Back in November when Stan Lee died, notoriously confrontational pundit Bill Maher decided to chime in with his two cents. Maher, known as a “comedian” (used in the loosest possible sense), made known his ire for comic book fans, and perhaps Stan Lee himself:
The guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning. Deep, deep morning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess.
Bill Maher, in his November 17, 2018 blog Adulting
Maher went on to suggest that adults don’t know when to let “childish” things go. Bill. Maher. The guy who was in D.C. Cab in the 80’s. The guy who had a role in Seth McFarlane’s (clearly non-prepubescent) A Million Ways To Die in the West. Thinks we should let childish things go. He even went so far as to claim that the abundance of colleges in America created “dumb” professors getting into their positions based on theses that made references to super heroes and comic books, and contested the idea of comicbooks as literature.
This week, Mr. Maher doubled down on his alpha-male inspired malarky in another hate filled tirade, while backtracking on his attack on Lee’s legacy, stating:
You can, if you want, like the exact same things you liked when you were 10, 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.
He further has suggested that now that comic fans have exited puberty, it’s time to grow up and read “big boy” books “without pictures”. When challenged by people on social media that comics have taught them about social justice or right versus wrong, Maher suggested:
Okay, but now you have pubic hair. Read James Baldwin, read Toni Morrison, read Michael Eric Dyson.
With these statements, Bill Maher has solidified himself as a bully. Back in junior high school and high school, kids, like the adults Maher is lambasting, were bullied mercilessly over their love for the four color format. So much so that the comics themselves sometimes became escapes from that bullying. Most of us hid the fact that we read comics. Some of us held our heads up with pride, and were the ones that took the lumps via fistfights or not getting the guy/girl you were crushing on to even give you the time of day. Those who lived through both remember the ridicule and the upturned noses of their classmates. So trust me when I say this, Bill Maher, we don’t actually care that you turn your nose up at us. We’ve dealt with it all our lives.
The hypocritical Maher (who gladly took the money of Marvel Studios for appearing in Iron Man 3, which was, of course, based on the characters that Stan Lee created) also comes off as an angry old man yelling at kids to “get off his lawn” in these tirades against people for simply loving something. I’m not mad at him, I feel bad for him. He’s got a lot of anger pent up, apparently, and some may say that that makes for
great comedy, but sometimes the rantings of a sad, confused, old man are just that.
Bill Maher, at once the old man yelling at you to get off your lawn and the bully in high school that would try to beat you up for reading Spider-Man or The Incredible Hulk. It’s not hard to see who actually needs to grow up in this scenario.
Rich Davenport graduated from Concordia University in St. Paul Minnesota with a B.A. in Mass Communication. He is a lifelong comicbook reader, a film fan and a hardcore video gamer. He also makes a lot of funny faces in pictures, much to his wife’s chagrin.