It’s still difficult to cope with the fact that Stan Lee is gone. The man was an inspirational figure to many and a hero to so many more. He created the greats that we all know and love, the ones that still continue to thrive to this day.  This is just a really hard loss to get over. However, rather than continue to mope and mourn over the loss, it seems only appropriate that we celebrate Lee’s life and career. As we’ve already covered some of his greatest works and what they mean to us here at ComicsVerse, taking a gander at some of the best Stan Lee cameos seems like a reasonable next step.

If there’s one thing Stan Lee remains notable for — other than the mountain of characters he created or the impact he had on so many of us — it’s his cameos. Stan Lee cameos are something of a coveted jewel to the truest of Marvel fans, and a nice little cherry on top of the cake to even the most casual of fans. Stan Lee cameos pop up in more than just the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s appeared in almost every Marvel movie ever, a few Marvel video games, and a miscellaneous film or two. Matt Attanasio and Maite Molina have compiled a list of some of the best Stan Lee cameos.

The order these cameos appear doesn’t dictate a rank or anything like that. Now let’s get to it!

Below are Maite Molina‘s top 5 Stan Lee Cameos.

1. FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER

2007 featured the release of the FANTASTIC FOUR (2005) follow-up: FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER. The film is often noted for its inclusion of iconic characters such as Silver Surfer and Galactus. Though it is also noted for including one of Stan Lee’s most memorable cameos. The scene he appears in showcases the preparations for Reed Richards and Sue Storm’s impending wedding. Now, before the wedding takes place, Stan Lee attempts to gain entry into the event as a guest. He even tells the guard he is, in fact, the Stan Lee and should be on the guest list. Unfortunately, the guard does not believe him, and he turns the Stan Lee away.

Stan Lee Cameos
FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3 (1965). Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Of course, this particular cameo is great for a multitude of reasons. First, it is the only cameo in which Stan Lee refers to himself by name. Additionally, it is a homage to a nearly identical sequence in FANTASTIC FOUR ANNUAL #3. That issue also features the wedding between Reed Richards and Sue Storm. It also depicts Stan Lee and the great Jack Kirby getting turned away at the door despite their significance in the Marvel Universe. Stan Lee’s cameo in FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER is not only hilarious, but it is also an awesome callback to an iconic Marvel Comics event.

2. AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

The 2015 follow-up to Joss Whedon’s AVENGERS FILM, AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON includes a scene that depicts our titular superheroes enjoying a party. One of the attendees so happens to be Stan Lee, who plays a World War II veteran this time around. In this particular party scene, Thor and Captain America enjoy an Asgardian alcoholic beverage, one that is so strong that mere mortals cannot even drink it.

Stan Lee Cameos
Image from AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Stan, though, believes that he can and has a taste. On the next shot, Stan is being carried out of the party. Apparently, this cameo is one of Stan’s favorites simply because he got to shoot two scenes rather than one brief one. This cameo is also a fan-favorite as it depicts a humorous engagement between Stan and some of Marvel’s most famous characters. Additionally, it provides fans with a brief insight into Stan’s life, since he once served in the United States Army during the duration of World War II.

3. SPIDER-MAN 3

SPIDER-MAN 3 may certainly be a divisive film amongst fans. However, Stan Lee’s cameo is particularly special. It is safe to say that Spider-Man is Stan Lee’s most significant creation. So to see him face-to-face with Peter Parker, telling him that Spider-Man is capable of making a difference in the world, brings on a multitude of emotions.

Stan Lee Cameos
Image from SPIDER-MAN 3. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Ultimately, watching this cameo after Stan’s passing truly has us thinking about the difference he made in the world. His imagination provided us with a world of heroes who gave voices to those who felt different. In those differences, individuals were empowered as they were able to identify with characters such as Spider-Man. This cameo is undoubtedly one of Stan’s more unique ones. He directly interacts with his creation, informing Spider-Man that he has done his creator proud.

4. X-MEN: APOCOLYPSE

It was no secret that Stan Lee and his wife Joan were incredibly close throughout the 69 years they were married until her death in 2017. So it was especially exciting to see her included in a cameo alongside her long-time husband in the 2016 film, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE. In their scene, they witness a multitude of nuclear missiles heading towards their homes in horror. So, in preparation for the onslaught, they hold onto each other tightly, waiting for the destruction.

Stan Lee Cameos
Stan and Joan. Image from X-MEN: APOCALYPSE. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Again, Joan had never been featured in a cameo alongside her husband in any Marvel Entertainment production until this film. It is safe to say that Joan has always been Stan’s crime-fighting partner. They were together for nearly 70 years, and she was always his biggest support system. Seeing them side-by-side, until the end in the context of the film, makes for a powerful moment that briefly showcases their journey together until the end of the line.

5. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR

Like his cameo in FANTASTIC FOUR: RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER, it is always satisfying to witness a Stan Lee cameo in which he acknowledges his role in the comic book world. In AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, we see him acting as a school bus driver. When the students on board exclaim at the site of a space ship, Stan simply scoffs, asking if the kids had never seen a spaceship before.

Stan Lee Cameos
Stan Lee at the premiere of AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR, what would be his final public appearance.

Stan Lee has not only traversed the multiverse in his writings, but he has also gone quite the distance throughout his cameos in the films of the Marvel Universe. This cameo makes for a hilarious moment that puts the spotlight on Stan’s journeys. His imagination has truly taken him to places previously unexplored, and that imagination will continue to reverberate throughout history.

Below are Matt Atanasio‘s top 5 Stan Lee Cameos.

6. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2012)

This one has sometimes been regarded as one of the best Stan Lee cameos, if not the best. And it’s very easy to see why.

Stan Lee’s cameo in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is wonderfully clever and well-timed. As Spider-Man is battling the Lizard through Midtown High, their conflict blasts into the library. Lee acts as the librarian in this scene, clueless to the altercation taking place literally feet behind him. Though Lee almost gets whacked by a table, Spidey, of course, saves him. On review, I felt bad for Lee in this scene; he probably had to clean up all those books later on.

Stan Lee Cameos
Image from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

I hope someone helped him. This cameo works so well because of the huge dichotomy present in the scene. The hectic fight going on behind Lee hysterically contrasts Lee’s calm demeanor and the pleasant music he’s listening to. Though I’m not the biggest fan of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, this definitely still stands as one of my favorite Stan Lee cameos. Fun fact on this one: apparently, it was originally intended that Stan would aid Spider-Man in this fight.

That idea was scrapped, though, because Spidey would just want to protect his creator. Something sentimental like that. Just something I heard through the grapevine. If anyone can confirm or deny, feel free.

7. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2

To bounce right off that last cameo, another one of the better Stan Lee cameos came from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2. Like Lee’s cameo in this film’s predecessor, this one remains well-timed and humorous, but it also comes as a pleasant surprise. This one is a bit subtler than the last, but it’s still just as fun. In typical Spider-Man fashion, Peter Parker swings in late to his graduation ceremony on the sidelines where no one will spot him.

The camera quickly cuts to Stan Lee sitting in the audience. As Peter rushes out after mostly changing out of his costume (minus his mask) Stan spots him, saying,

“I think I know that guy.”

Of course, no one really pays Stan any mind, and things roll right along. This cameo works well because, other than having a plain yet clever execution, it’s one of those Stan Lee cameos that hints at Lee’s connection to his characters. Of course, he knows Spider-Man, he created him. It’s a warm, wholesome joke.

Stan Lee Cameos
Image from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The humor of this cameo is where the aforementioned subtlety comes into play. Stan Lee cameos are rarely ever subtle on the surface; you can’t mistake the guy. This cameo just plays out in a particularly calm way. It’s not outwardly funny until you give it a second. It’s a good example of some smart, witty writing.

8. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING

SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING features, in my opinion, one of the best MCU Stan Lee cameos, period. I remember this scene popping up when I saw it in theaters; my friends and I were in tears laughing. Unlike the Stan Lee cameos mentioned in both AMAZING SPIDER-MAN films, this one isn’t really sentimental, it’s just downright funny.

Stan Lee Cameos
Image from SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Early on in the film, we’re greeted with a wonderful montage of Spidey swinging around New York, doing typical Spidey stuff. He attempts to stop a car robbery, only to find out that the car belongs to the guy “stealing” it; he just got locked out. This leads to a bunch of the neighbors hollering at Spidey for being a complete dick. That includes Stan Lee (named Gary in this scene), who shouts out from his window,

“Don’t make me come down there, you punk.”

Like I mentioned before, I was in tears. It was refreshing to see Stan acting so aggressively in one of his cameos, especially towards Spider-Man. In just about all the Stan Lee cameos featured in relation to Spider-Man, there’s a sort of kinship between Lee and the hero, as is appropriate. In SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING, that’s not the case at all, which makes this cameo even funnier. Listening to Stan Lee call Spider-Man a punk will never not be funny. That’s a fact.

9. SPIDER-MAN PS4

Man, I’m just all Spidey today, aren’t I? If you’ve had the pleasure of playing Insomniac’s SPIDER-MAN game for PS4, then you’ll be aware of Stan Lee’s absolutely perfect cameo early on in the game. After Spidey’s first encounter with the Demons (Mr. Negative’s gang), Peter and MJ meet together for dinner at Mick’s; a place they apparently used to go to a lot before they broke up. They have a brief conversation about their work, the Demons, and their relationship, before Pete has to leave to go do more Spidey stuff.

Stan Lee Cameos
Insomniac’s SPIDER-MAN PS4; Image courtesy of Insomniac.

MJ leaves shortly after, but not before Stan Lee (who presumably acts as the restaurant owner) notes that he’s happy to see MJ and Peter back together, saying they were always his favorites. The Spidey fan in me likes to think that’s the honest-to-god truth; that Spider-Man was Stan’s favorite hero he created, and Peter and MJ were his favorite comic book couple. I obviously have a biased viewpoint on this one, but this is still such a sweet moment!

And it comes almost out of nowhere. I hadn’t expected a Stan Lee cameo in the game (though I probably should have), and when it came up, I had the dumbest smile on my face. Talk about yet another well-timed and wholly sentimental Stan Lee cameo.

Honorable Mention (Not In The MCU): 10. MALLRATS

For the last of ComicsVerse’s best Stan Lee cameos, I thought we should take a look at a sorely underappreciated and underrated cameo. I’ll be the first to admit that MALLRATS is far from the hottest flick out there. But it’s full of heart, and features tons of genuinely funny moments and character development. It also features one of the most down-to-earth, hard-hitting and sentimental Stan Lee cameos.

Stan Lee Cameos
Image from MALLRATS. Image courtesy of Kevin Smith.

As the character Brodie, played by Jason Lee, is essentially moping over his lack of an intimate relationship, Stan Lee happens along to divulge some advice on romance. Stan seems to be focusing his attention on a lot of couples, and he tells Brodie about his “girl that got away.”

What might seem like a simple cameo quickly becomes a deep-dive into part of Stan Lee’s psyche. Stan reveals to Brodie that he wrote many of his characters to reflect parts of himself: he hid behind a suit of armor like Doctor Doom; he was a regular guy one moment, and a flurry of rage and emotion the next, like the Hulk.

The conversation boils down to this: love is worth giving up just about anything, which is a sentiment I like to believe is true. No one could put it better than Stan Lee. Of course, this is all revealed to be something of an act, as Lee was commissioned by Brodie’s friend, T.S., to talk some sense into Brodie. Still, this doesn’t necessarily steal the integrity of Lee’s words. It’s still a very heartfelt conversation. If anything, it adds some lighthearted humor to a sincerely genuine moment.

Stan Lee’s Legacy Lives On…

Of course, this list is subject to change in the future. Despite Stan’s passing, Joe and Anthony Russo, directors of the next Avengers, have confirmed that comic book legend has already filmed his cameo for the upcoming film. With this, upcoming films such as CAPTAIN MARVEL and SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME may also include cameos Stan had already filmed. Regardless, though we will miss seeing Stan Lee’s cameos in the future, his legacy will continue to live amongst fans for generations to come.

Stan Lee Cameos
Stan Lee, Image courtesy of Getty Images.

It is an understatement to say that he has been an inspiration. Stan has brought an abundance of light into the lives of those who have found a part of themselves in comic books, and he will continue to bring that light into those who adore his creations. Once again, thank you, Stan, for everything.

2 Comments

  1. Nathan Pritchard

    Nathan Pritchard

    November 19, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    Guardians 2 was pretty cool. Chatting about his past appearances with the Watchers was pretty great.

    Reply

  2. Virat Vain

    Virat Vain

    November 19, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Spider-Man Home coming !♥️

    Reply

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