The world mourned this legendary person, continues to do so and probably will continue to mourn and celebrate his vision of modern day mythology.
Recently, the explosively divisive Bill Maher, best known for his irreverent commentary on hot topics ranging from social justice, politics, global crisis, ET AL, has made himself relevant again by smugly farting in his own wine glass. Bill Maher loves the smell of his own farts so much that he dared to touch the one subject that isn't a divisive political issue...Our love of heroes.
While I respect anyone's right to voice their opinion on anything, I too must take this opportunity to voice my own.
Bill Maher in his blog post regarding the mourning of Marvel Comic's creator, Stan Lee, went as follows:
I have long thought that what Bill Maher is lacking was creativity. Sure, he's got a show on HBO, a successful blog, and thousands of cynical followers who hang on to his every word as though he oozes brilliance and non-biased view points based in logic and reason only.
Truth is, he lost his spark a long time ago. Of course, that is my opinion. Bill Maher is entitled to his opinion as well, BUT....
The cynical nature of Mr. Maher is actually the reason why comic books/modern day mythos is so important and why it resonates with audiences ranging from 3 years old to 99 years old. l
In the ancient days of Greece, Egypt, Norway, Ireland, Africa, Meso-America people gathered around and spoke the stories of heroes who went against all odds to defeat something much greater than the mortal body they inhabited. They stood up for ideological subversion, broke the status quo, and were the Animus of We The People. These stories were spoken of and eventually became Archetypes.
An archetype is: A recurrent symbol or motif in literature, art, or mythology.
A symbol. Something intangible, an ideology, the essence of, embodiment, prototype, a representative to something abstract like an IDEAL.
Stan Lee was born during a time when the "little guy" stood up to Nazi Germany, Fascism, Ruthless Power hungry dictators, plagues of Tuberculosis, Influenza, the Great Depression, the Civil Rights Movements, Vietnam, JFK being assassinated by the powers that wanted to silence and subvert the truth...all the way to 2018 where it seems that all of these issues are very much on the front page of every newspaper across the world. Stan Lee knew that archetypes and stories were important for We The People. He knew that the best way to tell a story was with the several thousand year old method of the Hero Archetype, i.e. Mythology.
Stan Lee was obsessed with finding real people who encompassed strange or unusual super human abilities and launched a show called, "Stan Lee's Superhumans." This show was more than just a ratings boon, it was Stan Lee's secret wish that we BELIEVE in more than what we've been told we are capable of being.
"Marvel is a cornucopia of fantasy, a wild idea, a swashbuckling attitude, an escape from the humdrum and prosaic. It is a serendipitous feast for the mind, the eye, and the imagination, a literate celebration of unbridled creativity, coupled with a touch of rebellion and an insolent desire to spit in the eye of the Dragon." -Stan Lee
"I wanted them to be diverse. The whole underlying principle of the X-Men was trying to be an anti-bigotry story to show there's good in every person." -Stan Lee
Although Stan Lee often undercut his own genius, he was living a life of joy in his work. The joy that his work brought him is why he was very much aware and alive all the way up until he died on November 12th, 2018.
The reason Stan Lee matters is the same reason why Archetypes matter in our psyche. In times of challenges, we need a symbol of hope. We need to hope. We need the story of the broken down ego of Tony Stark and rebirth into Iron Man. We need the below average eager and underweight Steve Rogers' rejection into the unbeatable yet ego-less patriot who was made by nefarious military black projects yet remained true to his ideals. Thus proving in our consciousness that Capt. America was his name's sake because of his willpower which was motivated solely by his higher ideals of Freedom, Liberty and Justice for All. We need to see the warped thought processes of our enemies as well. Their distortions of power, their sense of right and wrong, and how they too are just broken fractured beings who made another choice- Service to Self instead of Service to Others.
If you went into a poverty stricken neighborhood right now and look at the children playing in the street, you would find a bunch of t-shirts with superhero logos on them. The kid from the hood needs to know that Luke Cage fights for what is right. The sick kid in the hospital with a bald head and a bed pan filled with the effects of his/her chemotherapy needs to know that Wolverine began his life as a feeble sick child who was expected to die any day. The little girl who gets molested by her family member behind closed doors needs a glimmer of hope to hang on to and may find the unleashed power of The Hulk to be her way of drumming up the courage to stop at nothing to destroy the abusive life she is being forced to live in.
As far as adults go... The soldiers who are thousands of miles away, wondering if they have a purpose anymore or questioning why they made the decisions they made need to see the story arc of the Punisher, Hawk-Eye, Falcon or Bucky.
Stan Lee knew this. He lived through this world's worst tragedies and biggest triumphs and he knew how to tell the story with unlikely heroes from all levels of society. The rejects, the PTSD soldiers, the rich philanthropist, the genius inventor, the silver spoon brilliant doctor, the abused mind controlled girl from communist Russia, the good neighborhood kid from Brooklyn who lost his parents, the rejects, orphans, the reformed inmate turning over a new leaf.... All of these are:
We The People.
The entire wave of popularity of Marvel's various franchises are not because they are just, "good movies," as Bill Maher would so simply state in his nihilistic rant about the mourning of Stan Lee's death.
So this next bit is directed to you Bill Maher....
It is because of the, "why is anything, anything," cynical smut that people like you have peddled out of the backdoor of your Nihilistic Van that has seeped into the consciousness of the world in the last twenty years that has been the catalyst for grown-ups wanting to escape into the hopeful mythos of the Super Hero. The clever little quote about how Donald Trump could only be elected in a society that reveres comic books as literature is the only interesting thing you said... But not for the reasons you think. You're right. Donald Trump, like him or hate him, is the unlikely vigilante that decided to pursue something at all odds. Love him or hate him, that mentality is how the kid from the ghetto dreams of being more than what he knows himself to be based on his surroundings. Politics aside, breaking the status quo of "who can become President" is why Barack Obama was voted in as well. We The People like the story of the underdog rising up to do the impossible against all odds.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek Original Series) that the most important thing she could do for the African American youth and women of the world was to continue her role as Lieutenant Uhura. "You don't need to march. You are marching. You are reflecting what we are fighting for." -Martin Luther King Jr. in response to Nichelle Nichols wanting to do something more "important."
Two decades later, the first African American woman became an astronaut because, "I thought it was possible after seeing Star Trek." (Astronaut Mae Jemison)
"When we see the impossible being possible, we reach beyond the stars." Gene Roddenberry, Creator of Star Trek
If everyone thought like Bill Maher, we wouldn't have anyone break the sound barrier, win Olympic gold medals without the use of their legs, become fighter pilots even though they were told they weren't smart enough, tall enough, or young enough. There would be no clean up of animals when oil spills ravage the wildlife, no fire fighters running into the infernos of California to contain something 4 stories tall that melts aluminum, no volunteers racing to save people and animals from the raging floods of hurricanes, no citizen journalists trying to find the truth against the secretive machine of propaganda, no scientists thinking, "what if we tried this instead" and saving the lives of millions with a new medical device... IF we all thought like Bill Maher, we would get up and drink ourselves back to sleep until the world ends... or we'd get a show on HBO that nobody cares about.
Point is... Stan Lee matters and those that think he matters, matter.