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.



  1. I wonder how anxious they would be to sort through the storage unit if Stan said something like,”I’d like you to catalog the collection and then we’ll return all of it to the original artists or their estates.”

    I realize it’s probably not feasible to do something like that, but these guys seem a bit greedy to me.

  2. Whattya mean, “just stuff from Joe Maneely?” (Yeah, you can dump on Ron Frenz all you want.) Maneely’s “just” a fine if not great comics-artist. and a find of his original art would be a find indeed.

    Watch it; I’ll sic the Timely-Atlas Yahoo group on you! They swing some mean walkers!

  3. That was epic.

    I just realized…Stan Lee never says anything bad about anyone. He also has the ability to sorta weave himself around difficult questions and always stick to the good stuff. He’s quite the person to emulate.

  4. I was going to take umbrage about that “just” Joe Maneely comment, but I see others have already taken up that banner.

    He was a great artist, and he died far too young. Had he lived, he would probably have been a major force along with Kirby and Ditko with Marvel’s rise in the 1960s.

    – Lee

  5. Not only was some of the artwork stolen, a lot of it was also misplaced as well as just boxed and left to be found later. We hear about all the art lost. but there was tons of art found as well and returned. I do wonder how much artwork is out there together in boxes just waiting to be discover. One box that I had found had full books together going back to 1964 or so. Most of that was romance books. Great looking stuff, and it was a pleasure to return that art.

  6. I love Ron Frenz’s art. Back when I was rummaging through flea markets to grab all the tattered Spider-Man reprints I could find, Ron Frenz made me appreciate Steve Ditko before I even knew there WAS a Steve Ditko.

  7. I love the way when everyone meets Stan they are moved to tell him how much his comics affected their lives. I did the same thing. In fact I’ve done it two or three times. You gush, you babble, because you just want to say thanks. And yeah, he hears it all the time, but it always seems to mean a lot to him.

  8. At Heritage’s first New York City comics auction, Larry Lieber paid the sale a visit.

    Then-director of comics auctions John Petty and I had a nice visit with him about the original art that he would be consigning to Heritage shortly thereafter. He mentioned that a bunch of it had been stored behind his couch for years in the original envelopes that Marvel returned it to him in.