Bill Maher takes issue with… people mourning the passing of Stan Lee?

Bill Maher enjoys a night out at Craig's in West Hollywood

Bill Maher was canceled a while back, correct? It seems like he tries to make news with some kind of struggle-controversy about once a month, and it usually has something to do with being tone-deaf on race and religion, or perhaps his Islamophobia rears its ugly head, or something else. I stopped paying attention. I guess “bashing Muslims” wasn’t getting him the kind of attention it once did, so Bill Maher decided to… *checks notes* target a dead man and the dead man’s grieving fans. Yes, Bill Maher has an issue with people mourning the passing of Stan Lee last week. This is what Maher posted on his HBO 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.

[From the Real Time Blog]

I don’t understand why Maher is so angry about this, nor do I understand why Stan Lee’s fans would even bother to get mad about Maher. It’s like Maher is grief-policing – much like Armie Hammer – and he knows what he’s doing. If you were or still are a fan of Stan Lee’s work, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t grieve for him or be moved by his legacy. Maher seems to be terribly offended that adults would still be interested in the characters Stan Lee created. And while I understand PART of Maher’s underlying sentiment – that too much of the world revolves around overgrown man-children and what they like – I mostly think he’s just being a douchebag. It’s actually an example of toxic masculinity, the idea that if you’re a certain age, you should “man up” and put away the comic books and, like, drink gin and tonics and talk about Foucault. There are many different ways to be an adult, many different ways to grieve and many different ways to appreciate someone’s work.

Film Premiere of Avengers Infinity War

Photos courtesy of Backgrid and WENN.

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98 Responses to “Bill Maher takes issue with… people mourning the passing of Stan Lee?”

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  1. CharliePenn says:

    Bill Maher is a dick.
    That being said, I always find it kind of odd when people make a big deal out of grieving a celebrity death. Don’t hate… it’s just very weird to me. People posting about Stan Lee as if their dad died… it weirds me out. Some people take it really freaking far on social media so I get what he’s saying to an extent.

    Also I am befuddled by how many adults are into super hero stuff, too. It seems so dumb to me and I also think it’s the realm of the man-child. I am sorry if this offends… but reflecting on it… every dead beat husband and dad I know is also the kind who wears superhero t-shirts and obsesses over this stuff. I do think there’s a link between failure to enter the adult world and obsession with comic books and super heros. Put Star Wars in the same category. Man child stuff. Two of the worst husbands I know (husbands to two of my friends, who are more like adult children to two of my friends) also insisted on having man-child-themed wedding cakes. Red flag, people.

    But still, Bill Maher is a dick.

    • Snowflake says:

      Yes, I agree w your whole post!

      • Dummyr says:

        and I agree completely with Bill Maher. Sure, he’s a dick on most ocassion but that’s his personality only, he is mostly right on things he says.

      • Charlie says:

        A lot of what Trump supporters seem not to understand is how much of what is happening these days is a repetition of history. And not understanding states rights vs. federal, the electoral college, etc. Comic books are what you read after you read about these things, not the only things you read.

        I think that’s most of Maher ill-expressed point.

      • Charlie says:

        On mourning celebrities –
        I was just six months married when doctors told my husband he had six months to live. About a month later Christopher Reeve was thrown from his horse in a truly tragic accident. For months after I heard about the thousands of condolences that flooded in. During the same time, I watched as friends and colleagues disappeared from my husband’s life, unable to deal with the news – maybe. But more concerned with how it effected them (and afraid they might catch [in earlier days of AIDS and HIV knowledge] a non-communicable illness). So I relate, in thinking that Lee’s death is sad, but relative – not related.

    • BigGirl says:

      You nailed it! +2000

    • CanadianGirl says:

      Ok, this post is incredibly insulting. On contrast, the worst husbands I know are the macho dudebro “man up” ones who would never admit to liking anything “nerdy”, while most of the wonderful ones (including my own) sre into bee culture. There is a toxic element sure and being obsessed over anything is bad but painting all men who enjoy certain hobbies as bad husbands is terrible.

      Wear what you like. Watch what you like. Enjoy what you enjoy and don’t suck the fun out of it for other people.

      • Darla says:

        Thanks for this CanadianGirl. And what about women? I LOVE comics and I am in no way childlike.

      • WTW says:

        @Darla, yes, I was wondering why women are left out of this discussion. I know women who are really into comic book culture/geek culture. They go to conventions and do cosplay, etc. There are a number of women like this, and the ones I know are all around 40. I worked in one office filled with these types. I am not much of a comic book person, but I have at times gotten really into TV shows, like American Horror Story and Supernatural, that are popular with the same crowd.

        That said, I agree with Maher that there is a dumbing down of America and immaturity is a problem for people at older and older ages. I’ve heard people in their 30s referred to as children. And the fact that “adulting” is now a word is weird to me. Everyone, including myself, needs to grow the F up, in my opinion.

      • Flan says:

        There are a lot of comics with strong female leads, and Marvel in particular has launched a lot of comics the last few years with women of color headlining.

        A lot of the themes in comics are much more serious than many tv series (one of the last Marvel Comics I read was about gerrymandering, for instance). CharliePenn, look a bit further than your circle filled with lousy men, please.

    • hezzer19 says:

      You’re sorry IF it offends?

      Trust me. It offends.

      As a child characters like Black Widow and Captain Marvel gave me heroes to look up to. As a young girl not even remotely interested in barbies and tea parties, comics gave me stories about people who were willing to give up their lives to keep the world safe. Who fought for justice and inequality. Who helped those who couldn’t help themselves.

      Stan Lee taught me about marginalised people long before I even knew what that meant.

      He taught me that I didn’t need to “man-up”.

      He taught me that I could “woman up” and kick a** all by myself.

      • 1) As a parent, I look for characters like Black Widow and Captain Marvel, for my daughters.

        2) Bill could’ve made his point about “adulting” without involving Stan Lee, a move which feels like an attention-grab.

        3) Telling people to stop being positive/charitable about one thing/cause/person, because they SHOULD be positive/charitable toward a more WORTHY thing/cause/person, is ridiculous, and I’ll never understand it. Good deeds are good deeds.

        4) Let people grieve. It’s none of his business.

      • locheed04 says:

        @hezzer19–same for me! I am a middle aged woman and the things I learned from those heroes were also influential to me. Going to toot my own horn and say I am also a certifiable bad@$$. Did it influence me? Absolutely. My brother–whose comics I routinely “acquired”–is a decorated cop and I know his desire to save everyone is directly related to the influence of superhero comics. It has long been a running joke in the family that he tucks his metaphorical cape in under his vest.

        Also, I love your icon–Matt Fraction’s run on Hawkeye (my all time favorite now) got me back into comics as an adult. My adult kids sometimes start conversations with, “Okay, this looks bad…”

      • hezzer19 says:

        @locheed04 Aww, coffee, no!

        My brother read DC Comics. Being the contrary girl I was/am I read Marvel. I wanted to BE Black Widow. I was all, screw Snow White and all the other princesses, I want to kick bad guy a**!

        The other point I meant to make the other day…and I think others have already made it…my step-son refused to read. Like, at all. He was maybe 8-9 and he wouldn’t read anything, couldn’t read in point of fact. So I bought him comics. And man, did he learn how to read fast.

      • Muffy says:

        All of that is lovely and fine. But eventually you moved on to more adult topics and readings, yes?

        That’s Maher’s point—eventually, we need to move away from childish entertainment and more sophisticated stories. Only in a world wits the black and white mentality of Thanos: bad, Avengers:good as the ethos of the day could launch Donald Trump. There’s no critical thinking involved, only good vs evil.

        It’s fine to revisit your childhood through stories that made you happy but it can’t be the only media you consume.

      • hezzer19 says:

        @Muffy, don’t patronize me. I read Homer, Jane Austen, Plato, Conan Doyle, Euripides, Tolkien,…I could go on for days. I also read, Marvel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Neil Gaiman and other assorted comics/graphic novels.

        I “adult” just fine thank you very much.

        Also? We’re both reading a gossip blog so don’t even bother pretending you’re all high brow and “adult” with the media you consume.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        I’m a psychiatrist. I live very much in the real world. I adult better than average. I read the classics. I’ve been published in psychiatric journals. I’ve taught at the University level. And I escape into comics and “superhero” movies when I damned well feel like it. And there is nothing wrong with it. And nothing wrong with mourning someone who created a place for people to retreat to, who created characters for kids to look up to, who created characters that teach us lessons and shape our thinking in a positive manner, who created characters who are “different” yet similar to us. I had the privilege of meeting Stan Lee on several occasions. I will miss his being in the world.

      • @paranormalgirl

        Yes! Sing it!

    • Kurtz says:

      I have been a David Bowie fan since 1972. I didn’t just like his music I liked his philosophy and I liked all of his personas. I bought every album, every single, every magazine, every poster, teatowel, salt and pepper shaker, you name it, I bought it. I camped outside of venues for tickets and seats, I flew, walked and took buses and trains to see him live. I stopped buying the teatowels etc years ago but I still bought the magazines, albums and singles. He was a HUGE part of my life for most of my life and all of my youth. When he passed away I mourned David Bowie hugely, in fact I still cannot listen to his music without a deep sense of loss. It shocked me that my feelings were so deep, but there you are… they are. I never thought I knew David Jones, but I certainly knew David Bowie, how can you not know that public person when you have devoured EVERYTHING they have said and everything everyone else has said for years? Yes I knew David Bowie and I miss that man.

      I also like Marvel movies and comic books. You know how some people like rom-coms? Well I venture to suggest that Marvel movies are just meant to be enjoyed like rom-coms, they are fun. I personally hate rom-coms but if some people like them, all power to them I can’t (read shouldn’t) judge. As to comic books and graphic novels, again they are fun but also can have some interesting ideas. Some are very well written and revolutionary. I applaud anyone reading, anything at all, these days and am certainly not a literature snob. I wonder sometimes when people are derisive about comics and graphic novels, I always ask what they are currently reading. Often they say something like “I don’t have time to read”, but they know everything that the Kardashians are doing. Or they say something like “Dostoevsky” or “Heidegger” and I always have a little chuckle to myself because all too often the people that are reading comics and graphic novels are also reading high literature and/or pure maths and physics.

      I am sorry if this offends… but it seems to me that knowing one or two people that are not nice and wear a certain t-shirt is a reason to hate on millions of people is bigoted in the extreme. I am sorry if this offends too… but I worry when someone else tells me how I should feel and judges me for feeling it. It seems like assumed superiority, and isn’t that what is wrong with the world?

    • whybother says:

      I think it is has been established that anything that started with I’m sorry if this offends …. means that you KNOW it will offend people. Bill Maher is a dick, so is you.

      • CharliePenn says:

        Oooh there are some feelings about this! Well. I’m just being honest, so I guess I’m offensive. That’s fine. We all offend each other one way or another. This is just my two cents, and so leave em laying in the gutter if you don’t like it.

      • Grant says:

        Excuse me Charlie, but the only thing you’re being honest about are your opinions, which are bullsh!t. I mean, you’re seriously preaching to people about comics being an inferior art form … on a celebrity gossip website. A Celebrity. Gossip. Website. Please just pause for a moment and let that sink in. And then get off your high horse.

    • Adrien says:

      Pfftt! The first comment sounds like men who look down on women and gays for liking fashion, romcoms, make-up and other you know, “shallow” stuff. “Why don’t they like serious, adult things?” Women also happen to love comic books and animation. Comic books are not just Marvel and DC and superhero nerd stuff. There are other graphic novels written by Art Speigelman, Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, George RR Martin. People around the world mock Japan for liking kawaii stuff and animation way too much but they don’t go electing people like Trump. They still deal everyday problems like adults.
      Also, I don’t see regular people actually grieving Stan’s death like someone lost a relative. It’s more paying respect.

    • someone says:

      How are modern day superheroes any different than ancient fables and Gods and fables. This is how we make sense of our sense of morality and lives. It’s part of being human. Always has been. Each age has it’s own super heroes, and with religion fading away in the West, it makes sense that super heroes/comic books are popular.

      I do understand acknowledging someone died, but yes, I wonder when people started crossing this line between public/private lives. I find it weird to see people lining up to get autographs and pictures too. Like what differences does it make, really?

    • Marianne says:

      Why do certain things you like have to change once you become a certain age? If you like Marvel, if you like Star Wars if you like Harry Potter, if you like Star Trek etc then who cares? Do whatever makes you happy. And if your friends husbands are sh**** then that’s on them. But theres plenty of people out there that can act mature and pull their weight in a relationship and also can be a fan of certain geek culture. And shocker, but women can be geeks too and equally can want a themed wedding cake. And there’s plenty of guys that get obsessed over sports and no one bats an eye over that.

      • hezzer19 says:

        @Marianne excellent point! So it’s ok for men (and women) to paint their faces and dress up in sports jerseys and obsess about sports but I’m not an adult because I read comics (among many other genres of literature) and am saddened by the passing of an icon?

        I like sports too. No slam on sports fanatics! Just saying.

        Nobody has the right to tell me how to “adult”.

  2. Jenns says:

    What does he think about middle age men who put on pajamas and hang out at the Playboy mansion all while living in a fantasy world that those 20 something girls are into them?

    • ChillyWilly says:

      Lol! Touche! I actually like and watch Bill but he has no room to talk on this subject.

      Also, he isn’t an Islamaphobe. He doesn’t approve of any religion and he has issues with Sharia Law, as should we all.

      • afjk says:

        Just googled him. He openly mocked and criticized the burqa, not gonna hate on him for that, he probably got death threats for that. And it’s not islamophobia either, it’s common sense.

      • BorderMollie says:

        The problem isn’t criticizing a religion, but doing so to defend and instigate imperialist violence against foreigners. There are plenty of critics of Islam and religion who avoid that. I’d point you to Mona Eltahawy, an Egyptian-Canadian feminist, for a reasonable critic of Islam and patriarchal religion in general.

    • Vera Hannaford says:

      This all day along!!!

    • Helen says:

      this burn could heat a two-bedroom apartment through an eastern canadian winter

    • Darla says:

      Touche and great comeback Jenn!

    • BrickyardUte says:

      I am right with you Jenn. I love Batman and am into my kids watching Teen Titans Go. I also read and keep up with the news. My kids do sports and give back to the community doing projects and service. People are allowed to be into different things and mourn the creator of that universe.

  3. Flan says:

    Marvel and Stan Lee were first with a lot of topics that were controversial once.
    Stan Lee was one of the co-creators of Black Panther more than fifty years ago. Storylines in the X-Men dealt with all kinds of discrimination for decades. Also, in Marvel Comics there are a lot more female super heroes with spotlight than in the movies.

    But yeah, let’s pretend it’s just about watching movies or something.

    For some A+ representation in the comics, check out “Ms Marvel”, about a Muslim superhero in New Jersey, and “Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur”. Moon Girl is now named as the smartest person in the Marvel Comics (yes, above all the scientist men you see in the movies), and she is a young black girl called Lunella Lafayette.

    These books need more love and frankly, they have great storylines. The more these are bought, the more chance that they become movies. There is already talk of making a Ms Marvel movie, and she has appeared in cartoons already, so hope that will happen.

    • BchyYogi says:

      It’s too bad Maher pulled out only the negative in Stan Lee’s body of work. Maher is an intelligent pessimist, but his show is like watching a stunt that goes wrong & the athlete hurls himself into a crowd; the spectacle hurts everyone.

    • locheed04 says:

      Marvel rocks it with characters having a (relatively–this is comics-verse) healthy non-straight relationships. Young Avengers is one that comes to mind.

  4. Aang says:

    Maher can be an arrogant jerk. On the other hand I’m so over nerd bros. Their culture can be so toxic, misogynistic, homophobic, and classist. So I guess what I’m saying is meh.

    • Flan says:

      The last thing nerd bros have done is leaving bad reviews of She-Ra en masse. This because there is too much representation for them to handle. It doesn’t matter that it’s a cartoon aimed at girls. It’s not catering to them, so it pisses them off.

      Nerd-culture is not theirs to claim. The first science fiction book was Frankenstein and that was written by a young woman. A lot of firsts in literature where done by women.

      They are the intruders, not us.

  5. Erinn says:

    “I gave up things that I liked but I deemed childish when I became an adult. Now I’m old and grumpy and I’m mad that other people didn’t have to give up things that’s THEY liked and I’m bitter about it”

    Old man shouts at clouds.

  6. Cyn says:

    I think that Maher is just offended that more people care that Stan Lee is dead than care that Maher is alive. He is desperate, thirsty man trying to extend his 15 minutes by insulting a legend’s legacy and fans.

    Side note: he should be made aware that there are rabid comic fans in every country around the globe and that comics are much bigger in some other countries than they are here.

    • Lilly says:

      Yes, he’s probably still burnt from when the right thought he had to go away as retribution for something and many were like: “Koo, bye Bill.” My son loves comics and there can be many great messages, including from Stan Lee. I’m a lame-o who mourns people I don’t know personally, but admire and vehemently on the side of people I don’t know, but admire. Takes all kinds. To the first part of this piece, yes, for me he’s been cancelled for me for a long time.

  7. grabbyhands says:

    Bill Maher is now and always be a racist, sexist tool whose head is so far up his own ass it’s a wonder he can even breathe.

    45 didn’t get elected because people read comic books and see movies with superheroes. He was elected because a lot of people are racists and a lot of people didn’t bother to vote. He was elected through ignorance and complacency and because we refuse to let go of a system that doesn’t work.

    If you don’t like comics, fine. No one is being forced to buy them or or go see the movies. But I am so sick of this snotty attitude people take towards that whole industry. Comics have been around for decades and they exist not only as entertainment but as commentary on life and what is happening in it. It addresses some of the ugliness in the world and just because the metaphor is draped in a cape doesn’t make it any less relevant.

    We are living in such evil times. People want to believe on some small level that heroism exists and that we can triumph. That isn’t a bad thing.

    • BchyYogi says:

      It IS interesting to note that while Stan Lee had some diversity, Hollywood featured the male white savior heroes WAY ahead of acknowleding Black Panther and where is Moon Girl? I guess our nation wasn’t ready for Black Panther before or during Barack Obama. That’s more what I”M angry about, not that we still need mythology as adults!

      • Flan says:

        I love Moon Girl. Marvel Comics has made an effort the last few years to have lots of female characters headline comics, including women of color.

        The only problem is that these comics need a bigger readership. There was a Storm comic, but it was cancelled due to low sales. I’ve told people I know about it (those who complained about lack of representation in the movies) and just one ever bought a copy. This while they do spend their money on those movies.

        Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur only sold 7110 copies in October. They are #257 on the comic book charts. Marvel comics usually get cancelled even if they are much higher on the chart. Right now, Marvel is just keeping it going because they believe in the character/think she’s important. As long as no clear interest in a character is signalled by sales, it’s unlikely that they get a movie.

        Many people have comic book stores nearby and you can normally get a subscription. That means they order the book for you and you can pick it up when you have time.

        @BchyYogi, this is not aimed at you, as you clearly know who Moon Girl is. The problem is that the same people who want more representation often don’t support characters like this.

  8. notthisagain says:

    He doesnt sound angry to me . He is making his usual ongoing social commentary about what he feels is the dumbing down of America and is using Adult fixation with comics and superheroes, (things that previously “kids” were expected to ” grow” out of ) as an example.
    He goes on to suggest that this dumbing down where people dont read or engage in critical thinking is part of what leads to a Trump getting elected

    You dont have to agree with him but I think thats what he is trying to say. His timing is poor and he always seems smug,condescending and a bit of a jerk but grief policing I don’t get here .

    • Mrs. Peel says:

      Thank you – agree 100%.

    • Harryg says:

      Agree with you.

    • Lorelei says:

      Yeah, I agree…he can absolutely be an arrogant ass at times. But he is overwhelmingly on our side.

      I find it hard to get worked up about him when there are genuinely evil people like Sean Hannity and Alex Jones doing real damage to our country every single day.

  9. BlueSky says:

    I guess he saw all the attention Armie Hammer was getting and decided To jump in and give an opinion no one asked for.

    Yeah he was cancelled a long time ago.

  10. Sunnee says:

    I can despise Bill Maher and see his misogyny and disgusting islamaphobia BUT also agree with some of what he says. A stopped clock and all that… As someone with a degree in English Lit it bugs me that my son was allowed to do book reports on “graphic novels” in eight grade. EIGHTH grade. I had been telling him since fourth grade that he needed to move on from comic books to actual books, but his middle school teacher was dumbing it down for these kids. I made sure he did his book report on MacBeth instead.
    Yes, I do know that Shakespeare was the pop culture writer of his time, but his works have relevance centuries later for a reason. As wonderful as Spiderman is, great literature it is not. And, yes, I do agree with Bill Maher in his belief that if we didn’t elevate childish shit and if education wasn’t dumbed down our electorate would never have chosen the orange buffoon. We’ve reaped the crap that years of miseducation have sown.

    • tartis says:

      Graphic novels can be as complex as any novel, so no, it isn’t automatically a dumbing down. Persepolis is a huge work of art and story writing, for instance, but it sounds like you wouldn’t even deign to look at it. Also, Shakespeare is usually taught in high school for a reason. Your son was in 8th grade and you forcing him to do his report on Macbeth isn’t going to make him enjoy reading any more than he did before since his mom is an elitist hypocrite.

      • Banan says:

        thank you for this @tartis! Can people just admit that when they hate on comics it’s not because they actually understand the themes/stories behind the comics and are making educated assumptions? persepolis is a great example of a comic that hits the nail on the head regarding the history of the iranian revolution and its impact even as far as today. i’m not even a big fan of comics and I can see that value they add and the commentary provided. also, shakespeare is overrated lol…

      • CanadianGirl says:

        Thank you. This. Making your kid write on MacBeth in grade 8 isn’t for him, it’s so you can feel better about him, it’s so you can brag and feel superior. Shakespeare is usually taught in high school and they start with the easier ones and work their way up. I also have an English degree, but I can also appreciate a good graphic novel.

      • Jerusha says:

        While I generally prefer the classic style of writing, I have to say Maus and Maus II are two of the best, most moving works I’ve ever read. And, as mentioned above, Persepolis. And Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant, a memoir about the last years of her parents’ lives is wonderful.

      • NicoleinSavannah says:

        Maus and Maus II opened my eyes to a whole new world and made me really mad at Spielberg.

    • Flan says:

      There are a lot of comics with something intelligent to say, and that includes Marvel Comics. A lot of the topics in them are more grown-up than a lot of regular tv series for adults.

    • Spargel says:

      FFS. As someone with a fracking PhD in English Lit (18C British lit), let me remind you what Pope said about “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” You appear to have some half-formed ideas about literature and cling to the dead/debunked idea of high vs low art (which any narrative or lit scholar worth their salt rejected ages ago). I’ve never taught a graphic novel in my courses but have seen brilliance in several of them. There is room for more than one narrative form in this world.

      OMG narrative theory. Get on that.

    • Grant says:

      Besides Persepolis, you’ve got Watchmen, Saga, and a multitude of other comic books that absolutely are literature. Not only that, but most also contain absolutely breath-taking splash pages and drawn art. And I’m sorry, but the most iconic superheroes like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman have been around for nearly a century, so I think it’s a bit ignorant to presume that these things that your son has expressed interest in are mere flashes in a pan. Instead of being such an elitist, why don’t you do some research about graphic novels instead of acting like you’re better than the common folk by making your son read some cliched piece of literature that’s been analyzed ad nauseum.

  11. Vera Hannaford says:

    We aren’t all immature woman hating comicbros. I grew up in 1970’s inner city New York, and the Marvel Comics really spoke to me. Lee and Jack Kirby brought a gritty city realness to their characters and seeing people of color in them meant so much to me. Stan Lee will always have a place in my heart, and I grieve his passing. I agree with Maher on a lot, but he can bite me on this one. #MakeMineMarvel

    • Rosalee says:

      Last night my ten year old granddaughter explained her deep love for Stan Lee while we watched Capt. American for the countless time. I listened as she described the universe he created, the flawed hero in each character. The equality of women warriors, the everyday normality of female scientists and superheroes. I watched her eyes and hands as she described scenes from individual movies. Last week I found a book of the Avengers comic the size of a coffee table and weighs more than’s finding its way under the Christmas tree this year. I remember sitting in my bedroom reading comic books and at the end Stan Lee’s commentary..he was a profound voice for a brown little girl who did not understand racism or intolerance but was affected by it everyday. Stan Lee created worlds where colour blossomed.

  12. Steff says:

    He’s the worst thing about his show. I love the format, but the show gets clouded over by Maher’s smugness and he often is condescending to his guests. He also goes extremely easy on former Trump admin he invites on. He thinks political correctness is the worst thing happening right now because it’s the worst thing that’s happening to him personally. I wish he’d be replaced.

    Marvel’s fan base has become HUGE because of the movies so I wasn’t surprised to see him trending. But that’s not even offensive compared to sh*t he’s said this past year.

  13. Ramona Q. says:

    A 10 second google search would show you he wasn’t cancelled. He just had his season finale show this past week.

  14. minx says:

    Doesn’t Maher have fukcing bigger fish to fry? Don’t we all?

  15. Jane says:

    Maher is just jealous that Stan Lee still has millions of people who love his work.

  16. Sleanne says:

    I have an English Lit degree as well and a profound love of reading… And a son with dyslexia. Getting him to want to read and push through was so hard but I found the answer in comics. He wanted to read them and he would flip through the pages and need to know more details, forcing himself to read it. His ability to read is so much higher now than I thought it would be a few years after disgnosis. He is a smart, happy, polite child who can now almost read at his grade level… I read them myself first to make sure they’re age appropriate and have developed favourites myself. We talk about the comics too and it has become our special hobby. Our local comic shop even gives free comics for every A on a report card! I owe comics a huge debt and will continue to buy whatever reading materials are requested, as long as he reads.

  17. StallinOnMyWork says:

    If Maher is pissed, I’ll go buy every Lee title I can find. F*ck this dude. He wants everyone to keep reading dead white guy history and “the classics,” which comprise of a bunch of rich girls waiting for an even more rich man to love them, or about some tyrranical government (I don’t f*cking need my kids reading 1984 – they live it every day and are aaaaalll too aware of how f*cked governments are), and to only ever follow a prescribed course of study designed 1200 years ago by incels who owned people.

  18. Sara Martin says:

    He sounds like a very joyless person.

  19. Nanea says:

    Bill Maher, anti-vaxxer.
    Has he created anything lately – or ever – that will keep entertaining people for decades to come?
    Didn’t think so.

  20. Miss M says:

    Every now and then, Maher criticizes super hero movies. So I am not surprised about his comments.
    What he fails to understand is that many people mourned Lee’s passing for what he meant to them as kids. But I cannot expect him to understand as he seems to be an individual who lacks empathy.

  21. Annabel says:

    As a novelist who loves reading, I personally feel fortunate to live in a world where the rigid walls between literary genres are increasingly porous. I love that artificial divisions between “high art” and “low art” are crumbling. I love that it’s possible for a graphic novel to be long-listed for a Booker, possible for a post-apocalyptic novel to win a Pulitzer, and possible for literary writers like Jonathan Lethem and Colson Whitehead to venture into outer space and zombie fiction respectively without sacrificing their literary street cred. It’s a great time for fiction. Maher’s stuck in the past.

    • Veronica S. says:

      There’s literally an entire school of literary theory about how popular culture works reveal remarkably more about how the general people of a time or culture behaved and thought, moreso than academics who often have privileges and resources well outside of those available to the general public. So, uh, maybe those professors writing about Silver Surfer aren’t as dumb as you think, Maher.

  22. CanadianGirl says:

    My dad used to tell me about being an awkward, bullied adolescent and how Spider-Man was one of the things that helped him get through that because Peter Parker was an awkward, bullied teenager but he was also Spider-Man. My dad related to Peter and admired him and always used to say that those comics got him through some of the toughest periods of his life.

    So Stan Lee did change my father’s life. And I know my father wasn’t alone in finding comfort from the characters Stan brought to life.

  23. Dizzy says:

    I have never been into marvel comics or movies but I can see how important it is to many people.
    When David Bowie died it felt so personal to me. Same feeling for Stan Lee fans I guess (but 95 is a good long life)

  24. Dizzy says:

    Definitely agree that comics can be great. Persepolis, Maus, Le Chat du Rabin.

  25. U.S and them says:

    Maher is a rude terrible person.

  26. shiny halo says:

    I don’t get why people are super upset about Stan Lee, but I don’t blame other people for my own ignorance. Bill Maher is such an attention-grabbing tool. Who cares if Stan Lee is super important to some people? It’s not doing any harm at all. Leave them be.

  27. whybother says:

    BM and other who agreed with his views about comics or calling who likes comics as man child, I guess those people are among those who get charmed by that new Republica face, the veteran, I dont care about his name. Why? Because you people cant look past the interior and see what the message behind it. It seems like there are few here that judge it because it has graphic! pictures! and fail to see what the comics are all about.

  28. Summer says:

    Maher sucks, but I agree with his observations (though not his condescending tone). Comic books aren’t harmful per se, but the Comic Con-ization of America has been detrimental to society, imho. It opened the doors for adults to openly obsess over fictional worlds while neglecting (or resenting) real life. Paired with social media, it has allowed a whole generation of adults to retreat to their online niche forums rather than actively engaging in their actual community.

    I personally know a couple obsessed with Disneyland — they moved to SoCal to be closer, work odd jobs to afford annual membership and spend all their free time on Disneyland forums. They’ve no kids, but collect (and obsess over) Disney plush. And there is a giant network of other adults like them!! Hey, I love Disneyland, too, but when did this become acceptable?? Adulting is not going to be as fun as non-adulting, but grow the heck up!

    • Meadow says:

      “How dare people spend their free time and hard-earned money on things I don’t care about! Adults are supposed to be boring and never have fun!”

      • Summer says:

        This isn’t about hobbies — this is an addiction!! They have no savings, no back-up plan and literally no other interests besides Disneyland. It’s sad and even sadder that people are encouraging it under the banner of “fun” like it’s a night out to the movies. This is an obsession that eclipses reality. And we’re seeing more and more of this behavior among adults.

    • Veronica S. says:

      It’s almost like we live in an increasingly exhausting and stressful society where wage stagnation and exploration has widened the economic gap, shifting most “adult” goalposts (owning a home, having kids, financial stability, decent education) farther out of the reach of the average American, along with rapidly developing technology that increases our sense of disconnect and obsolescence. Entertainment becomes the outlet for where people feel otherwise helpless to improve their situation.

      Bam, look at that. I solved Maher’s intellectual crisis in twenty seconds by having a basic understanding of the shit show that is American capitalism.

    • Grant says:

      Summer–respectfully–WTF are you talking about?

      I am a lawyer with a 401k, an HSA, and plenty of money in savings. I also collect comic books and I don’t feel bad about it. Maybe next time think before you speak when you’re talking about something you don’t really know anything about. Or at the very least, don’t categorically cast judgment on a whole group of people you know nothing about. SMH.

      • Summer says:

        Grant — respectfully — please don’t assume I didn’t think before I spoke. I thought about it a lot, and I stand by what I said. For every lawyer who has a comic book collection (all good by me) there are 5 unemployed guys who live in their mom’s basement because they never developed the work ethic or social skills necessary to succeed. Is that the fault of comic books? No. Does the rampant comic-book heavy media help? No. These guys are empowered by geek culture and would rather live in that world than our own, which desperately needs active, engaged adults. I don’t seek to set an age limit on comics or Disneyland. But I do think there too many adults putting their obsessions before their responsibilities. Kudos to you for getting that balance right.

  29. Veronica S. says:

    Oh my God, shut up, Maher. It is unbelievable to me that people think anything profound or unique comes out of this man’s mouth. I mean, really, you couldn’t throw a dart without hitting some old white dude like him in any academic setting spouting the same old white dude pseudo-intellectual bullshit. They are literally a dime a dozen, and that would be overstating the worth of their opinions.

    “Hurr hurr hurr real grown ups don’t read comics” says the man who literally makes his career off of shock-value entertainment.

  30. SpillDatT says:

    Rich coming from a guy who was in Iron Man 3. Is he going to give away his earning from that movie, granted it probably was a lot, but still.

    As for Stan Lee: he helped create universes filled with diverse characters who have super powers, yes, but also extremely human flaws. He was a war vet, who tackled racial issues at a time when it wasn’t discussed as much as today. His work inspired many artists, writers, creative people who not only pay homage to him, but also break new ground in their own ways. You can hate his comics, but you can’t deny the influence he has had on generations of people, both male & female.

    And comics are not low brow. There are plenty of graphic novels which deal with real issues, aftereffects of war, love, loss, mental illness just to mention a few themes. Bookis like Palestine, V for Vendetta, The Watchmen, A Chinese Life, Blankets, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, My Brother’s Husband cover a whole gamut of human issues. They aren’t making people dumber.

    As for people enjoying being fans, if they are not harming anyone else why can’t adults enjoy themselves? Life is hard, if being a part of something gives people joy, why the hell not? So somebody loves Disney, good for them, if they don’t have kids or pets they are neglecting let them live. I hate how everyone has to have a picket fence, 2.4 kids & a 9-5 job to be considered “adults”.

    And Bill Maher can suck it, he’s just butthurt no one will mourn his passing like they are for Stan Lee.

  31. Heather says:

    Take a seat. Take all the seats. Stan Lee and Marvel comics encouraged me to READ. And critically think. Comic books are looked down upon, but when you consider Stan Lee’s Marvel had flawed characters and dealt with real life issues like discrimination, racism, class, gender, and being all around different in a Barbie cookiecutter world, it was refreshing. Professor X was a highly visible very popular character back when those with disabilities were often hidden away (he’s paralyzed). Yes I now watch the Marvel movies as well. I enjoy them because I enjoy the source material. My son now reads comic books, and not much else. But he’s reading. He’s understanding what he reads and is able to relate the themes and plots to real life in many ways. So yes, Stan Lee was a marvel and the world is a less colorful place without him.

  32. Ann says:

    He uses Stan Lee to illustrate the infantilization of culture and he is absolutely right. He is not the first one to point that out.

    • Veronica S. says:

      Which has far less to do with the entertainment industry and nearly everything to do with the destruction of the lower socioeconomic classes. The former is a symptom of the latter. You have people who can’t think critically because they went to schools who were bootstrapped for funding, whose curriculum pushed rote learning over creative and innovative thinking. You have a college system that has become increasingly exploitative and expensive, locking many lower class individuals out of that form of social mobility and leaving others in massive debt. You have wage stagnation, compounded with cuts to social welfare programs, which undermine the ability of adult Americans to lead financially stable lives. You have a wealth-dominated political system that routinely disenfranchises larges swaths of the population because of its outdated ideology and legal stagnancy. (America didn’t actually choose Donald Trump, after all – our electoral college system gave him the win despite well over a million votes in his opponent’s favor.)

      But Bill Maher isn’t actually interested in that. He’d rather blame Americans who feel helpless, exhausted, and afraid for their own inability to overcome the same historical conditions that led to people like Hitler taking power. And while we certainly hold some level of responsibility for our own apathy toward the deterioration of our democracy, a large part of that is by design – because the people who actually control the majority of the wealth in this country make up a significantly smaller percentage of the population, yet manage to influence government on a profound level to make sweeping changes that impact every day Americans. But you won’t see Maher writing a thoughtful letter on economic elitists destroying society for their own benefit. Knowledge isn’t something he’s actually interesting in sharing, you see. He’d rather just utilize his own privilege to condescend to you about it.

  33. Erin Rennick says:

    I really like Bill Maher actually and I can promise you that based on everything I’ve ever heard him say, he would not be down with Foucault.

  34. Pandy says:

    Love Bill and he makes a very valid point. The fact that “adult” is now a verb (“adulting”) shows how slow to grow up our current North American society is. I don’t read moving my lips either loll.

  35. Meg says:

    it’s clear bill maher doesn’t know anything about stan lee’s work and is instead juding a book by its cover.
    the intangible messages sent by the characters stan lee created are at times quite deep.