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".

Rip Off

9 comments:

  1. I, too, have always enjoyed the blue/gold Goliath era. In fact, he was one of the first characters I taught myself to draw, probably, as you say, because of the simplicity of his design. I hae long said that Don Heck's best superhero art ever was in those AVENGERS issues. Love his version of Cap!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don Heck's characters are dashing as they appropriately should be given his nickname, and I'd agree rarely more so than during this run. He was in a neat zone between his Caniff roots and his Kirby mandate and found a real sweet spot for his art. Later I'll admit it got a bit loose, but it never lost the verve or energy which is almost completely absent from so much of the modern stuff I see.

      Rip Off

      Delete
  2. Rip --

    You know I feel that today's post is a gift. Thanks very much for running it.

    Karen and I have (down the road a couple of months) a look-in on a very mad, very large Yellowjacket vs. the Whirlwind.

    It was great to see Hank's presence dominate the team for that short time during the Kooky Quartet era.

    Doug

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are most welcome Doug. I look forward to the Whirlwind postings. He's one of my favorite Marvel baddies.

      With the ongoing saga of Hank and/or Jan, the invention of Ultron and hence the Vision and that whole love sage with Scarlet Witch, the variations on the Goliath role with Hawkeye and whatnot, it's not too far a stretch to say that Hank Pym's extended story was the core of the Avengers for many years.

      Rip Off

      Delete
  3. This costume was supposedly designed and sewed by the Scarlet Witch in her spare time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since that seems so improbable, it makes sense the Scarlet Witch would do it maybe.

      Rip Off

      Delete
  4. Those issues represent my personal First Great Avengers era. I wouldn't come to the Lee/Kirby run until reprints circa 1969 and 1970. The début of Goliath and the Collector was the second storyline I ever read in UK reprints- the first being the Swordsman's introduction.

    I'd like it if the next Avengers movie restored Hank and the Vision to their late 60s glory.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd agree on hoping to see Hank back in a positive role with the team. But sadly I doubt we'll get much. Even if he appears in some capacity, he'll have precious little screen time, and I dread the wife-beater persona will be too easy a cop out for movie makers to resist.

      Rip Off

      Delete
  5. The Blue & Gold costume was by far the most attractive. The Red & Blue just never worked for me. either.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...