Tales To Astonish #44 published in June 1963, making her a youthful 42 years old. Forever linked with Hank Pym AKA Antman, whose story she appears in, Janet Van Dyne is one of the classic characters in Marvel lore.
Janet was given her powers by Hank in an effort to avenge her father's death. While doing so, Janet developed feelings for Hank that have lasted ever since, though in varying degrees. Her natural spunk and bravery appealed to readers who glimpsed a magical personality that would be seen in many future stories to come.
An original member of the Avengers, most of Janet's life has unfolded in those pages. She has never been a second-tier character there, and has evolved into a natural leader of the team, along with Captain America.
Though her interests in fashion and the money her father left her have fashioned her an heiress in the form of Paris Hilton, Janet never played the victim or used her money for fame. Paris could learn a thing or two from Janet. The biggest sticking point one could give to Janet is that she changed outfits an insane amount of times early on to reflect the styles of the times. In fact, if you have a chance, go to this url for a cute glimpse of her fashion choices in cartoon.
There is so much rich history to the Wasp character. Janet is one of the premier members of The Avengers past, present, and future. Her bravery, personality, and her heart have all blended to make her the incredible woman we see today.
Janet is currently taking a break from Avengers active duty due to the events of Avengers: Dissembled. She and Hank are taking things one step at a time to see if they can remain friends after so much drama. I hope to see more of The Wasp after the events of House of M, and would especially love to see her have her own mini-series.
Recommended Reading: Tales To Astonish #44, Avengers- too many to list, look for her on the cover!