Comedian Bill Maher has responded to the criticisms he's been facing due to his recent comments about Stan Lee and Marvel Comics. Lee passed away about a week ago, and the world has been mourning his loss in several different ways. Many fans have been paying respects on social media and by making a shrine on his Hollywood Walk of Fame star. Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman even gave a musical tribute to the fallen comic legend.
While most people have been mourning Lee's death, Maher took a different approach, seemingly criticizing Lee and the people who enjoy comic books. In his recent comments, Maher seemed to completely forget the good Lee did for the world besides writing comics saying, "I don’t think it’s a huge stretch to suggest that Donald Trump could only get elected in a country that thinks comic books are important". Fans were quick to criticize Maher since fans are still mourning the loss of their hero, and POW! Entertainment even responded, calling his comments "disgusting" and mentioned how Lee often preached tolerance and respect. Maher has since responded to the backlash he's been getting, but it's not exactly what fans were hoping to hear.
On a recent edition of Larry King Now (via The Wrap), Maher clarified his statement about Lee on Larry King Now, explaining that what he said wasn't a criticism of Lee personally, but rather the idea of comic books and comic book movies. Maher further explained, "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 f—ing culture. And for people to get mad at that just proves my point". The full segment of Maher talking about the controversy can be seen below.
While Maher has been getting a lot of heat for his recent comments, he isn't the only one to criticize people's reactions to Lee's death. Actor Armie Hammer had previously criticized fans and other actors for posting selfies of themselves on social media with Lee. While most people who shared an image of themselves with Lee were just sharing a fond memory they had of Lee as their way of grieving, Hammer took it as people trying to get more attention for themselves. The difference between Hammer and Maher though is that Hammer has since sincerely apologized for his comments.
Even though Maher clarified his comments, it likely won't get very many people back on his side. There is no doubt that Lee can never be replaced, and that his characters and stories will always be a part of American culture. To people like Maher, the idea of comic books and comic book movies may not be important, but to other people, they give them an escape from the stresses of their every day lives in a way that makes them happy. Comics and movies are no different than any other type of entertainment, and are incredibly important in society. As Lee once said, "Entertainment is one of the most important things in people’s lives. Without it they might go off the deep end. I feel that if you’re able to entertain people, you’re doing a good thing". Well said Mr. Lee, well said.