Comedian Bill Maher showed his ignorance today, questioning why people are mourning comic book legend Stan Lee, who passed away earlier this week.
In a blog post, Maher wrote, “The guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning. Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess.” He went on to belittle comic books, saying they’re “kid stuff” and that adults are stupid for wasting their time on them.
Maher concluded the brief post with a bold statement: “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.”
Now, I’m not going to waste time and energy defending the literary merit of comics. It’s silly that in this day and age someone who claims himself “progressive” can write off an entire medium like that, ignoring the likes of Gaiman, Morrison, Bechdel, Clowes, Spiegelman, and hundreds more. Comics proved themselves as literature a long time ago. Anyone who still looks down on them is in the minority, and either willfully ignorant or trolling. In Maher’s case, I would venture he’s trolling – looking for attention, and unfortunately getting it.
What’s truly disgusting, though, and totally inexcusable, is casting aside Stan Lee’s contributions to society less than a week after his death.
Stan didn’t inspire us to “watch movies.” He inspired us be good people, and showed us how regular people could be heroes on a daily basis. He broke down social, racial, and economic barriers. Stan created Falcon and Black Panther during the civil rights movement. He made Peter Parker, a broke high school student who got bullied, a superhero. His comics were about equality, tolerance, inclusion, and love.
And yea, kids read those comics. That’s good. Stan was instilling positive values in his readers at an impressionable age.
Let’s take a second to remember one of the Man’s most memorable soapboxes:
You’re going to tell me that’s not smart and sophisticated?
In Stan’s words, Bill Maher just exposed himself as an unreasoning hater. And the comic book community is exposing him further by challenging his statements and proving them false. So let’s continue to do that: challenge and expose the haters like Stan wanted us to.
With everything going on in our country, and in the world at large, we need to remember what our Generalissimo taught us now more than ever. Share his words, put good out into the world, and don’t let the haters get to you.