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Batman Takes on al Qaeda
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Famed graphic novelist/illustrator Frank Miller is joining the Cartoon Wars. He announced his plans at the WonderCon comic book conference yesterday. Yes!

During his WonderCon panel, Frank Miller discussed his next graphic novel. Once again, Miller returns to the world of the Batman, this time with Holy Terror, Batman!. Though the title plays with Robin’s classic catchphrase, the book deals with a serious subject. Gotham has been attacked by Al Qaeda and Batman sets out to defend the city he loves. The book, which Miller has inked through 120 pages, is expected to run roughly 200 pages total.

Miller proudly announced the title of his next Batman book, which he will write, draw and ink. Holy Terror, Batman! is no joke. And Miller doesn’t hold back on the true purpose of the book, calling it “a piece of prop[a]ganda,” where ‘Batman kicks al Qaeda’s ass.”

The reason for this work, Miller said, was “an explosion from my gut reaction of what’s happening now.” He can’t stand entertainers who lack the moxy of their ’40s counterparts who stood up to Hitler. Holy Terror is “a reminder to people who seem to have forgotten who we’re up against.”

It’s been a long time since heroes were used in comics as pure propaganda. As Miller reminded, “Superman punched out Hitler. So did Captain America. That’s one of the things they’re there for.”

“These are our folk heroes,” Miller said. “It just seems silly to chase around the Riddler when you’ve got Al Qaeda out there.”


Reader Scott e-mails:

Oddly, Miller’s hugely influential reworking of the Batman mythos in the 80’s (to a darker, grittier, quasi-vigilante Batman) was intended to be a skewering of the (in Miller’s eyes) crazed right-wing fundamentalist police-state Reagan era. For example, Superman was always portrayed as a simple-minded Boy Scout duped into committing war crimes for a warmongering, jingoistic America. But Miller did such a good job of attacking leftish pacifism that his work came across as an endorsement of the tough-on-crime, tough-on-commies attitude. Especially the tough on crime part.

Everything I’ve read from Miller indicated that his personal politics were very leftish and he intended his work to have strong political overtones, although I never understood what he stood for in such brutally graphic works like Sin City, so I think his politics were more a post-hoc justification.

I don’t doubt he is genuinely angry at Al-Qaeda types. I know he always considered right-wing religious fundamentalists his big enemies. Unlike many on the left apparently he’s shown the intellectual consistency to realize the Islamists are a much bigger threat to his life and art. Good for him.

Pat at Brainster’s Blog, who has followed Miller’s work closely, weighs in.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Ideology