Stan Lee is all about the cameos. Since first appearing as a juror in Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989's post-series TV movie), the industry legend has made more than 20 appearances in Marvel's cinematic offerings. Stan "The Man" indeed.
But Jack Kirby beat him to it. By a full decade, no less.
Born 98 years ago today (Happy birthday, King!), Kirby was of course co-creator of The Incredible Hulk, along with the abovementioned commander-in-chief of cameos.
Fitting, then, that Kirby appeared in an episode of the human gamma mutate's TV escapades!
Originally airing on the CBS network, the Bill Bixby/Lou Ferrigno-starring Incredible Hulk television series saw Dr. David Banner—a widowed scientist missing and presumed dead—travel across America from 1978 until 1982. Using false names and working temporary jobs, Banner searched high and low for a way to control his condition, all while helping those in need.
The irksome nature of this drifter lifestyle made Banner rather...susceptible to stress. Coupled with the anger-inducing ne'er-do-wells encountered on his travels, the doctor's green (though originally gray), rage-fueled alter ego was never far from the forefront.
That pesky tabloid newspaper reporter didn't much help Banner's demeanor, either...
82 episodes aired over 5 seasons, with the cameo in question appearing in season two's "No Escape" on March 30, 1979. So far as fleeting appearances go, it ranks among the very best.
Pencil in hand and donning a quite sensational shirt (seriously, those collars could be used as hang gliders), Kirby plays the uncredited role of a police sketch artist. His intense glare makes the scoundrel he's scrawling look like a complete pussycat...
Though Stan Lee was never seen in the actual show, his (aforementioned) debut character part came in the Hulk's subsequent 1989 TV movie.
The series was known for appearances by familiar (or soon-to-be-famous) faces over its five-season run, but none came even close to The King's scene stealing, bad guy-sketching cameo.
Truth be told, few people could touch Jack Kirby when it came to anything.