Last night on the Real Time with Bill Maher Blog, comedian and talk show host Bill Maher wrote a post titled "Adulting," where he weighed in on the news of comic book icon Stan Lee's death earlier this week.
"The guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning," Maher wrote. "Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess." Maher went on to opine that somewhere along the way adults stopped willfully giving up their childhoods, and instead tricked themselves into believing comic books were sophisticated literature.
“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.”
And... let's just say it goes downhill from there, with Maher ascribing much of today’s societal ills to the ubiquitousness of comics in popular culture
Naturally, those that work in the comic book industry didn't take Maher's editorial well, which they viewed as a condescending summation of their work, as well as undercutting the medium's importance to fans around the world.
Tom King, who currently writes for DC's Batman (and previously worked for the CIA), weighed in, specifically highlighting how Lee used comic books to address issues in society. He contrasted his point with an excerpt from a recent interview with the Post and Courier where Maher doesn't come off quite so noble.
Of course, other comic book creators were also very vocal in regards Maher's comments.
Additionally, some pointed out that Maher appeared -- as himself -- in Iron Man 3 back in 2013.
Finally, voice actor Tara Strong made an eloquent point about how much these stories can mean to people and help them through trying times in their lives.
Bill Maher has not yet commented on the backlash. We’ve reached out to HBO and will update as this story develops.