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RIP: Joan Lee – Wife of Comic Book Legend Stan Lee

Joan Lee, 93, passed away July 7, 2017
Image: Stan and Joan Lee cameo from X-Men: Apocalypse

Joan Lee, 93, passed away July 6, 2017 in Los Angeles after suffering a stroke earlier in the week. Lee, wife of Stan Lee, provided her voice for 1990’s animated shows of Fantastic Four and Spider-Man and a cameo in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse. She also wrote the 1987 novel, The Pleasure Palace.

Lee married Joan in December 5, 1947. He recounted to the   how he met his wife in an interview to celebrate his 75th anniversary in comics:

“My wife was English, and there was a guy she liked as a young girl who married someone else. And Joan was very high spirited — I think she thought, ‘I’ll show him!’ And she grabbed the first American Army officer that was stationed there and married him. I think mostly to show this other guy. So, she came over here and he was still in the Army over there. And I met her. And I realized she didn’t really love that guy and was probably planning to divorce him anyway. She was just what I wanted. I wanted to get her divorced quickly. So, I found out in Reno you could get a divorce in six weeks. All you had to do was establish residency. So, I sent her to Reno. She wrote to me every day. Along around the fourth or fifth week, I got a letter that said ‘Dear Jack.’ Now I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I know my name isn’t Jack. Maybe I better go to Reno and see what’s going on. So, I ran to the airline office or somewhere and said I want a ticket on the first plane to Reno, which showed how stupid I was because the first plane to Reno was the local milk run that stopped at every town between here and Reno. Anyway, I got there and here’s three guys with her. They all look like John Wayne. Big Western guys! Rugged! And I get off the plane fresh from New York with my little pork pie hat and a little scarf and my gloves. I thought, ‘I don’t have a chance.'”

Good thing for him, he did, and they married with in a hour of Joan’s divorce, by the same Judge who granted the divorce.

He also recounted in the same article:

“Any kid who draws, if he’s a guy and he isn’t gay, he draws beautiful women. There was one girl I drew: one body and face and hair. It was my idea of what a girl should be. The perfect woman. And when I got out of the Army, a cousin of mine said, ‘Stan, there’s this really pretty girl named Betty. I think you’d like her. Why don’t you go over and ask her to lunch?’ I went up to this place. Betty didn’t answer the door, but Joan did. I took one look at her. She was the girl I had been drawing all my life. She said, ‘May I help you?’ I think I said ‘I love you.’ I proposed to her at lunch.”

He went on to say in the same interview that He had been ready to quit his publisher and leave comic books, disappointed in the direction of the genre and disappointed in his “serious novel writing career” not working out. Joan challenged him to hold on until he created just one comic series he was really proud of before quitting. The Fantastic Four came out of her challenge and changed the course of comic book history.

Also released to the, a spokesman for the Lee family stated, “I can confirm the sad news that Joan Lee passed away this morning quietly and surrounded by her family. The family ask that you please give them time to grieve and respect their privacy during this difficult time.”

Our hearts go out to Stan and his family in this time. She was the muse behind many of his greatest creations, pushing him to greatness and he most of all will be missing her. Prayers for Stan.


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