After the sudden death of Joan Lee, wife to Marvel legend Stan Lee, the comics empire is calling out Joan, as "the big bang" of the Marvel franchise.
Joe Quesada, COO of Marvel Comics, shared a detailed message on the company's website, explaining how she was the reason why Marvel's "Fantastic Four" came into existence, ultimately initiating Marvel's takeoff into what it is today.
"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."
The message was accompanied by a video, wherein Stan Lee gushed about his beloved wife during a conversation he had back in April with Quesada at the Paley Center in Beverly Hills, California. The footage shows Stan explaining that not only is Joan the reason for his universe, but also for Marvel's. After his publisher told him to add more fight scenes and less words to his stories, Lee says he was on the verge of quitting altogether, but Joan is the reason he changed his mind.
"I went home and I went to Joan and I said 'I think I'd like to quit, I see this job as a dead end - it will lead to nothing, I might as well leave now and find something else.' She gave me the world's greatest advice, she said, 'why don't you you do one book they way you want to do it, the worst that'll do is he will fire you, but you want to quit anyway so at least you'll have gotten that out of your system."
Lee says that after taking at advice he wrote "Fantastic Four" and after hearing nothing from his publisher for 30 days, he came to find out it had done better than any previous Marvel stories.
In the message, Quesada added that he too, like much of the Marvel family, was saddened by the news of Joan's death.
"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."
"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."