Update, with video Bill Maher still has no sympathy for Stan Lee fans, at least when it comes to their insistence that comic books “are literature.” Two months after he drew fanboy ire following Lee’s November death, Maher revisited the subject for the episode-closing New Rules segment during tonight’s Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO.
“To every person on social media who’s asked me since November, ‘Bill, what do you have to say about Stan Lee?’ – and to every paparazzi outside a restaurant who’s still shouting at me, ‘Bill, what about the Stan Lee thing?’…Okay. Your day has come.”
With that, Maher tripled-down on his anti-comic book crusade (the first volley came with a November blog post, followed by a Larry King Now appearance). “I’m not glad Stan Lee is dead,” he said tonight, addressing the nation’s fanboys. “I’m sad you’re alive.”
Bragging about learning about weighty issues via the “Marvel universe” is “like boasting that your mother still pins your mittens to your sleeve.”
Maher, after taking a shot at comics-loving director Kevin Smith’s adolescent attire, responded specifically to the open letter directed his way last November from Lee’s Pow Entertainment (read it here).
Quoting the letter – “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” – Maher then really unleashed. “No,” he said, “they didn’t! Nobody ever said ‘Moby Dick’ and ‘King Lear’ were unsophisticated, and if you ever read a book without pictures you’d know that!”
And to comic readers who say the books taught them about “social justice and racial tolerance,” Maher shot, “Ok, but now you have pubic hair. Read James Baldwin. Read Toni Morrison. Read Michael Eric Dyson.” Quoting the Bible’s “put away childish things…” proverb, the Real Time host added to it: “…like comic bed sheets.”
As for the thousands of Facebook users who unfollowed him after his original anti-comics blog post, Maher said “good riddance.” Go follow Yogi Bear, he suggested.
“Why not go all the way,” he added, “and drive to work in a Big Wheel.”
Watch the video above.