Controversial television personality Bill Maher is in hot water across social media for a blog post in which he questions the legitimacy of comic books as a medium, dropping Stan Lee's name and disrespecting the recently-deceased in the process.
In a post on his blog, Maher slammed Americans for "using their smarts on stupid stuff," and pointed out he thought fans were overreacting in the moments following Lee's passing.
"The guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning," Maher wrote. "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."
In typical Maher fashion, the personality continued his tirade against comic books, saying the industry is only succeeding because "dumb people got to be professors" as they wrote papers and theses about comic book characters.
"But then twenty years or so ago, something happened – adults decided they didn't have to give up kid stuff," Maher ranted. "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."
The shock jock ended his spite-filled rant by saying Donald Trump would only be voted in as President in a place where comic books are important. While Maher's rant seems to be focused on the past twenty years, it fails to take into fact any of the content or themes comic books included since the introduction of the modern-day comic.
Something that's come to light once again after the passing of Lee were his "Soapbox" editorials that began surfacing in Marvel comics as early as the 1960s. One of these soapbox pieces went viral again this week, for a very good reason. Published in 1968, Lee made a point to combat bigotry and racism while using his platform.
The soapbox in question sees Lee using his platform to combat bigotry and racism, saying that comics are for people of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Lee continued using his platform to spread an anti-racism message nearly until the end. In a video posted last year, Lee reminded us that we're all a part of one big family.
"That man next to you, he's your brother," Lee said. "That woman over there, she's your sister. And that kid walking by, hey, who knows — he may have the proportionate strength of a spider. We're all part of one big family, the human family, and we all come together in the body of Marvel. And you, you're part of that family. You're part of the Marvel Universe that moves ever upward and onward to greater glory. In other words: excelsior!"
Lee passed away earlier this week at the age of 95.