van_dyne-vernon-wasp-tta44-fullVERNON VAN DYNE

van_dyne-vernon-wasp-tta44-upper-introReal Name: Vernon Van Dyne

Identity/Class: Human (high-tech scientist)

Occupation: Scientist

Group Membership: Presumably certain academic and/or scientific groups, but none specified

Affiliations: Hank Pym (aka Ant-Man, etc., etc., etc.)

Enemies: Pilai (the "Creature from Kosmos")

Known Relatives: Janet Van Dyne (daughter, aka the Wasp);
    Janet's mother (presumably Vernon's wife, deceased)
    Blaine Van Dyne (alleged brother, see comments), Amelia Van Dyne (alleged sister-in-law, see comments);
    Ruth (sister or sister-in-law), Bertram (brother or brother-in-law), Jennifer (niece) - see comments

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
    formerly a laboratory in an unidentified building in Manhattan, New York

Education: Presumably possessing a Ph.D., at least; presumably in astrophysicsvan_dyne-vernon-wasp-tta44-probe

First AppearanceTales to Astonish I#44 (1963)

Powers/Abilities: Vernon Van Dyne was an experienced and gifted scientist, possessing advanced knowledge in astrophysics and gamma radiation, etc.

    He was also a patient and polite man, not too proud to seek the aid of a colleague, as well as being able to respectfully accept rejection.

Height: Unrevealed (he appeared to be perhaps 6" tall than the 5'4" tall Janet, and perhaps a couple inches shorter than the 6' Hank Pym, so 5'10" works well)
Weight: Unrevealed (approximately 180 lbs.)
Eyes: Light blue (apparently gray)
Hair: Gray (presumably black or brown in youth), including mustache

History:van_dyne-vernon-wasp-tta44-janet

(Daily Bugle October 1939 edition (fb) - BTS) - Blaine Van Dyne put to good use the research of his brother Vernon in developing a fabric that not only repelled rain but also small caliber bullets.

(Tales to Astonish I#44 (fb) - BTS) - Seeking to use a gamma ray beam to pierce space and detect signals from other planets and make contact with intelligent life, Dr. Vernon Van Dyne appreciated that his beam needed strengthening to reach the distances he wished to achieve.

(Tales to Astonish I#44 (fb) - BTS) - Bringing along his roughly 20-year-old daughter, Janet, Vernon traveled to the laboratory of Dr. Henry Pym to seek his aid in boosting his gamma ray beam. van_dyne-vernon-wasp-tta44-hat

(Tales to Astonish I#44) - Meeting Pym, Vernon introduced himself, noted Pym to be quite famous, and explaining that he had come to visit as they were both scientists and perhaps had much in common. 

    As Pym reluctantly invited him in, Vernon introduced Janet; Pym considered how much Janet looked like his widow, Maria, although much younger; and Janet considered how handsome Hank was, although she considered scientists to be dull.

    Vernon then confessed that this was not merely a social visit, and he noted his hope that Pym could help him while explaining his goals. Admitting he had heard of Vernon's work, Pym explained that he couldn't help him, as his field was molecular cell transition and cell specialization. 

    Aware of Pym's specialty, Vernon briefly elaborated that his gamma ray beam needed strengthening to reach its targets; however, seeing that Pym was not interested (Pym was distraught after recently reviewing the circumstances of the loss of Maria), Vernon politely noted his understanding of Pym's position, expressed pleasure in meeting him, and departed with Janet.

(Tales to Astonish I#44 (fb) - BTS / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol. 2 / Deluxe Edition#14: Wasp) - Vernon went ahead with his project, and several days later succeeded in developing a booster device to strengthen his device's power. 

(Tales to Astonish I#44) - As Van Dyne's booster sent his rays beyond the Milky Way galaxy...

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#5 / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol. 2 / Deluxe Edition#14: Wasp) - ...via hyperspace to the distant planet Kosmos ...

(Avengers I#382/2 (fb) - BTS) - ... accessing its extradimensional prison realm.van_dyne-vernon-wasp-tta44-backlashvan_dyne-vernon-wasp-tta44-cringe

(Tales to Astonish I#44) - Kosmosian would-be conqueror Pilai somehow used the ray to escape his prison...

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol. 2 / Deluxe Edition#14: Wasp) - ...and/or prosecution on his homeworld by teleporting himself through hyperspace to Earth.

(Tales to Astonish I#44) - Arriving in Van Dyne's laboratory, Pilai introduced himself and noted his back story before revealing that he was going to enslave Earth as he had failed to do on Kosmos. He first resolved to destroy Van Dyne's machine to keep others from Kosmos from following him and to slay Van Dyne himself to prevent him from revealing his presence...

(Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol. 2 / Deluxe Edition#14: Wasp) - ...and potentially contacting the authorities on his home planet. 

    Pilai commanded Van Dyne to look into his eyes, and Van Dyne futilely struggled to resist, ultimately meeting Pilai's gaze and dying as a result.

(Tales to Astonish I#44 (fb) - BTS) - Pilai departed Van Dyne's laboratory but remained hidden within the building that contained the lab.

(Tales to Astonish I#44 - BTS) - Upon returning to the lab, Janet found her father's dead body and sensed an acrid mist. 

    Realizing her father's death had something to do with his research, Janet called Dr. Henry Pym and, after ants confirmed Vernon's fate, Pym investigated Vernon's lab as Ant-Man.  creature_from_kosmos-pilai-tta44-gaze

    Concluding that something powerful and alien was responsible, Ant-Man had Janet call FBI agent Lee Kearns, after which he learned from his ant allies that the creature that had been in there left behind traces of formic acid. 

    They concluded that the creature must be similar to them, as ants also secreted formic acid; however, it was alien and the ants feared it. van_dyne-vernon-wasp-tta44-corpse

    Sending ants to monitor the FBI and to seek out the creature, Ant-Man returned to his laboratory where he revealed his dual identity to the vengeance-seeking Janet Van Dyne and began to transform her into the Wasp to act as his partner to help stop the creature.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee, Ernest Huntley Hart, Jack Kirby, and Don Heck.

    Kosmos was originally described as a planet, deep in space, and the Official Handbooks of the Marvel Universe noted it to be in the star system Zokka (second or fifth from the sun, in I#5 and DE#15, respectively), in the Milky Way galaxy. 
    In Avengers I#382/Avengers Double Feature#382, it was shown that the Kosmosians' prison colony was an extradimensional realm somehow associated with hyperspace and filled with "Pym Particles." Additionally, although Pilai had originally claimed to have acted alone, the Kosmosian Creatures in Avengers I#382/Avengers Double Feature#382 claimed that Pilai (misspelled Pilei) was their leader. They also noted that Pym had murdered their leader, obviously unaware of his survival on the Stranger's Laboratory World.
    In Thunderbolts I#13, it was revealed that Kosmos itself was an extradimensional realm and the source of the "Pym Particles."

    As best as I can tell, the Creature from Kosmos was identified as Pilai in the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#5: Appendix to Alien Races: Kosmosians. 

    The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol. 2 / Deluxe Edition#14: Wasp entry expanded on and clarified/updated some details on Van Dyne's technology and interaction with Pilai. Most of it was solid expansion, but there was one distinct contradiction, as Janet Van Dyne had departed the lab and returned to find her father dead in TTA44, while the OHotMU entry noted that she found his body after hearing the sounds of the struggle. Not 100% mutually exclusive, as she could have heard the sounds of the struggle upon returning...

    Vernon repeatedly called Henry "Mr. Pym." There's no way a fellow scientist would address another scientist as "Mister." First names are fine, but it is Doctor, not Mister. You don't go through four years of "evil medical school" to be called mister. It's a pet peeve...

    Vernon's relatives

    To the best of my knowledge, we don't know the name of Janet's mother, and while it would be assumed that she would be Vernon's wife, they could have had a child out of wedlock or they could have divorced. However, courtesy of Sean McQuaid (an expert on the Wasp if ever there was one):

Regarding Jan's mom, we know she's dead and we know how/why -- it's covered in dialogue after the fact, no flashback nor any actual appearance, but Hank Pym describes her fate in Avengers Academy#7 (December, 2010):

"Janet's mother sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. She lived for years afterward, in a vegetative state. Jan watched this vibrant, creative woman she adored wither away and die. She told me she'd spend hours looking into her eyes, and seeing...NOTHING."

    The Daily Bugle 1939 edition (2009) has referenced to Blaine and his wife, Amelia. While I can't find my issue, the following information is courtesy of the Marvel Database and confirmed by Sean McQuaid:

Van Dyne Unveils Latest Line

By Sheila Johnson

Textile magnate Blaine Van Dyne is hosting a fashion show at the Hotel Winchester. The line of dresses are tailored capes, elegant shawls, and sleek hats that are designed to "repel rain, hail, bullets of a certain caliber, and electromagnetic radiation." Although the look of the line was conceived by designer Amelia Van Dyne, the material used to make the pieces was created with the help of Blaine Van Dyne's brother, research scientist Vernon van Dyne. Blaine Van Dyne plans to show the outwear to prospective clients: the wives of senators, representatives, and foreign diplomats. He also hoped to that orders would be placed even though researchers were still trying to fix the fabric's design: long term resistance to moths and other insects.

    Obviously, it’s another one of those temporal references made that doesn’t make much sense.
In Tales to Astonish I#44, Jan is supposed to be about 20, and her father looks like an older-looking 50 to perhaps a younger-looking 70.  

    If we figure he was 60 in the issue, then that would mean he was 60 about 13 years ago with the sliding timescale. So, having him be 60 in 2008 (and advancing a year with each year of real time) would have him being born in 1948. Even if he was 70 in TTA44, he would have been born in 1938, which makes his having developed water and bullet resistant fabric by 1939 exceeding unlikely. And in another year or two, outright impossible.

    However, if Vernon’s father was also named Vernon, which isn’t unlikely, then having this be the senior Vernon isn’t problematic.

Sean McQuaid noted:

I've got a copy of that here and the info in your email is basically correct. It's an interesting artifact, though the extent to which we can treat it all as canon seems debatable -- while your explanation of the Bugle's Vernon being a father (heck, perhaps even a grandfather) to Jan's pappy Vernon solves one temporal problem, it doesn't explain how the 1939 article is illustrated with repurposed 1960s art from Janet Van Dyne stories (looks like there's even a Giant-Man helmet in the background of one shot), nor how other material on the same page frames Patsy Walker and Hedy Wolfe as 1939 characters. Perhaps only portions of the 1939 Bugle can be interpreted as canon, fun as the document may be.

Sean McQuaid further adds, from Ant-Man's Big Christmas, regarding Jennifer, Bertram, and Ruth:

We know next to nothing about these three -- if memory serves, they are name-dropped in Ant-Man's Big Christmas as examples of annoying relatives of Jan's that Hank wants to avoid during the holidays, but nothing is said about their maternal/paternal status, no last names are given, and they don't appear.

We learn via dialogue that aunt Ruth invites Hank and Jan to visit for Christmas, that uncle Bertram (Hank calls him that but Jan calls him "Bert") may or may not dislike Hank (because he keeps inviting Hank to golf with him and then "remembers" his club is too exclusive to permit celebs like Hank), and that Jennifer is a suck-up who's friendly with Hank and Jan because they're rich superheroes and she wants a place in their will.

It occurred to me that, in the absence of new info, other family

history may inform this question as well.

In Avengers 43, Jan's lawyer (or the Van Dyne estate's lawyer) Wallaby says Jan turning 23 means she gets her "father's inheritance" -- odd phrasing which suggests her dad had inherited money and then passed it on to Jan, though it could just be an awkward way of phrasing the fact that Jan is now inheriting money from her dad -- but either way, the money is explicitly referred to as coming from her dad, not her parents. That could be partly because Jan's mom died long before her dad did, but it potentially suggests the money is strictly Van Dyne cash, either stuff her dad made from his science or perhaps stuff he inherited from his family (used to fund his science).

That in turn suggests the Van Dynes have a history of major wealth, and if so, the Van Dyne wealth suggests that the Ruth/Bert/Jennifer trio might come from the non-Van Dyne side of Jan's family, since cousin Jennifer (quite possibly the child of Ruth and/or Bert since she's assumed to be part of a Christmas with Ruth) is apparently a fortune hunter, meaning she's not rich (or at least not as rich as she wants to be). Just a thought...

    Thanks to David Zuckerman for providing the digital images, so I didn't have to smash my nearly 60 year old comic in the scanner!

    This profile was completed 09/20/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.

Profile by Snood.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Vernon Van Dyne
should be distinguished from:



images
: (without ads)

Tales to Astonish I#44, story page 5, panel 8 (upper, with hat);
        page 6, panel 1 (introducing Janet);
            panel 2 (full body);
            panel 4 (polite departure)
        page 7, panel 1 (looking into scope/probe);
            panel 3 (blasted by backlash);
            panel 4 (cowering in shadow);
            panel 7 (meeting Pilai's gaze)

Appearances:
Tales to Astonish I#44 (June, 1963) - Stan Lee (plot/editor), H.E. Huntley, a pen name for Ernest Huntley Hart (plot), Jack Kirby (pencils), Don Heck (inks)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#5 (May, 1983) - Mark Gruenwald (editor/head writer/designer), Peter Sanderson, Mark Lerer, Roger Stern, Tom DeFalco (writers), David Cody Weiss, Bob Simpson, Joanne Harris, Peter David (research), Paty Cockrum (Kosmosians penciler), Josef Rubinstein (inker), Michael Carlin (associate editor/designer)
Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol. 2 / Deluxe Edition#14 (January, 1987) - Mark Gruenwald (writer/producer), Peter Sanderson (writer/researcher), Eliot Brown (technical illustrator), John Buscema (Wasp penciler), Josef Rubinstein (inker), Gregory Wright (assistant editor), Marc McLaurin (editorial assistant), Howard Mackie (consultant)


First posted09/23/2021
Last updated: 09/22/2021

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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