Stan Lee’s team at POW! Entertainment shared an open letter in response to the comments made by Bill Maher about the people mourning the death of co-creator of such Marvel comics as Spider-Man and The Black Panther. In a blog post titled "Adulting," the comic summed up Lee’s legacy as someone who inspired individuals to “watch a movie.”
“The guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning,” Maher wrote. “Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess. Someone on Reddit posted, ‘I’m so incredibly grateful I lived in a world that included Stan Lee.’ Personally, I’m grateful I lived in a world that included oxygen and trees, but to each his own.”
While there are other remarks made by Maher about comic book fans that were equally idiotic, it was this excerpt from the late-night host that POW! Entertainment felt warranted a response. “Comic books, like all literature, are storytelling devices. When written well by great creators such as Stan Lee, they make us feel, make us think and teach us lessons that hopefully make us better human beings,” his team fired back. “To say that Stan merely inspired people to ‘watch a movie’ is in our opinion frankly disgusting. Countless people can attest to how Stan inspired them to read, taught them that the world is not made up of absolutes, that heroes can have flaws and even villains can show humanity within their souls.”
What also makes Maher’s remarks so disturbing is that he could greatly diminish Lee’s life work to getting people to watch a movie, and ignore the impact he made on the lives of many people growing up. When there wasn’t a book engaging enough to grab their attention, young people were inspired to read at a young age thanks to Marvel comics. They were taught important values, such as equality and kindness towards others, through these stories. If Maher wants to diminish someone's work to a selective moment in history, maybe we should consider him to be the comic who tried to incorporate the N-word in his comedy only to issue an apology, calling his poorly-received joke a "comedian’s mistake."