Sunday, March 04, 2012

Holy Terror

by Frank Miller

Published by Legendary

I waited to pick up this comic book after all of the hoopla about Frank Miller's rants. I remember after the success of the movie 300, Miller went on several interviews sounding like Karl Rove. Personally, I don't have any issues with people espousing their political ideology. As an Afro Latino, I have realized that many of my artistic heroes have ideas that are backwards, racist, and sexist. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't challenge those artists and those ideas. We should do that every chance we get but I learned that I shouldn't assume that just because I like someone's work it means that we agree on most things. When it comes to Miller, his genius is undeniable.

I mean to this day Miller's Daredevil and Batman are still my favorite. With the exception of Jim Lee's Batman during the Hush story arc, no one has been able to match either one. It bothered me that someone who created a comic book character who broke so many barriers (please read Miller's Martha Washington series - which is still unmatched to this day), could put together something as awful as "Holy Terror."

Originally, "Holy Terror" was going to be another Batman story. Rumor has it that DC found it too racy and in terrible taste. Many called it racist before it was even released. Miller also began doing more rants on interviews. Many other artists called him out on his rabid conservatism. It was ugly. I was scratching my head on it. The Batman concept explains the protagonists in this story. The Fixer is Batman without the ears and with Rush Limbaugh like ideology. The story begins with Fixer chancing the Cat Burglar or Natalie Stack. I bet you can't guess who that is.

I don't know if it was a situation where Miller already drew most of the story boards with Batman and the Catwoman and refused to re-pencil. If it was, it explains the sloppiness of the inks. Some scenes are indecipherable and the inks look as if Miller bled over the entire thing and dropped some coffee on it. I can safely admit that this is the worst ink work I have ever seen.

The story is cliched. It begins with the Fixer chasing Stack. Once he captures her, they being to make love. Then there are a series of explosions. Terrorists attack Empire City and destroy the Lady of Justice (the Statue of Liberty). It's Al Qaeda at it again. This time the chief of police is in on it. Fixer teams up with an ex Mossad Agent with the Star of David tattoo'ed onto his face. And it's on.

What is troubling about the depictions of civilians is the steep contrast between non-Muslims and Muslims. Miller even pencils some coon like drawings of President Obama. To be honest, I don't know why these profiles were part of the story. It seemed as if they were just thrown in there to make noise. I could see why DC left this alone. Overall, it's in horrible taste.

In the end, I felt like I supported something that should have been left in the dustbin. Again, I am saddened that Miller put out this product. While I don't believe that an artist should mute his or her's ideas or beliefs. I find that art should offend. Art should question. It should demand. Art should also make the viewer or consumer think. Art doesn't have to do this all the time either. While I don't agree with Miller's politics, I still don't get why he went ahead and publish "Holy Terror."