from Big Names to Small Ones
By Matthew Arcilla
When they first announced an Ant-Man movie during the dark ages before a Marvel Cinematic Universe, most people scoffed at the notion of a hero with the power to become smaller. But after 2015’s Ant-Man, starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly and Michael Douglas, size-changing supers now stand a little taller next to armored avengers, galactic guardians and super soldiers
This week sees Ant-Man and his friends return to the silver screen, and what better time to take a look at other costumed folk who change size. Let’s take a trip into the annals of comic book history to discover all the supers that can grow tall and get smol. Here’re eight size-changing superfolk!
8. Elasti-Girl (DC Comics)
Not to be confused with the Incredible of the same name, Rita Farr is an athlete and actress who was exposed to volcanic gases while filming in Africa. When she recovers, she discovers that she can expand or shrink at will, and can even enlarge one limb at a time. Initially, she had no control over her size changes, and became a recluse. She goes on to join the misfit group known as the Doom Patrol.
7. Maul (Wildstorm Comics)
A brilliant biochemist, Jeremy Stone was unaware he had extraterrestrial heritage until he discovered his power to grow in strength and size. Stone joined the WildC.A.T.s; where he fought against reptilian aliens known as Daemonites. Though one of their most powerful operatives, Stone’s powers often came at the cost of his intellect and entered a child-like state when he grew to three hundred feet.
6. Bumblebee (DC Comics)
Credited as DC Comics’ first female African American superhero, Karen Beecher was a stalwart member of the Teen Titans. Like other insect-themed heroines, the Bee can shrink down to the size of her namesake and sting her foes. At one point, Bumblebee was stuck in her shrunken form and had to take medication lest her heart give out.
5. Stature (Marvel Comics)
Cassandra “Cassie” Lang is the daughter of the second Ant-Man, Scott Lang, and has always been around since her first appearance in 1979. She’s had her own misadventures here and there as a child, but it wasn’t until she was a teenager that she acquired size-changing abilities of her own. As Stature, she frequently orbits the world of the Avengers, and is a founding member of the Young Avengers.
4. Giganta (DC Comics)
Despite her goofy origins as a mutated ape turned malevolent strongwoman, Giganta is one of the more formidable foes of Wonder Woman. Not only is she a cunning seductress, she can also grow to several hundred feet. Though most versions of the character cast her as a full-time villain, she also goes by the identity of Doris Zeul, a schoolteacher and scientist.
3. The Atom, DC
Likely the most recognizable of this list, The Atom was one of the first superheroes of comics’ Silver Age. Physicist Ray Palmer uses elements from a stellar core to experiment with matter compression and lets him safely shift in size. Depicted above is his hipper, cooler counterpart, Ryan Choi, a protege of Palmer’s who inherited his costume and powers when he disappears after the events of 2005’s Identity Crisis storyline.
2. Apache Chief (Super Friends)
An exclusive creation for the 80s Super Friends cartoon, Apache Chief is the team’s Native American ally who can grow in size. While many loving tributes such as Manitou Raven and Longshadow have been made, he grew to infamy in an episode of the Adult Swim comedy Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, where he sustains hot coffee burns that prevent him from “growing larger.”
1. Ms. Marvel (Marvel Comics)
After gaining powers from Terrigen mist, Kamala Khan takes on an old alias of Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel. Many cite Kamala’s Pakistani roots and Muslim upbringing as a source of much needed diversity in comics, but it’s her lovable, relatable personality that has made her a breakout hit. This shape-shifting, size-altering, elongating adventurer also made ‘embiggen’ a dictionary word.
Can you name other such heroes? Tell us about them below!