An Animated Stan Lee Explains Why the F-Word Is “the Most Useful Word in the English Language” (NSFW)




FYI. The language in this video is not safe for work. And, now, on with the show.

In the last couple years of his life, Stan Lee was ill, his health failing, but he stayed engaged and remained his old wisecracking self. His handpicked successor for editor-in-chief at Marvel, Roy Thomas, tells the story of the last time he saw Lee and showed him his then-new biography of the comics legend, The Stan Lee Story. They talked about the Spider-Man comic strip they’d written together for two decades until a couple years back. Other familiar subjects came and went. Lee “was ready to go” and seemed at peace, Thomas says.

“But he was still talking about doing more cameos. As long as he had the energy for it and didn’t have to travel, Stan was always up to do some more cameos.” Lee’s cameos continue after his death in 2018, as is the way now with deceased icons. He has made three live-action appearances posthumously, in footage shot before his death, one posthumous appearance in an animated superhero film, and another in a Spider-Man video game. Soon, these vignettes may be all popular audiences know of him.

Who knows how much footage–or willingness to create CGI Stan Lees—Disney has in store for future Marvel films. But a memorial in scripted one-liners seems to miss out on a whole lot of Stan Lee. The man could be counted on to make the set on time. (According to Jason Mewes, Lee had dinner with his wife every single night without fail at 6:00 pm sharp.) But he could also be unpredictable in some very delightful ways.

Thomas tells a story, for example, of visiting Lee in the 80s in a California house with marble floors. “At one point he excused himself, and he came back on roller skates…. I’d never seen anyone roller-skating on a marble floor.” The short film above animates another of these unscripted moments, when Lee literally went off-script to deliver an extemporaneous monologue on the f-word. Of course, “I don’t say it, ‘cause I don’t say dirty words,” he begins, before letting it rip in an argument for the f-word as “the most useful word in the English language.”

Lee’s off-the-cuff George Carlin routine rolls right into his reason for being in the recording booth: getting a take of his signature exclamation, “Excelsior!”—the word the creator or co-creator of Spider-Man, Thor, Iron Man, Ant Man, Black Widow, Black Panther (and most the rest of the Marvel Universe) reserved for emphasis in his heartfelt, wholesome letters to fans over the decades. After he says his catchphrase, James Whitbrook writes at io9, he goes “right back into having a laugh with everyone around him. It’s a lovely, if profane, remembrance of an icon,” and, unfortunately, not the kind of thing likely to make it in future cameo appearances.

Related Content: 

Stan Lee (RIP) Gets an Exuberant Fan Letter from 15-Year-Old George R.R. Martin, 1963

R.I.P. Stan Lee: Take His Free Online Course “The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture”

The Great Stan Lee Reads Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness


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