Tapes reveal Marvel icon Stan Lee’s bitter battle with daughter J.C.

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The voice on the recording was unmistakably Stan Lee — the raspy baritone of the nonagenarian that’s familiar from his trademark movie cameos. 

“I think you’re the dumbest white woman I’ve ever known!” Lee is screaming, apparently at his adult daughter, J.C. 

“F–k you, Stan!” she fires back. 

In another, Lee is told that J.C. has phoned to tell him she loves him. “F–k, she doesn’t know what love is,” Lee responds. “I don’t need to be upset every f–king time she calls.” 

The recordings, made in the final years of Lee’s life by his ex-manager, perhaps secretly, will likely shock his fans who only know him as the ebullient, catchphrase-spouting face of Marvel Comics. Lee died in 2018. 

The tapes are revealed in the new book “True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee” (Crown) by Abraham Riesman, out Tuesday. The gloves-off biography goes behind Lee’s jovial, public face to reveal a man who was distant, troubled and at times unscrupulous. 

“It’s not about tearing him down,” Riesman told The Post. “The message is, there are no superheroes.” 

Perhaps no narrative will be more disturbing than that of Lee’s relationship with his daughter, now in her 70s. 

Joan Celia (J.C.) was born in 1950 to Stan and his wife Joan when Lee was working at Marvel’s Midtown New York offices. The couple later had another daughter who died a few days after birth, and perhaps because of that tragedy, they doted on J.C. 

Lee started as an assistant at his relative’s comic book company and while still a teenager, was put in charge of the whole thing. Together with artists like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, he would go on in the 1960s to create a pantheon of popular heroes, including Spider-Man, Iron Man, The Hulk and Black Panther. 

J.C. appears to have not had the same focus and drifted through life. She initially wanted to act and attended drama school, before dropping out. She went to The School of Visual Arts for a couple semesters. She had an “embarrassing” stint as a Marvel receptionist. She talked of releasing a Christian record. 

When the Lees moved to California in 1980, J.C. went with them. Lee ultimately bought her a house, and she took up art, producing large tapestries and “throwing pot-hazed parties,” the author writes. 

J.C. would soon develop a reputation for wild spending. 

Late in his life, when Lee was noticeably frail, his brother asked him why he still appeared at comic conventions, despite his reported $50-$70 million fortune. 

“I need the money,” Stan Lee told his brother. “My wife spends a lot, and my daughter’s even worse.” “Stan firmly saw himself as the only thing standing between J.C. and destitution,” Riesman writes. 

In another of those late-in-life recordings, J.C. yells at Lee, “What have you done for your daughter?” and “You stopped my credit cards!” 

One source in the book says J.C. would call her parents up to 50 times a day, screaming at them “for not giving her enough money or opportunities.” 

During a brief phone call with Riesman, J.C. defended her spending. “Let’s just say I bought a pair of shoes or I bought thirty pairs of shoes. Is it anybody’s business?” 

Whether it was over money or something else, tensions had long simmered between parents and daughter. 

In a candid home video from the 1980s, J.C. says, “There is no yelling [between my parents]. But when I come into the picture? When I come into the picture . . .” she trails off, clearly implying that after she arrived everything changed. 

One associate of Lee’s confirms this point in the book, saying that dealing with J.C. was the “worry of [Stan and Joan’s] lives.” 

In his final years, an enfeebled Lee became caught in a war among various bodyguards, lawyers, managers and J.C., as ugly accusations of missing money and abuse splashed across the tabloids. 

One of those parties, Lee’s former manager, Keya Morgan, provided the edited audio recordings to Riesman. It’s unclear what his motivation for sharing the tapes now is, but it should be noted Morgan was charged in 2019 with elder abuse related to his relationship with Lee. He pleaded not guilty. 

In a video provided by Morgan, Lee can be seen talking to someone identified as a “doctor.” 

“She’s schizophrenic; she’s got paranoia,” Lee says of his daughter. “I have tried, for many, many years, starting when we lived in New York, to get her help, and never could find any. And every year, every day, she just grows worse and worse and worse.” 

In 2014, according to a witness quoted in the book, J.C. physically attacked her parents after they gave her a leased Jaguar for her birthday, instead of buying the car outright. 

“I’ve had it, you ungrateful bitch!” Lee supposedly yelled at her. 

In another of the audio snippets, a distraught Lee confesses that his daughter “always makes me wanna kill myself.” 

Riesman says he understands the fans who are upset by this unflattering glimpse of the superhero idol. 

“It’s really hard to say what a person’s true self is,” he says. “We’re all different things to different people.” 

J.C. inherited all of Lee’s fortune, according to the book, and has said she was working on a superhero called Dirt Man. 

As for Lee, if nothing else, he’s now free of any earthly troubles — familial or otherwise. 

“If I died today, that’s fine with me,” he says in another of the recordings. “There’s nothing that excites me anymore.”

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