Bill Maher drew flak from social media users with a recent blog post, where he commented on the death of Marvel Comics co-founder Stan Lee and took shots at how today’s people continue to enjoy comic books into adulthood. He also suggested that the election of President Donald Trump would have only been possible in a country where comics are an “important” part of everyday life.
In a post published Friday on the Real Time with Bill Maher Blog, the outspoken television personality discussed Lee’s death earlier this week at the age of 95 and how many people took to social media to eulogize the Marvel icon’s passing and remember his contributions to pop culture. While Maher stressed that he isn’t against the concept of comic books and admitted that he did read them on occasion during his childhood, he added that most people believed back then that comics were something people outgrew once they reached a certain age and moved on to “big-boy books without the pictures.”
“But then 20 years or so ago, something happened – adults decided they didn’t have to give up kid stuff,” Maher continued.
“And so they pretended comic books were actually sophisticated literature. And because America has over 4,500 colleges – which means we need more professors than we have smart people – some dumb people got to be professors by writing theses with titles like Otherness and Heterodoxy in the Silver Surfer.”
After complaining about how modern-day adults refer to typical “grown-up” tasks such as buying car insurance as “adulting” and act as if it’s a very hard thing for them to do, Bill Maher clarified that he wasn’t trying to say that comic books have dumbed the world down. He explained that people are, in general, smarter today than they were several decades ago, but added that the issue with today’s society is that people “[use their] smarts on stupid stuff.”
“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,” Maher concluded.
As documented by Hot New Hip Hop, Twitter users quickly pounced on Bill Maher after he posted his blog entry on Stan Lee’s death, as the Real Time host was criticized as being “ignorant” and for assuming that today’s comic books are as child-oriented as the ones he might have enjoyed in his youth. One user pointed out how Maher, despite his criticism of the popularity of comics and comic book-inspired content among today’s adults, had a cameo role in Iron Man 3, and “didn’t mind taking [the] check” to appear in the 2013 Marvel Studios film.
Similarly, Comic Book reacted to Maher’s blog post by referencing one of Stan Lee’s “Soapbox” editorials from 1968, where he publicly took a stand against bigotry and racism, as well as a similar message he shared in a video from 2017. The publication also mentioned how “modern-day” comics have often included relatively mature, intelligent, and socially relevant themes, contrary to what Maher appeared to be complaining about in his post.