How Bill Maher Insulted Stan Lee’s Legacy

After Stan Lee’s death on November 12, 2018, fans of his work poured out their love and appreciation for the iconic legend on social media. But not everyone seemed to think his life’s work was worth celebrating.

Shortly following the outpouring of love and gratitude toward Stan Lee, television host and political commentator Bill Maher added his own comments to the mix. But he used his platform to make some generalizations the Spider-Man creator most definitely would not have approved of.

Did Maher ever apologize for his comments? Read on to find out the result of his interview with Larry King.

What did Bill Maher really say about Stan Lee?

Stan Lee

Stan Lee | Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Maher’s comments weren’t directly aimed at Stan Lee — he didn’t outright insult him (even he wouldn’t dare curse a god). But they certainly don’t compliment the mark he left on the world, and that’s why his three-paragraph post basically went viral.

In a blog post titled “Adulting,” Maher portrays Stan Lee’s legacy as little more than a decades-long glorification of escapism.

He wrote: “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.”

He went on to compare the popularity of superhero movies and the comics they’re based on to modern adults’ refusal to grow up and function in the real world.

The backlash was immediate and free-flowing, of course. And like most celebrities whose controversial comments on a trending topic backfire, Maher responded to the reactions to his post. Notice I said “responded to,” not “apologized for.”

Did Bill Maher apologize for his comments about Stan Lee?

Maher’s comments didn’t just insult Stan Lee’s legacy. They were deliberately aimed at every one of his fans, young and old, who took to platforms like Reddit and Twitter to express their gratitude toward Stan and the stories he helped share with the world.

When given the opportunity to apologize to those people, Maher failed miserably.

In an interview with Larry King, he clarified his earlier comments. “What I was saying is,” he said, “a culture that thinks that comic books and comic book movies are profound meditations on the human condition is a dumb (explicit) culture. And for people to get mad at that just proves my point.”

Think things couldn’t get any worse? Think again.

Unfortunately, King made the mistake of bringing politics into the discussion, and Maher fell right into the trap, 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.”

That doesn’t sound like an apology — nor does it sound like he regrets his comments. Which is sad, if you think about how Stan might have reacted to hearing them — if Maher had even dared to make such a big deal out of the whole thing while the legend was still alive and well.