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Monday, April 30, 2007 

Frank Miller gets it. DC/Warner doesn't

In a new interview with Frank Miller in the Los Angeles Times (registration required), he minces no words in making clear what the problem is with today's Hollywimps, and comics publishers too:

MUCH has been made of Miller's politics in the wake of "300." The deliriously violent and stylized sword film is based on a Spartan battle in 480 B.C., and although Miller wrote and drew the story for Dark Horse comics a decade ago, in film form it was received by many as a grotesque parody of the ancient Persians and a fetish piece for a war on Islam. Miller scoffs at those notions. "I think it's ridiculous that we set aside certain groups and say that we can't risk offending their ancestors. Please. I'd like to say, as an American, I was deeply offended by 'The Last of the Mohicans.'"

Still, Miller gets stirred up about any criticism of the war in Iraq or the hunt for terrorists, which he views as the front in a war between the civilized Western world and bloodthirsty Islamic fundamentalists.

"What people are not dealing with is the fact that we're going up against a culture that finds it acceptable to do things that the rest of the world left behind with the barbarians in the 6th century," Miller said. "I'm a little tired of people worrying about being polite. We are fighting in the face of fascists."

The director of "300," Zack Snyder, chuckled about the portrayal of Miller as a conservative on the attack or a "proto-fascist" as one pundit called him. "I don't think he really has politics, he just sees the world in moral terms. He's a guy who says what he thinks and has a sense of right and wrong. He talks tough and, after Sept. 11, I think he's mad." Snyder said Miller is a throwback and that he approaches his art with a bar-fight temperament, like a Sam Peckinpah. "His political view is: Don't mess with me."

Not surprisingly, Miller's Bat-project in which the Masked Manhunter takes on al Qaeda terrorists appears to have been stalled courtesy of "squeamishness by executives at DC Comics and its parent, Warner Bros. Entertainment, in sending a franchise character on a blood-quest after terrorists." But even if it weren't a "franchise character", chances are that they'd still balk. I think they could sure use more than a bit of criticism for their predictable balking.

Miller offers a plot description and slams the lack of support for the war against jihad in the comics industry:
The book is still not out, and in the industry there is the general sense that the project has stalled a bit. At the W, though, Miller said about 120 pages of his Batman tale have been drawn and inked and he’s starting in on the “final 50 or so.” He said he plans to finish it even though he senses squeamishness by executives at DC Comics and its parent, Warner Bros. Entertainment, in sending a franchise character on a blood-quest after terrorists. The topic is clearly an uncomfortable one for him, and he gave the impression that the title, the distribution deal and the nature of the project are in flux. (Note: if DC just dares in any ways to stop him, that's exactly why a backlash against any editorial interference would have to be a good idea!)

"Our hero's key quote is, 'Those clowns don't know what terror is,'" Miller said. "Then he sets out to get the guys."

With the hero as terrorism avenger, Miller is pointing to the days of comics in the 1940s, when Superman, Captain America and the Human Torch were drawn taking punches at Hitler or Hirohito.

"These terrorists are worse than any villain I can come up with, and I think it's ridiculous that people in entertainment are not showing what we are up against here…. This is pure propaganda, a throwback, there's no bones about it."

Miller also said he relishes a backlash. "I'm ready," he said, "for my fatwa."
Well said! The word "jihad" has actually appeared here and there in some past comics, but I don't think I've seen "fatwa" before, and while it's only in a related interview where we're seeing this now, I must say that that's saying something. Ole!

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