Bill Maher’s comments on Stan Lee are misinformed and disrespectful.
The death of Stan Lee is still affecting comic book fans around the world. People were happy they could live on a planet where a universe was created where they could escape reality for a second or read stories with deep messages. Not everyone believes that Stan Lee’s contribution to the world is worth the attention it’s getting. Chief among them is author and comedian Bill Maher.
Bill Maher said in his blog, he didn’t think Stan Lee’s contribution to the world is what people are making it:
“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.”
Let’s break down the part where he said, “big-boy books”. There is a common misconception that comic books are for kids. Take away the fact that the cover of comic books come with a rating that goes from kid to (wait for it) adult. That alone proves that these books aren’t for children.
Now, let’s say for example that just because something is for adults doesn’t make it deep. Comic books have addressed social issues for decades. Taking away from the X-Men, there have been comic books that have dealt with rape, infidelity, dealing with loss and so much more. All topics that come from “big-boy” books.
Jessica Jones’ stories have always been deeper than normal. Her time as Kilgrave’s slave turned her into an alcoholic loner. People with post-traumatic stress disorder or people with a predisposition to genetic traits like alcoholism can turn into alcoholics and think the best idea to deal with issues by being alone. Wolverine’s stories of never being able to forgive himself is a trait that many people deal with daily. How about the general idea of learning to be a better person in the face of evil or negativity? All lessons and topics that come from books that don’t have pictures.
Maybe the biggest takeaway from all this is Bill Maher telling people how to feel. To Maher, Stan Lee’s legacy meant nothing. To millions of people around the world, Stan Lee was important. For me, he created a universe I’m fortunate to write about. Something that I appreciate every day. Stan Lee is s also responsible for giving millions of people jobs they’re passionate about. Even if I did agree with Maher’s statement about comic books being for kids (and I don’t), I’d never tell millions of people how to feel. I’d also respect the dead enough to not make those comments days after their death.