On November 17, less than a week after the comic book icon passed away November 12, Maher made a post titled Adulting. He 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.” After blaming the popularity of comic books for what Maher sees as society’s inability to deal with adulthood, he concludes his post by saying “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.”
Pow! Entertainment posted an open letter on their website expressing disgust with Maher’s comments. “To say that Stan merely inspired people to ‘watch a movie’ is in our opinion frankly disgusting.” The letter goes on to say that many readers learned valuable lessons from comic books, and that those lessons “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.” The letter closes with a message for Maher, one of Lee’s most well-known phrases. “With great power, there must also come— great responsibility!”
So far, Maher has not responded to the letter.
Read the full letter below.
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. 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. 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. 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!”