Friday, January 25, 2013
Big Man On Campus!
Of the myriad looks that Hank Pym has adopted over the decades, I have to say my absolute favorite is when he first returned to the Assemblers as "Goliath". One of the original Marvel superheroes, Pym began of course as Ant-Man before switching to the somewhat more imposing Giant-Man. He changed up his costume often enough even then. But then he and Winsome Wasp retired briefly from the Avengers only to return some months later all revved up for a new somewhat glitzier run.
The gold and blue he wore was attractive and distinctive among costumed heroes. The design is sleek and modern and eshcews too many goo-gaws. The use of goggles was an inspiration, giving the character a weird but oddly practical look. It rock solid costume, one of Marvel's very best.
The look debuted in Avengers #28 and Jack Kirby offers up our first glimpse of the more imposing giant superhero. Goliath will be featured on most all the Avengers covers for the next few years, the first few drawn by Kirby.
Then it became the task of underrated artist Don Heck to illustrate the new hero. And he does a magnificent job. Goliath is a hero inside Heck's wheelhouse as Heck's jaunty lines work well on the simple costume. Avengers covers showcase the new hero to great effect. I recently had the opportunity to see some of the original work Heck did on this run and his inks on his own pencils are simply beautiful. I own one piece of art from this era, and I'd wish I'd had enough bucks to bring this one home as well.
After some months Goliath recedes a bit into the background of the covers, joining his fellow assemblers.
Gil Kane steps in for an issue and offers up a look at Goliath in a decidedly weak position here.
Then came John Buscema to the Assemblers while Don Heck drew the first Avengers annual adventure.
Buscema's arrival marked the end of the focus on Goliath as new Avengers scribe Roy Thomas decided that Hank Pym needed some more angles to his profile. He returned him to his roots, reactivating his Ant-Man persona.
We get one last look at the awesome blue and gold costume, with the added antennae in this powerful drawing of the assemblers by Buscema.
When next he'd appear Goliath would lose the blue and gold and replace it with a somewhat more drab red and blue, making him alas less distinctive and more like other heroes. Soon after that Goliath would be replaced by Yellowjacket.
But for a few years at least Hank Pym was a star, a true "big man on campus".