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Friday, July 30, 2010 

So what happened to Frank Miller's "Holy Terror Batman"?

Something that hasn't been heard of for a few years now has just resurfaced: Frank Miller, who was initially going to write a Batman story where the Masked Manhunter takes on al Qaeda, has now changed the story so it no longer stars Bruce Wayne, and will not be published by DC either:
For years, Frank Miller spoke of a Gotham City graphic novel that would be like no other -- for the 120 bone-crunching pages of "Holy Terror, Batman!" Miller -- arguably the most important comic book artist of the last 30 years -- envisioned a story in which the Caped Crusader went on a blood quest against Al Qaeda.

Earlier this week, sitting over coffee at the U.S. Grant Hotel in San Diego, Miller said the elusive project is finally close to completion but that the name and central character have changed and that DC Comics won't be the publisher. Miller frames all of this as a decision that was driven by the work itself and not dictated by a DC leadership that, according to insiders, has long been leery of the politically charged concept.

"It's almost done; I should be finished within a month," Miller said. "It's no longer a DC book. I decided partway through it that it was not a Batman story. The hero is much closer to 'Dirty Harry' than Batman. It's a new hero that I've made up that fights Al Qaeda."

Miller, best known as the writer and artist of "The Dark Knight Returns," "300" and "Sin City," said the story will be set in a place called Empire City that, as the name suggests, evokes New York. The landscape and people are fictional but the real-life Al Qaeda will be transferred to this universe with its name, history and mission intact.

The book's title will be shortened to "Holy Terror." And what of the protagonist?

"The character is called The Fixer and he's very much an adventurer who's been essentially searching for a mission," Miller said. "He's been trained as special ops and when his city is attacked all of a sudden all the pieces fall into place and all this training comes into play. He's been out there fighting crime without really having his heart in it -- he does it to keep in shape. He's very different than Batman in that he's not a tortured soul. He's a much more well-adjusted creature even though he happens to shoot 100 people in the course of the story."
That the new protagonist isn't a guy who suffers from the same emotional problems as Bruce Wayne does could probably work, since we've got too many heroes who're not just tortured souls, but are even being turned into those too just for the sake of it. Even so, it's a real shame, if not a surprise, that DC wouldn't run the story. I can't help but wonder if Miller is just being diplomatic, and decided not to put a strain on his relations with DC. That's probably the case, but we may never know the clear answer.

I hope the story Miller's now envisioned does turn out to be written well, and that he's also got a publisher who's willing to take it up and give it convincing promotion.

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Thanks for the update, Avi; I've been wondering what happened to Miller's story. As for his decision to not have DC publish the story, you may well be right. I suspect his concept doesn't really fit in with the "I Hate America" attitude the company's current regime has.

What a joke. If Miller's story had Batman going after George W. Bush it would have been green-lighted in a heartbeat.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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