I try not to respond to foolishness. But sometimes, when the moment is right and I have the time, I like to respond to foolishness. Today is one of those times.
Yesterday, Bill Maher decided to write about the alleged insignificance of comic books and his perception of those who read comic books or watch animated movies and/or comic book movies.
The title of said piece is “Adulting”. Maher goes on to talk quite disparagingly against those of us who mourned the passing of Stan Lee. Bear in mind this is just days after his passing. And to that I can only say, kidding. As in, Bill Maher must be kidding, joking, our of his mind. Also, Bill Maher is not “adulting” at all in this moment he has to be kidding i.e. acting like a child.
So before I – as a person who enjoyed my fair share of animated television shows when I was young and who also enjoys the MCU, and to my own detriment the DCEU – respond in a way that is nonsensical, let me remind Mr. Maher of the impact of one Stan Lee and the importance of his, and other creators’, work.
Long before most kids could wrap their heads around the concept of civil rights and racism and the ills related to people hating and fearing what they didn’t know or understand, X-Men quite boldly navigated the waters and introduced kids to the concept of tolerance.
Beyond race, it also showed generations that being different did not mean that you deserved to be treated unfairly, ostracized or generally held in contempt by those around you.
Is that childish drivel Mr. Maher?
A story about a group of four friends who became accidental heroes. A story about people thrust into a position to save others, to save the world, but also not totally want the responsibility. A story about how while three of the accidental heroes could still mostly live a normal life, one had to struggle with a physical appearance that basically made him an outcast.
Oh right, that’s just child’s play. Right Mr. Maher?
How does one balance being a broke teenager/young adult and navigating the world while trying to discover who you are and what you are meant to be with being a hero responsible for keeping your city safe. As Javon put it he had to balance the regular regimen of everyday life against carrying the weight of a society.
Money and violence are no cure for mental health.
Oh and not important works of literature? Batman Year One was labeled as required reading on Times top 100 best works of fiction.
How do you cope with feeling alone when surrounded and loved by a world full of people?
You can balance having empathy and being human while pursuing law and justice.
Good people, heroes even, can struggle with alcoholism and other such challenges.
Wrap it up
Listen, I’m not saying Bill Maher has to like comic books. I’m not saying he has to like Stan Lee. What I am saying is that a little respect wouldn’t hurt.
Comic books, like most forms of entertainment, exist to provide an escape to the craziness of the world we live in. Comics, like most forms of entertainment, can often shine a light into some of the dark places of the world and show people a better way.
So no, Mr. Maher has to be kidding. Either that or he has stupidly made himself the arch nemesis of many a comic book fan the world over.
Don’t come for us Bill, we didn’t send for you. Even more so, don’t come for us while we mourn over the loss of one of the pillars of the comic book world.
To the rest of us, the comic book fans, I leave you with this…