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7. Stan Lee was making cameos long before Marvel movies

Stan Lee has appeared in over 30 Marvel movies but the self-proclaimed "cameo artist" was rubbing shoulders with superheroes long before the movie deals.

His first appearance in the Marvel comics came in an early issue of Fantastic Four, in which a meeting with artist Jack Kirby is interrupted by Doctor Doom, who commands Lee to lure the Fantastic Four into a trap.

"The artists back then would draw me in as a joke or just to have fun," Lee told Business Insider. "And I would put some dialogue balloons there and it looked as if I intended it. I didn't try to do cameos in those days."

Today, Lee's cameos range from casual onlooker to interacting with the cinematic heroes he originally dreamed up.  But no matter how insignificant his cameos may seem, the creator of the Marvel universe doesn't underestimate his influence on ticket sales.

"When people don't see my cameo in a movie, they buy another ticket to see the film again so they can find me," Lee told CBR.

Watch Stan Lee's Marvel cameos here

8. He's a philanthropist 

Whether he was aware of it or not at the time, Stan Lee introduced a new way of reading to an entire generation and added an education component to his comics as well by upping the complexity of his writing.

In 2010, the creator of Marvel decided to address literacy more directly, creating The Stan Lee Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides access to literacy, education and the arts in the United States.

In an interview with Fox News, Lee explains why comics are such an essential tool for promoting literacy.

"Children who wouldn't normally be readers, they're not going to want to read a book. But they're intrigued by the pictures in a comic book and in order to really understand the story you have to be able to read the words so they force themselves to do it."

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