UPDATE with video interview, Wednesday 12:30 PM: Bill Maher recently appeared on Larry King Now and addressed his comments about Stan Lee and comic books that have drawn ire and backlash from social media.
Last week, Maher wrote a post on the Real Time blog titled “Adulting” saying that Lee inspired people to “watch a movie” and he focused on slamming adult fans of comic books and said that they weren’t a legitimate piece of literature. During the interview with King he said that he wasn’t aware that his comments made people mad because he “doesn’t follow every stupid thing people lose their shit about” on social media.
He told King that he didn’t know much about the Marvel comic icon and insists that it wasn’t a “swipe” at him. “I am agnostic on Stan Lee. I don’t read comic books,” he said. “I didn’t even read them when I was a child. What I was saying is, a culture that thinks that comic books and comic book movies are profound meditations on the human condition is a dumb fucking culture. And for people to get mad at that just proves my point.”
Watch the video above.
PREVIOUS: In a response to Bill Maher’s recent remarks about the death of Stan Lee and comic books, the Marvel legend’s team at POW! Entertainment posted an open letter to the Real Time host that criticized his commentary he posted over the weekend.
On the Real Time With Bill Maher blog (not on his show) Maher recognized that the world is mourning Lee’s death but then went on to say that Lee “inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie” with his signature sarcasm. He also went on to put comic books on blast: “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,” he wrote. “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.”
He continued to criticize how adults don’t give up “kid stuff” and says that they have “pretended comic books were actually sophisticated literature.” He adds that there are over 4,500 colleges in America and that “we need more professors than we have smart people” before saying that “dumb people got to be professors” for writing theses about comic books.
POW! wasn’t about to let this go unnoticed. On their website, they posted a letter to Maher saying that great creators like Lee “make us feel, make us think and teach us lessons that hopefully make us better human being.” The letter adds, ” 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.”
POW! then went on to drag Maher saying that him saying Lee inspired people to “watch a movie” was 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,” the letter said.
Read the letter in its entirety below.
Mr. Maher: 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.
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.
These 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. Stan is the author of millions of happy childhood memories and the provider of so many of the positive tools of adulthood.
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!”