet van Dyne was Hank Pym’s second wife. She decided to help him fight crime and donned the alias of the Wasp to do it. Together with Hank, she is a founding member of the Avengers and will be making her Marvel film premiere in the new movie played by Michelle Pfeiffer. In the comics, Janet used to flirt with Thor to make Hank jealous. In one infamous issue of the Avengers (#213) Hank slapped her but good! Who says comics can’t be as sordid as real life? Her first appearance is popular but will likely retain its value.
Other than featuring the, arguably, lamest villain of all time, in the character of The Living Eraser(!), this comic has the first appearance of Giant Man. Hank would undergo several changes of alias, but the first was Giant Man (Goliath and Yellow Jacket being the others). This comic doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, Giant Man was a big hit when he appeared in the movie ‘Captain America: Civil War’, and his appearance is also one of the best moments from the new Ant-Man and the Wasp trailer. As Giant Man gets more screen time, expect more people to notice this comic and send its value up. Currently it is pricey but not unaffordable in mid-grade, where you can pick up a 6.0 graded copy for $200.00.
There have actually been no less than four different Ant-Men in the Marvel Universe. Two of them have been portrayed on film (Hank Pym, played my Michael Douglas and Scott Lang, played by Paul Rudd who both appear in the 2015 ‘Ant-Man’ film). The two non-cinematic Ant-Men: Chris McCarthy (short lived version who was an Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D) and Eric O’Grady (currently the Black Ant) may never appear on film, but who knows? Marvel Premiere #47 tells the origin of the second Ant-Man, Scott Lang, but it’s not his first appearance. That would be Avengers #181. This is still an important comic. It’s the first appearance of Cassandra Lang. It’s rumored that Cassie will be used in future Marvel movies, probably in the same way she’s currently used in the comics where she is known as, alternately, either Stature [first appearance Young Avengers #6 (May 2006)], or Stinger [first appearance Astonishing Ant-Man #6 (2016)]. This is still an affordable key with even a high 9.2 grade only slightly over $100.00. Get it before it shoots up in value.