Fantastic Four #10, Marvel Comics, January 1963.
Stan Lee passed away yesterday, Monday, November 12th, 2018. My condolences to Mr. Lee’s family and friends.
I’ll always remember where I was when I heard of Stan Lee’s death, I’ll also remember the onslaught of emails and text messages I received immediately after, many from people not in the hobby awkwardly offering condolences. Stan Lee was a giant, a truly larger-than-life pop culture superstar, the world will miss him.
I wrestled with picking a Stan Lee book tonight, I thought maybe I should hold off but I reminded myself that the Spotlight is written for fun and to celebrate collecting. While I may focus on value assessment I can also point to comics that add to the depth and quality of collections. I wanted to pick a comic that Stan Lee helped create and one that we should all want to own.
This week the Undervalued Spotlight shines on Fantastic Four #10.
There are three main reasons I picked Fantastic Four #10.
First, I wanted it to be a Fantastic Four comic. This is early, early days and for me, nothing screams Stan Lee as loud as the early Fantastic Four.
Second, I wanted it to be a book that he created with Jack Kirby (Mr. Kirby passed away February 6th, 1994). Fantastic Four #10 was masterfully drawn by Jack Kirby. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby are the ultimate creative team for comic books, they are the John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, the William Procter and James Gamble, their collaborative output was exponentially higher than the sum of their parts.
Third, Fantastic Four #10 actually has Stan Lee and Jack Kirby drawn right on the cover and Lee has written himself and Kirby into the story itself kicking off a long-standing Marvel tradition of writers and artists working themselves into stories.
I do believe this to be the 1st appearance of Stan Lee in a comic, lord knows he’s appeared in countless others since. Hey, does anyone know how many comic covers Stan Lee has appeared on?
Respectfully though we all must face the white elephant in this post which is the commercialization of Stan Lee’s passing and legacy. We all must pass and Mr. Lee led a long and productive life that has given joy to billions, yes I typed billions. His status as an icon will only grow stronger. Currently, on marketplaces like eBay, there are literally tens of thousands of Stan Lee items available for sale. Many items will sell and why not, this is a natural time for people to wish to possess something associated with this great man.
Because I follow comic books I’ve noticed comics with Stan Lee on the cover being gobbled up at a torrid pace with collectors more than willing to pay the premiums such moments tend to generate.
I’ve chosen Fantastic Four #10 because from what I’ve seen it has by and large not been one of the obvious choices satisfying the large sentimental demand.
Fantastic Four #10 has barely benefited from the general yearlong price rises in value that the key Fantastic Four issues have enjoyed. Actually, this book has seen price drops through many grades.
It’s a healthy thing to wish to own a Stan Lee comic book at this time, Fantastic Four #10 brings so much of what Stan Lee was all about under one beautifully drawn cover.
The 48th Overstreet price break for this book is $1254/$2827/$4300 in the 8.0/9.0/9.2 grade splits.
Reasons to buy this comic book as an investment:
- Stan Lee and Jack Kirby on cover
- Stan Lee and Jack Kirby written into story starting a unique Mighty Marvel tradition
- Early, early Marvel, predates X-Men, Iron Man, Doc Strange, Daredevil etc
Stan Lee basically taught me how to write. After an early diet of Classics Illustrated, I discovered Stan at about the age of five or six and began to enjoy immediately the depth of his characters and the appeal of his wordplay. With only a rudimentary knowledge of the language at that young age, it was Stan who showed me how to write entertainment with flair. All those characters made my childhood that much richer and I owe it to Stan that I grew up with a love of words and pictures that has lasted me a lifetime. In the ’80s i realized a lifelong dream of actually writing for the comics and dabbled in the medium for the better part of 30 years. As much as I love art, music and literature, the comics pointed me in the direction I most enjoyed going, and comics, for me, meant Stan.
The world is a much poorer place without Stan. From now on when I hear the word “Excelsior!” it won’t mean anything more than wood shavings as packing material. Sic transit gloria mundi! We”l miss you Stan.
Even though we all knew this day would come it is still quite sad to learn of Stan’s passing.
I agree with you in that Fantastic Four 10 is an undervalued book especially since it has an appearance of Stan Lee. However, this book is technically Stan Lee’s first Silver Age appearance!
Stan Lee’s first appearance in a Comic Book is noted as being Astonishing No. 4 from all the way back in June of 1951. This was a Golden Age Horror Title. At present there is one available on Ebay which is a CGC 2.5 ss Stan Lee. Stan appears with Hank Chapman in that issue.
Astonishing 4 is a great book Stan Lee book. While the copy noted above is over-priced, I am sure that you can find a raw or unsigned CGC copy at relatively good buy.
His Legacy will live on for generations! Excelsior!
Enlightening info Christian, thank you, now I want a copy of Astonishing #4 !!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Mel, Stan is truly the man !
Stan Lee’s first comic appearance was in Mystic Comics 10 where he and Timely were parodied. His first appearance otherwise was in Terry Toons 12.
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