Friday, April 13, 2012

Mousey Movies - The Stan Lee Cameo

Stan Lee
Throughout the Avengers Initiative there has been several connective themes that tie the movies together.  First, Samuel L. Jackson has consistently appeared as Nick Fury, the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.  And Clark Gregg has consistently portrayed Agent Coulson.  But another actor has appeared throughout, just not as the same character.  That master thespian has been Stan Lee, who has played a cameo role in almost every movie containing a Marvel character. 
Who is Stan Lee?  In many ways Stan Lee is the Walt Disney of the Marvel universe.  In 1941 a nineteen year old Stan Lee was made Interim Editor of Timely Comics, which would later become Marvel Comics.  His job before this was an assistant who was in charge of making sure the inkwells were filled!  For the next 6 decades Lee served as editor, publisher, writer, and creative force within Marvel Comics.  He co-created characters such as Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, The X-Men, Thor, Iron Man and many more.  During these years he helped transform Marvel from a small publishing firm to a major corporation spread across several media platforms.
Lee has never been afraid to perform to support Marvel properties.  For me I was first introduced to Stan Lee as the narrator of the cartoon Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends.  He brought the tales of the web slinger into my home and the homes of other true believers every weekend, and it was wonderful.  If you want to get my attention, add Stan Lee to the mix!
As Marvel expanded into movies he began to make cameo roles.  Some were somewhat anonymous, such as his first cameo as a juror in the TV-movie The Trial of the Incredible Hulk.  Other cameos were established Marvel characters such as postman Willie Lumpkin in Fantastic Four.  Others have honestly been odd, playing celebrities.  One thing is common with every one of these cameos, they make you smile and you fill with pride as you spot Lee’s appearance. 
Now Lee is not Marvel’s John Ratzenberger.  Unlike the Pixar lucky charm, Lee has not appeared in every Marvel film.  For example, Lee is not present in X-Men: First Class due to scheduling issues.  But if Marvel can work it in, Lee will be added to the cast. 
The following are the Stan Lee cameos in the Avengers Initiative to date:
·     Iron Man: Stan Lee appears as Hugh Hefner?  Actually Tony Stark confuses Lee for Hefner, but Lee is playing himself.  Lee as Lee really does make more sense than Lee as Hefner, but this is not the last time he will appear as an elderly celebrity.

·     The Incredible Hulk: Mr. Lee drinks a bad soft drink, one infused with Bruce Banner’s blood.  As expected, Gamma radiated blood will make one ill!  

·     Iron Man 2: Lee appears at the Stark Expo as Larry King!  Yet again Lee shows his versatility playing another celebrity.

·     Thor: I have to admit this is my favorite cameo.  Lee plays a good old boy trying to use his pickup truck to pull Thor’s hammer Mjolnir out of the ground.  Does truck or hammer win?

·     Captain America: The First Avenger: Lee plays a World War II general.  Finally Lee receives a role that is suitable for a man of his stature.
For your viewing pleasure, this montage contains all of Lee’s cameos in major Marvel films including the Avenger movies.

Who do you hope Stan Lee plays in The Avengers?  I am pulling for President of the United States.   After being a general he can only go up!  Whatever role he plays, you can pretty much guarantee that Lee will make his presence known when The Avengers premiers! 


  1. If it wasn't for Stan Lee's hard work and loyalty to the characters he created these movies wouldn't exist.

  2. Here here Bill! Stan Lee had one of those understandings of character you only found with a few like Walt Disney...their characters stick because of the depth he brought to them. It's amazing when you think about how long ago Spider-man, Iron Man and his other Marvel greats were created.

    I love the cameos, and I love how the Between Kids found him in the new Ultimate Spider-man.

  3. I can see him dropping way down after being a general. Perhaps a mailman or truck driver?

  4. Though he has driven a pickup, a semi truck would be different for him. His cameo as Willie Lumpkin in the Fantastic Four was a mailman, and I'm guessing they won't have him play Willie again.