Should 'Holy Terror' Have Been A Batman Story?

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Posted by No_Name_ (17403 posts) - - Show Bio

I feel like we just got through discussing the influences of politics on comic books and whether or not it's something that we, as readers generally want to see in our books -- and then we got our hands on a copy of Frank Miller's latest work, 'Holy Terror.'

If you're unfamiliar with Miller's latest project, then allow us to fill you in. In 2006 Frank Miller proposed 'Holy Terror' before DC Comics as 'Holy Terror, Batman!' which was supposed to set Batman up against a group of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists after witnessing and being exposed to several terrorist attacks first-hand. Halfway through Miller's 'Holy Terror,' the writer/director decided that he didn't want his book to be a Batman story.

The book we have today which was released at around the time of September 11th's ten year anniversary features 'The Fixer,' a fictional character loosely based on the interpretations of Miller's Batman. His side-kick is Natalie Stack, a cat burgler. Sound familiar? It should. Dan Donegal is Captain on the police force who sounds and looks a lot like Commissioner Gordon, too. But what was the reason why Miller decided to steer away from Batman? Why isn't this a Batman story, and is that a good thing? Is this a book Batman fans would be happy to keep separate from Bruce Wayne's continuity?

== TEASER ==

I would agree with Frank Miller when he claimed that this book is a piece of propaganda. Would I call it patriotic? To an extent, but not entirely. Pitting a masked vigilante (a fictional concept) against a group of terrorists who are literally real, and actually terrorize and murder people is something difficult to wrap ones head around, but it's not entirely different than the scenes we've seen of Captain America fighting the Nazi's from Marvel's WWII era comics. The same sort of "patriotic propaganda" was utilized in those instances.

This graphic novel is not bad if you keep in mind that you are reading a piece of fictional propaganda. However, amid the interesting concepts, and Miller's gritty art and poetic writing style, this is still an incredibly offensive piece of literature; if for the sole fact that Miller basically disregards the millions of people who are Muslim that aren't terrorist and do not co-sign to a murderous, terrorist ideology.

There are things I really enjoyed about the book; primarily Miller's use of limited language. He's a minimalist who uses as few words as possible. There are moments in the book where you can feel this anger and pain that Miller must have channeled when he wrote this book; something reinforced when Miller alludes to various political pundits. The full page image alluding to Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl who was beheaded in 2002 is shocking, powerful and ultimately very effective.

The biggest problem with the book is that Miller lumps all Muslims into one category, generalizing them all as terrorists. He fails to recognize that there is a great population of devout Muslims who live peacefully, and that they are the majority. Making the terrorist hide-out a Mosque? That was pretty bold and more than a little bit offensive.

This is an example where separating real events is important to story-telling; particularly when it involves a main stream character like Batman. There's a certain stigma that carries with the character once a writer attaches his or her beliefs or opinions to the character. Just like that one time Hank Pym struck Janet Van Dyne (and has never been able to live it down); I have to wonder if Batman would be looked at differently for going on a shooting spree. Aside from the more obvious differences (Batman does use guns and he would never admit to falling in love), I'm not sure I would want a Batman comic to directly deal with these types of issues period; I just don't think that it's necessary. I don't know if that perspective should be associated with Batman's character.

Frank Miller has stated that 'Holy Terror' will be a start to a new series, so it will be interesting to see if that does eventually come about and whether or not Miller will take into consideration the reception of the book. But what do you think? Did you read 'Holy Terror'? Are you looking forward to picking up the graphic novel? Do you think this should have been a 'Batman' story?

#1 Posted by batflasharrow96 (445 posts) - - Show Bio

I know it's supposed to be terrible but is it still worth reading?

#2 Edited by VinnyWeapons (39 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow, I hadn't heard about it, sounds really interesting. And offensive.

I'ma read it.

#3 Posted by No_Name_ (17403 posts) - - Show Bio

@batflasharrow96 said:

I know it's supposed to be terrible but is it still worth reading?

Yes.

#4 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29501 posts) - - Show Bio

I honestly wish it had been Batman. Just for the sake of having Batman do more insane crap under Miller's watch. He shouldn't have backed down from that.

#5 Posted by RiddlingGambit (204 posts) - - Show Bio

So did Frank Miller just not want to deal with Batman fans complaining? He could have at least changed the title to something else. Wasn't the title "Holy Terror" made as kind of a joke on Robin's holy-isms?

#6 Posted by batflasharrow96 (445 posts) - - Show Bio

@InnerVenom123: But then it would be even more insulting.

#7 Posted by Daveyo520 (2447 posts) - - Show Bio

Keeping Batman away from the topic is best.

#8 Edited by Arkham J (136 posts) - - Show Bio

Frank Miller needs to stop writing. just like Rob Liefeld needs to stop drawing

#9 Posted by AMP - Seeker of Lost Knowledge (1221 posts) - - Show Bio

In my opinion...the book itself ALMOST looked like a BATMAN story. THE FIXER ALMOST looked like BATMAN (it's the costume....add some pointy ears and a bat symbol and his chest and your good to go..). Natalie Stack "the cat burgler" = CATWOMAN or Carrie Kelly as CATGIRL from DK2.

Also, Miller is a true historian. Ever since comic books were born in the early 1940's America has reflected the evils of our world. We fought against Fascists (Nazies and Japanese), Communists (Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Vietnam), and currently Terrorism in the Middle East. When 9/11 occurred all MAINSTREAM comics responded with the same way we all did: speechless. Ever since the death of Bin Laden and 10 years of tragedy, this book reflects our moment in history.

#10 Posted by Doctorchimp (62 posts) - - Show Bio

Wasn't that the entire point? An incredibly juvenile power fantasy?

Just like Inglourious Basterds, it's just a piece of revenge fantasy.

And I think he couldn't make this a Batman book because there's no way DC could have explain their flagpole character in something this outrageous and Frank Miller knew that.

Also are you sure he's lumping in all muslims as terrorists? Or is he just calling the terrorists muslims? That's a pretty big distinction.

Unless he shows regular muslims all having al-queda connections.

#11 Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus (6885 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow, this definitely seems like something I could get into if I gave it a chance. Hmmm...

#12 Posted by turoksonofstone (13199 posts) - - Show Bio

LMAO, just goes to show what is truly important in this Medium, The Creators are the most vital thing, Frank can do Batman without Batman? More power to you Frank, I looooove the fact Time Warner won't make a dime off this. Choke on it DC.

#13 Posted by Roldan (241 posts) - - Show Bio

@Arkham J said:

Frank Miller needs to stop writing. just like Rob Liefeld needs to stop drawing

Next! Frank Miller and Rob Liefeld takes over Batman after Snyder and Capullo! xD

#14 Posted by Bestostero (5618 posts) - - Show Bio

I have to pass on this...

and personally I'm glad they didn't make this a Batman story... I'm sure dc didn't want to lose demographic and or readers due to this story.

#15 Posted by InnerVenom123 (29501 posts) - - Show Bio

@batflasharrow96: But I'd read it anyway, because it's Frank Miller making Batman do something totally insane (AGAIN). With this "Fixer" crap he loses a large chunk of a potential audience. Or maybe I'm wrong. Either way, if he's gonna write something hilariously offensive and stupid, why NOT just slap Batman on it? This is Frank Miller we're talking about.

#16 Posted by elayem98 (458 posts) - - Show Bio

glad it wasnt batman

the fixer just shouldve looked less like batman

#17 Posted by iLLituracy (13537 posts) - - Show Bio

Should've been Batman.  
 
No one bitched when Captain America was punching Hitler.  
 
I'll reserve judgement on the actual story when I get my hands on the book. From what I understand the book isn't in itself anti-Islamic but anti-terrorist, it's just that some people can't separate one from the other.

#18 Edited by JoseDRiveraTCR7 (1008 posts) - - Show Bio

@Babs:Why? Why should we read if we might find it offensive? Doesn't that contradict the point you made in your article about what to do about sexism in comics? "...if you have a problem with these books and the portrayals of these characters, you should stop reading them."

Also, how similar is this book to Pigman? It seems like the same thing.

Edit: I also don't think this should have been a Batman story. IMO Frank Miller doesn't know how to write Batman anymore. He just writes himself in a Batman costume.

#19 Posted by zzax (50 posts) - - Show Bio

@Arkham J said:

Frank Miller needs to stop writing. just like Rob Liefeld needs to stop drawing

hahaha, classic.

You have won at the internet today my friend, step right up to collect your prize

#20 Posted by danhimself (22560 posts) - - Show Bio

Frank Miller's Batman is just way to insane for my taste so despite the fact that I haven't read this I'm glad that Miller didn't do another Batman story

#21 Posted by Fantasgasmic (1071 posts) - - Show Bio

No, there's already an Elseworlds called Batman: Holy Terror which isn't anything amazing, but is a fun Elseworlds in its own right.

#22 Posted by CaptainCockblock (3672 posts) - - Show Bio

If you put your groin on the anvil with a story like this, you should at least tread lightly and introduce a character who's Muslim and NOT a terrorist. Still, as crazy as Miller's gotten, I'm impressed with his cajones in doing a propaganda story more ham-fisted than his artwork.

#23 Posted by jakob187 (998 posts) - - Show Bio

When did it become against the law to offend someone? Let people be offended. It's one man's thoughts, and yeah...there are probably a lot of other people that think the same thing. At the same time, there's a whole side that doesn't believe it at all and will look at this as just a story being told by a crazy man that wrote the line "I'm The God-Damned Batman!" as well as a series about naked chicks and burly doods in a hard-boiled noir setting.

I mean, I live in America, where we have the right to free speech. If someone in America wants to write a story about a radical Islamist that goes around killing American patriots, then be my guest. Sure, a lot of people will spit venom at the idea and it'll get a ton of biased coverage on FOX News, but again...this is America, where we have free speech.

It's okay for people to be offended by something that is said or done. Once it steps on the rights of another man, that's when it becomes a problem. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

#24 Posted by JoseDRiveraTCR7 (1008 posts) - - Show Bio

@jakob187:No one has called for censorship so your post is moot.

#25 Posted by NightFang (10068 posts) - - Show Bio

Yes, because it would have been an more interesting story with better art.

#26 Posted by jointron33 (1902 posts) - - Show Bio

Here's the thing. Al quaeda isnt mentioned until like the 83rd page. Islam is the blatant enemy in this book, likened to something from the dark ages by the protagonist.

also, i find it disturbing how 'its fine that this is offensive", particularly to sara, but the second u apparently "degrade women!" you become the enemy of humanity to her and several others. You smell that? It's called a double standard. And it's a huge one.

#27 Posted by sj_esposito (457 posts) - - Show Bio

Firstly, let me be totally clear before I say anything. I did not read this entire story. I read a bit of it, flipped through the rest and put it down.

The reason I didn't read it was because I'm not, and never have been, a fan of Frank Miller's work. His art has apparently degraded over the years and is looking worse than ever. Secondly, the book is an unabashed propaganda piece and one that's about a decade too late. This book should have been printed in 2001 when people were still somewhat okay with the fact that some people were going to hate Muslims for a while. Now, in 2011, its just ignorant, jingoistic trash. I understand that its Miller's right to publish what he wants, but that doesn't make it okay. In short, I disagree with the entire premise of the book.

Anyway, had the book been printed as Batman, I'd have an even worse reaction.

#28 Posted by The Impersonator (5483 posts) - - Show Bio

HOLY TERROR, BATMAN! IT'S A TOTAL RIP-OFF!

#29 Posted by Antonio_Blackheart (1542 posts) - - Show Bio

i'm still going read it

#30 Posted by sesquipedalophobe (4733 posts) - - Show Bio

This was like my reaction to Captain America after the twin towers went down and he hunted down a cell of terrorists, and it was manboyish and typical lashing out. The comparisons to Batman wouldn't excuse the fact that only the simplest people actually find real-time affairs appealing in print, that the subject alone should be worthy of words. I can only hope this doesn't spark up the tattered miniature American flags hanging off of cars fad, which was the benchmark of bandwagon patriotism.

#31 Posted by No_Name_ (17403 posts) - - Show Bio

@jointron33 said:

Here's the thing. Al quaeda isnt mentioned until like the 83rd page. Islam is the blatant enemy in this book, likened to something from the dark ages by the protagonist.

also, i find it disturbing how 'its fine that this is offensive", particularly to sara, but the second u apparently "degrade women!" you become the enemy of humanity to her and several others. You smell that? It's called a double standard. And it's a huge one.

Wait, what? I guess you missed the part in the article where I called it an "incredibly offensive piece of literature."

OK.

#32 Posted by No_Name_ (17403 posts) - - Show Bio

@JoseDRiveraTCR7 said:

@Babs:Why? Why should we read if we might find it offensive? Doesn't that contradict the point you made in your article about what to do about sexism in comics? "...if you have a problem with these books and the portrayals of these characters, you should stop reading them."

Can you please tell me where I mention in the above article that you should read this book?

#33 Posted by Multiverse (277 posts) - - Show Bio

@jointron33 said:

Here's the thing. Al quaeda isnt mentioned until like the 83rd page. Islam is the blatant enemy in this book, likened to something from the dark ages by the protagonist.

also, i find it disturbing how 'its fine that this is offensive", particularly to sara, but the second u apparently "degrade women!" you become the enemy of humanity to her and several others. You smell that? It's called a double standard. And it's a huge one.

Correct me if I'm misinterpreting you but you seem to be defending degrading/stereotypical depictions of characters/groups in comic books.

#34 Posted by JoseDRiveraTCR7 (1008 posts) - - Show Bio

@Babs:You didn't say it in the article. You said it in the comment section.

#35 Posted by Mbecks14 (2068 posts) - - Show Bio

Have less than zero interest in the story. I'm glad it's not a Batman book. Just like most of Miller's work it would've seemed edgy for edgy's sake, and that's not Batman right now. It would've seemed off in the light of DC's new 52 and Batman's overall image.

Slapping Batman onto this story would've just cheapened it anyway and made it seem too commercial. I'm sure it's a good story for those who enjoy these kind of stories, but having it a unique character kind of adds to it. Even if the characters are just batman analogues, i think we get that they are and appreciate the parallels.

#36 Posted by Mbecks14 (2068 posts) - - Show Bio

@Multiverse said:

@jointron33 said:

Here's the thing. Al quaeda isnt mentioned until like the 83rd page. Islam is the blatant enemy in this book, likened to something from the dark ages by the protagonist.

also, i find it disturbing how 'its fine that this is offensive", particularly to sara, but the second u apparently "degrade women!" you become the enemy of humanity to her and several others. You smell that? It's called a double standard. And it's a huge one.

Correct me if I'm misinterpreting you but you seem to be defending degrading/stereotypical depictions of characters/groups in comic books.

ZING!

#37 Posted by ImperiousRix (1069 posts) - - Show Bio

If this was a younger Frank Miller- one who was PRE-Dark Knight Strikes Again- then I'd feel a lot more confident. When I had first heard he was making this a Batman book, it seemed somewhat interesting. But seeing the work he's spat out recently and the strange way he perceives Batman (see All-Star Batman and Robin) actually makes me thankful this is not a Batman story.

I had also hoped Frank would have handled the subject of terrorism with a little more respect, but perhaps that was asking too much...

Definitely won't be reading.

#38 Posted by DefaultProphet (43 posts) - - Show Bio

Making the terrorist hide-out a Mosque? That was pretty bold and more than a little bit offensive.

Uh....More like realistic within region. Not saying all Mosques or even Mosques in American/Europe/Etc but in the Middle East? It's definitely happened before

#39 Edited by The_Tree (7487 posts) - - Show Bio

If he did it with Batman, I would have just chalked it up to Frank Miller being terrible...

Again.

#40 Edited by chipsnopotatoes (328 posts) - - Show Bio

Sure, why not? The one time that Miller would have written Selina as a cat-burglar as opposed to a prostitute.

Plus, look at all the sales that DC is missing by passing on this book. They could have gone for double #1 in September -- top comic and top graphic novel. Can just imagine Didio kicking himself for missing that one.

It's not like they care about their brand anyway.

#41 Posted by cosmo111687 (1489 posts) - - Show Bio

@Arkham J said:

Frank Miller needs to stop writing. just like Rob Liefeld needs to stop drawing

Keeping Batman away from Miller is best, in my opinion.

#42 Posted by sj_esposito (457 posts) - - Show Bio

@Babs said:

@JoseDRiveraTCR7 said:

@Babs:Why? Why should we read if we might find it offensive? Doesn't that contradict the point you made in your article about what to do about sexism in comics? "...if you have a problem with these books and the portrayals of these characters, you should stop reading them."

Can you please tell me where I mention in the above article that you should read this book?

She never said anyone should read the book. Not in the story, not in the comments. Someone asked if it was worth reading. She said yes. That is NOT an endorsement of the story by any means. Its a simple answer to a simple question. Although, I happen to disagree with her -- I'd say it's not worth a read -- for whatever it's worth.

#43 Posted by sj_esposito (457 posts) - - Show Bio

@cosmo111687 said:

@Arkham J said:

Frank Miller needs to stop writing. just like Rob Liefeld needs to stop drawing

Keeping Batman away from Miller is best, in my opinion.

I agree with both of these statements. People hold TDKR up like its the greatest Batman story ever written, and I could never figure out why.

PS: Yes, I just lit the match in the room filled with gas. -.-

#44 Posted by Wattup (648 posts) - - Show Bio

I think the worst part of Sara's article is when she noted Frank Miller as a "writer/DIRECTOR".

There's a cinematic piece of dung called "The Spirit" that contradicts this statement. 8 )

#45 Edited by cosmo111687 (1489 posts) - - Show Bio

@Wattup: I don't know. I think that the three images shown in the article are actually quite masterful. Though I haven't seen his work for The Spirit, usually Miller's "directing" is pretty incredible. I just take issue with the content of his stories (especially as of late).

#46 Posted by Wattup (648 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman should try to get The Fixer to join Batman Inc...although he and Nightrunner would probably have some interesting conversations...

#47 Posted by Wattup (648 posts) - - Show Bio

@cosmo111687 said:

@Wattup: I don't know. I think that the three images shown in the article are actually quite masterful. Though I haven't seen his work for The Spirit, usually Miller's "directing" is pretty incredible. I just take issue with the content of his stories (especially as of late).

Watch The Spirit movie and see if you feel the same way.

#48 Posted by No_Name_ (17403 posts) - - Show Bio

@sEsposito7 said:

@Babs said:

@JoseDRiveraTCR7 said:

@Babs:Why? Why should we read if we might find it offensive? Doesn't that contradict the point you made in your article about what to do about sexism in comics? "...if you have a problem with these books and the portrayals of these characters, you should stop reading them."

Can you please tell me where I mention in the above article that you should read this book?

She never said anyone should read the book. Not in the story, not in the comments. Someone asked if it was worth reading. She said yes. That is NOT an endorsement of the story by any means. Its a simple answer to a simple question. Although, I happen to disagree with her -- I'd say it's not worth a read -- for whatever it's worth.

Thank you.

#49 Posted by cosmo111687 (1489 posts) - - Show Bio

@Wattup said:

@cosmo111687 said:

@Wattup: I don't know. I think that the three images shown in the article are actually quite masterful. Though I haven't seen his work for The Spirit, usually Miller's "directing" is pretty incredible. I just take issue with the content of his stories (especially as of late).

Watch The Spirit movie and see if you feel the same way.

Oh, you mean director in that sense. I forgot that he directed that. I was referring to the art direction within his books, which is usually superb.

#50 Posted by thephantomstranger (129 posts) - - Show Bio

@JoseDRiveraTCR7 said:

@Babs:Why? Why should we read if we might find it offensive? Doesn't that contradict the point you made in your article about what to do about sexism in comics? "...if you have a problem with these books and the portrayals of these characters, you should stop reading them."

Also, how similar is this book to Pigman? It seems like the same thing.

Edit: I also don't think this should have been a Batman story. IMO Frank Miller doesn't know how to write Batman anymore. He just writes himself in a Batman costume.

This...very much this...although to be honest I have this horrible thought in my head that he represented both sides of a political issue in The Dark Knight Returns, which is most likely me wanting it to be true...and if my fantasy about Frank Miller not completely injecting his politics into his work back in the 80s is ever proven right I may have to rethink- no to hell with I'm putting Frank Miller into the same bin as Micheal Bay as far as respect level...dammit next Grant Morrison is going to come out as being racist against something....

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