Author and comic book writer Stan Lee's company, Purveyor Of Wonder—POW! Entertainment, has responded to Bill Maher's comments after the passing of Lee and the way his fans have responded to it. This included Maher's opinions of the late Marvel Comics editor and publisher as well as his contributions to the art.
"The guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning. Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don't know, watch a movie, I guess," wrote Maher in his blog that accompanies his political talk show.
"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."
"But then twenty years or so ago, something happened – adults decided they didn't have to give up kid stuff. And so they pretended comic books were actually sophisticated literature," he wrote, speaking directly about people who watch, read and enjoy comic-related entertainment.
He, in fact, goes as far to claim that the current political scenario in the US and the leadership seated in the White House can somehow be traced back to comic books. "I'm not saying we've necessarily gotten stupider," he continues, comparing the average person in the 1940s to today.
"The problem is," he continues, "...we're using our smarts on stupid stuff [reading comics and watching their movies]. 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."
What he is insinuating here is up for the reader to unpack. His full post ends with the above statement.
These words by Maher already kicked up a lot of controversies among the movie-watching public as well as the long term fans of Lee's work. Also, the statement put out by POW! was quite strongly worded.
Directly addressed to Maher, it starts off by saying that, "Comic books, like all literature, are storytelling devices."
"... we are grateful that we can say you have a right to your opinion that comics are childish and unsophisticated. Many said the same about Dickens, Steinbeck, Melville and even Shakespeare."
"But to say that Stan merely inspired people to "watch a movie" is in our opinion frankly disgusting."
The statement goes on to speak of how Stan Lee inspired countless people to read, reaching them that the world is not made up of absolutes. Lee created the X-Men, Black Panther, Spider-Man and several heroes and their stories offered, "hope to people who felt different and bullied while inspiring countless to be creative and dream of great things to come."
"These are but a few of the things we the fans of Stan Lee also consider "adulting," because life both as a child and grown-up can indeed be a struggle," read the letter. This is a direct contradiction to Maher's comments about grown ups complaining that even normal tasks like filing insurance is adulting, in fact his blog's title was "Adulting"
The post concluded by reminding Maher that, "you have a powerful platform, so please remember: "With great power there must also come—great responsibility!""