Stan Lee had been a staple of Marvel Comics for decades before he made his first cameo in a Marvel film property. That appearance, in NBC-TV’s Trial of the Incredible Hulk TV movie, was inauspicious, to be sure, but Lee parlayed that into more than 50 cameo appearances in Marvel (and even a DC!) related properties.
Whether it is Lee’s cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy 2, his appearance as Willie Lumpkin in 2005’s Fantastic Four, or his “skip the credits and you’ll miss it” appearance in Big Hero 6, everyone has a favorite Stan moment.
In 2018’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Stan has several moments, but one for sure is his most poignant. Reader beware, spoilers for Into the Spider-Verse follow. Oh, and, uh…grab a tissue.
Early in the Spider-Verse film, Peter Parker dies, and Miles Morales, rocked by what he has seen, wanders into a souvenir shop, looking for a Spider-Man costume. He’s met behind the counter by none other than Stan “The Man” Lee. Stan tells him, “I’m gonna miss that guy (Spider-Man). We used to be friends.” A nice reference to his co-creation of Spider-Man with Steve Ditko.
When Miles mentions that the suit is too big, he reassures the fledgling Spidey that the suit will fit. “It always does, eventually,” Stan says, in a passing of the torch moment. Stan loved all his co-creations, but it could be argued that he loved Spider-Man the most.
With this cameo, Stan seems to be comforting those of us still hurting by his passing. Some of us are long-time comic fans. Some are new to the fandom, with the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But one thing is for sure, Stan loved all his fans, and he often showed it. For this cameo to debut a month after Stan’s death seems appropriate; it’s a pat on the shoulder, that unspoken “Excelsior!” that tells us that it will be ok.
His words will live on; we have several cameos to come, in at least the next two MCU films, but none of them, I’m sure, will be as heartfelt or pointed as this one.
Rich Davenport graduated from Concordia University in St. Paul Minnesota with a B.A. in Mass Communication. He is a lifelong comicbook reader, a film fan and a hardcore video gamer. He also makes a lot of funny faces in pictures, much to his wife’s chagrin.