There was an outpouring of tributes on Twitter on Monday and Tuesday following news of American comic writer and Marvel legend Stan Lee’s death. The former Marvel editor-in-chief and chairperson died aged 95 in Los Angeles on Monday.
Born Stanley Martin Lieber in Manhattan in 1922, Lee began his association with Marvel in 1939 and went on to co-create some of its most popular superheroes and leagues including Black Panther, Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Mighty Thor, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, Doctor Strange, Daredevil and Ant-Man, all of which have also spawned film adaptations. After his retirement from Marvel Comics, Lee continued to serve as the company’s figurehead and public face.
Among those who celebrated Lee’s legacy on Twitter were actors who have played many of the superheroes created by Marvel, including Chris Evans, who plays Captain America, Chris Pratt (Peter Quill, Guardians of the Galaxy), Zoe Saldana (Gamora, Guardians of the Galaxy) and Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk).
Apart from his prolific writing output, Lee, in later years, would also make regular cameo appearances in films based on Marvel characters. This later expanded to non-Marvel movies and television series as well.
Lee’s first cameo was in the television movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989), which was followed by blink-and-miss appearances in, among others, X-Men (2000), Spider Man (2002) and Daredevil (2003) and Hulk (2003).
Some of these included speaking roles. In Spider-Man 3 (2007), Lee offers a few words of wisdom to protagonist Peter Parker. “You know, I guess one person can make a difference,” he tells Parker as the two of them read a news report about Spider-Man, ending with his catchphrase, “Nuff [enough] said”.
Lee also appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, starting with Iron Man. In the 2008 film, Lee swaggers into a gala with three women, leading Robert Downey Jr’s Tony Stark to mistake him for Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.
In Thor (2011), Lee appears as a truck driver who unsuccessfully tries to lift the God of Thunder’s hammer. Thor’s weapon, named Mjolnir, was created by Lee in the 1962 comic Journey into Mystery #83.
In The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), Lee plays a visitor at a library who listens to classical music as Spider-Man and the Lizard face off behind him.
“Superheroes in New York? Give me a break,” Lee scoffs in his cameo in the first Avengers movie (2012). In Avengers: Age of the Ultron (2015), Lee’s World War II veteran cannot handle Thor’s celestial liquor. “Excelsior,” he slurs, invoking his trademark motto, as he is escorted away from the bar.
In the latest Avengers installation, Avengers: Infinity War (2018), he plays a bus driver unmoved by the sight of a spaceship on a New York street. “What’s the matter with you kids – you’ve never seen a spaceship before?” he remarks as the teens in the bus go into a tizzy.
Lee has also reportedly filmed his cameo for the 2019 Avengers movie.
Lee has also made cameos in The Big Bang Theory (2010), Heroes (2006), Entourage (2010) and The Simpsons (2002).