Joan Lee, the wife of Marvel Comics mastermind, Stan Lee who co-created superheroes from Spider-Man to the X-Men, died today. She was 93. A spokesperson for the family confirmed the news that Lee’s wife of 69 years died this morning “quietly and surrounded by her family.”
Joan, a model born Joan Clayton Boocock, married Stan in New York in December 1947. It was widely considered to be Joan who urged Lee to write a new kind of superhero after comics up until then had generally favored prototypical flawless characters. Lee even considered quitting the business at Timely Comics (later called Atlas Comics and, eventually, Marvel Comics), where he had been since 1939.
The result, with artist Jack Kirby, was Fantastic Four with its more human, sometimes flawed quartet. It was a hit, and soon after came all those Marvel movie staples of today: Hulk, Thor, Iron Man and X-Men, as well as Daredevil with Bill Everett and Doctor Strange and Spider-Man with Steve Ditko.