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Tales to Astonish #49: Review

Nov 1963
Stan Lee, Jack Kirby

Story Name:

The Birth of Giant-Man!

Review & Comments

4 stars

Tales to Astonish #49 Review by (November 15, 2022)

Review: The origin of Giant-Man! And it only took Hank Pym fourteen months to ask, “What if I took the enlarging formula while at normal height?” which most readers would have thought of five minutes after inventing it. But never mind, it was a great decision as it makes the hero more formidable though this series would stay just as silly as it’s been. The more interesting thing is the Eraser: he’s a sour little alien who wipes people out of existence with a few swipes of his hands. There are multiple questions that come to mind. Does the eraser device shrink? It’s the size of the humanoid villain’s palm—yet Ant-Man is able to use it with no difficulty. Wouldn’t it take a lot longer than a couple of seconds if one would erase a full-grown adult human from sight? And why is there only one device when we see the Eraser wiping people out using both hands? But all of these questions are moot as the very concept of the Eraser fulfills the number one rule of visual science fiction: “Because it looks cool!” Things will go back to dumb with the next issue. 

Comments: Giant-Man story: First appearance of Giant-Man. Enlarging and reducing formulas now in capsule form. Hank Pym’s home and lab are located in New Jersey which doesn’t fit with the geography of many previous stories. First story in which ants do not play a part. First appearance of the Living Eraser (Cutza) who returns in MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #15 and ANT-MAN & THE WASP: LIVING LEGENDS #1. A second Living Eraser arrives in SENSATIONAL SHE-HULK #35 and 37. AVENGERS #2 takes place after this issue. Number problem: the Eraser’s list has the names of five scientists on it; when he returns to his own dimension, he mentions that the ruler asked for three scientists to be brought to him; later the dungeon holds five scientist not counting Hank, plus the hot dog man. Second story: Text story with one illustration, reprinted from JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY #34.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Tales to Astonish #49 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

While experimenting with his enlarging formula, Hank Pym grows to giant size, crashing through the walls of his New Jersey lab and terrifying the gardener who flees for help to the police. Hank has Wasp pop a reducing pill in his moth so that he returns to normal size. Hank has determined that he can function at a limit of twelve feet; any larger and he is too heavy to move. And he has now put his reducing and growth formulas into capsule form….

The gardener returns with the police but with no giants in sight they dismiss him as a crank. Meanwhile, they are investigating reports of “a giant pixie” erasing people. The alien “eraser” is hiding in the woods when he is discovered by a man selling hot dogs; discovered, the alien swipes his hands through the air and the man is erased. The cops give up quickly so the Eraser moves on to his next intended victim, atomic scientist Professor Ebbhart and the man is erased quickly, leaving only one more name on the Eraser’s list: Henry Pym….

Hank shows Wasp the various sizes of the enlarging and reducing formulas, color coded for dosage/effect. He also shows her a dispenser to make it easy to find the desired dose, She tests it by shrinking to one inch—and then the Eraser wipes Hank out of sight…

…and he reappears in another dimension that parallels Earth. Eraser explains that his world has been monitoring Earth for years, smug in their technological superiority, until Earth unleashed the atom bomb. Now the aliens want that secret so they can invade Earth, hence the kidnapped scientists. Hank rebels so the guards fire “clinging bands” that entangle him. But Hank discovers he has Wasp in his pocket as he was erased while he was holding her. She pops a reducing capsule in his mouth, shrinking him to one foot tall. He escapes the bands and eludes the guards. Pursued by a dog-like hunting creature, he dons his Ant-Man duds and shrinks down to the usual small size and he and Wasp escape. They find their way to the dungeon where Wasp destroys the surveillance camera and Ant-Man grows to explain to the kidnapped scientists (and hot dog man) the situation. The guards arrive and Hank grows into Giant-Man and clobbers them, tossing them into a monorail which swiftly carries them away. He smashes a gun, evades a trap, and climbs to the top of a building where he fights off and destroys various aircraft a la King Kong (invoked by Hank). Wasp leads him to the home of the chief scientist and they force him to take them to the main science lab; Giant-Man is trapped in a huge glass box by the Eraser who murders the scientist for helping the enemy. Eraser reveals that he has the only means of sending them back to Earth, a palm-sized device of his own creation. Wasp frees Giant-Man from the cage and he takes the erasing device, sneaks back into the dungeon as Ant-Man, and sends them all back to Earth.

“Odd Skills”
Writer: Unknown. Art: Joe Maneely.
Synopsis: A draftsman’s work suddenly becomes shoddy and it’s because aliens are controlling his mind to build them a new spacecraft at night after everyone has gone home!

“The End of a World!”
Writer: Larry Lieber. Plot: Stan Lee. Pencils: Larry Lieber. Inks: George Roussos. Colors: ? Letters: Artie Simek.
Synopsis: Galactic monarch Zarku decides on an act to make his name remembered forever: he has his scientists create a nuclear bomb and fly it into a remote sun to create a supernova, destroying a galaxy. But it turns out his kingdom is a subatomic one seen only through a microscope!

Jack Kirby
Don Heck
Don Heck (Cover Penciler)
Don Heck (Cover Inker)
Stan Goldberg (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Sam Rosen.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Hank Pym)

(Hank Pym)

(Janet Van Dyne)

> Tales to Astonish: Book info and issue index

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