Friday, July 30, 2010

Marvel History Post 49: Tales to Astonish # 42

Issue: Tales to Astonish # 42 Writer: Stan Lee / Larry Lieber Artist: Don Heck Publication Date: April 1963 Brief Summary: Due to the usual mess of radiation and science, a DJ named Jason Cragg gains the ability to get people to do what he wants by the power of his voice. Instead of just living out a good life getting everything he wants, he decides to make an enemy of Ant Man. He gets the people, and the police, on his side using his voice power. Ant Man is on the run., and the people hope to find him by using a magnet that will work on Ant Man's helmet. Ant Man has to ditch his helmet and also his enlarging and reducing gasses. The mob finds the helmet, so Cragg knows his voice will now work on Ant Man. He commands Ant Man to drown himself. Ant Man has to obey, but his Ants save him. Ant Man escapes, and then regroups at his base for a little while. Cragg is planning on broadcasting his hatred for Ant Man, but Ant Man catches up to him and has his ants train a gun (fake, but Cragg doesn't know that) on Cragg. He forces Cragg to tell people that he made a mistake about Ant Man. Shortly after that, Cragg comes down with severe laryngitis, courtesy of Ant Man. Cragg is ruined, as his hypnotic effect is broken. This issue thankfully does not end with Ant Man riding into the sunset on the back of an ant. Commentary: An entire city is out searching for someone the size of an Ant, which is kind of humorous. Like a lot of Stan's villains, we don't see much motivation for Cragg to hate Ant Man. This reminds me of the philosophical discussion between comic book dorks of the chicken and the egg as applied to superheroes. The question is whether Batman exists because of Joker, or Joker exists because of Batman, and if the one did not exist, would the other? Is hating a hero enough of a motivation to be a villain? I suppose jealousy is a strong motivator. Favorite Panel: I can't seem to resist these little cutaways of the heroes' hideout, and neither can Stan Lee. Next: Amazing Spider-Man # 2