Members of Stan Lee’s team at POW Entertainment slammed comments made by comedian Bill Maher over the weekend, where he said America’s obsession with Lee’s “stupid” comic books led to Donald Trump’s election.
Lee, who passed away last week aged 95, created classic comic book characters such as Spider-Man, the Hulk, and the X-Men. In a commentary posted on his website Saturday, Bill Maher claimed it wasn’t a “huge stretch to suggest that Donald Trump could only get elected in a country that thinks comic books are important.”
“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. 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. The problem is, we’re using our smarts on stupid stuff.”
The remarks drew anger from comic book fans and Maher supporters alike, many of whom called his comments disrespectful, while also pointing to Maher’s cameo role in Lee’s movie Iron Man 3.
On Monday, members of Lee’s team at POW! Entertainment also penned an open letter to Maher condemning his “frankly disgusting” remarks.
“Mr. Maher: 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,” the letter read. “One lesson Stan taught so many of us was tolerance and respect, and thanks to that message, we are grateful that we can say you have a right to your opinion that comics are childish and unsophisticated.”
The letter continued:
But 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. He gave us the X-Men, Black Panther, Spider-Man and many other heroes and stories that offered hope to those 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. Stan is the author of millions of happy childhood memories and the provider of so many of the positive tools of adulthood.
Our shock at your comments makes us want to say “‘Nuff said, Bill,” but instead we will rely on another of Stan’s lessons to remind you that you have a powerful platform, so please remember: “With great power there must also come — great responsibility!”
The HBO host has yet to publicly comment on the controversy.