Days after Lee’s death at the age of 95, the Real Time With Bill Maher host took to his blog in a post titled “Adulting” to say comic books are partially to blame for the dumbing down of America. He also minimized Lee’s accomplishments, writing, “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.” Lee’s many fans quickly came for Maher — reminding him that he actually shot a scene in a Marvel movie, Iron Man 3 (it was cut) — and now Lee’s POW! Entertainment company is responding to Maher.
The statement from “Team Stan” was addressed directly to “Mr. Maher.” It said: “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.”
It continued, “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.”
The message went on to note that those “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.” It also pointed out that Lee “is the author of millions of happy childhood memories” and the “provider of so many of the positive tools of adulthood.”
The last part was the one-two punch, complete with a comic-book lesson. “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!'”
Lee died on Nov. 12 and was buried in a small private ceremony on Friday. Lee had said he did not want a public memorial, but a tribute is in the works by his POW! Entertainment family. For now, fans are sharing messages — “Excelsior! — on a tribute wall on Lee’s website.
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