This Vanity Fair interview with Stan Lee is FULL of awesomeness, and shows that Lee can still turn a quip like a young man of 70. But the bit that is getting the most excitement this day is the part where Stan answers the question he dodged in MALLRATS all those years ago — the one about whether the Thing’s junk was made of orange rock. Only they didn’t call it junk back then –they called it a dork!

In the Kevin Smith movie Mallrats, Jason Lee asked you a question that has crossed every serious comic fan’s mind at least once in his life. You dismissed it at the time, calling it a “superhero secret.” Are you finally ready to answer Lee’s question?

Remind me.

“Is the Thing’s dork made out of orange rock like the rest of his body?”

I never gave it a thought. I guess common sense would say it was made of orange rock too, but I always thought it was more interesting to think about Reed Richards. As you know, he had the ability to stretch, and sexually, that would seem to be a great asset in many areas.

“In many areas” — Stan, you salty old dog!

Even a moment’s common sense would reveal that the only answer to this question is that of course the Thing’s thing is made from lumps of orange rock — cosmic rays aren’t like neurofibromatosis, which left the real life Elephant Man’s privates agonizingly normal. Obviously, the Hildebrandt Brothers knew this when they painted the above Marvel Masterworks card in the ’90s. It’s pretty obvious what kind of junk The Thing has got loaded in his trunks.

So obvious that when we were googling for this image, we actually found CROPPED versions of it.

Anyhoo, the rock wang question is not the only one answered in this interview:

Are you quoting your own superhero catchphrases all the time? In a private, intimate moment with your wife, do you ever shout out, “By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth?!”

Oh absolutely. I say that all the time. When I want my wife to make me a sandwich, I’ll say, “By the shades of the shadowy Serapeum, will you please make me a sandwich?!” Doesn’t everybody?

Ladies and gentleman, Stan Lee.


  1. Um, different strokes for different strokes, I guess. I love Stan, but the interviewer just seemed to be reeling off schmucky novelty questions. The fact that Stan can bat them back with a bit of wit doesn’t make them any less schmucky or juvenile.

  2. oh, a puff piece for sure, but does every stan lee interview have to be about the lee/ditko or lee/kirby rifts of the past, or what’s wrong with comics today in his opinion, or his past and present problems that he’s had with marvel. i’m not saying all stan lee interviews should be this light or silly, but once in a while, it’s nice.

  3. I agree too.

    To paraphrase a movie quote, “Why so serious.”

    At times, it seems, those in the comic books and comics industries take themselves so damn serious that they miss the point. They’re creating entertainment not curing cancer.

    Have some fun with what you do and while talking about what you do for god sakes!

  4. Um, if the Thing’s dork was rocky, it wouldn’t work. He couldn’t use it for sex — the skin has to be elastic. He’d probably need an operation just to get rid of the rocky skin covering the meatus.


  5. Is the Thing’s skin alive? Does he… err.. flake? I suspect it does… if he adds muscle mass, then the skin would have to expand. The skin also somewhat flexible, otherwise he would be a golem, with limited movement of arms and legs.

    So it is quite feasible that his “thing” also has flexibility, and is not “rock hard”, at least all of the time.

    Ben Grimm is Jewish.
    Fantastic Four, Vol. 3, #56, August 2002
    He even had a second Bar Mitzvah.
    (Has Magneto? He’s been reborn as well…)

  6. So it is quite feasible that his “thing” also has flexibility, and is not “rock hard”, at least all of the time.

    I’m taking an SF-oriented approach to the question of the Thing’s dork, of course. IMO, that’s the appropriate approach to take with all superhero characters that aren’t created and written explicitly for children — and if the Thing were a children’s character, a question about whether he has a functioning dork would never arise. The question isn’t consistent with his overall status as a monstrosity who happens to be good-hearted and fights evil.

    I really don’t see any way to reconcile the condition of the Thing’s skin with the idea that he has a functioning dork. That’s not a criticism of the character concept as much as it is an observation that if one wants a superhero to appeal to adults, then design him so that there’s a logical consistency to his powers and appearance. Don’t take a character that was created for children and try to give him qualities, motivations, etc. that aren’t consistent with the overall concept.