The Allegorically Shrinking Dude: Ant-Man as Depression

Made it past the headline and think I’m crazy for making an argument for Ant-Man, of all people? Fantastic! I got a point here, I swear!

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Scott Lang as Ant-Man (property of Marvel)

Thanks to his big screen debut in Ant-Man, Scott Lang’s public profile is bigger than ever — and if some leaked toys are any indication, he’ll literally become enormous in this year’s Captain America: Civil War. Despite this, lots of people perceive Scott (or more accurately, the general concept of Ant-Man) as too ridiculous to be taken seriously, and I can’t say I fault them for it. In a universe populated by literal Gods, slinky spies, and hunky super-soldiers, what can a guy named Ant-Man possibly offer?

For as long as I’ve been familiar with Ant-Man, I could never quite agree with that mindset. Hank Pym —the original Ant-Man— was a founding Avenger in the comics, and I believe all fictional characters have their potential, no matter how potentially silly. I mean, are we really going to pretend a super-shrinker like Ant-Man is any more dumb than a big green meathead like The Hulk, or a human battery pack like Iron Man? Come on, now!

But that’s all beside the point, because I’m not here to talk about the merits of Ant-Man as a character in the Marvel Universe. What I’m actually here to discuss is the idea of Ant-Man (specifically Scott) as a cipher for depression.

Hear me out.