Real Name: Lucius Farnsworth
Identity/Class: Human mutant (pre-modern to presumably modern era)
Occupation: Beekeeper, millionaire
Group Membership: None
Enemies: Eric, the Weed
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: His estate, somewhere in America
First Appearance: Strange Tales I#94/2 (March, 1962) (see comments)
Powers/Abilities: Lucius Farnsworth was a mutant with the ability to reduce himself and others in size; he could also psychically command others (including bees and humans) and make them obey his will--possibly these powers faded away as he grew older (see comments).
In his later years, Farnsworth wore a pair of eyeglasses, presumably to correct an unspecified problem with his vision.
Height: 5' 10" (by approximation)
Weight: 170 lbs. (by approximation)
Hair: Grayish-brown; (later) white
(Tales of Suspense I#32/1 (fb) - BTS) - The past of mutant Lucius Farnsworth is largely unrevealed, but by his own account, he was able to work near-miracles since birth with the power of his brain, and his greatest feat was to alter a man's size.
The wealthy Farnsworth eventually began to keep bee-hives on the grounds of his estate, and his strange powers gave him such an affinity with the insects that he never needed to wear a protective suit, for the bees never stung him.
(Tales of Suspense I#32/1) - Eric, one of Farnsworth's employees working with his bee-hives, decided to rob Farnsworth while he was asleep. However, Farnsworth caught him in the act, and he revealed to Eric that he was a mutant; controlling Eric's mind, Farnsworth made him hand over his gun, then took him to the bee-hives, where he reduced the two of them to the size of insects. Farnsworth then forced Eric to enter a bee-hive, where he set his loyal bees against him. Eric tried to escape the bees, but Farnsworth set them after him at every turn. At one point, Eric attempted to escape by riding upon a bee's back, but Farnsworth lassoed him with a blade of grass. The bees held Eric down, with a stinger in his face, until Farnsworth commanded them to stop. He then took Eric outside of the bee-hive and returned them both to their normal sizes.
Back to normal, Farnsworth claimed that he had no powers--that he had merely used hypnosis to make Eric think they had changed sizes. But the miniature gun Eric found on the floor said otherwise...
(Strange Tales I#94/2 (fb) - BTS) - As an unspecified period of time elapsed, Farnsworth grew older, he began wearing a pair of eyeglasses, and his paranormal abilities seemed to fade (see comments).
(Strange Tales I#94/2) - One day at his estate, Lucius Farnsworth asked his gardener George why he didn't start a landscaping business of his own. George replied that he didn't have the desire to, and Farnsworth was disappointed by his lack of ambition. As he toured the gardens, Farnsworth came upon a flower which had been mutated by radiation into the Weed, a powerful psychic entity. The Weed took command of Farnsworth's mind, and schemed to conquer the world; but it was eventually cut down by George before it could achieve its goals. Farnsworth no longer looked down upon George for merely being a gardener.
Comments: Created by Stan Lee (writer) and Jack Kirby (artist).
The stories themselves make no link between the
two Lucius Farnsworths seen--but since both were by the same creative
team, both Farnsworths live in a scenic manor, and they look similar,
I've decided for myself that they are, in fact, the same man.
In that case--although the Strange Tales issue was published a few months before the Tales of Suspense story--then the events with Eric in the bee-hive probably took place several years before his encounter with the Weed--the Farnsworth in the Weed story had white hair and appeared to be at least 10 years older, and possibly his powers had diminished when he got older (...otherwise, why didn't he just shrink that pesky Weed out of existence?).
Also, the bottom margin of the last page of the Weed story had an advertising blurb for the Fantastic Four, so possibly that tale occurred in the early days of the modern Marvel Universe.
Sources such as the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide have claimed that Farnsworth was a "prototype" Ant-Man, or that Stan Lee used the two stories--"The Man in the Beehive" and "The Man in the Anthill" (@ Tales to Astonish I#27 (January, 1962))--to gauge reactions and determine which should receive a strip of their own. This is all bunk--it's only gained acceptance among comic book circles because it helps drive up prices on back-issues. Can you honestly say that Farnsworth would have fit the mold of an ongoing Marvel comics series? Well, I admit it would've been interesting to see...
Maybe in his younger years, Farnsworth used his buzzing friends (Hey, it worked for the Red Bee...) for a heroic identity of his own (Bee-Man? The Bee-Keeper? King Bee?); maybe he was even an associate/member of the First Line.--Ron Fredricks
Profile by Prime Eternal. Expanded by Ron Fredricks.
Lucius Farnsworth has no known connections to:
Eric has no known connections to:
name unrevealed) was employed by Lucius Farnsworth, and he
worked with the millionaire's bee-hives.
As they exited the bee-hive, the two returned to their normal
sizes--Farnsworth told Eric that the whole experience had merely been an
illusion, and that he had only placed Eric in a hypnotic trance to make
him imagine he had been trapped in a bee-hive. But despite Farnsworth's
smooth explanation, Eric would never know what to believe.
images: (without ads)
Tales of Suspense I#32/1, p2, pan2 (Lucius Farnsworth talking to his bees; Eric (background))
Tales of Suspense I#32/1, p6, pan8 (Lucius Farnsworth commands his bees to leave)
Strange Tales I#94/2, p5, pan1 (elderly Lucius Farnsworth holding garden shears, attempts to cut down Weed)
Strange Tales I#94/2, p6, pan3 (elderly Lucius Farnsworth awakens after George has snipped Weed)
Tales of Suspense I#32/1, p3, pan2 (Eric holds gun, but has his mind overpowered by Lucius Farnsworth)
Tales of Suspense I#32/1, p3, pan7 (Eric held at gunpoint by Lucius Farnsworth, as they both begin to shrink by bee-hive)
Tales of Suspense I#32/1, p3, pan8 (shrunken Eric and Lucius Farnsworth (holding handgun) in bee-hive; two bees (background) )
Tales of Suspense I#32/1, p7, pan5 (returned to normal size, Eric notices that his gun is missing)
Strange Tales I#94/2 (March, 1962) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (pencils), Dick Ayers (inks), Stan Goldberg (colors), Artie Simek (letters)
Tales of Suspense I#32/1 (August, 1962) - Stan Lee (writer/editor), Jack Kirby (pencils), Dick Ayers (inks), Stan Goldberg (colors), Artie Simek (letters)
First Posted: 12/10/2003
Last updated: 03/22/2020
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and © 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at: http://www.marvel.com
Special Thanks to http://www.g-mart.com/ for hosting the Appendix, Master List, etc.!
Back to Characters