Stan Lee passed away at 95 today, and the jovial icon was most notable for bringing enjoyment to millions by breathing life into popular Marvel characters such as Spider-Man, The Hulk, and the X-Men. His tenure at Marvel saw him taking on roles such as writer, publisher, film executive producer, and actor.
As an actor, he was considered the “King of Cameos,” and he always seemed to be thoroughly enjoying his appearances as much as his fan base did. Stan Lee made cameos in more than 30 Marvel and non-Marvel movies and television series.
Here are a few picks from the past and present that will make every Marvel true believer smile.
The Trial of The Incredible Hulk (1989)
The movie The Trial of The Incredible Hulk marks Stan Lee’s first appearance in a Marvel movie or television project. The characters portrayed are also one of the first film adaptations of characters from the Marvel universe.
The King of Cameos appeared in the flick as a jury foreman in the trial of Bruce Banner. His reaction, as he and his fellow jurors watch Banner “hulk out” in court, is something to behold.
Spider-Man (1994 TV Series)
Stan Lee, as executive producer, launched Spider–Man: The Animated Series. The ’90s TV show’s animation is dated compared to modern computer animation, but it was really one of the first time kids, who had only seen “Spidey” in the comics, got to see a costumed Peter Parker take on his arch-villains on TV.
Stan Lee’s cameo appearance included his hitching a ride on the webslinger’s back, and it must have been a dream for him to do — even if it was only in a cartoon.
Mallrats is a comedy directed by Kevin Smith, and it’s about two guys that decide to take refuge in a local mall after both of them got dumped by their girlfriends. The movie starred Jason Lee, Shannon Doherty, and Jeremy London and was also written by comic book-loving Kevin Smith.
The funny banter between the two Lees in Mallrats can’t be missed, but what’s more notable is that Kevin Smith, who also developed the TV show Comic Book Men, asked Stan Lee to appear on one of the CBM episodes as well. Smith is obviously a true believer of Marvel, and he bid a heartfelt goodbye to his friend on a post on his @ThatKevinSmithTwitter feed today.
Bryan Singer’s big production of the X-Men burst into comic book fans’ and the world’s consciousness in 2000. Stan Lee’s appearance was so small that if you blinked you might have missed him. The cameo of him showed that he was as awe-stricken as everyone else on a crowded beach when Senator Kelly emerges from the ocean after being experimented on by Magneto.
Stan Lee also appeared in X-Men: The Last Stand, as a suburbanite. That appearance showed him bearing witness as Jean Grey/Phoenix unleashed her power. Grey’s telekinetic power caused the water from his garden hose to head skyward — along with half the objects in close proximity.
Iron Man (2008) and Iron Man 2 (2010)
Stan Lee has had a few laugh-inducing cameos that involved cases of mistaken identity in the first two Iron Man movies. Lee was mistaken as Hugh Hefner by Tony Stark in Iron Man, and he was later mistaken for Larry King by Robert Downey Jr’s character in Iron Man 2.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Stan Lee halted any big budget attempts to get character creation Spider-Man onto the silver screen until the amazing computer effects he had heard about in the ’90s came to fruition. When he felt that CGI effects and quality of the scripts did justice to the wall crawler, he greenlit production on bringing Spider-Man to film. What resulted was the Sam Raimi trilogy of films, two Marc Webb films that were reboots, and John Watts’s Spider-Man: Homecoming.
All of the films featured breathtaking special effects that cemented the Marvel universe and future of Marvel super hero action films.
One of Stan Lee’s last cameos was in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and the comic creator played a nosy neighbor that peered out of a window and shouted “punk” at the “friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.”
So, Stan Lee passed away today, but before he did, he got to see many of his beloved Marvel characters come to life: first in comic books, then on television, and lastly on the movie screen.
From Baby Boomers to Generation Z, Stan Lee got to see that one man can make a difference as he delighted fans with his unique creations. That achievement was most likely a source of pride for him, and like his catchphrase he said to Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 3, that’s “Nuff Said.”