Marvel Shares a Touching Video Tribute to Stan Lee's Wife Joan Lee
While Marvel's already release an official statement offering condolences, they also released a video from this past April of an interview between Stan and Marvel's CCO (and prolific comic writer) Joe Quesada at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills, California. The footage was originally going to be part of a series they'd start posting later in the year, but Marvel "felt it appropriate" to release it now, as it includes Stan telling the story of how he first met Joan:
As Stan explains during the interview, he decided shortly after leaving the army that he wanted to get married, and live with a woman instead of "sergeants and corporals and privates." He was set up with a mutual friend at a modeling agency, but when Stan visited the agency to say hello, he ended up asking the woman at the front desk to lunch instead. She said yes, and thus Stan went on his first date with Joan.
After they got married, it was Joan who ended up convincing Stan to start writing the comic books he'd become world famous for. Back when he was early in his career at Marvel, he was told to write mostly mindless action scenes that were light on dialogue or big words, as Marvel didn't think anyone wanted to read something like that. A far cry from the character-based stories that Stan liked writing, he was about to quit before Joan convinced him to write just one book the way he wanted to, and if they fired him, then it didn't matter because he was about to quit regardless.
So Stan Lee did write that one comic book, which was Fantastic Four #1 with Jack Kirby on art duties. Marvel didn't say anything to Stan until the sales numbers came in, where he learned that his dialogue-heavy, character-focused Fantastic Four had sold extremely well over the past month. So on Joan's advice, he stayed at Marvel, and everything from Spider-Man to Doctor Strange to the X-Men and The Avengers followed after that.
Our condolences go out to Stan Lee. His wife Joan Lee has passed away at 93 and they were married for 70 years. pic.twitter.com/mKco28oVht— NPOC (@nerdypoc) July 6, 2017
Joan Lee may not have had all the cameos in superhero movies like her husband did, although she did occasionally voice characters like Madame Web in the 1990s Spider-Man cartoon. But if she'd never talked Stan into creating four of the most iconic superheroes in the business, he'd never have gone on to create even more of the most iconic superheroes in the business. Which means there's a whole lot of people who owe either their careers or their childhood heroes to Joan Lee, whether they knew it or not.
It's been a heartbreaking couple of days here at Marvel. https://t.co/lrdPd2nzph— JoeQuesada (@JoeQuesada) July 7, 2017
On behalf of Stan, thanks for the heartfelt condolences.He is well and truly appreciates the outpouring of love for Joan.-POW! Entertainment pic.twitter.com/AhtKjXWfvX— stan lee (@TheRealStanLee) July 7, 2017