Spot-the-Stan-Lee-cameo is a great game to play while watching any Marvel character on screen, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 featured a particularly epic example. But this is hardly new territory for Stan, who's been popping up in the middle of superhero stories since forever.
1. Stan Lee Phone Home
The original Fantastic Four series was a weird and wonderful world where whatever could happen, so when Stan wrote himself and Jack Kirby into a story, it was pretty much par for the course. In 1963's Fantastic Four #10, we cut abruptly to the Marvel offices, where it turns out Stan and Jack have been writing the story we've been reading so far, and they're stuck for a villain.
As they bemoan the loss of Dr. Doom to space (an event that, logically speaking, they made up) things take an abrupt turn when the good Doctor himself walks into the room.
It gets weirder. Dr. Doom then offers to help them finish the story by having them call the unsuspecting Reed Richards down to the Marvel offices, where he can ambush him.
We'll leave the story at that, but just so you know, Dr. Doom and Mr. Fantastic switch bodies. Also, note that we don't ever actually see Stan Lee or Jack Kirby's faces. This was a common theme when they wrote themselves in early on. As seen in...
2. Wedding Crashers Starring Stan & Jack
In another Fantastic Four, things go south in a supervillain-esque way on the day of Reed Richard's and Sue Storm's wedding. Pretty much all the superheroes and villains in existence at that point of Marvel history turn up to fight each other and ensure the wedding goes off without a hitch. The heroes prevail of course, and the Richards-Storm union comes off without a hitch, except for two random gatecrashers trying to get in.
Those crashers are of course, our pals Stan and Jack, who somehow forgot to write themselves an invitation.
3. The Amazing Cameo-Man
When Stan Lee wrote himself into stories, it was usually little cameos, or winking parodies like the first two examples. But other writers would occasionally insert Stan Lee into stories in absurd, surreal ways, such as in the Amazing Spider-Man story, 'Make Mine Marvel'.
The story sees Spidey going through an existential crisis, wondering why people view him as a villain, while Captain America types have comic book deals. Oh, and all this is happening while he fights a villain, whom he dispatches neatly. While he's at it, he rescues a stray falling cab, and you'll never guess who happens to be in it.
Spidey takes up Stan on his offer to start his own line of comic books, and Stan wastes no time announcing it to the world.
This causes Spidey to start having second thoughts about working with the wack-ular Lee, and it doesn't help that Stan's first question to Spidey is:
This is a weird question for even the 'Stan Lee' character here to be asking. If this Stan Lee has been licensing stories from superheroes for years, surely he knows why Spider-Man wouldn't want to reveal his identity. Spidey is understandably spooked, and he bounces through the window, and we end with both him and Stan thinking they've dodged a bullet. It's all totally wack-ular.
There's a ton more examples of weird Stan Lee cameos in the world of Marvel comics, of course. The man has hung out with Galactus and baked cookies with Spider-Man. All will be revealed in the thrilling...PART 2!! See you there, true believers!
Scribe: Dinkar Dwivedi
Captain's Log: Dinkar Dwivedi is a core member at Geek Fruit HQ, and he's really lucky he's got that alliterative name going. Is he a superhero? Ask him on his Twitter, @DinksThinks.