Tag Archives: Stan Lee

A Marvel-ous lunch

AKA Spider-Newman and her Amazing Friends

Hi I’m Stan Lee*

IMG_2752Today Marvel fans we find ourselves in sunny Southend-on-Sea where we join old webhead, Spider-Woman, Iron Man and Captain America at Pizza Express.

Of course any self respecting superhero won’t be in several hundred bounds of Southend as they’ll probably be plenty busy at something like San Diego Comic Con, it was of course Isabelle who had just so happened to have donned a top featuring this fantastic foursome.

Not that it’s that often you hear a peep out of Spider-Woman – or Mrs Spider-Man as Iz called her – so that was a nice surprise for her to pop up on the top and say hi.

Iz’s Marvel-ous pink 3/4 sleeve top displays Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man and Spider-Woman, with the two Spider folk sporting a somewhat glittery look over their red. Not sure that will follow in the new reboot. She loved it and knew all of the characters, almost.

And it really set her pink converse off perfectly.

I spotted it in Tesco and was just genuinely pleased that there was a superhero top available for girls and not just another My Little Pony or Frozen, not that there is anything wrong with either of those franchises but it was genuinely refreshing to see that the Marvel universe wasn’t just perceived as a boys only universe. Because it isn’t.

SupergirlMarvel’s Black Widow and Sue Storm might be flying the flag for Marvel but with the new Supergirl TV series and Wonder Woman sorting out Superman and Batman , perhaps DC may be more female friendly than Marvel? Besides, Iz loves a little bit of Supergirl.

*Clearly I’m not, that’s just how the likes of The Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends cartoons were introduced in the early 1980s.

King of Cameos

Stephen King has long been the number one name in horror but over the years his face has turned up, mostly in cameo appearances, in many of his adaptations long before the likes of Stan Lee was mugging in the background of the latest Marvel release.

King may not have been spotted stacking shelves in Haven just yet but Dean Newman takes a look back at the King of cameos.

Pet Sematary (1988)

This was the first of his books that King adapted for the screen, as well as scribing duties King also wound up popping up in the graveyard, how apt, as the minister giving the service at a funeral. It was a clip that was also heavily used in the trailer and King really looks to be relishing the role and is certainly my favourite appearance and so very apt to be surrounded by all that death with King as much the master of ceremonies as he is the master of horror.

Stand By Me (1986)

Okay so King himself doesn’t actually appear physically but the film, based on the short novella The Body, is semi-autobiographical and clearly King as the young writer to be. So essentially King is Wil Wheaton and Richard Dreyfuss, the latter who mostly appears as a voiceover apart from at the very end in perhaps one of the greatest most poignant endings in film history. King still has the marks left by the leeches scene…

Creepshow (1982)

 Less of a cameo as King appears in one of the segments In Creepshow, Stephen King plays Jordy Verrill in the segment entitled “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill.” Jordy Verrill, a country bumpkin, discovers a meteor on his property and soon finds himself, and his entire home, consumed by some sort of meteor fungal that first takes over his house and then him – can’t wait to see what Dr Pixie makes of that on Embarrassing Bodies!

King also played a Truck Driver in Creepshow 2 during the segment, The Hitchhiker

The Stand (1994)

For many The Stand is regarding as King’s magnus opus and as such he delivered a script for epic in scope television adaptation. It was perhaps only fitting then that King kept on popping up, just to keep an eye on proceedings you understand, as Teddy Weizak throughout this land mark mini-series.

Maximum Overdrive (1986)

If it wasn’t committed to celluloid then King probably wouldn’t even remember his turn as an irate man at a cashpoint who swiftly gets his comeuppance due to the fact, by his own self admission, that he was pretty much off his face on drugs during this period. A curio more than a classic.

The Shining (1997)

No, not that one. Although the Kubrick version is hailed as a classic of horror cinema, King hated it, so, as you do, he had it remade closer to the original novel as a two part TV movie. In this adaptation King has a turn as the band leader.

Quantum Leap (1990)

Oh boy! In this horror tinged edition of the time travelling do-gooder Sam Beckett, which takes place on October 31st 1964 and sees him end up meeting a young boy who just so happens to have a dog called Cujo, that’s right a young ‘Stephen King’.

Allusions to other King books include Christine, Carrie and The Dark Half, and the episodes title? The Boogieman.

The Simpsons (2000)

Appeared as himself signing books in the episode Insane Clown Poppy, obviously a riff on IT. As an interesting side note, one of his more recent books, Under the Dome, was reminiscent of certain elements of The Simpsons Movie, not the Spider Pig bit I should imagine though.

The X-Files (1998)

King cameoed off screen as a writer of one of the shows fifth season episodes, Chinga, that dealt with witches, possessed dolls, random acts of violence (seeing as you ask people gouging their own eyes out), all of course set in Maine (where else!)

Sleepwalkers (1992)

 He was the cemetery caretaker in ‘Sleepwalkers’ –perhaps he should have buried it before it was released. It’s rather shonky to say the least with only the rather lovely Madchen Amick as its redeeming feature. He shared screentime in the good company of fellow horror scribe Clive Barker.

The Amazing Spiderman

Spides like us
With news of the new Peter Parker/Spiderman casting setting the world in a (ahem) spin it got my spider sense tingling with fond memories of the original Spiderman live action adventures, not those of Tobey Maguire and co but those featuring a former Von Trapp child from the Sound of Music, Nicholas Hammond, in the titular role as old ‘Web head’ swung onto screen s for the first time in the 70s, The Amazing Spiderman.

Not only was it a TV series, but over here in the UK several episodes were spun together to create movies that were released theatrically, one of which being my first ever foray into the cinema with a trip to my then local ABC Cinema, thanks Dad.

Whereas DC were taking over the silver screen in the 70s with Superman and making us believe a man could fly, Marvel had to make do with us seeing a body builder with a green paint job and a rather bad wig and Spiderman, whose wall crawling left more than a little bit desired, but who cared, it was just great to see that red and blue costume for real and he had far more impressive and authentic web shooters than the Sam Raimi films.

The ace of spides
Some 30 years later it may all look a bit low rent and kitsch but Spidey looked no better or worse than other action-packed shows of the time, including The Six Million Dollar Man, Wonder Woman and the already mentioned, The Incredible Hulk.

It also had some great locations including Hong Kong, clearly jumping onto the martial arts bandwagon, and a whole host of villains. The only disappointment here is that these weren’t exactly super villains and were more low rent types or crime lords as seen in the likes of other dramas at the time, like Kojack and Starsky and Hutch, rather than any of your Sinister Six, like Doc Ock, Kraven, The Vulture, or even the Green Goblin. But, this did at least ground the show in a sense of reality and made Spiderman all that little bit more believable as well.

Stan Lee, who of course made a cameo appearance in all three recent big screen outings, even penned two episodes of the show and acted as its creative consultant, which only lasted 14 episodes over two very short seasons, although he was on record as feeling the series was too juvenile.

The three aspects of this short-lived but fondly remembered show that I loved were Spidey’s spider tracer, which were spider shaped device used to track people to great effect. The music, mostly by Stu Phillips, who also had scoring duties on Battlestar Galactica, and is something that has just stuck with me in my head to this day.

Should have gone to spec savers
Finally, I also loved it when Parker’s Spider sense started tingling as his eyes flashed white and we got to see a negative image of what Parker was seeing unfold as well, their equivalent to Bill Bixby’s green eyes in The Incredible Hulk I guess.

One of the early Spiderman episodes  also dealt with a terrorist with designs on the World Trade Center, which does link this 70s pre-cursor to the original Raimi film, as in its teaser trailer it featured a helicopter being caught in a giant web between the two buildings and some initial posters had a reflection of the Twin Towers in his giant eye, both of which were removed after the 9/11 atrocities.

Raimi’s creation may have had the state-of-the-art sfx and the mega budget but there is always something cool about seeing a live action

A towering success...cancelled after only 14 episodes
Spiderman taking out folk on the TV screen. As good as he# looked in the Raimi movies, when he is flying through the air he is CGI, at least here it is all done for real and sometimes you just can’t beat that , so for me this will always be the real Spiderman and not one created in a computer.