Welcome back to all my wonderful kitten followers. Today I want to focus my rant on something that has made a positive experience in my life as well as been a positive experience in many other kids and adults lives. In truth, what I am talking about touches millions of people every week and can teach us all a lot. In fact, as you can tell by the title we have a whole review section dedicated to it and that’s Comic Books and in this little gripe session, I plan on making a case for Comic Books and why Bill Maher should just Shut the F*%k Up!
Now if you don’t watch Bill Maher or have just been under a rock for a while, you may not know why I am even bringing him up in the same breath as Comic Books because the type of Comic he is supposed to be is the “ha ha funny” type not the funny pages or graphic novel type. So, what has happened to clue people in is that Bill Maher had a few unflattering things to say about the comic book industry right after the passing of the great Stan Lee. The death of this legend shocked millions and the entire geek community went into mourning and even millions of people who don’t consider themselves as geeks felt our pain and shared it. Then we had the dip weed named Bill Maher who came out and said:
“Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess.”
Followed in the same blog was the comment;
“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.”
This was also said;
“A culture that thinks that comic books and comic book movies are profound meditations on the human condition is a dumb fucking culture”
So we can see if we’re comic fans that Bill Maher is obviously uneducated about comic books and what they represent to many. He is also woefully ignorant about the stories that can be told through this medium. Comic fans sent up an immediate backlash against Maher which prompted him to say that such a backlash only proved his point. Obviously, he didn’t listen to what was being said, which seems to be a normal thing for him from what I have seen. When he sets his mind on something he can be very much close-minded to everything else and tends to attack it in his little monologues and blogs which he thinks are witty and edgy. While I admit he has made some points I agree with on the few occasions I have watched one of his shows, I also have read some pretty reprehensible things he has said as well and, honestly, I can’t condone him belittling such a great man as Stan Lee and his legacy when Maher is just proving himself ignorant of reality. Unfortunately, Bill Maher loves his fricken spotlight and has recently commented again with;
“Bragging that you’re all about the Marvel Universe is like boasting that your mother still pins your mittens to your sleeve”
He continued in his usual acidic way;
“You can, if you want, like the exact same things you liked when you were 10,…., 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.”
Now here’s the deal, there is a huge reason Geek Culture has not only survived through the torments of high school but has indeed thrived to where we are now mainstream and no longer a marginalized minority like we used to be. Sure we still get picked on but honestly, gamers and geeks are the in thing right now and instead of being picked on now because we are Geeks and nerds we now get picked on because the Jocks wish they could be in on all the cool stuff like we are. The Jocks are even getting in on the geekiness now that they see movies that show how awesome superheroes are.
So Kevin posts a lot about comics, but I haven’t really touched on them yet. The reason really is because I know this is Kevin’s wheelhouse and the reason I know this is because Kevin got me hooked on comics back in the day when we were in high school together. Back in the day, I was a typical teen that didn’t like to read. It wasn’t cool, it wasn’t hip. I wanted to be part of the cool kids and as such, I gave up on things I could have enjoyed until Kevin started showing me some comics he had. The first ones I remember were the crossovers for X-Men, X-Factor and Fantastic Four and I believe it was New Mutants still back then. They had their annuals cross over and it was called “Days of Future Present” and it was a great story and I was hooked. Kevin showed me his collection and I was drawn to Hawk and Dove and the X-Men and Teen Titans the most. I got interested in reading and writing again because of comics. I got interested in Art thanks to comics as it opened new art styles I never really paid attention to before and I wished I could draw as well as these professionals. In fact, Kevin and I are both getting Udemy classes for Valentine’s Day from our partners so that we can try to learn how to draw our own characters from the Tri-World stories.
But besides being well thought out literature and art that has storylines that have lasted weekly longer than any show ever found on television you can look at comics and see huge life lessons in them. Bill Maher says that you can’t say comics are profound meditations on the human condition and I say that’s spoken like someone who has never picked up a comic book to read. So, I want to just list out some examples that I can think of off the top of my head as to some important life lessons that comics can teach us and these will be simple to see for anyone who has half a mind and can understand basic concepts. Maybe that’s why Bill Maher doesn’t seem to get it.
First, let’s look at the X franchises that have sprung up. From X-Men to X-Factor to New Mutants to X-Force the one thing that has always pervaded these books is racism. What, you say racism? Here? Yup just look at what the X-Men are, mutants, outsiders “hated and feared by a world they have vowed to protect”. Is it really too far from the truth of reality to see that the faction known as the Purifiers as little more than the KKK? We have a group of people who hate and fear mutants because of who they are and use their “religious” beliefs and fear-mongering to justify hunting down and killing mutants where they can. I mean honestly, the mutants in the X-Men are hunted for having powers and looking different. They are seen as not human and can you honestly say that this isn’t how the KKK viewed black people or that the purifiers use their “beliefs” in the same way as people like Kim Davis use their beliefs to work against the LGBTQ community? Any minority could see themselves in the mutant population of the Marvel Universe.
Moving on let’s look at say Spider-Man. His whole comic is about personal responsibility. Honestly, our politicians could take a cue from Spider-Man. The whole cat phrase of Peter Parker’s life once he became Spider-Man and lost his Uncle Ben was “With great power comes great responsibility.” This is something our politicians have forgotten as they tend to do things more for themselves than for the people they are supposed to represent. This is a lesson they need a refresher course in!
Let’s move on to Cloak and Dagger. That entire comic book series is a cautionary tale about drugs! I mean the two main characters get their powers by being kidnapped and forced to take illegal drugs that a company was testing out before trying to sell it on the street. This is a lesson many young people today need to hear!
Daredevil is one of several Marvel characters that is technically a disabled person since he is blind. There was a kid in the X-Factor/X-Terminators line of comics that was in a wheelchair, there’s another one from Avengers that I want to say is named Mirage or maybe Silhouette- I can’t remember off hand- who uses special shock baton crutches. These stories show that even if you’re disabled you can still be brave and you can still be a hero, which everyone with a disability needs to take to heart!
Back in the day, it used to be a bunch of straight white heroes but nowadays we have a lot more diversity in comics. The women aren’t just token heroes anymore but people who can go out and be true heroes and kick ass with the best of them like Black Widow and Phoenix. Spider-Woman is a single mom superhero. Kamala Khan has become the new Ms. Marvel and she’s an Inhuman that’s also a girl of Muslim faith and Indian descent though she is from New Jersey. Northstar, Ultimate Colossus, Iceman, Midnighter, and Apollo are all comic book characters that are Gay and represent the LGBTQ community as heroes. Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy are at least Bisexual and while they flip flop between hero and villain their love for each other shows the LGBTQ community in a good light. Miles Morales Spider-Man is half Latino and Half Black. Miguel O’Hara or Spiderman 2099 is at least half Latino. I could go on and on about the effect of representation in comics, but I think the way Black Panther has been influencing kids and adults alike is evidence enough that this is important to those being represented.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes for arguments for comics and, in fact, I could go on and on for pages and pages about this but I will spare you all of that. I think you get the point by now. Honestly though, are we as Geeks showing our support for what we enjoy really truly worth less than someone who gets dressed up and follows all of the sports they enjoy, or any number of other fandoms? Do we matter less because we collect toys and read books with pictures? Of course, we don’t so perhaps the one that needs to grow up here is Bill Maher. In fact, he should pick up the first 11 issues of the current X-Men Red comic or maybe go back and read the original Thunderbolts line or Dark Avengers or Secret Empire; maybe then he would start to understand what he’s missing out on and what an ass he truly is. However, I have a feeling he’ll never recognize either and that’s a shame…for him.
All you comic lovers, keep being you and keep reading. Reading brings us a deep love and special powers that no one can ever take away from us!