Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

Man, I’ve almost got nothing left right now. Strung out- been burning the candle at both ends lately. I’m having personality problems. Like Ant-Man. I gotta give Hank Pym this- he’s DIFFERENT.

Marvel has always had a penchant for developing heroes with diverse personalities. I mean, lets face it, Johnny Storm isn’t exactly the classic superhero material, is he? And that’s what Marvel was always trying to do, I think, from the get-go with the F.F.- people are just that: people. Just because you wake up one day with superpowers doesn’t mean your personality instantly transitions into saint-like humility. Johnny Storm can be spoiled, needy and vain, just like anybody else.

But Pym- I feel like, Pym’s just taken on this whole new LIFE in comics, this last decade or so. I sort of like to think people like Pym the same way that people like indie movies. I’m dead serious. Follow me through on this one.

Remember when The Big Lebowski got big? I think the Coen brothers were kind of the forerunners of indie film, in a lot of ways. Here’s the thing with movies like Lebowski and Fargo (I actually heard this explanation in an interview with the Coen brothers themselves, so I can’t really take credit for it…)

They aren’t ‘funny’ movies, exactly.

It’s more just like- they’re ‘accurate’. The way the characters talk and behave and the plot of the movie may be ABSURD, but what the characters do or say is entirely appropriate given that character’s nature. So your left with this sense that if this were happening, in real life, that’s exactly what WOULD happen, in real life. And that kind of makes you laugh.

I think the current obsession with indie film is the same thing. It’s sort of like people stopped wanting to see Hollywood clichés. They decided what they wanted to see, in a movie, was human interactions that were accurate. Even if it was EXCRUTIATING to watch. It’s kind of like indie films are always trying to capture those moments in life that you know happen and that you know you don’t like to think about/show to anyone else, and go ‘look at that- why do we pretend that that doesn’t happen?’

Now, my discourse on indie film over and done with. Is there a comic book character more painful than Pym? I mean, the guy’s a mess. He’s hung up on his ex-wife, who he’s so co-dependant on he’s sometimes gotten physically violent, he’s wildly overachieving but torturously insecure, and, oh yeah, he’s had so many different superhero identities he’s actually come down with a case of dissociative identity disorder. Hank’s alter-ego, Yellow Jacket, is sort of like all of his most impulsive and repressed qualities given life. While this persona might seem assertive and confidant at first his competitive and controlling streak soon starts to leak out causing lots of trouble for Hank’s Avenger buddies.

But the thing is you know guys like Hank. Oh hell you ARE like Hank. Not completely, but the point is, these kinds of problems are HUMAN. It’s REAL. We’re all insecure. We all have moments that we aren’t so proud of. Maybe no ‘dissociated superhero identity’ moments, but moments where you cringe. And I think Marvel likes to put that out there, with Hank. And remind you that we’re all human.

Now, on the note of being a superhero, I will say this. The hardest thing you will ever have to do, is take a look at yourself and try to change. And in THAT sense, Hank could at least be described as ‘heroic’. I don’t think he’ll ever wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and be proud of most of the things he’s done. Especially in his marriage. I mean, at the end of the day, no fancy costume is going to make up for this fact: Hank Pym was a man who HIT HIS WIFE. And it didn’t matter what kind of weird, delusional comic book vehicle was playing out at the time. Like so many insecure, under-developed men he lashed out at the woman closest to him.

No one whose inflicted abuse on someone else, scared them and made them suffer, is ever proud of themselves. There’s no going back either. Once you’ve hurt somebody that way you know, that’s on your hands, for the rest of your life. But to choose to try to do something BETTER than what you’ve done; to try to LEARN from what you’ve done? To try to change yourself, even in light of terrible things you can’t take back or make up for, to at least try to do SOMETHING worthwhile with the time you’ve got left? That’s not something anybody has to be ashamed of, right?


  1. Wow. Well put. Period.

    I would love to see Nathan Fillion play him in the Avengers movie (yes, I'm still holding out for a miracle), but I just want to see the character in the lineup.

    I hope the studio isn't thinking about leaving his character out because they will lose that grounding factor, the relatability he brings to the team.

  2. Holy cow- great call! Nathan Fillion would be PERFECT for that part! He's got such great range, as an actor- I mean, personally, I'm stoked to see Nathan Fillion in any part...

    But I could really see him induce that entire range of emotions you'd feel for this character- you'd love him, you'd be terrified of him, and than you'd be with him every step of the way while he tried to pick up the pieces and make up for what he did.

    I hope they don't drop the role either. I suppose the conflict is that I don't imagine an Ant-Man stand alone film to showcase the character before the 'big one' gets made. But I do think this incredibly human character is part of what makes the Avengers tick.

  3. exactly. He's one of those characters that's just integral to the story. The fact that he may not be able to stand alone in his own movie doesn't make him any less important to the group dynamic.


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