This article contains Jessica Jones Season 2 spoilers.
The Stan Lee cameo in Marvel movies and TV shows is pretty much obligatory. You know it’s gonna happen, it’s only a question of when. Of course, Stan remains active and quite busy, even at the age of 95. Still, he can’t be everywhere at once, so he tends to limit his “in person” cameos to the big screen Marvel Cinematic Universe outings. When Stan Lee appears in the Marvel Netflix shows it’s as a photo, and in most of those series so far it has been as a friendly police officer, usually in a poster in the background.
But Jessica Jones Season 2 took a different approach with their Stan Lee cameo. Yes, Smilin’ Stan only appears as a photo, in this case, a photo on a bus in Jessica Jones season 2 episode 9. That approach isn’t remarkable on its own, but there’s another Marvel easter egg on that poster, making Stan’s cameo a two-for-one deal. It’s rare that Stan Lee cameos ever have anything to do with specific Marvel characters (although it has happened in the past…he was Willie Lumpkin in the Fantastic Four movies, and hung around with The Watchers in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), this one confirms the existence of one of the longest running Marvel Universe characters.
Check out the image, and then we’ll get into its signficance…
Stan is here as a satisfied customer of “Forbush and Associates.” Why is this significant? Irving Forbush was the mascot of Marvel’s (back when they were still called Atlas) short-lived humor comic, Snafu, which dates back to 1955, long before the debut of the Marvel Universe as we know it. Think of Irving Forbush as Marvel’s version (ahem) of Mad’s Alfred E. Neuman.
You can see him on this cover…
The character didn’t quite stick, but the name did, and when Marvel kicked into gear in the mid-60s, Stan Lee adopted a familiar, wisecracking tone in his messages from the editor, or when answering fan questions in the letter columns of assorted Marvel Comics. He often tossed around the name “Irving Forbush,” usually in the context of someone who couldn’t catch a break at the company.
Irving Forbush even has himself a revival in 1967, and his very own superhero identity (sorta). Marvel launched another parody/humor comic, Not Brand Ecch, in 1967. Once again Marvel turned to Irving Forbush as their mascot, but this time in his superheroic alter ego of…Forbush Man.
Hey, at least he wasn’t a half-assed Alfred E. Neuman clone this time.
Anyway, it’s now official. Irving Forbush exists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And he’s the kind of skeevy personal injury lawyer that probably also has a ridiculous series of commercials airing on New York City TV stations like WPIX late at night. Meanwhile…our complete guide to EVERY Marvel reference in Jessica Jones season 2 can be found here.
Follow Mike Cecchini on Twitter, where he promises not to talk about Irving Forbush ever again.