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Pee-Wee Herman's Two Marvel Cameos With Hulk And The Avengers Explained

It's hard to fathom the incredible legacy that the late Paul Reubens is leaving behind, in particular the enormous pop culture impact of his iconic and beloved character Pee-wee Herman. The childish antics of Pee-wee first rose to prominence in the early 1980s through Reubens' theatrical production "The Pee-wee Herman Show," and Pee-wee became a household name through his 1985 feature film "Pee-wee's Big Adventure," and the popular children's show "Pee-wee's Playhouse."

Pee-wee Herman became a pop culture sensation as the '80s wore on -– making cameo appearances on shows like "Sesame Street" and once hosting "Saturday Night Live" in character. In the late '80s the character even made his way into Marvel Comics, where Pee-wee rubbed shoulders with classic Marvel superheroes like the Incredible Hulk. Pee-wee's first Marvel Comics appearance came on January 17, 1989, with the release of "Incredible Hulk" Vol. 1 #355.

In this comic the Hulk blunders into a convention center and stumbles onto an exhibition for "Weepy's Funhouse," an obvious parody of "Pee-wee's Playhouse." The parody comes full circle when a goofy Pee-wee-like character rides up to Hulk on a bicycle and starts insulting him. After a few minutes of joking, this Pee-wee lookalike is swiftly punched into the sky by the enraged Hulk, who continues his rampage through the convention center. Though he's not explicitly named in this scene, the "Weepy's Funhouse" sign and his clear resemblance to Paul Reubens makes it obvious who he this character is supposed to be.

Paul Reubens appeared in costume alongside Vision and Johnny Carson

Pee-wee Herman's second Marvel Comics appearance came on June 13, 1989, where he appeared alongside several other real life celebrities in "Avengers Spotlight" Vol. 1 #23. Paul Reubens appears during the second story of the comic, "Second Debut," in which the stoic android Vision takes a trip to Hollywood.

At one point in the story Vision finds himself on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," and he sits in the interview chair next to Paul Reubens (dressed in costume as Pee-wee Herman) and Charo. During the interview Reubens mentions the blue-faced genie Jambi (John Paragon) from "Pee-wee's Playhouse," whom Carson refers to as "the poor man's Doctor Strange." The interview ends abruptly when Vision passes through the floor and departs Hollywood, leaving Reubens and Charo alone on the couch.

From there we cut to Avengers headquarters, where Captain America, Ant-Man, the Scarlet Witch, Tigra, and several other superheroes are laughing at Vision's interview, being broadcast shortly after his departure. Though Reubens is technically not in character for this appearance, the fact that he's wearing Pee-wee's iconic outfit is much more on the nose than his parody appearance in the "Incredible Hulk." In any case, the fact that the character was featured in two separate Marvel Comics stories ought to tell you just how popular Pee-wee Herman really was during the '80s.