Stan Lee's team absolutely slams Bill Maher over his comments about the Marvel legend
Stan Lee, the man who co-created and wrote numerous comic book heroes, from Spider-Man to Iron Man to the Hulk, passed away at the age of 95 last week.
Since the 1960s, his creations have had a significant effect on the world, through fans' personal connection with this work and the ways in which they changed pop culture.
In more recent years, his creations have made their way onto the big screen, slowly but surely becoming the biggest sub-genre in Hollywood today. Given his charismatic appearances throughout these movies in small cameos, and the fact he helped Marvel reach the level of success it has seen today, means that there were plenty who knew him - many of which expressed their sadness at his passing.
However, according to Bill Maher, these responses are just a case of arrested development. On his blog, Real Time with Bill Maher, he wrote a post titled 'Adulting', in which he took issue with the pedestal fans had put Lee on, and openly mocked both his work and those that enjoy it.
“The guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning," he wrote. "Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess.”
He continued by claiming that any adults who read comics should be reading “big-boy books without the pictures,” a line that would be original if it wasn't uttered by bullies to their comic-reading classmates for the last fifty years. “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,” Maher added.
The issue here is less that Maher thinks that comic books and the movies they've led to are stupid (which he has every right to think, obviously), but that he's taking the time to shame others for what they like. On top of this, he's bashing someone who - like it or not - was a cultural icon, the same week that he passed away. However, this isn't exactly a new look for Maher, who once wore a 'dead Steve Irwin' costume shortly after his death.
No one was very happy with this particular hot take, especially since the callous remarks came so shortly after Lee's death.
On top of that, it was pointed out that Maher had very little problem with the movies he was lambasting when he picked up a paycheque for appearing in Iron Man 3.
In the wake of this, the team at Stan Lee's company POW! Entertainment have responded to the comments, posting an open letter to their website. "Comic books, like all literature, are storytelling devices," the letter begins. "When written well by great creators such as Stan Lee, they make us feel, make us think and teach us lessons that hopefully make us better human beings.
"One lesson Stan taught so many of us was tolerance and respect, and thanks to that message, we are grateful that we can say you have a right to your opinion that comics are childish and unsophisticated. But to say that Stan merely inspired people to “watch a movie” is in our opinion frankly disgusting.
"Countless people can attest to how Stan inspired them to read, taught them that the world is not made up of absolutes, that heroes can have flaws and even villains can show humanity within their souls.
"He gave us the X-Men, Black Panther, Spider-Man and many other heroes and stories that offered hope to those who felt different and bullied while inspiring countless to be creative and dream of great things to come.
"These are but a few of the things we the fans of Stan Lee also consider “adulting,” because life both as a child and grown-up can indeed be a struggle. Stan is the author of millions of happy childhood memories and the provider of so many of the positive tools of adulthood.
They then conclude by referring to one of Stan's most iconic comic book lessons to give Maher a little advice. "You have a powerful platform, so please remember: “With great power there must also come — great responsibility!”"