HBO late-night host Bill Maher came under fire this weekend after suggesting that America’s fondness for the late Stan Lee’s “stupid” comic books is part of the reason why Donald Trump was elected president.
Lee, who died earlier this week at the age of 95, created iconic comic book characters including Spider-Man, the Hulk, and the X-Men, while also helping to re-invent characters Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and other signature characters for Marvel’s main rival DC Comics.
In a blog post published on his website Saturday, Maher wrote: “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.”
“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,” Maher continued.
“The problem is, we’re using our 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,” the comedian wrote.
Maher’s comments drew immediate ire from comic book fans and writers alike, with cartoonist Greg Capullo and writer G. Willow Wilson denouncing Maher’s analysis.
I never speak on topics I know little or nothing about. Why? I never want to be the fool. In other words, I don’t wanna make a Bill Maher out of myself. 🏻✏️🏻
— Greg Capullo (@GregCapullo) November 17, 2018
Bill Maher has done the impossible: gotten the entirety of comics fandom to agree on something
— G. Willow Wilson (@GWillowWilson) November 17, 2018
Other Twitter users also chimed in, accusing Maher of disrespecting Lee’s legacy, pointing out that Maher also played a cameo role in the 2013 film Iron Man 3.
Bill Maher dismissed an entire storytelling medium?
Wow. He's so highbrow.
His brow is so high, there's probably less room for a mind.
— Tom Taylor (@TomTaylorMade) November 17, 2018
Bill Maher’s trashy, pointless, and bitter sounding “blog post” is no shock. He makes a living off criticizing and trashing other people‘s work and lives. He’s a “comic” that people laugh at and agree with and then fancy themselves smart & progressive. You’re not. #RIPStanLee pic.twitter.com/2sBAVA6APR
— Jess Carlson (@jessjcarlson) November 17, 2018
People are shock that bill Maher attack grean man Stan Lee, not me he still hurt his neoliberal friend HRC lost worst politician, Bill is racist and many other thing
— kajaraj கஜராஜ் (@kajokc3513) November 18, 2018
I don't know and don't particularly care who Bill Maher is. I just know that anyone who pisses on people for mourning a man who helped make them happy is a titanic waste of space.
— Mack (@SgtPepper1001) November 17, 2018
Bill Maher sure didn’t mind taking that check to appear in Iron Man 3 tho pic.twitter.com/mixz8KGuRz
— Roy G. Biv (@reuelgomezbaez) November 17, 2018
Bill Maher has yet to respond publicly to the criticism.