Marvel legend Stanley Lieber, also known as Stan Lee, was the creator of some of the greatest comic book characters of all time and is said to have turned 99 this week.
Born on December 28, 1922, Stan has given the world such icons as Spider Man, Thor, X-Men, and The Incredible Hulk, as well as made a number of humorous cameos in the hit Marvel film series in recent years.
However, he always credited that one of his biggest inspirations behind the characters was his wife Joan Boocock Lee, whom he was married to for almost 70 years.
After their unexpected meeting and whirlwind romance, Joan was also the inspiration behind one of Spider Man’s most legendary characters.
” Woman of your dreams “
In 1947, Stan Lee’s cousin suggested that he visit a hat store where a “gorgeous redhead” worked and whom he thought Stan would be head over heels in love with.
However, as fate willed it, when Stan visited the hat store, it was actually a hat model called Joan Clayton Boocock who opened the door.
Stan is reported to have glanced at Joan and declared his love for her as she looked like the dream woman he grew up drawing, telling The Hollywood Reporter: “There was a girl. that I drew.
“A body, a face and hair. It was my idea of what a girl should be. The perfect woman.”
He added that when he saw Joan in real life, he knew it was her, adding, “I looked at her – and she was the girl I had drawn all my life.
“And then I heard the English accent. And I’m crazy about English accents!
“She said, ‘Can I help you?’ And I looked at her, and I think I said something crazy like, ‘I love you.’ I don’t remember exactly. “
After taking Joan to lunch and embarking on a brief two-week romance, a love struck Stan Lee proposed to Joan. However, there was one problem – Joan was already married.
Speaking about her first husband, Joan Lee told People magazine, “I had only known him for 24 hours when we decided to get married,” adding, “After living with him for a year, I found him a bit boring… “
However, Joan described Stan Lee as “exciting” and that “he reminded me of this handsome man, Leslie Howard”.
Shortly after Stan Lee proposed to Joan, the couple were married by the judge who granted Joan’s divorce in December 1947 in New York City.
Their marriage lasted almost 70 years, until Joan died of a stroke at the age of 93 on July 6, 2017.
Stan Lee died a year later, on November 12, 2018, of heart and respiratory failure.
Inspiration from Spiderman ‘Mary Jane’
Not only did Joan look like the woman Stan Lee said he grew up drawing, but she was also the inspiration for Spiderman Peter Parker’s first love – Mary Jane Watson.
Speaking to Chronicle Live, Stan also credited Joan with being the inspiration behind some of his greatest works, including The Fantastic Four and X-Men, whose characters lived in the real world and which readers could relate to. .
He said: “I was making the books exactly like my publisher wanted me to do, and I wanted to keep my job and make a living.”
“But after a while I got really fed up and wanted to quit.
“That’s when my wife said, ‘Why don’t you do some stories the way you like to do them. The worst that can happen is that he fires you and you want to quit anyway. “
Not only did she help inspire Stan and some of Marvel’s greatest characters, but like her husband, she’s also made cameos in blockbuster movies such as X-Men Apocalypse.
She has also lent her voice to some of the characters, including Madame Web in the 1996-1998 animated series Spider Man, and Miss Forbes in the 1994 Fantastic Four animated series.
Following Joan’s death, Marvel boss Joe Quesada also paid tribute to her, saying in a statement that there would be no Marvel Universe without her.
“While most of the world simply remembers Joan as Stan’s beloved wife, for all of us here at Marvel, for every kid who opened one of our comics, watched our cartoons, shows TV Shows and Movies, for those who have fantasized about swinging on a canvas between the skyscrapers of New York City – the truth is there would be no Marvel Universe without Joan Lee. She was its big bang . “
Family life and famous daughter
After getting married, the couple lived on Long Island for 19 years, before moving to New York.
Speaking about their family life at home, Stan revealed that although he spent a lot of time writing and Joan enjoyed decorating their home, every night they took the time to watch a TV show while having dinner, telling People Magazine, “For me this is one of the nicest parts of the day.
“Of course we argue over what to watch. But eventually we find a solution.”
While living on Long Island, Stan and Joan Lee had two daughters, Joan ‘JC’ Lee being born three years after their marriage in 1950.
However, their second daughter Jan died three days after her birth in 1953.
JC has become a successful actress and model, appearing in films such as The Cool World and The Ambulance.
However, she also followed in her parents’ footsteps and worked closely with her father at Marvel, having grown up inspired by his work creating characters such as The Incredible Hulk and Spider Man.
Like her mother, she also lent her voice to the Marvel animated series, most notably voicing a robot in the 1994 Iron Man animated series.
After Stan Lee’s death, JC released a statement paying tribute to his father, saying, “My father loved all of his fans. He was the tallest, most honest man.”