It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s… Stan Lee. Fans of comic books and the cinema know that part of the fun of watching a movie featuring a Marvel comic book hero — such as The Avengers, Spiderman, The Fantastic Four — is to spot Stan Lee. What character does he play? Is it a speaking part? How many seconds is he on screen?
Stan Lee, born Stanley Martin Lieber, is legendary in the comic book industry. In 1939 he began his career at Timely Comics, in New York, filling inkwells for the artists and doing proofreading. Lee wrote and introduced his first comic hero, Captain America, in May 1941 using his newly adopted pseudonym, Stan Lee. Over the years Timely Comics evolved to Marvel Comics.
The comic book industry was revolutionized in the 1950s when Stan Lee, urged by his wife to tell the type of stories he wanted to tell, reinvented the comic book superheroes by making them imperfect — giving them human flaws like weaknesses, temper tantrums, illness, and so forth. In collaboration with talented artists like Jack Kirby, Bill Everett, and Steve Ditko, Lee introduced his iconic superheros to the world: The Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, X-Men, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, and of course, Spider-Man. In the early 1980s, Lee moved west to California to develop movie and TV projects for Marvel. The rest is movie history — the Marvel movies are some of the most successful action films in history.
As the former president and CEO of Marvel Comics, Lee is entitled to a few perks, of course. One of those perks is to appear in every Marvel film, if only for a few seconds. In an interview, Lee sees them more as supporting roles rather than cameos. Starting in 2000, Lee has had a cameo in the following films (name of film, year, and Stan Lee’s role in the movie):
X-Men (2000): hot dog vendor
Spider-Man 1 (2002): man who saves a girl from falling debris
Daredevil (2003): man who is saved from walking in front of truck
Hulk (2003): man walking out of a building with security guard
Spider-Man 2 (2004): man who saves woman from falling debris
Fantastic Four (2005): Willie Lumpkin, a postal worker
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006): neighbor of Jean Grey
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007): as himself, attending a wedding on a rooftop
Spider-Man 3 (2007): a man interviewed in Time Square in NYC
Iron Man 1 (2008): a man attending event mistaken for Hugh Hefner
The Incredible Hulk (2008): a man who opens a refrigerator and is killed when he drinks a soda containing the Hulk’s blood
Iron Man 2 (2010): a man mistake for Larry King
Thor (2011): a man who attempts to pull Thor’s hammer using a pickup truck
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011): a general
The Avengers (2012): a man who is interviewed after a big battle scene
The Amazing Spider-Man 1 (2012): a librarian wearing headphones
Iron Man 3 (2013): a beauty pageant judge
Thor: The Dark World (2013): a bus driver
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014): a member of the audience at Peter and Gwen’s graduation
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015): WWII veteran attending a party drinking Asgardian liquor
Ant-Man (2015): a bartender
For further reading: http://www.listal.com/list/stan-lees-marvel-movie-cameos. http://www.wikipedia.