Skip to main content

What's your favorite Stan Lee moment or memory?

This week we heard the sad news that Stan Lee, the legendary Marvel comic book creator and writer, died at the age of 95. Lee's daughter J.C. said: "My father loved all of his fans. He was the greatest, most decent man." As fans ourselves, we asked the GamesRadar+ team to share their fondest memories of Lee, from the characters he created to a meeting with the man himself.  

This is the latest in a series of big questions we'll be interrogating our writers with, so share your answers and suggestions for topics with us on Twitter.  

That Thor: Ragnarok cameo

Mistaken for Hugh Hefner on the red carpet… telling Spider-Man “I guess one person can make a difference”... delivering mail to Tony Stank… Stan Lee has had some incredible movie moments over the years and as someone who got to know his incredible creations through film, it’s what I’ll remember (and miss) about him most. But my favorite Stan Lee moment - what I think is his best cameo - has to be his appearance in Thor: Ragnarok. It’s the fact he’s so out of place, so far from home, looking so different, and actually mildly menacing, that makes it such a beloved Stan Lee moment for me. 

Unlike other Stan Lee cameos, it’s genuinely a bit of a surprise to see him appear on Sakaar and he has an actual effect on what happens next (Thor losing all his hair). With a metal claw for an arm/hair trimmer, he worryingly tells the superhero: “Now don’t you move, my hands aren’t as steady as they used to be.” Chris Hemsworth makes the most of the moment too, proclaiming: “By Odin’s beard you shall not cut my hair, lest you feel the wrath of the mighty Thor!” That’s when Stan Lee presses a button on his shears and reveals the true brutality of the instrument he intends to use to cut his hair before the God of Thunder whimpers: “Please kind sir, do not cut my hair. Please! No! Noooooooo!” Stan Lee cackles in the background. What a legend. Lauren O'Callaghan

X-Men taught me that even comic books could be political 

I wasn't one of those kids that was into comic books, so I was introduced to Stan Lee's wonderful world a little later in life - specifically through the prism of the X-Men. Here was a cast of characters that represented everyone, and their struggles, and that's what made me fall in love with Lee's work. "Those stories have room for everyone, regardless of their race, gender, religion, or color of their skin," said Lee in 2017 in a video published by Marvel. "The only things we don't have room for are hatred, intolerance, and bigotry." 

The X-Men were a cast of misfits. The unusual suspects. People that could represent me, and my friends, growing up. All fighting for a future where everyone could live in harmony, despite the fact the humans didn't want their mutant ways to stay around for long. They were powerful, especially Lee's fictional version of the Civil Rights Movement, Magneto representing Malcolm X and Professor Xavier standing in for Martin Luther King. These were comics that came out in the 1960s. They were controversial then, and yet still managed to represent issues that are still prevalent today. Comic books can be dismissed as childish pursuits, just like video games, but Lee made the deeper issues shine through his characters. Sam Loveridge


Meeting the man himself

(Image credit: Getty)

I was lucky enough to meet Stan Lee once, sort of. It was a gaming event I can’t remember now. I’m pretty sure it was an old Spider-Man game, like PS3 old, and by ‘meet’ I mean shared a room with some other journalists. But it was him, he was there, and he chatted about his life and answered questions about characters, games, films, and being Stan Lee. It was great. For about an hour he was like that cool grandpa some other kid had when you were younger that everyone loved listening to. My favorite quote was when he was asked about all the games and movies people were making out of the stories he’d created. He replied by saying something along the lines of how fantastic it was because when it went wrong it was someone else’s fault, and when it was successful he got all the credit. Leon Hurley

Peter Parker's revelation in The Amazing Spider-Man #3 

The number of iconic heroes and villains who sprung out of Stan Lee's imagination is absolutely astounding, but I've always loved Spider-Man most of all (with the X-Men and Dr. Doom nipping at Spidey's adhesive heels). Reading collections of the earliest Spider-Man issues as a kid - stories from the Silver Age, circa 1963 - was a treat, and there was one moment in particular that stuck with me as a beacon of Stan Lee's upbeat outlook and knack for writing relatable heroes.

In the same issue that introduced us to Dr. Octopus, a defeated Peter Parker happens to attend a lecture at his school given by The Fantastic Four's Human Torch. Ol' Johnny Storm is giving the students a pep-talk about sticktoitiveness and the ability to get back up when life knocks you down - "Never give up!" he says. A stunned Peter feels as though the Human Torch is giving him encouragement directly, and it's the first instance I can remember seeing a scene in the media where a character felt like a message for the masses was being addressed specifically to them - a sensation that everyone feels at some point in their life. It's a relatively minor moment, marking the humble beginnings of a friendship between Peter and Johnny, and for whatever reason it's one of my favorite moments that Stan Lee ever conjured up in his comics. Lucas Sullivan

The Wikipedia category page for "Characters created by Stan Lee" 

I'm not all that into superheroes, but I've always enjoyed the plucky positivity and 'differences as strengths' attitude that Stan Lee embodied in his creations. Still, it wasn't until I opened up the Wikipedia category page for "Characters created by Stan Lee" that I gained a true appreciation for the man's work. There are 362 entries. The small text clarifies that these were characters "created or co-created" by Lee, and many of his most famous heroes like Spider-Man and the Hulk should be equally attributed to partners such as Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby. Relatively few of the characters listed on that category page have reached modern-day-myth level, many for good reason (sorry Stripperella and Googam, son of Goom). As someone who aspires to be more creative and to put more of my own creations out there, however, I deeply admire Stan Lee's pantheon of heroes, villains, and other interesting misfits. When I hear the word "Excelsior," that's what I'll think of from now on: the drive and passion to never stop telling stories. Connor Sheridan

Playing as Stan Lee in The Amazing Spider-Man 

Beenox’s video game adaptations of The Amazing Spider-Man movies were by no means genre-bending masterpieces, but there was one feature from the first installment that always put a smile on my face. A DLC extra for the game allowed players to step in the shoes of Stan Lee himself, with all the powers and abilities of Spider-Man at his disposal. Climaxing with a birthday party to celebrate the webhead’s 50th anniversary, it was a truly mad bonus mode for those willing to pay a few extra bucks, but with Lee now passed, this once gimmicky add-on has now turned into a poignant, bittersweet memorial to the Marvel titan himself. He may be gone, but in The Amazing Spider-Man, an otherwise sub-average game, you’ll still find Lee gracefully swinging across the Manhattan skyline that inspired so many of his stories, as happy and wide-eyed as ever. Alex Avard

Spider-Man still has the best games of any superhero  

I've never been much of a superhero guy, but I was definitely a Spider-Man kid, and my childhood love of Spidey action figures snowballed into a soft spot for Spider-Man video games. Which is a pretty good soft spot to have, because Spider-Man games absolutely wipe the floor with every other superhero. I'm not saying all Spider-Man games are great - in fact, their track record is about as spotty as Sonic the Hedgehog's. But the high notes are still untouchable. The only series that even comes close is Batman Arkham, which is great and all, but consider this: those games don't contain Spider-Man. Stan Lee may not have been directly involved in the development of such classics as Spider-Man 2 for the PS2, Neversoft's Spider-Man for the PS1, or the modern classic that is Spider-Man PS4, but his vision and ideas undoubtedly played a part. For that, I'm grateful. Austin Wood

Got an excelsior memory that you'd like to share? Let us know on Twitter.  

Rachel Weber

Between Official PlayStation Magazine, and Rolling Stone I've picked up a wide range of experience, from how to handle the madness of E3 to making easy conversation with CEOs and executives of game companies over seafood buffets. At GamesRadar+ I'm proud of the impact I've had on the way we write news, and now - as managing editor in the US - the huge traffic successes we're seeing. Most of all I'm proud of my team, who have continued to kick ass through the uncertainty of 2020 and into 2021, and are what makes GamesRadar+ so special.