Joan B. Lee: The Woman Who Saved the Marvel Universe
Joan Boocock was born on August 3, 1924, in Gosforth, Newcastle, England. In the 1940s she moved to New York City, where she married an American GI and worked as a hat model. Working at the agency, she met a young comics editor named Stanley Lieber, who worked under the pen name Stan Lee. The two fell in love instantly and she left her husband for him.
In the early 1960s, Stan Lee was feeling depressed and unhappy with his job and was seriously considering quitting the comics industry. Joan told him "Before you quit, why don’t you write one comic you are proud of?” Lee obliged and together with Jack Kirby, he created the Fantastic Four, the flawed, dysfunctional family of heroes that Lee always wanted to make. The comic was an instant success, reinvigorating Lee and convincing him to stay on at Marvel. He even went on to give his favorite hero, Spider-Man, a love interest based off his wife: Mary Jane Watson. In later years, after the couple’s two children were grown-up, Joan would have a short career as a voice actress, voicing the recurring character of Madame Web in the Spider-Man animated series, as well as having small parts in the Iron Man and Fantastic Four series. In 2016 she had a cameo with her husband in X-Men: Apocalypse.
The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, the X-Men, the Avengers, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Doctor Strange, Black Panther. While these heroes were created or co-created by Stan Lee, we may never have had them or the Marvel Universe without Joan. Thank you.