Episode 135: Technological Proliferation (Tales to Astonish #57) -- June 1964
Check out the new section in the newsletter where we go “behind the comic” below!
In this episode:
Mike and Ed discuss how Egghead was able to use an ant surveillance network against Giant-Man himself. If Egghead can do it, how many other nefarious characters will be able to do what Ant-Man/Giant-Man did? We may or may not be comfortable with an Avenger surveilling the city, but we don’t want just anyone doing it. But now that the technology is known to exist, how long until it is available to any ambitious actor? How will we stop the Soviets from monitoring our entire country with insects? We couldn’t stop them from getting the A-bomb. Also: Can Spider-Man talk to spiders?
Behind the comic:
This is the first time Spider-Man meets Giant-Man and the Wasp. Initially, like many first encounters in comics, Giant-Man and Spider-Man fight, but the Wasp convinces the two men to stop. One might think that the Wasp is the more level-headed one in her partnership with Giant-Man. But then at the end of the issue, inexplicably, the Wasp decides that she hates Spider-Man. Why? Apparently, according to the Wasp, because wasps don’t like spiders. Spider-Man’s thought bubble has Peter claiming the same thing. It seems like Stan Lee was just trying to create a sense of conflict between the characters, but in so doing he suggests that somehow heroes take on the traits of their superhero names. This MIGHT make sense for Spider-Man, but the Wasp’s powers have nothing to do with actual “wasps". So any hatred of things wasps hate - because wasps hate them - must be the result of serious psychological issues…
In this issue:
Hank “Giant-Man” Pym arms Janet “the Wasp” Van Dyne with a compressed air gun - a wasp sting, if you will. Meanwhile, Egghead has been plotting his revenge on Giant-Man. His plan? To communicate with ants, as Giant-Man does, and have them provide misinformation to Giant-Man. The first misinformation that the ants feed Giant-Man leads to a misunderstanding with Spider-Man, and the two of them brawl in the city. The police are distracted by their fight, which allows Egghead and his goons to commit a robbery. Giant-Man eventually figures out what happened, and he and Spider-Man join the Wasp in taking Egghead and his thugs down.
Assumed before the next episode:
Giant-Man is going to need to tighten up his communication system with ants.
This episode takes place:
After Egghead is apprehended.