Stan Lee passed away almost two weeks ago, and pretty much everyone had nice things to say about the Marvel Comics legend. There was one person, however, who didn’t, and that was Bill Maher. Maher proved that he knew absolutely nothing he was talking about, but kept it going, and hasn’t retracted from his statements about Lee and comic book fans. Now, unsurprisingly, Kevin Smith has commented on it – and we’re sure most fans will agree with what he said.
While speaking on Hollywood Babble-On-Podcast, Smith said:
“Just taking a shot when no shots are f*ckin’ necessary. And like, this guy, he did so f*ckin’ much for this world. He put so many smiles on people’s faces. He launched imaginations. He made kids feel part of something. He made adults feel part of something. He was a whole good. Everything about him was f*ckin’ good. He was sweet, he was nice, anything you ever heard that was negative, honestly, was f*ckin’ horsesh*t, made up. He was a great man, I’ll miss him all of my days.”
Bill Maher had a chance to retract his comments, or at least clarify them. Here are the initial comments Maher posted on his blog:
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. 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. Now, I have nothing against comic books – I read them now and then when I was a kid and I was all out of Hardy Boys. But the assumption everyone had back then, both the adults and the kids, was that comics were for kids, and when you grew up you moved on to big-boy books without the pictures.
But then twenty years or so 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.
I’m not saying we’ve necessarily gotten stupider. The average Joe is smarter in a lot of ways than he was in, say, the 1940s, when a big night out was a Three Stooges short and a Carmen Miranda musical. The problem is, we’re using our smarts on stupid stuff. 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.
And what he followed it up with this week:
“But talk about making my point for me: Yeah, I don’t know very much about Stan Lee and it certainly wasn’t a swipe at Stan Lee. Yeah, fine. I am agnostic on Stan Lee. I don’t read comic books. I didn’t even read them when I was a child. What I was saying is, a culture that thinks that comic books and comic book movies are profound meditations on the human condition is a dumb f**king culture. And for people to get mad at that just proves my point.”
Stan Lee’s company released a statement, saying:
Mr. Maher: Comic books, like all literature, are storytelling devices. 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. Many said the same about Dickens, Steinbeck, Melville and even Shakespeare.
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.
Our shock at your comments makes us want to say “‘Nuff said, Bill,” but instead we will rely on another of Stan’s lessons to remind you that you have a powerful platform, so please remember: “With great power there must also come — great responsibility!”
I think it’s safe to say that most people realize that Bill Maher’s comments toward Stan Lee weren’t necessary.