The recent passing of Stan Lee at 95 years of age has inspired a plethora of stories about the artist who helped create many of the comic book characters that have entertained us since the 1940s.
He was truly an iconic personality with millions of admirers and mostly for the action and adventure he brought to our lives through his art.
Interestingly enough, Lee was also one of a dying breed when it comes to love and romance. Predeceased by his wife Joan who passed away in July of 2017, they had been married for 69 years before her death.
This is remarkable in and of itself but consider that he asked her to marry him after only one date and while she was still married. The story has been recalled by many sources including People magazine in which the Lee’s have discussed how they met and how they maintained their marriage until death.
As most people not living under a rock know, Lee was born in 1922 and began working at a young age as an artist for what would later be known as Marvel Comics.
Besides Spider Man, Lee is credited with the creation of the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, and other popular comic book characters.
Many of these characters have become the inspiration for blockbuster movies, their sequels, spinoffs, etc.
Through the years both Stan and his wife Joan blessed us with tons of cameos in these films, as well as appearances on a variety of television shows.
One of my personal favorites is when Lee appears in Spider Man with Tobey Maguire and quips, “One person can make a difference.” Another favorite is when he is pestered (or stalked) by the neurotic Sheldon from the television series Big Bang Theory. Joan’s last cameo was on an X-Men film in 2016.
Stan credited Joan as his inspiration for giving his characters “real world” problems and being flawed in more than “superhero” terms.
When describing their first meeting with People magazine several years ago, Stan said, “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.” He added that when he saw Joan in real life, he decided it was fate. “She was the girl I had been drawing all my life.”
As the story goes, depending on the teller, Stan was encouraged by a friend to meet a redheaded gal at a hat modeling agency in New York City. When Stan arrived at the agency, Joan answered the door and he was floored by her resemblance to his drawings. He took her to lunch for a burger and asked her to marry him.
Remembering Stan Lee:
Joan recalled thinking of Stan as extremely handsome and he reminded her of the British actor, Leslie Howard. Love at first sight for both of them. After only two weeks of dating, Stan asked Joan to marry him.
Only there was one serious problem. Joan was already married. The British native had married a little over a year previously, but she explained in interviews later that she was essentially “bored” with the relationship and that Stan was such an exciting personality.
Not to be deterred, Stan sent Joan to Reno to get a quick divorce so the two of them could be married, only when Joan wrote to him soon after she arrived in Nevada, she addressed the letter “Dear Jack.”
Stan was instantly worried and feared he would lose her to some cowboy named Jack, so he flew out to “stake his claim” for the woman of his dreams.
The rest they say is “history” and what a history it has been for two beloved people who have inspired so many and brought joy to countless others.
Stan and Joan are survived by their daughter Joan Celia (J.C.).