My Favorite Stan Lee Appearance Wasn’t In A Marvel Movie
Today the world learned that one of America's greatest cultural icons, Stan Lee, passed away at the age of 95.
Lee was the co-creator of some of Marvel Comics' most beloved characters, including Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four. You can read more about his life and his passing here.
In recent years, younger fans have come to know Stan Lee mostly due to his cameos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. He's even shown up in a few of the FOX movies, including 'Deadpool'. When I was a kid, Lee voiced intros and promos for various Marvel cartoon series, most notably The Fantastic Four and Iron Man.
But it's his appearance in a 2002 episode of The Simpsons that will always stick with me and never fail to make me laugh.
I Am Furious (Yellow) is one of those rare post-season 8 episodes of The Simpsons that I'd consider a classic. The plot involves Bart looking for inspiration for a comic strip and finding it in Homer's fits of rage. Bart creates Angry Dad, which soon becomes a viral hit before viral hits were even a thing.
So where does Stan Lee come in?
Well, Bart stops by The Android's Dungeon to get Comic Book Guy's opinion on his first strip. CBG, of course, tells him it's "crude and derivative". And really, Bart should have expected as much. Then Stan Lee miraculously appears at the shop, takes a look at Bart's strip...and tells him it stinks.
But Lee encourages Bart to keep trying until he finds his voice.
Then Lee refuses to leave. He sticks around the shop to rearrange the shelves so that Marvel titles are always up front, and even tries to turn into the Incredible Hulk, insisting that he's done it before.
But the part that always makes me laugh out loud is when Lee suggests that a nerdy kid shopping for a Batman action figure buy The Thing instead.
"But only Batman fits in my Batmobile," Nerd Boy says.
"Are you nuts?," says Lee. "The Thing fits in there perfectly!"
What happens next is comedy gold. You can watch the scene below.
An overabundance of celebrity appearances would prove to be one of the many things that contributed to the steep decline of The Simpsons over the years, but Lee's appearance was one of the last and best examples of a celebrity guest done right. It honors his contributions to our culture while parodying his years of relentless self-promotion.
What's your favorite memory of Stan Lee? Let us know in the comments, True Believers!