It’s been more than two months since Marvel Comics creator Stan Lee died at the age of 95 and Bill Maher wrote a blog response that used Lee’s death to trash comic book culture. But Maher decided to use Friday’s Real Time on HBO to triple down on his earlier comments and mock “adults thinking [comic books are] profound.”
“To every person on social media who’s asked me since November, ‘Bill, what do you have to say about Stan Lee?’ and every paparazzi outside a restaurant shouting at me, ‘Bill, what about the Stan Lee thing?,’ okay, your day has come,” he started the segment.
Maher clarified that his initial blog — in which he wrote America is in “deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess” — was “no way an attack on Mr. Lee but took the occasion of his death to express my dismay at people who think comic books are literature and superhero movies are great cinema and who in general are stuck in an everlasting childhood.”
“Bragging that you’re all about the Marvel universe is like boasting that your mother still pins your mittens to your sleeve,” he continued.
“You can, if you want, like the exact same things you liked when you were 10,” Maher added, “but if you do, you need to grow up. That was the point of my blog. I’m not glad Stan Lee is dead. I’m sad you’re alive.”
The host took specific aim at Kevin Smith, who blasted Maher after his Lee comments. “Again, my shot wasn’t at Stan Lee,” Maher reiterated, “it was at, you know, grown men who still dress like kids.”
In response, Smith tweeted, “No, I’m not mad at all. Bill may talk tough but he’s a stoner like me and a real pussycat when confronted.” He then shared a video clip of Smith confronting Maher about a time he joked about Smith’s weight.
Ramping up his segment, Maher asked, “Can we stop pretending like the writing in comic books is so good? Oh please, every superhero movie is the same thing: a person who doesn’t have powers gets them, has to figure out how they work, and then has to find a glowy thing.”
“And, again, there is nothing wrong with a man writing comic books,” he said. “There is something wrong with adults thinking they’re profound.”