Robot 6

There’s nothing funnier than a fake obituary for an 87-year-old man, right? [Updated]

Stan Lee responds

Stan Lee responds

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.”

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Comments

12 Comments

Take it easy, Margret.

That’s in such poor taste I got ill reading about it.

Cole Moore Odell

April 1, 2010 at 12:25 pm

April Fool’s Day: Christmas for assholes

yeah, who cares.

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.

I hope this doesn’t turn any of you off of our site.

I didn’t know your site existed before, and I’ll never visit now. Sorry, Charlie.

Sorry, Justin. I hope you can change your mind at some point, we really do have a lot to offer. I’d show you, but our front page has been “April Fool’s'd”…

Hopefully some day you can give us another chance.

Simon DelMonte

April 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Make my robot six and not shiny!

Forgive me for saying so, but really? People are mad about this? Whether or not you found the gag funny, turn down the pseudo-righteous indignation. It’s not like this actually shortened Stan Lee’s life. It’s not like his friends or family members were fooled. It’s not like anyone canceled his credit cards. Let Stan fight his own battles and save the moral outrage for real problems.

Yeah, it was kinda poor taste, but jesse is spot-on. Save the righteous indignation for something that matters.

i guess for me, April Fool’s gags are kind of like Onion articles. There should be an air of believability about it that you can easily see through if you think about it for five seconds. What made this one not work and seem kind of cruel is that it’s not unbelievable that we will see a real Stan Lee obit in the not-too-distant future.

My guess is family members weren’t fooled, but it’s entirely probable that people who consider themselves friends of Stan, former collaborators and people who don’t talk to him on a regular basis, would have a moment of panic seeing that.

So is the righteous indignation too much? Yeah, sure. Was the fake obit a dick move? Definitely.

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