When Joan Lee passed away earlier this year, much was made of her influence on her husband Stan Lee as well as her voice work in the industry. In today’s Marvel Comics titles, Joe Quesada, underlines her importance to everyone at Marvel. He writes;
Like all of you, I’m so incredibly saddened by news of Joan Lee’s passing. While I never had the opportunity to personally meet Joan, I did speak to Stan on several occasions about her, most recently this past April when I interviewed him at the Paley Center and we discussed not just her obvious importance in his life, but how important she was to all of us here at Marvel.
You see, one fateful day in early 1961, bursting with ideas that would soon change the world, a creatively stifled Stan Lee came home and announced to his wife, Joan, that he would be quitting his job as editor in chief of the comics line that would become Marvel. Frustrated that he wasn’t allowed to tell the kinds of stories he wanted to tell and infuriated at his then publisher’s lack of vision, Stan had reached the end of his rope. He would have set off to pursue his true dream of becoming the next great American author if not for Joan, who suggested that he should ignore his boss and write the story that he wanted to write. Since he was planning on quitting anyway, what’s the worst that could happen? He gets fired? Taking Joan’s advice and figuring he’d go out with a big bang, Stan defiantly got to work on that story, a little book called The Fantastic Four—the title that would launch the modern Marvel Universe as we know it.
Today that Universe has grown a bit dimmer and I hope you will all join me in sending our love, condolences and eternal gratitude to Stan and his daughter, Joan. While most of the world may simply remember Joan as Stan’s beloved wife, for all of us here at Marvel, for every kid who has opened one of our comics, watched our cartoons, TV shows and movies, for those who have fantasized about swinging on a web between the skyscrapers of New York City, or has had their imagination sparked and dreamt of one day writing and drawing stories about the greatest heroes ever created—the truth is that there would be no Marvel Universe without Joan Lee. She was its big bang.