Stan Lee, the creative dynamo who revolutionised the comic book and helped make billions for Hollywood with Marvel superheroes Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk, has died aged 95.
As the top writer at Marvel Comics and later as its publisher, Lee was widely considered the architect of the contemporary comic book.
But Lee’s passing doesn’t mean fans won’t see him on screen again.
His cameos are now an integral part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. From his ‘Hot dog vendor’ in 2000’s X-Men through ‘Man dodging debris’ (Spider-Man, 2004) and ‘Rejected wedding guest’ (Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, 2007) to an unnamed credit in this year’s Black Panther, Lee popped up somewhere in every movie.
Lee’s preferred method of filming cameos was to shoot them for several films all at once, with his hair grey and glasses slightly tinted.
His forward planning means he’s not done yet, according to his personal manager, Lee Anderson.
Making a comic-con appearance at Wizard World Nashville in 2017, Mr Anderson revealed Lee has filmed cameos in the remaining second and third instalments of Avengers: Infinity War.
The next movie is due for release next year.
The only remaining scheduled movie not mentioned by Mr Anderson is Captain Marvel, which wrapped in July and will be released in March.
According to Cinema Blend, filming the cameo for that movie would likely have been “on the agenda” for Lee. The site said there’s “a pretty good chance” Lee also filmed a cameo for X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which has a 2019 release date.
“While his cameos aren’t necessarily the busiest and most stressful job in the world, the guy has clearly earned a rest, but he obviously doesn’t want it,” said Cinema Blend.
“Still … we have to accept that he won’t be able to continue to appear in Marvel movies in perpetuity.” The end of the MUC’s Phase 3 releases “would certainly be a good place to put a bow on things, if he were so inclined”.
“I think everybody loves things that are bigger than life … I think of them as fairy tales for grown-ups,” he said in a 2006 interview.
His death was commemorated simply on his Twitter account:
— stan lee (@TheRealStanLee) November 12, 2018
Lee considered the comic-book medium an art form and he was prolific: By some accounts, he came up with a new comic book every day for 10 years.
Born Stanley Martin Lieber in New York on December 28, 1922, he got a job at Timely Comics after graduating from high school. When the editor and art director quit, the 17-year-old was left with creative control of the company.
As it grew it was renamed Atlas Comics and, finally, Marvel.
Lieber changed his name and served in the US Army in World War II before returning to Marvel.
He hit his stride in the 1960s when he brought the Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man and numerous others to life.
The first big-budget movie based on Lee’s characters, X-Men, was a smash in 2000, earning more than $US130 million ($180 million) at North American theatres.
Spider-Man did even better, taking in more than $US400 million ($557 million) in 2002. The recent Avengers: Infinity War grossed more than $US2 billion ($2.8 billion) worldwide.
Stars took to Twitter to farewell Lee, with actor Evangeline Lilly (who played Ant-Man’s Wasp) saying, “More than a master of stories, you always seemed like a master of living. You live on.”
Damn… RIP Stan. Thanks for everything. pic.twitter.com/TMAaDJSOhh
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) November 12, 2018
There will never be another Stan Lee. For decades he provided both young and old with adventure, escape, comfort, confidence, inspiration, strength, friendship and joy. He exuded love and kindness and will leave an indelible mark on so, so, so many lives. Excelsior!!
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) November 12, 2018
We’ve lost a creative genius. Stan Lee was a pioneering force in the superhero universe. I’m proud to have been a small part of his legacy and …. to have helped bring one of his characters to life. #StanLee #Wolverine pic.twitter.com/iOdefi7iYz
— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) November 12, 2018