Tales to Astonish (Vol. 1) #37

Credits:

Cover Date: November 1962

Cover Artists: Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers

“Trapped by the Protector!”

Writer: Stan Lee, Larry Lieber

Penciller: Jack Kirby

Inker: Dick Ayers

What’s Going On?

When his trusty ant-based intelligence network alerts Henry Pym of a protection racket in the city, he goes as Ant-Man to investigate. A costumed man, calling himself the Protector, has been threatening local jewelers; if they do not pay him protection money, he destroys their jewels with a disintegration gun. It’s up to Ant-Man to solve the case!

Is It Good?

It’s fine. At this point, Ant-Man is basically a private detective with a gimmick, and that gives us Scooby-Doo plots like this one. It’s not a great fit for the character — also, how does this impact his scientist job? — but at least he’s not fighting aliens.

Continuity:

  • Hey, look at this! This is the most extensive ad I’ve seen for Marvel comics yet! Granted, Marvel Unlimited might cut the old House ads from the digital versions, but this is still pretty novel.

Comics Are Goofy:

  • How do regular folks not see Ant-Man coming a mile away? That’s a frightening amount of ants!

  • I love classic slapstick in my detective stories.

  • Really, Henry? That’s your only chance? You can’t just enlarge yourself?

  • This would also be something I would try when fighting Ant-Man.

  • I am calling bullshit right here. Ant-Man says that the Protector’s disintegration gun causes a puff of dense smoke (which it didn’t appear to do), which gave the villain time to steal the jewels unseen and sprinkle some sand in their place.

  • Following up on that thought: look at this — which happened in front of Ant-Man — and say that this matches his earlier explanation.

  • How did the case get destroyed? How did he grasp the jewels so fast? Even the more difficult to reach jewels appear to be gone! And that is a crapload of sand to be carrying around! That has to be 40lbs, easy! Nope, I call bullshit.

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