Movies & TV / Columns

Thoughts on Bill Maher’s Comments About Stan Lee

November 19, 2018 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Real Time With Bill Maher

Bill Maher is learning the hard way that comic book fans can be a loud group. Maher earned the backlash from fandom this past weekend after making some less than complimentary statements about fans who are understandably upset about the passing of the legendary Stan Lee.

Comments haven’t been kind and you’d be hard pressed to find many who support or agree with Maher’s remarks.

Bill posted a blog that called into question the legacy of Stan Lee and the place of comic books in pop culture.

“The guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning,” Maher’s post began. “Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess. Someone on Reddit posted, ‘I’m so incredibly grateful I lived in a world that included Stan Lee.’ Personally, I’m grateful I lived in a world that included oxygen and trees, but to each his own.”

Maher said he had nothing against comic books, but followed that up by saying he read them as a boy when he couldn’t find a real book. He said he was raised to think that comics were for children, “and when you grew up you moved on to big-boy books without the pictures.”

However, he continued, 20 years ago, “something happened — adults decided they didn’t have to give up kid stuff. And so they pretended comic books were actually sophisticated literature. And because America has over 4,500 colleges — which means we need more professors than we have smart people — some dumb people got to be professors by writing theses with titles like Otherness and Heterodoxy in the Silver Surfer. And now when adults are forced to do grown-up things like buy auto insurance, they call it ‘adulting,’ and act like it’s some giant struggle.”

Maher then pulled politics into the argument. “I don’t think it’s a huge stretch to suggest that Donald Trump could only get elected in a country that thinks comic books are important.”

Backlash was instant and passionate.

Some pointed out the educational aspect of comics and teaching kids to read. Others called him out on his hypocrisy. “Don’t you own part of the Mets?” said one Facebook user. “Ya know, a bunch of guys who get paid obscene amounts of money to play a children’s game and take it way too seriously?”

And who can forget Maher’s deleted scene in Iron Man 3. A paycheck is a paycheck.

Maher’s personal beliefs about comics books don’t line up with the vast majority of the public’s but it’s the wide net he tried to cast that really sunk him. Are comics the end all, be all? Of course not. But they’re not something that can be easily cast aside, dismissed as “just for children”.

His added passive aggressive jab at Stan Lee’s passing is also surprising, as he’s made a much bigger impact than Maher’s willing to admit.

Most likely Maher saw an opportunity to rile the comic book fandom nest and took it. Anything for attention and clicks.

article topics :

Bill Maher, Stan Lee, Steve Gustafson