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It has been a little over a week since Stan Lee, the face of Marvel, passed away at the age of 95. Fans and comic book lovers are still mourning the death of the famous media personality, looking back on his indelible, decades-long legacy and remembering all his iconic pop culture creations and the wide-spanning impact he made on the world -- for people of all ages. But there are a few people who aren't so warm-hearted on the late celebrity.
Namely, Bill Maher earned quite a bit of controversy for his condescending thoughts on the nature of comic book culture, mainly in adults. His unpopular thoughts received a great deal of ire on social media, claiming he is belittling a man who had a huge impact on the everyday lives of many comic appreciators. Now, Maher received a critical open letter from Stan Lee's representatives over what they deemed was "disgusting." They wrote:
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.
The open letter to Bill Maher from "Team Stan" is pointed, straightforward and dismayed. But it also extends a metaphorical hand across the table, hoping that the veteran HBO television personality will learn the error of his ways. The letter seems to highlight why so many people praised and adored Stan Lee's licensed characters beyond their childhoods and away from the mega-blockbuster films inspired by his comic book creations.
Later in the public letter, the representatives behind the late Stan Lee's estate harken back to two of the man's greatest quotes in their closing address.
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!'
This is not the first time Bill Maher has found himself in hot water for saying something that other deemed offensive.The outspoken television personality has practically built his brand on being very critical and highly opinionated in his cultural and political beliefs. But some people believe he stepped over the line this time, with the current controversy coming from a blog post published on his official Real Time website called "Adulting."
By commenting about Stan Lee's death and the impact it had on the fandom, Bill Maher is seemingly making a ton of enemies. The comic book fandom is especially intense and devoted, and Marvel's impact on pop culture has never been larger. It should be interesting to see if the host addresses it on the newest episode of Real Time. Maher hasn't addressed the controversy yet, and it's currently unclear if he'll actually discuss the taboo matter, or wait until the fire dies down.
We'll keep you posted if Bill Maher responds to the open letter from Stan Lee's team. Meanwhile, Maher isn't the only celebrity who has gotten himself in trouble for speaking out-of-turn about Stan Lee's passing. Armie Hammer issued a critical tweet lamenting selfie culture when it comes to posting pictures of oneself alongside the late comic book creator. Hammer later apologized for his comments, admitting that what he said was disrespectful.