The creators at Insight Studios, including renowned artists Marc Hempel and Mark Wheatley, said that they have been rocked by the revelation that decades worth of their original art, scripts, and production materials have been stolen from their climate-controlled warehouse.

Hempel, known individually for his work on Sandman and creating Tug & Buster, and Wheatley, whose solo work includes Radical Dreamer and Frankenstein Mobster, established their reputation as collaborators across several different series including Mars, Breathtaker, Jonny Quest, Tarzan, and Blood of the Innocent, among other projects.

The duo were initially unaware of the theft, and said they believed their treasures to be safely preserved. In reality, though, thousands of pages of their work had found their way into the original comic art market unbeknownst to the creators.

“It’s been heart-wrenching,” Wheatley said. “It was quite a shock to realize that almost all of Marc’s and my early works had been taken from us.”

The heist and the mystery around it began to unravel when artist Dan Krall, a former assistant to Wheatley, identified the complete original art for the “Kings Of The West” story from Jonny Quest #28 in a Heritage Auctions event in mid-2022. This discovery ignited a painstaking investigation, which in turn revealed the extent of the theft.

Over time it became clear that the “staggering inventory of stolen Insight Studios original art” included almost all the cherished pieces from their Jonny Quest issues, the nearly complete Blood Of The Innocent mini-series, hundreds of pages from their Be An Interplanetary Spy series, Mars, Frankenstein Mobster, and Fright Night, as well as unpublished proposals.

The Maryland State Police embarked on a rigorous investigation, issued subpoenas, and traced the theft back to its source. The perpetrator passed away, and the stolen cache was sold from his estate. Unwitting collectors, retailers, and auction houses compounded the issue.

While some stolen art has been recovered with the aid of collectors and retailers, a substantial portion remains lost. According to Wheatley, it has changed hands among private collectors and retailers. The investigation continues, however, and the stolen art is now listed on the FBI Registry of Stolen Artworks.

“We are asking the original art collecting community and retailers to please help us,” Hempel said. Any information on the whereabouts of the stolen art is urged to be reported to Mark Wheatley or Corporal Theodore Buck of the Maryland State Police.

Amid the turmoil, Wheatley said he has found solace through connections with supportive fans: “If there is any good that has come out of this so far, it is that we have met some of our best fans.”

Inventory of Marc Hempel and Mark Wheatley’s Stolen Art
Please note: FC = Front Cover, BC = Back Cover

Jonny Quest
JQ #1               Pin-Up
JQ #3               Pages 1-28 (full interior)
JQ #7               Pin-Up
JQ #10             FC, BC, 1-8, 10-14, 16-28 (plus color pages)
JQ #14             FC, BC, 1-13, 15-28
                       oversized FC and BC color guides w/overlay
                       regular color pages 2, 4, 5, 14, 17, 18, 23, 27, 28
JQ #15             BC, 2-26
JQ #16             BC, 1-27 (plus unpublished pages, guides 1-27
JQ #17             1-27 (plus Oversized FC and BC color pages w/overlay
                        regular color pages FC, BC, 1-27
JQ #18             FC, 1, 7 (plus color pages for 1, 7)
JQ #20             BC, 2, 4-11, 13-26 (plus color pages FC, 1-18, 20-26)
JQ #22             FC, BC, 1-26 (plus color pages FC, BC, 1-26)
JQ #23             FC, BC, 1-8, 10-27
JQ #24             FC, BC, 1-28
JQ #25             FC, 16-19, 20-26
JQ #26             FC, BC, 1-26
JQ #27             1-28 (plus Oversized FC and BC color pages w/overlay)
JQ #28             FC, BC, 1-26 (plus Oversized FC and BC color pages w/overlay)
JQ #29             FC, BC, 1-27 (plus Oversized FC and BC color pages w/overlay)
JQ #30             Complete
JQ #31             FC, 1-28 (plus Oversized FC color page w/overlay)

Comico Black Book
Unknown page number with JQ sleeping with Bandit on chest, Hadji, Dr. Benton, Quest, and Roger “Race” Bannon in the back

Vampirella # 1 (Harris)
Vampirella Meets Frankenstein Mobster page

Frankenstein Mobster #3
Framed cover

Blood of the Innocent #1-4
Nearly complete art and color, almost 200 pages of original art and the same in color pages

Be An Interplanetary Spy
Be An Interplanetary Spy 1
     Pages 1-12, 15, 18-20, 22, 23, 25-30, 32-35, 37-48, 50-60, 62-83, 85-89, 91-94, 96, 97, 99-101, 103, 106-108, 110-113, 117-119
Be An Interplanetary Spy 2
     Pages 1-20, 24-39, 42, 43, 46-53, 55-61, 64-66, 68-71, 73, 74, 76-96, 98-106, 108, 110-112, 114-121
Be An Interplanetary Spy 3
     Pages 2, 3, 5-17, 19-31, 32-35, 37, 39-47, 49, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58-67, 70, 71, 74-82, 84, 86-96, 99, 101-109, 111, 113, 116-121
Be An Interplanetary Spy 5
      Pages 1-27, 33-38, 40, 41, 43-47, 49, 51-58, 60-85, 87-102, 104-121

Be An Interplanetary Spy - unused pages, sketches, development material, research, logo designs, etc.
     Spy Silhouette emblem – Used on title page and bottom left back covers for all four issues.
     Phatax emblem – Used on the page before the title page (issue 1 only).
     Original title: “Be An Interplanetary Spy” (This is actual original artist ink on acetate overlay, not the traditional printed acetate overlay used for color guides.) Used on Front Cover and on title page for all four issues.
     Original blank Master Layout Page inscribed “Master Layout Page, Sir!”
     Stack of the original pencil layouts for all four issues.
     Four unpublished, fully inked pages

Mars #1           Cover: Oversized production art with original coloring and
                       acetate overlay.
                       Proposal Art: Original art (double-page) featuring "REBIRTH"
                       plus overlay.
Mars #5           Cover: Oversized production art with original coloring and
                       acetate overlay.
                       Professionally framed by Medlin Art, Ltd with UV protection.
                       Signed by Mark Wheatley in 2004.

For further information or to report any leads, please contact Mark Wheatley or Corporal Ted Buck of the Maryland State Police.