|—||Maggie on The Dark Knight Returns|
Here’s a remastered version of the old “Whores” comic that will be the one thing I will be remembered for long after I am dead. I gave Frank a new head. Back when I drew the first one, I found Google Images of him not wearing the Hat He Always Wears and drew him from those, and that was dumb of me. So, fixed.
It’s not replacing the version in the archives. This was done for the sake of the prints I sell at conventions. (Hence the logo up the side to help fill in the 8.5”xll” paper.) I’ll have some at SDCC this weekend. (Booth 1330ish!)
I love you, Wikipedia Fundraiser Time.
An informal sequel.
Frank Miller’s ‘Holy Terror’: A Propaganda Comic That Fights Faith Instead of Evil [Review]
By David Brothers
Frank Miller’s post-9/11 propaganda comic Holy Terror has been through a few changes. In 2006, it was announced as Holy Terror, Batman!, and was due to be a piece of DC comic that pitted Batman, one of the most popular comic book heroes ever, against Al-Qaeda, perpetrators of 9/11 as well as other terrorist attacks all around the world. Miller’s logic was that since Captain America and other heroes had punched out Hitler and killed Nazis during World War II, what we needed was a superhero to punch America’s new enemy in the face. Partway through the story, Miller realized that he’d “taken Batman as far as he can go,”and moved the story outside the DC Comics Universe. Batman became The Fixer, Dirty Harry in a costume, and the character who had been Catwoman became Natalie Stack, a cat burglar. Holy Terror is out this week, after five years of waiting and it’s… complicated.
Holy Terror is tough for me to wrap my head around, because propaganda is a tricky beast. It requires convincing everyone of the righteousness of your country’s cause, turning your enemy into something other than you, and simplifying matters to an almost absurd level. In World War II, propaganda was easy. There was a clear enemy, notably the Nazis, who had committed clearly hateful crimes. And even then, the otherizing aspect of propaganda gave rise to a metric ton of racism and bigotry, which was nonetheless seen as justified or even acceptable in the face of the atrocities that had been committed.
So, a propaganda piece about Al-Qaeda, an entity that is fractured and spread all over the world, is a strange and possibly (probably) terrible thing. The conversation about terrorism and Al-Qaeda in the United States has too often drifted into a critique, or worse, of Islam itself. How do you define your villains as being Al-Qaeda first and Muslims second? Their beliefs are an integral part of their motivations and actions, but they don’t represent Islam as a whole. Is it possible to walk that fine line without being offensive?
I think that Al-Qaeda is as worthy of being fictionalized and turned into a comic book villain as any other real-life entity, but there’s a very fine line to walk there. Without care, you run the risk of portraying Al-Qaeda not as a radical Islamist terrorist organization, but as representative of Muslims as a whole, a factually incorrect position. I personally benefitted greatly from the guidance or teachings of Muslim men and women as I grew up, so I’m always wary of conversations that are framed as “Us versus Them,” where “Us” is a nebulous notion of “Americans” and “Them” equates to “Muslims,” because that is a false divide.
At the same time, I’ve enjoyed Frank Miller’s work on several different levels ever since I was a child. There’s a part of me that’s inclined to give him a break, to believe that one of my favorite cartoonists of all time couldn’t possibly be putting out what amounts to a hateful piece of propaganda.
But: The Fixer is openly bigoted towards Muslims; torture is portrayed as something that is thrilling; Islam is explicitly and exclusively depicted as something out of the Dark Ages, and the word “Al-Qaeda” isn’t mentioned until something like eighty-five pages in. As a result, the enemy in Holy Terror is not so much the terrorist organization, Al-Qaeda, but the religion of Islam. Miller fuels the fire when he portrays an ex-Mossad agent, David, as an ally and galvanizing force for The Fixer. David has a blue Star of David tattooed on his face. That was around the point where I wanted to put the book down forever and pretend like it never happened, to be perfectly frank.