Initially published by Atlas Comics, a precursor to Marvel Comics, Tales to Astonish was a science fiction publication. First published from 1959 to 1968, the ideas were those of Editor-in-Chief Stan Lee. Scripted by Lee’s brother, Larry Lieber with artwork mainly by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Don Heck, the series became a success. Until 1962, issue #34, Atlas Comics was the publisher, but then starting with #35 Marvel Comics took control.
A major first appearance in the series was that of Ant-Man, which occurred in Tales to Astonish #27, The Man in The Ant Hill. Since the creation of Ant-Man other individuals have taken the role of Ant-Man, but Dr. Henry “Hank” Pym was the first to transform into the superhero in 1962. When testing a serum on himself, Pym accidentally shrunk himself to the size of an ant. After returning to his normal size Pym began destroying all of the serums, but then had second thoughts and decided to recreate the serum, naming it “Pym Particles.” It enabled him to shrink and return to his normal size at his will. Next, Pym developed a helmet in order for him to communicate with ants, leading him to control all of the ants in the world! His new serum also enabled him to grow 30-foot size, beginning his adventures as Giant-Man in #49.
With the readers wanting more of Ant-Man’s antics, Tales to Astonish became a split book in 1964, focusing on Ant-Man and The Incredible Hulk. Ant-Man continued to control ants and made alliances with the Wasp and Janet Van Dyne, while fighting Porcupine, Comrade X, Protector, and Egghead. The Incredible Hulk, growing on his success of his appearances in Fantastic Four and The Amazing Spider-Man, dominated the comic book series. With issue #102 in April 1968, Tales to Astonish transformed into The Incredible Hulk.
Tales to Astonish was then brought back to life in 1979 starring the Namor the Sub-Mariner, with the printing of 14 issues. The series included reprintings of edited versions from the Sub-Mariner comic book. To encompass all of Tales to Astonish's heroes, an issue was created starring Ant-Man, the Wasp, The Incredible Hulk, and the Sub-Mariner, titled Loki’s Dream by Peter David and John Estes in 1994.