Stan Lee, the creator of every Marvel character you love, has passed away at age 95. He’s lived a remarkable life and has left a huge mark on the world. We have him to thank for X-Men, Iron Man, Fantastic Four, and yes, Spider-Man!
What’s really amazing about so many of the heroes Stan Lee helped create is that they’re real characters steeped in real life issues. The X-Men reflected so much about world history. Magneto was a villain, but he was also a Holocaust survivor, and much of his villainy was rooted in his fears about seeing genocide occur against another group. Mutants became the ultimate metaphor for any group that was an outsider or feared by the majority. They maybe put too fine a point on it in X-Men 2 when Iceman’s mother asks him if can just “not” be a mutant, but the underlying comparison to the gay and lesbian movement is pretty clear.
Then there’s Spider-Man. First of all, he’s a nerdy kid, not a billionaire or an alien. More importantly, his entire origin is rooted in the tragedy of his uncle dying, and as a result, he lives by 6 words: With great power comes great responsibility. The one loophole there is probably Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark, as that caused a lot of harm to both the actors and the audiences forced to watch it.
Seriously, this is what happens when you try to make a Spider-Man show that doesn’t include a Stan Lee cameo:
Stan Lee’s humanistic influence on superheroes echoes throughout Marvel Comics even today. Part of what’s made Marvel Cinematic Universe successful is that the characters are people first, heroes second. And in the comics, they’ve featured a Muslim-American woman as a hero and a black Spider-Man. Marvel and Stan Lee’s influence on it manage to reflect the best in society, where superheroes shoulder responsibilities despite adversity.
So on that note, here’s a supercut of Stan Lee’s cameos in the movies he helped create. Apparently, he filmed his cameos for Captain Marvel and Infinity War 2, so we’ll have two more opportunities to play “Spot the Stan Lee” cameo before it’s the end of an era for comic books everywhere.