This video of Stan Lee being confronted with the original art for FANTASTIC FOUR #12 for the first time in 47 years or so (or if he did, he probably forgot) is undeniably touching.
But it also contains secret clues to the biggest treasure trove of all, Robert Langdon!!!!
Second, and by far the most interesting, is the suggestion that Lee’s garage could be the mother lode of Silver Age original art. Toward the end of the video, after Lee has gone, host Joe Maddalena tells his associates: “This is a great start to a great relationship. His guy was telling me — I said, ‘Does he have any artwork?’ He goes, ‘Boxes and boxes in the garage.’ I said, ‘What do you mean, garage?’ He goes, ‘Storage units full.’ I said, ‘Well, supposedly I’ve heard him say he doesn’t have anything.’ The guy said, ‘Storage units full of artwork.’ He goes, ‘He has no idea what he has. He’s never looked at it’.”
While it’s fun to imagine bins full of art by Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, there’s also the chance it’s just stuff by Joe Maneely and Ron Frenz. Or (more likely from where we sit) Stan Lee Media or another one of his many many ventures over the years.
And as Tom quickly reminds us, maybe we need Lisbeth Salander on the case too, because a lot of Marvel’s art was STOLEN over the years…and its loss was part of the bitterness between the Kirby family and Marvel.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.