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During my six years, on and off, of comics linkblogging, I’ve come to loathe certain times of year: the week before a major holiday, when the industry all but shuts down; the week before Comic-Con, when publishers hold tight to anything resembling news; and April Fool’s Day, when the Internet is even less trustworthy than usual.
That last one — which, as I’m sure you realize by now, is today — typically involves mildly amusing, if not altogether believable, reports about minor websites being purchased by major corporations, out-of-left-field directors signing on for big movies, and so on. Occasionally a post is plausible enough to fall for, and then feel silly about later. But usually they’re just annoying.
Every once in a while, though, there’s an April Fool’s “joke” that rockets past “annoying” and lands squarely in the category of “poor taste” or “WTF were they thinking?”
Take, for instance, this post: It’s a fake obituary — a faux-bit, if you will — for 87-year-old comics legend Stan Lee. Headlined “IN MEMORIAM: Stan Lee,” it contained, at least initially, a photo of Smilin’ Stan above the dates 1922-2010. The brief post went on to list some of Lee’s accomplishments and noted “that an upcoming episode of The Big Bang Theory which may be his last television performance ever.”
I’m hesitant to call out another blog, but it’s poor form, and not even remotely funny. When someone pointed that out in the comments, a blog contributor responded, “What? That we want to honor Stan Lee?” Ah, yes. Honoring Stan Lee.
Edits have been made to the original post, removing the date of death from the photo caption, and dropping a reference in the text to “sad news,” making me think someone realized a line had been crossed. It’s a little more difficult to scrub the post title/epitaph, though.
Stan Lee, to the best of my knowledge, remains hale and hearty, and appears more energetic than many half his age. What’s more, his Twitter feed is far more entertaining than any April Fool’s “joke.”
Update: The post has been deleted from the blog. In the comments section of our post, a Big Shiny Robot contributor writes, in part: “I want to apologize for this. Our execution was clumsy and we though it could have been funny, but we’d clearly crossed a line. We tried to keep it so that we didn’t actually say anything in the article that implied anything, but we were trying to be clever with the format. … It didn’t work. We’re sorry if this caused anyone more than the standard April Fool’s day distress.”