TV host and political comic Bill Maher has once again lashed out against comic book fans, and this time director Kevin Smith, on the latest Real Time. Back in November, the pop culture world was saddened by the death of Stan Lee, iconic creator (or co-creator) of countless enduring Marvel characters, and former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics as a whole. Mass mourning then occurred on social media, at least from most people commenting. Maher, never a stranger to controversy, took it upon himself to chastise those grieving.
In a lengthy blog post, Maher lamented the widespread outpouring of grief for Lee, and the overall dominance of American culture by comic book and superhero-related movies. Maher suggested those attached to Lee and feeling sad about his passing were behaving in a childish manner, and lamented the fact that modern adults didn't feel the need to abandon what he considered to be pursuits exclusively reserved for kids, such as comic books.
Maher would later attempt to clarify, and make it clear that he hadn't intended his sentiments to be a personal attack against Lee, but rather the overall comic book culture. When Maher made his post, his weekly HBO talk show, Real Time, had just gone on hiatus. It returned from said hiatus last Friday, and this week, Maher decided to spend the final segment of his show once again going off on comic book fans. Additionally, Maher targeted geek-friendly writer/director Kevin Smith directly, in a response to Smith's negative reaction to Maher's original comments. Below are excerpts from Maher's long rant. Credit to Comic Book for the transcription.
"Tonight’s editorial is about Stan Lee who, if you missed it, died in November. And a few days later, I posted a blog that in no way was an attack on Mr. Lee, but took the occasion of his death to express my dismay at people who think comic books are literature and superhero movies are great cinema and who, in general, are stuck in an everlasting childhood. Bragging that you’re all about the Marvel Universe is like boasting your mother still pins your mittens to your sleeves."
"You can, if you want, like the exact same things you liked when you were ten but if you do, you need to grow up. That was the point of my blog. I’m not glad Stan Lee is dead, I’m sad you’re alive. [...] "Director Kevin Smith accused me of “taking a shot when no shots are f**kin’ necessary,” except again my shot wasn’t at Stan Lee. It was at, you know, grown men who still dress like kids," Maher said as he showed a picture of Smith wearing a branded hockey jersey.
"Can we stop pretending that the writing in comic books is so good? Oh, please. Every superhero movie is the same thing — a person who doesn’t have powers, gets them, has to figure out how they work, and then has to find a glowy thing. [...] "I’m sorry, but if you’re an adult playing with superhero dolls, I’m sorry - I mean collectible action figures - why not go all the way and drive to work on a Big Wheel?
While Maher has long-held a reputation for being someone not afraid to speak his mind, even when he knows many won't agree with what he has to say, this latest attack just makes him seem like a grumpy old man more than anything. Maher is 63-years-old, and while that certainly doesn't take away his right to have an opinion on any given subject - and the man still gets viewers, so clearly many do want to hear his take on things - this particular viewpoint reeks of him simply not understanding a generation of adults that came of age way after he did, and really not making much of an effort to try.
Notably, this isn't even only the second time he's publicly gone on the warpath against comic book culture. Maher unleashed a lengthy diatribe at the end of a 2017 episode of Real Time, long before Lee's passing, about how he believed the escapist entertainment to be found in superhero movies and TV shows had somehow led to the rise of President Donald Trump. Putting aside the highly questionable logic needed to try and link the MCU's box office achievements to a political climate he doesn't like, the whole thing almost feels like a personal vendetta Maher has against the world of comic books, one which he'll find just about any excuse to further.
Source: Comic Book