By now most people have heard about Bill Maher’s attack on Stan Lee after the comic book writer’s demise, and have seen the response it fueled among Mr. Lee’s fans and millions of people around the world who appreciated Lee’s work. Why Bill Maher may have hated Stan Lee is puzzling to many. Stan Lee, along with Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, created comic characters that inspired hundreds of millions of ordinary people, and importantly, gave children encouragement to fight for law and order. They taught kids that breaking the law was wrong and inspired millions to be honest and law-abiding.
For that lifetime’s work, Stan Lee was rubbished by Bill Maher, who referred to him as, “The guy,” instead of by name. Maher waited until Stan died before attacking him, and his comment seemed hateful. I wondered what Stan Lee could have done to inspire such dislike, so I looked briefly online into both men’s backgrounds. I will explain what I found as I answer Bill directly, in this open reply to his blog.
*Caveat – I am merely pointing to facts available online, and asking questions; not making allegations.
Bill Maher’s Blog entry ‘Adulting’, answered by Rob Larrikin
Maher: The guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning.
Maher: Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess.
Stan Lee inspired children, and later, adults, to fight for the rule of law. Mr. Lee achieved something that few schools could or would accomplish. He gave kids a tremendous interest in being just and fighting crime. As a generation of kids grew up, Lee moved into movies and changed the script accordingly, but continued the same promotion of justice. Spider-Man would still deliver the bad guys to the police.
Maher: 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.
Did the Reddit user say Stan Lee was the ONLY thing he was grateful for? Do you have a problem with English? Do you think that when a person says he is grateful for his job, it means he is not grateful for anything else?
According to Wikipedia, your mother’s family was Hungarian, and your dad was an Irish-American Roman Catholic. Did he support the IRA? Bloomberg quotes you as saying, “Selling pot allowed me to get through college and make enough money to start off in comedy.”
Wikipedia says you grew up and went to high school in New Jersey, an hour’s drive from New York City. You said you sold marijuana to get you through college, so would you have started selling it while still in high school, in New Jersey?
In the 1970’s people who sold marijuana were called ‘pushers.’ Here’s Steppenwolf’s version of Hoyt Axton’s ‘The Pusher’ from 1968. Here is another by Curtis Mayfield called Pusherman, recorded in 1972. You may remember that in the 70’s, most pushers sold more than one drug. If a dealer sold weed, they often also sold LSD, heroin, and various pills. Did your supplier ask you to sell those too? When you were interviewed by Bloomberg, did you say you sold marijuana but leave out harder drugs? Or was it really just the one drug?
Stan Lee used his comics to teach kids that drugs were dangerous, and that pushers were evil. In this Google Book search we find that in Amazing Spider-Man #98 (July 1971), Spider-Man pulverizes a pusher. Quote:
“…as Harry is taken to the hospital and *Peter catches up to his pusher (meeting him in an alley, he pulverizes him).”
[*Peter Parker is Spider-Man]
Read more on that link, going back a few pages, to see that Stan Lee was heavily involved in fighting drugs and pushers using Spider-Man, to the point where he had to fight government bureaucrats for the right to do so. That was in 1971, in New York, Bill. You were fifteen and a half, and an hour’s drive north.
You said you were a pusher, and most of them called the police ‘pigs’ or ‘narcs.’ They were often long-haired, bearded, and smelly if my memory serves me right. Would that describe you in the following years?
Stan Lee’s Spider-Man worked with the police and delivered pushers to them after beating them up. He was famous at that stage. This 1975 New York article says, ‘In a span of 30 years, Lee wrote no fewer than two complete comic magazines a week. Today he publishes 130 magazines, 85 of which are comics. He also produces movie, television, fan, confession and men’s magazines. “But our hero is Spidey,” said Lee, a bright, humorous man who makes his home in New York.’
I assume that being in that part of New York, so close to Stan Lee at that time in the ’70s, you would have been familiar with him when you were pushing drugs, Bill. Would I be correct in guessing that like most pushers, you hated the cops? Would I be right to think you probably hated Stan Lee and Spider-Man? Is this why Bill Maher may have hated Stan Lee? If you had criticized him while he was alive, would he have pointed out your past and that all pushers at the time hated him? Is that why you did not debunk him until after he died?
Maher: Now, I have nothing against comic books – I read them now and then when I was a kid and I was all out of Hardy Boys. But the assumption everyone had back then, both the adults and the kids, was that comics were for kids, and when you grew up you moved on to big-boy books without the pictures.
Without the pictures? But Bill, does your work not depend on pictures? Or have you forgotten you are filmed in high definition NTSC video at 23.976 frames per second? Each one of those frames is a picture, Bill.
Maher: 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. And because America has over 4,500 colleges – which means we need more professors than we have smart people – some dumb people got to be professors by writing theses with titles like Otherness and Heterodoxy in the Silver Surfer. And now when adults are forced to do grown-up things like buy auto insurance, they call it “adulting,” and act like it’s some giant struggle.
None of that has anything to do with Stan Lee. It has plenty to do with the Democrats though Bill – the people you support. They have been working hard for decades to change universities into propaganda factories, and those factories now pump out mindless Socialist NPCs by the million. You support them jubilantly.
Maher: I’m not saying we’ve necessarily gotten stupider. The average Joe is smarter in a lot of ways than he was in, say, the 1940s, when a big night out was a Three Stooges short and a Carmen Miranda musical.
You would be wrong about that too, Bill. Colleges and liberal media have dumbed down the population to the point where people don’t even know a triangle has three sides. YouTube it.
Maher: 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.
Comic books are important, but the question is how important Bill? Are they as significant as the lives of millions – like those who died in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics? No. Are they as significant as the millions of lives lost in famines caused by Communist Mao Zedong? No. Or the millions gassed by National Socialist Hitler? No. Are they as important as the drugs kids took before dying of overdoses? Actually, they are far better for society than those drugs you bought and pushed. Were they as important as the communist propaganda taught in schools today? Yes, they were far more constructive to society than mindless propaganda.
Wake up, Bill. You’re better than this. I can gauge your intelligence, and in my opinion, you have a better brain than John Oliver or Stephen Colbert. Learn to use it before you end up at the bottom of the barrel with them. Then you can all get stoned and laugh about why Bill Maher may have hated Stan Lee.