Hank Pym

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Hank Pym
Hank pym 1.jpg
Hank Pym and his alter egos (forward to back) Ant-Man, Hank Pym, Goliath, Yellowjacket and Giant-Man (not all to scale), with Ultron in the background. Not all Pym's costumes are shown.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Tales to Astonish #27 (Jan. 1962)
Created by Stan Lee
Larry Lieber
Jack Kirby
In-story information
Full name Henry Jonathan "Hank" Pym
Species Human Mutate
Team affiliations
Partnerships Wasp
Notable aliases Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, Wasp, Yellowjacket, Scientist Supreme
Abilities
  • Genius-level intellect
  • Size-shifting from nearly microscopic to ~100 feet gigantic (both at extremes)
  • Ability to transfer his size-shifting ability to other beings and objects
  • Bio-Energy Projection, also known as a Bio-Sting (particularly during his periods as Ant-Man & Yellowjacket)
  • Flight using grafted wings during his period as Yellowjacket
  • Telepathic communication with ants using a cybernetic helmet as Ant-Man
  • Superhuman strength, stamina, and mass in giant form as Giant-Man, Goliath, and Yellowjacket

Dr. Henry Jonathan "Hank" Pym is a fictional superhero character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by editor and plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber and penciler Jack Kirby, the character first appeared in Tales to Astonish #27 (Jan. 1962). Pym's character, a scientist that debuted in a standalone science-fiction anthology story, returned several issues later as the superhero Ant-Man, with the power to shrink to the size of an insect. Pym is eventually given a crime-fighting partner and later wife, Janet van Dyne (Wasp) and goes on to assume other superhero identities, including the size-changing Giant-Man and Goliath; the insect-themed Yellowjacket; and briefly the Wasp.

Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, the character of Henry Pym has featured in other Marvel-endorsed products such as animated films; arcade and video games; television series and merchandise such as action figures and trading cards. Pym is a founding member of the superhero team the Avengers. Michael Douglas is scheduled to portray Pym in the upcoming 2015 Marvel Studios film, Ant-Man.

Publication history[edit]

Pym debuts as Ant-Man: Tales To Astonish #35 (Sept. 1962). Cover art by Jack Kirby and Dick Ayers.

Hank Pym debuted in a seven-page solo cover story titled "The Man in the Ant Hill" (about a character who tests shrinking technology on himself) in the science fiction/fantasy anthology Tales to Astonish #27 (cover date Jan. 1962). The creative team was editor-plotter Stan Lee, scripter Larry Lieber, penciler Jack Kirby, and inker Dick Ayers, with Lee stating in 2008: "I did one comic book called 'The Man in the Ant Hill' about a guy who shrunk down and there were ants or bees chasing him. That sold so well that I thought making him into a superhero might be fun".[1]

As a result, Pym was revived eight issues later as Ant-Man, a costumed superhero who starred in the 13-page, three-chapter story "Return of the Ant-Man/An Army of Ants/The Ant-Man’s Revenge" in Tales to Astonish #35 (Sept. 1962). The character's adventures became an ongoing feature in the title, with issue #44 (June 1963) featured the debut of Pym's socialite girlfriend and laboratory assistant, Janet van Dyne. Van Dyne adopted the identity of superheroine the Wasp and co-starred in Pym's subsequent appearances in the Tales to Astonish title. The Wasp also on occasion acted as a framing-sequence host for backup stories in the title. In September 1963, Lee and Kirby created the superhero title Avengers, and Ant-Man and the Wasp were established in issue #1 as founding members of the team.

Decades later, Lee theorized as to why "Ant-Man never became one of our top sellers or had his own book," saying,

I loved Ant-Man, but the stories were never really successful. In order for Ant-Man to be successful, he had to be drawn this small next to big things and you would be getting pictures that were visually interesting. The artists who drew him, no matter how much I kept reminding them, they kept forgetting that fact. They would draw him standing on a tabletop and they would draw a heroic-looking guy. I would say, 'Draw a matchbook cover next to him, so we see the difference in size.' But they kept forgetting. So when you would look at the panels, you thought you were looking at a normal guy wearing an underwear costume like all of them. It didn't have the interest.[2]

Pym began what would be a constant shifting of superhero identities in Tales to Astonish, becoming the 12 ft (3.7 m) tall Giant-Man in issue #49 (Nov. 1963). Pym and van Dyne continued to costar in the title until issue #69 (July 1965), while simultaneously appearing in The Avengers until issue #15 (April 1965), after which the couple temporarily left the team.

Pym rejoined the Avengers and adopted the new identity Goliath in Avengers #28 (May 1966). Gradually falling to mental strain, he adopted a fourth superhero identity, Yellowjacket, in issue #59 (Dec. 1968). Pym reappeared as Ant-Man in Avengers #93 (Nov. 1971) and for issues #4–10 starred in the lead story of the first volume of Marvel Feature (July 1972 – July 1973). After appearing occasionally as Yellowjacket in the 1980s and battling mental and emotional issues, Pym would temporarily abandon a costumed persona. Pym joined the West Coast Avengers as a scientist and inventor in West Coast Avengers vol. 2, #21 (June 1987). The character returned to the Avengers as the superhero Giant-Man in The Avengers vol. 3, #1 (Feb. 1998). When the team disbanded after a series of tragedies, Pym, using the Yellowjacket persona again, took a leave of absence beginning with vol. 3, #85 (Sept. 2004).[3]

Following the death of Van Dyne, whom he had married and divorced by this time, a grieving Pym took on yet another superhero identity as the new Wasp, in tribute to her, in the one-shot publication Secret Invasion: Requiem (Jan. 2009). Giant-Man appeared as a supporting character in Avengers Academy from issue #1 (Aug. 2010) through its final issue #39 (Jan. 2013). Pym returned as the Wasp in the mini-series Ant-Man & The Wasp (Jan. 2011).

Pym appeared as a regular character in the 2010-2013 Secret Avengers series, from issue #22 (April 2012) through its final issue #37 (March 2013).

Fictional character biography[edit]

1960s[edit]

Pym as Giant-Man in Tales to Astonish #56 (June 1964). Cover art by Jack Kirby and Chic Stone.

Biochemist Henry Pym discovers an unusual set of subatomic particles he labels "Pym particles." Entrapping these within two separate serums, he creates a size-altering formula and a reversal formula, testing them on himself. Reduced to the size of an insect, he becomes trapped in an anthill before he eventually escapes and uses the reversal formula to restore himself to his normal size. Deciding the serums are too dangerous to exist, he destroys them.[4] Shortly afterward, he reconsiders his decision and recreates his serums. Pym's experience in the anthill inspires him to study ants, and he constructs a cybernetic helmet that allows him to communicate with and control them. Pym designs a costume made of unstable molecules to prevent bites or scratches from the ants, and reinvents himself as the superhero Ant-Man.[5] After several adventures, Pym is contacted by Dr. Vernon Van Dyne, who asks for aid in contacting alien life. Pym refuses, but is attracted to Vernon’s socialite daughter, Janet. Vernon Van Dyne is subsequently killed by an alien criminal who teleports himself to Earth, and Janet asks for Pym's help in avenging his death. Pym reveals his secret identity to Janet, and uses Pym particles to graft wasp wings beneath her shoulders, which appear when she shrinks. Janet assumes the alias of the Wasp, and together they find and defeat her father's killer.[6] The pair become founding members of the superhero team the Avengers.[7]

Pym eventually adopts his first alternate identity as the 12-foot-tall Giant-Man[8] He and the Wasp develop a romantic relationship.[9] In comics three decades later, a flashback reveals Pym adopted the identity of Giant-Man out of feelings of inadequacy when compared to powerful teammates Iron Man and Thor.[10] Shortly afterward, Pym and Van Dyne take a leave of absence from the Avengers.[11]

Pym debuts as Goliath, in the first of that identity's two uniforms: The Avengers #28 (May 1966). Cover art by Jack Kirby and Frank Giacoia.

Pym eventually rejoins, adopting the new identity of Goliath.[12] A mishap traps the character in giant form for several issues, and affects his self-esteem.[13] After regaining control of his size-shifting ability, Pym creates a robot called Ultron that accidentally achieves sapience and becomes one of the Avengers's greatest foes.[14] During a botched experiment Pym inhales chemicals that induce schizophrenia, and suffering from a personality crisis, reappears at Avengers Mansion as the cocky Yellowjacket, claiming to have disposed of Pym. Only the Wasp realizes it is Pym and takes advantage of his offer of marriage. Pym eventually recovers from the chemicals during a battle with the Circus of Crime at the wedding.[15]

1970s[edit]

After several adventures with the Avengers, including another encounter with Ultron,[16] the pair take another leave of absence.[17] The heroes reencounter Pym at the beginning of the Kree-Skrull War,[18] and once again as Ant-Man persona and has a series of solo adventures.[19]

After aiding fellow superhero team the Defenders[20][21] as Yellowjacket, Pym returns to the Avengers.[22] He is eventually captured by an upgraded Ultron, who brainwashes his creator, causing the character to regress to his original Ant-Man costume and personality — arriving at Avengers Mansion, thinking it to be the very first meeting of the team. Seeing several unfamiliar members, Pym attacks the team until stopped by the Wasp.[23] After Ultron's brainwashing is reversed, Pym rejoins the Avengers as Yellowjacket.[24] Pym is forced to briefly leave the team when the roster is restructured by government liaison Henry Peter Gyrich.[25]

1980s[edit]

Returning 14 issues later,[26] Pym participates in several missions until, after demonstrating hostile behavior toward Janet, he attacks a foe from behind once the opponent had ceased fighting. Captain America suspends Yellowjacket from Avengers duty pending the verdict of a court-martial. Pym suffers a mental breakdown and concocts a plan to salvage his credibility by building a robot, Salvation-1, and programming it to launch an attack on the Avengers that he will stop using the robot’s weakness at the critical moment, in hopes of regaining his good standing. The Wasp discovers the plan and begs Pym to stop, whereupon he strikes her. Jim Shooter, the writer of this story, says he intended only that Pym accidentally strike her while gesturing at her dismissively, and that artist Bob Hall misinterpreted.[27] Pym is subsequently expelled from the Avengers,[28] and Janet divorces him.[29]

Left penniless, Pym is manipulated by an old foe, the presumed-dead Egghead, who tricks Pym into stealing the national reserve of the metal adamantium. Pym is confronted by the Avengers (whom he had covertly summoned), and after being defeated is blamed for the theft, as Egghead erases all evidence of his involvement. Blaming an ostensibly dead villain is taken as further proof of Pym’s madness and he is incarcerated.[30] During Pym’s imprisonment, Janet has a brief relationship with Tony Stark.[31] Egghead later involves himself, and while attempting to kill Pym is himself accidentally killed by the Avenger Hawkeye, whose brother had been murdered by Egghead years ago. With the real perpetrator exposed, Pym is cleared of all charges. After bidding farewell to Janet and his teammates, Pym leaves to devote his full-time to research.[32]

Hank strikes his wife Janet. Art by Bob Hall.

Pym reappears in the West Coast Avengers, first in an advisory role,[33] and then as a full member in a non-costumed capacity.[34] He begins a short relationship with teammate Tigra,[35] and after a verbal taunting by old foe Whirlwind contemplates suicide, but is stopped by the heroine Firebird.[36] Pym and Janet eventually resume a romantic relationship.[37]

1990s[edit]

The character eventually returns to the Avengers, joining the East Coast team as Giant-Man.[38] The pair, together with many of the other Avengers, apparently sacrifice themselves to stop the villain Onslaught, but actually exist in a pocket universe for a year before returning to the mainstream Marvel Universe.[39]

Pym returns and aids the team as Giant-Man[40] and makes a significant contribution by defeating criminal mastermind Imus Champion[41] and his flawed creation Ultron, simultaneously overcoming his old issues of guilt over Ultron's crimes — revealed to be due to him having used his own brain patterns to create Ultron, and so believing that Ultron's attitude reflects his darker side.[42]

2000s[edit]

Pym debuts as Yellowjacket (with an allegorical scene of Pym standing over himself in the second Goliath uniform) on the cover of Avengers #59 (Dec. 1968). Art by John Buscema and George Klein.

When Rick Jones becomes a key player in the Destiny War between Kang the Conqueror and Immortus, two versions of Pym are drawn in: Giant-Man of the present and Yellowjacket immediately prior to his marriage to Janet.[43] The two Pyms begin to deteriorate from being apart, but are restored when the Wasp helps the two halves realize they need each other.[44] Pym is eventually able to resolve his problems and adopts his Yellowjacket persona once again.[45]

After the events of the "Avengers Disassembled" storyline, Pym takes a leave of absence,[46] and in the one-shot title Avengers: Finale, the character and Janet leave for England to rekindle their relationship.[47] Pym and Janet's relationship fails and it is revealed in flashback during the Secret Invasion storyline that he has been replaced by an alien of the shapeshifting Skrull race.[48]

The impostor Pym as Yellowjacket is a central character in the Civil War storyline, joining those heroes that support the Superhuman Registration Act. Together with Mister Fantastic (of the Fantastic Four) and Tony Stark (Iron Man), the character creates a cybernetic clone of Thor to battle the anti-registration heroes, although the clone shows no morals and kills Bill Foster (who had taken up Pym's former identity as Goliath) in battle. Pym is kidnapped by Young Avengers member Hulkling, who uses his shapeshifter powers to impersonate Pym and free several captive anti-registration heroes. At the conclusion of the Civil War, the impostor Pym is named "Man of the Year" by Time magazine for his role.[49]

The Skrull impostor, whose name is eventually revealed to be Criti Noll, becomes one of the chief administrators at Camp Hammond, a U.S. military base in Stamford, Connecticut, for the training of registered superheroes in the government program, The Initiative.[50] The Skrull Pym ends the attempt at reconciliation with Janet, and begins a romantic relationship with Tigra. The Skrull Pym eventually is exposed and defeated by the hero Crusader.[51] Following a final battle between Earth's heroes and the Skrulls, the real Pym is found with other "replaced" heroes in a Skrull vessel. After the Wasp is seemingly killed in the final battle,[52] Pym takes on a new superhero persona, the Wasp, in tribute to her.[53] He rejoins the Avengers[54] and eventually leads the team.[55]

The cosmic entity Eternity reveals to Pym that he is Earth's "Scientist Supreme", the scientific counterpart to the Earth's Sorcerer Supreme.[56] The Norse trickster-god Loki later claims to have been posing as Eternity in order to manipulate Pym.[57]

2010s[edit]

Pym creates Avengers Academy, a program to help train young people with newly acquired superpowers.[58] Pym returns to his Giant-Man identity in Avengers Academy #7.[59] Pym later joins the team the Secret Avengers.[60] When a future version of Pym's sentient-robot Ultron conquers the world of the present in the "Age of Ultron" storyline, a time-travel plan involving Wolverine and Iron Man succeeds in having the past Pym make a change in his creation of Ultron, which destroys the robot with a computer virus.[61]

Pym and Monica Chang, A.I. Division Chief of the espionage agency S.H.I.E.L.D., assemble a new team called the Avengers A.I. in order to combat the threat of the A.I. Dimitrios, which was spawned by the virus Pym used to prevent the Age of Ultron. The team consists of Pym, Victor Mancha, the Vision, and a Doombot.[62] The team is later joined by Alexis,[volume & issue needed] who is eventually revealed to be one of six sentient A.I.s to be spawned from the Ultron virus along with Dimitrios.[volume & issue needed]

Months later, Pym, again using the Yellowjacket identity, is shown as a member of the Illuminati.[63] He is the one to discover that the Beyonders are responsible for the Universe Incursions that have been plaguing the Multiverse.[64]

After a past iteration of Ultron returns and conquers Titan, Pym is one of the Avengers who fights against him. An accident leads to Pym and Ultron accidentally merging together, creating a hybrid human/machine entity, the resulting creation accepting its new state due to Pym's self-loathing of his human weaknesses such as his emotional outbursts. The merged Ultron is defeated when Starfox forces him to love himself, and he flies off into space. A funeral service is held in Pym's honor, during which Janet reflects that Pym's ability to overcome his self-loathing and fears to be a hero prove that he was worthy of his role in the Avengers.[65]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Henry Pym is a scientific genius with a Ph.D in Biochemistry, along with expertise in the fields of quantum physics, robotics/cybernetics, artificial intelligence, and entomology. The character discovered the subatomic "Pym particles" that enable mass to be shunted or gained from an alternate dimension, thereby changing the size of himself or other beings or objects. Pym is the creator of the robot Ultron.

After constant experimentation with size-changing via ingested capsules and particle-filled gas, Pym is eventually able to change size at will, and mentally generate Pym particles to change the sizes of other living beings or inanimate objects. Pym retains his normal strength when "ant" size, and possesses greatly increased strength and stamina when in "giant" form, courtesy of the increased mass. Pym’s costume is synthetic stretch fabric composed of unstable molecules and automatically adapts to his shifting sizes.

The character also uses a cybernetic helmet for achieving rudimentary communication with ants and other higher order insects. As Yellowjacket, Pym wears artificial wings and has bio-blasters called "stingers" built into his gloves. Pym also carries a variety of weaponry, provisions, and scientific instruments, which are shrunken to the size of microchips and stored in the pockets of his uniform.

After the death of his ex-wife Janet Van Dyne a.k.a. the Wasp, Pym took on the Wasp identity in her honor.[54] He equipped himself with bio-synthetic wings and the ability to harness his body's bio-electrical energy as his "Wasp stings".[volume & issue needed]

Successors[edit]

There are a number of characters in the Marvel universe that have also used the "Pym particles" to effect size changing. These include the Wasp,[66] Clint Barton,[67] Bill Foster,[68] Scott Lang,[69] Erik Josten,[70] Rita DeMara,[71] Cassandra Lang,[72] Eric O'Grady,[73] and Tom Foster.[74]

Other versions[edit]

Marvel 1602[edit]

In the world of Marvel 1602, natural philosopher Henri le Pym is forced by Baron von Octavius to devise a serum that would cure him of a fatal disease, Pym is married to Janette.[75]

The Last Avengers Story[edit]

In an alternate future in the miniseries The Last Avengers Story #1-2 (Nov. 1995), Ultron wishes for a decisive victory over the Avengers. After eliminating the team, he has Hank Pym gather a new group. After recruiting other heroes and mercenaries, Pym leads them to victory though fatalities are heavy on both sides.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

Pym is featured in several of the Marvel Zombies miniseries, appearing as one of the cannibalistic zombies in Marvel Zombies #1-5 (Feb.-June 2006), Marvel Zombies 2 #1-5 (Dec. 2007 - April 2008) and Marvel Zombies Return #4 (Oct. 2009).

MC2[edit]

The MC2 imprint title A-Next, set in a futuristic alternate universe, stars Henry and Jan Pym's children, Hope and Henry Pym Jr., who have become the supervillains Red Queen and Big Man respectively.[76]

Earth-5012[edit]

In this reality, Pym is an intelligent, Hulk-like brute.[77] He also appears in issue #13.

"Old Man Logan"[edit]

In the post-apocalyptic "Old Man Logan" storyline, Pym (as Giant-Man) is one of the numerous superheroes killed by the Red Skull's army of villains. Decades after his demise, a Connecticut settlement dubbed "Pym Falls" is built around his massive skeleton.[78] In addition, his Ant-Man helmet is shown in the possession of a young boy named Dwight, who uses it to command an army of ants in order to enforce the payment of tolls across a bridge.[79]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

The Ultimate Marvel imprint title The Ultimates features a version of Hank Pym who is portrayed as a brilliant but mentally fragile scientist. He takes Prozac to battle his mental instability and depressive episodes. Pym gains his abilities after transfusing the blood of his wife Janet, who is a mutant. He is able to replicate this effect in order for SHIELD to produce multiple "giant men" agents. His abusive behavior ends their marriage and the character is expelled from the Ultimates, briefly joining pseudo heroes the Defenders in his Ant-Man persona. The character eventually rejoins the Ultimates in his Yellowjacket identity. During the events of "Ultimatum" storyline, Pym sacrifices himself to save the lives of the remaining Ultimates.[80] The Giant-Man formula is eventually acquired by HYDRA, which employ giant men and women agents.[81]

Marvel Adventures[edit]

Henry Pym appears in issue 13 of Marvel Adventures: The Avengers as a scientist working for Janet's father with no superhero identity, and was the one who gave Janet her superpowers. He is visited by Spider-Man and Storm when Janet (Giant-Girl in this continuity) falls under insect mind-control. He tells them how to free her (severing the antennae on her mask), gives her a new costume, and uses an insect telepathy helmet (identical to his Earth-616 Ant-Man helmet) to create an illusion of several giant-sized people, scaring the insects away.[volume & issue needed] He returns in issue 20, becoming Ant-Man. He not only joins the team but begins a relationship with Janet.

Marvel Apes[edit]

In the Marvel Apes universe, Henry Pym is a gorilla named Gro-Rilla who is a member of the Ape-Vengers.[volume & issue needed]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Hank Pym's Goliath persona appears in the X-Men animated series episode "One Man's Worth (Part 1)" in a non-speaking cameo.
  • Hank Pym appears as Ant-Man and Giant-Man (though still usually called Ant-Man or Hank) in The Avengers: United They Stand voiced by Rod Wilson. In this series, he leads the Avengers.

Film[edit]

Video games[edit]

  • Henry Pym's Ant-Man persona makes a cameo appearance in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 during Hawkeye's level three hyper combo move which Hawkeye shoots an arrow with Ant-Man towards his opponent. Hank then jumps off the arrow and attacks the opponent, and stomps the opponent in giant form.

Toys[edit]

  • Hank Pym as Yellowjacket is the 58th figurine in The Classic Marvel Figurine Collection.
  • Pym also appears in his various guises in the HeroClix miniatures game and in the Vs. System card game.
  • In 1999, a toy line was produced for the Avengers: United They Stand cartoon series, with an action figure of Hank as Ant-Man released.
  • Toy Biz released a figure of Hank Pym in his Giant-Man costume in an Original Avengers box set that also included a miniature Ant-Man figure, and then released the same figure in wave 4 of their Marvel Legends toyline as a repaint of Pym in his Goliath outfit. The figure also came included with miniature Pym/Ant-Man and Wasp figures. A miniature version of Pym as Yellowjacket was included with Wonder Man in wave 11.[88]
  • An exclusive series of Marvel Legends figures was released to Wal-Mart stores in the United States. This series required the purchasing 10 of the figures in the assortment to complete the "Build-A-Figure" toy of Giant-Man.
  • After Hasbro took over Marvel Legends, Hank Pym in his Yellowjacket persona was released with the second series.[89]
  • Hank Pym first appeared in wave 5 of the Marvel Super Hero Squad line as Ant-Man, packaged with Doctor Strange. He was also released as Ultimate Giant-Man in the second wave of the Marvel Super Hero Squad Mega-Packs, packaged with Ultimate Iron Man.
  • A figure of Pym as Ant-Man was released in the Avengers boxset of the Marvel Minimates line. A version of Pym as Giant-Man from the Marvel Zombie series was released as a retailer exclusive. Pym as Yellowjacket and a variant chase of Pym as Goliath were released in wave 32.
  • A figure of Pym as Yellowjacket was released in wave 11 of Hasbro's 3.75" Marvel Universe line; a 12" figure of Pym as Goliath was released in wave 1 of the Marvel Universe Gigantic Battles line, packages with a 3.75" Iron Man figure.

Reception[edit]

Hank Pym was ranked as the 93rd greatest comic book character by Wizard magazine.[90] IGN listed Hank Pym as the 67th greatest comic book hero.[91]

References[edit]

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  3. ^ The issue was alternately numbered #500 (of the first volume) in an anniversary return to the original series numbering.
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  10. ^ Avengers Forever #1-12 (Dec. 1998 - Feb. 2000)
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  68. ^ Power Man #24 (Apr. 1975)
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  71. ^ Avengers #264 (Feb. 1986)
  72. ^ Stature in Young Avengers #6 (Sept. 2005)
  73. ^ The Irredeemable Ant-Man #1 (Sept. 2006)
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