In my opinion Tales to Astonish #27 (1/62) is not one of the early Marvel Keys. “The Man in the Ant Hill” story featured the first appearance of Henry Pym but it was just another Sci-fi/fantasy story typical of the books Atlas Comics was producing at the time.
It was Stan Lee’s genius that converted all the positive fan mail the story received into the idea to turn the Pym character into the Ant-Man in Tales to Astonish #35 (9/62).
It’s safe to say that Mr. Lee was also buoyed by the success of Marvel’s first 2 forays into the superhero genre. Fantastic Four #1 (11/61) and Hulk #1 (5/62) were established hits by the time the costumed Ant-Man went to print.
Thor and Spider-Man were both introduced in August 1962 so Tales to Astonish #35 represented the 5th hero of the new Marvel revolution.
Tales to Astonish is, again in my opinion, the 5th Marvel key. The next major hero to emerge was Iron Man and that wasn’t for another 6 months (Tales of Suspense #39, 3/63).
Though the Ant-Man may not be considered an A-List hero its important to note that the cumulative creations spawned by the character are a large part of the Marvel Universe. Ant-Man’s girlfriend Janet van Dyne became the Wasp, both were founding members of the Avengers. The Ant-Man became Giant-Man in Tales to Astonish #49 (11/63) and then morphed into Goliath in Avengers #28 (5/66). Pym later turned into Yellowjacket, an unprecedented 4th hero character in Avengers #59 (12/68).
The Overstreet Price Guide shows a $1400/$2700/$4000 split at the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grades.
Strengths that make this comic book a good long term investment are:
– An early Marvel Key – Marvel’s 5th hero
– Ant-Man went on to become Giant-Man, Goliath and Yellow Jacket
– At $4000.00 in 9.2 it is the cheapest of all Marvel Keys only because it has not yet got the respect it deserves (but will eventually get)
– Founding member of the Avengers (along with his girlfriend the Wasp)
Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada