This Character Needs a Comic: Ant-Man (Eric O'Grady)
It was the gripe heard around the world. When the finalized roster for The Avengers movie was announced, comic book purists worldwide asked the same burning question: where was Ant-Man? In the early days of Marvel Comics, Ant-Man was a recognized hero, thanks mostly to his status as a founding Avenger. But as the team—and the Marvel Universe at large—grew over the years, Ant-Man started to become overshadowed and lived up to his name as the diminutive insect that carries on unnoticed. We say, no longer!
Who is Ant-Man (Eric O’Grady)?
So far there have been three heroes who have taken on the mantle of Ant-Man with the current being Eric O’Grady. To his super hero colleagues: an incorrigible and womanizing sleaze whose dubious reputation precedes him. To the readers at home: a troubled hero trying to make up for his past actions and live up to the Ant-Man legacy and status as an Avenger.
Before he became a member of the Secret Avengers, Eric was a low-ranking agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. given the monotonous task of monitor duty. One day, when he and his fellow agent Chris were assigned to keep guard over Dr. Hank Pym’s (the original Ant-Man) lab, the two stumbled upon the doctor’s latest experiment: a new, cutting-edge Ant-Man suit. Chris was the first to don the costume, but after an unfortunate death at the hands of HYDRA—partly due to Eric’s bumbling cowardice—Eric was quick to take the suit off his dead friend and use its shrinking abilities to save his own skin.
While he did try his hand at super heroics, Eric found that the suit’s shrinking ability could be used for more pleasurable pursuits, which consisted mostly of spying on women. Karma quickly caught up with Eric when he was assigned to Norman Osborn’s team of Thunderbolts during his reign as Director of National Security and found himself working with a team of ruthless and sinister teammates on unsavory missions that conflicted with his morality. Fortunately, Eric’s stint with the team was short-lived and was quickly offered a spot on the Secret Avengers; the first major step on his quest for redemption.
Why He Deserves His Own Series
It’s not known by many, but there is indeed an Ant-Man ongoing series (complete with cover art) that is currently floating about in publishing limbo. Invincible creator Robert Kirkman had created Eric O’Grady and the new Ant-Man costume in the 12 issue maxi-series The Irredeemable Ant-Man, but since he’s busy with his innumerable creator-owned titles at Image Comics, the likelihood of him returning to Marvel to take the reins of the character are virtually nonexistent. And not too long ago, Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso approached Transmetropolitan creator Warren Ellis with the offer to be the series’ writer. Ellis, according to Alonso, not so politely declined.
The very idea that Marvel’s sitting on a potential Ant-Man series with no intention to see it realized is veritable nerd torture! Eric has plenty of qualities that make him perfect for a series of his own: when compared to other Marvel characters and their storied legacies, he's relatively new, every bit as funny as Marvel’s resident funnyman Deadpool, and the general revival of a classic and obscure character should pique some kind of interest in comic book fans.
But there’s one trap that Marvel should be wary of if they ever decide to publish an Ant-Man comic: don’t make it a science-centric title! As it stands, Marvel had the intention of making Ant-Man a series that deals with the complex pseudo-science of the Marvel Universe. Two problems with this are that 1) it would surely turn off new (and possibly established) readers and 2) Eric O’Grady is far from being a scientist. If anything, the series should be a seamless blend of weirdness, tongue-in-cheek humor, and—most importantly—action that pays homage to the sci-fi camp of the character’s early days in the ‘60s. Hopefully, with news that Marvel Studios greenlit an Ant-Man movie in light of The Avengers’ success, we might just see an Ant-Man comic sooner than we thought.
Would you read an Ant-Man ongoing?