A sample of Stan Lee‘s blood has reportedly been stolen by one of his associates. Yes, his actual blood. According to TMZ, a “businessman” used a forged document to request blood from Lee’s personal nurse. The blood was then used to make “DNA ink” for specialized autograph stamps, hiking up the price for collectible comics.
This follows a series of worrying reports about the 95-year-old Marvel Comics icon. Lee’s wife passed away last July, and his health has deteriorated since then. The LAPD investigated reports of elder abuse at his home, and last month, the Daily Beast published a story framing Lee as a possible victim of financial scams. There are allegations that someone wrote an unauthorized check for $300,000 from Lee’s business account, along with $1.4 million that the Daily Beast described as having “mysteriously disappeared in a complicated wire-transfer.”
The alleged blood theft is a disturbing addition to this saga. TMZ reports that Lee’s team hired an attorney to file a lawsuit against his former business associate, although this hasn’t been confirmed by Lee or one of his representatives. However, the so-called DNA Ink definitely does exist. Comics including The Mighty Thor and Rise of the Black Panther were being sold for up to $500, bearing a stamp using the blood ink. io9 unearthed a post claiming to be from the retailer in question, Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. in Las Vegas:
“Stan Lee’s Solvent DNA Ink™ was created with the highest of care and standards. […] Following the strictest of protocols, Stan Lee’s blood was delivered to Cleansnap™, one of the country’s leading manufacturers of ink products, where a team of chemists developed and uniquely customized in composition specifically for Stan Lee’s Hands of Respect™. Hand-stamped signatures utilizing Stan Lee’s Solvent DNA Ink™ are certified, authenticated and numbered with Certificates of Authenticity. “
As io9 points out, “Cleansnap” does not exist. The post likely refers to an ink pad company called Clearsnap. The post also says that Lee donated his blood to raise money for victims of the Las Vegas shooting, a widely supported cause in the comics community.
Responding to io9, Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N.’s parent company said the comics were “removed from our shelves immediately” after the reports of blood theft went public.