6 Other Superhero Shrinkers
Ant-Man and the Wasp comes out this week, a movie celebrating two shrinking superheroes! Being the search engine conscientious blogger that I am, I’ve decided to tap into that zeitgeist and make a List of Six about shrinking superheroes!
But not just any shrinking superheroes! This is a list about weird and obscure ones, because who needs yet another list on the Internet about superheroes we’ve already heard about? Ant-Man and the Wasp, and their various spin-offs, aren’t included on this list. I’m also leaving out the Atom at DC Comics, the other most famous shrinking superhero. If you have enough interest in comics to read my blog, I’m confident you already know all about those shrinkers.
Join me after the jump for six more shrinking superheroes that you may have never heard of before!
6. Shrinking Ray
Shrinking Ray is the shrinking superhero of the Invincible Universe by Robert Kirkman. Shrinking Ray was a member of the Guardians of the Globe until he was swallowed whole by Komodo Dragon. That definitely seems like the sort of problem all shrinking heroes would face. Shrinking Ray toiled in relative obscurity during his superhero career, though he did once save the lieutenant governor of Vermont from a miniature assassin. That’s got to count for something.
The resident shrinker from the Astro City comics universe, Wolfspider is an Aussie who flies around on an awesome little spider-car and was badass enough to join the Honor Guard. He was the son of an experimental scientist, who was bitten by a rare spider in Australia. His mother saved him from the venom, but her serum caused him to shrink to tiny size. Wolfspider acquired some spidery powers, including the mental capability of controlling extra limbs, for which his mother built him a set of mechanical spider-legs. Eventually she developed a way for him to grow big again, while retaining his ability to shrink at will. That’s a solid superhero origin if I’ve ever heard one, and Honor Guard definitely agreed.
As is often the case with listicles based on specific powers, one must ask if there were any mutants with those powers in the X-Men comics. And there was! Thumbelina was already short and stocky when she joined the Mutant Liberation Front, and then she had the power to compress herself down even further in size. She was the butt of jokes for her jerkass teammates, despite always coming through in a pinch. As such, Thumbelina eventually told her teammates to go screw and she left them to properly serve out a prison sentence.
Speaking of Thumbelinas, DC Comics has their own shrinking character using that name. The DC Thumbelina was a creation of Grant Morrison for his Seven Soldiers series. Thumbelina used a drug-like shrinking serum, but only made it as far as a superhero on the convention circuit, and eventually super-porn and stripping in order to feed her shrinking serum habit. Not exactly Justice League material.
3. Doll Man
This one goes back a ways. Doll Man is a superhero who debuted in 1939, a scientist who invented a formula that would allow him to shrink to six inches in height, while retaining his full strength. He was likely the first ever size-changing superhero, predating Ant-Man and the Atom. Doll Man would fight gangsters and wrestle with handguns before he got cancelled. Years later, DC Comics would purchase the rights to the character, and new versions of Doll Man showed up and often joined the Freedom Fighters. So the concept of a 6-inch-tall man has some staying power, it seems.
2. Shrinking Violet
Shrinking Violet is the shrinking member of the Legion of Superheroes in the 31st century, because like mutants, they’re one of those groups who have a character for pretty much every super power. Shrinking Violet, an alien from the planet Imsk, was an early member of the Legion and went on all manner of their adventures. In one of her biggest stories, she was kidnapped and replaced on the team by a shapeshifter! And in one of the various Legion reboots, she was changed to Atom Girl and kept a secret from new team members, because having a really small ace in the hole is a good tool for kicking surprise butt.
Created in 1976, Bumblebee holds the distinction of being DC Comics’ first black female superhero. She was a member of the Doom Patrol and/or the Teen Titans, depending on the continuity, and is yet another person to incorporate insects into her shrinking ability. She originally created her own super shrinking suit in order to be a bad guy and fight the Titans to make her boyfriend, Herald, look good. The Titans were so impressed that they offered her membership. And at this point, I’m pretty sure she’s more famous than Herald by a long shot. He’s not the one with all the awesome cartoon appearances.