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Batman: Holy Terror Still on Track?

In a quick interview at Newsday.com, Frank Miller had this to say about his long-announced Batman: Holy Terror graphic novel:

It’s about 40 pages from finished now; it’s 122 pages. [Batman is] fighting al-Qaida.

Read the interview here for some further…hmmm…let’s say interesting comments by Miller about the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

70 Comments

Didn’t Rich Johnston do a blurb about this a while back, saying that it might not feature Batman anymore?

I’m still tentatively interested in the project. I know it’s probably going to be some wacked out, borderline offensive content, but I’m hoping Miller at least makes it entertaining.

Yeah, I remember that Johnston piece as well, Josh, so that’s why it was interesting to note that Miller is still talking about it as a Batman project.

That would be great if it was true. Here’s hoping.

I like his comments on the Iraq War too. Good stuff.

I’m also curious, he’s always accused of hating and debasing women, but he did say this in the interview:

“Ellen Dolan [is no longer] t just a little simpering daughter to somebody; she’s a surgeon [in my version]. ”

I wonder if he’ll get credit for making such a feminist change to the source material?

Wasn’t Batman: Holy Terror an Elseworlds book from the early 90s? Oh yeah, it was. (It was actually the best Elseworlds story, for my money. Followed by John Byrne’s Generations.)

Miller’s book is apparently called Holy Terror, Batman!. What a terrible name for a book!

T.: Well, I’m sure someone will give him credit in between trashing the movie. Apparently, making Ellen a surgeon can’t gloss over the fact that the movies sucks out loud. No, I haven’t seen it, but do I really need to?

Oh yes PLEASE yes. This is the comic I’ve been looking forward to more than any other since he announced it. I’ve been so disappointing by its seeming cancellation.

Here’s hoping.

Yeah, he’s lost me. Not on his views – on his Batman.

I hope it still comes out as a Batman book, if only to see how utterly insane it is.

Oh God please just let it die.

I’d rather him finish ASBAR before doing any new project.

ASBAR should have been finished by now.

“I like his comments on the Iraq War too. Good stuff.”

You can’t be serious.

Saddam and Osama Bin-Laden were TOTALLY in cahoots, Dave!

Saddam and Osama Bin-Laden were TOTALLY in cahoots, Dave!

I don’t believe that, and I’m sure Miller doesn’t either.

I wonder if this will flop as hard as The Spirit flick did.

(Too soon?)

No, I haven’t seen it, but do I really need to?

It may suck, it may not, but I’d rather see it for myself before deciding.

Darwyn Cooke already had a tough, cool Ellen in his Spirit, *and* the rest of it didn’t suck.

if you don’t think Miller believes that, then why hit Iraq? It makes no sense. to use his analogy, it would be as if, following Pearl Harbor, The U.S. attacked India. Not only was Saddam not connected with BIn Laden, but they had diametrically opposing ideologies.

T., given the one spoiler I know about the Spirit film — one regarding Denny Colt gaining an ability Eisner never gave him — then it can safely be said to suck sight unseen.

But then, once I saw the guy dual-wielding machine guns in the trailer, and the Octopus’s face plastered everywhere, I was pretty much ‘mind made up” on not seeing the, uh, goddamn thing.

All of which leads me to ask: any of the CSBG folks gonna review it here?

I just re-read the Alan Brennert /Norm Breyfogle Elseworlds story–so I was confused by this–but it seems it is only a similar title.

Dave, the interview constructs a strawman to attack Miller and make his point look dumber than it is. Reread Miller’s words. He never claims Al Qaeda and Iraq were co-conspirators in 9/11 or were in explicit cahoots with each other.

He says:

It was an international fascist effort. And so when I said that the attack on Iraq made sense, it was the same way we had to attack not just Afghanistan. Instead we had to attack the center of Islamofascism.

He says attacking Iraq made sense because after 9/11 we had to attack as many centers of Islamofascism as we could, just like in WW2 we had to work against the most dangerous fascist countries. He never claimed Al Qaeda and Iraq were allied in the way Japan and Germany are, what he meant is that both Afghanistan and Iraq are both major fronts in the Islamofascism, and a strike against either is a blow against Islamofascism altogether, much like a strike against Japan or Germany during WW2 was a strike against world fascism in general.

Now I disagree with this view and think the Iraq War was poorly conceived and executed. There are plenty of valid arguments along those lines. But what I hate is the “Stephen Colbert” school of liberal intellectual engagement, where you make the opposing side’s argument extra-ludicrous through mischaracterization, then just shoot it down with really condescending, snarky sarcasm rather than seriously engage the sentiment on its merits. This is what the interviewer and commenters are doing when they change the meaning of Miller’s sentiment to make it seem like he thinks Al Qaeda and Iraq are expressly in cahoots with each other. Sarcasm and snarkiness are not actual counterarguments.

All of which leads me to ask: any of the CSBG folks gonna review it here?

One of us would have to SEE it first, and I have zero interest in doing so. Looks like our other Greg doesn’t feel like bothering with it either. So that’s two no’s already.

We sometimes get freebies, but the Spirit movie isn’t one of them, and I don’t think any of us wants to PAY to see this. Anyway, it’s not like there’s a shortage of folks reviewing it.

I do wonder if this movie is going to be the tipping point for people to stop defending Frank Miller’s work as “satire” and instead start to wonder if maybe he really is just an arrested adolescent who’s been to the same well once too often.

But what I hate is the “Stephen Colbert” school of liberal intellectual engagement, where you make the opposing side’s argument extra-ludicrous through mischaracterization, then just shoot it down with really condescending, snarky sarcasm rather than seriously engage the sentiment on its merits. This is what the interviewer and commenters are doing when they change the meaning of Miller’s sentiment to make it seem like he thinks Al Qaeda and Iraq are expressly in cahoots with each other. Sarcasm and snarkiness are not actual counterarguments.

I don’t think the interviewer was snarky at all, though–all he said was “Germany and Japan were allied; Afghanistan and Iraq aren’t.” And given the thin WWII analogy that FM presented, the interviewer’s response was actually a valid counterargument.

Yes, Miller didn’t say that Iraq and Afghanistan were allied… The interviewer never said that Miller said this, or mischaracterized Miller’s words to make it seem like he did. All he did was offer an observation to illustrate why Miller’s analogy (“It’s just like WWII”) was not quite a perfect fit.

The only problem I see here is the fact that he didn’t really give Miller an opportunity to respond to that counterargument, but then there’s only so much space and they want to get some degree of discussion about comics and movies in the piece.

The point is that Iraq was never a center of “Islamofascism”, an idiotic neologism that does nothing concrete to describe the situation in the middle east. Saddam was not only not “in cahoots” with Bin Laden, he had a completely opposite ideology to Al Qaida.

And frankly (pardon the horrible pun) if Miller is dumb enough to spout off on geopolitics without knowing what he’s talking about, we have the right to criticize him. His previous comments – including the notion that an Arabic culture couldn’t produce airplanes or microphones – show an appalling ignorance of Islam, which was a leader in mathematics when Europe was still in the Dark Ages (not a value judgement, just a statement of fact). He’s been given enough rope to hang himself.

Dave is exactly right. Islamofascism is a buzz-word that doesn’t even describe Saddam Hussein’s regime. Hussein was infamously secularist, a strong man whose vision was not the universal caliphate (as per Al-Qaeda and other Islamic militant groups), but the Pan-Arab secular union.

Most serious “islamofascists” despised Hussein. That he kept the door open to some minor and rather inconsequential contacts with terrorist organizations is true enough, but countries like Saudi Arabia had much more tangible associations with these groups.

Of course, _now_ Iraq is swarming with jihadists. Wonder why that is?

Miller has lost the plot, much like (in the literary field) Dan Simmons has. 9/11 “changed everything”, which apparently means they’re allowed to disconnect their higher brain functions and give in to the lizard brain.

@ Tom Fitzpatrick
“I’d rather him finish ASBAR before doing any new project.”

Miller started working on Holy Terror years before ASBAR came along.
He just got sidetracked by movies and being an idiot.

Jim Lee should just ditch ASBAR and work on other shit. Lee is the only reason to buy the book, and at this point he barely gets to draw anything worth his talent.

Remember the CSBG discussion a few weeks back about whether Miller (along with Orson Scott Card & Dave Sim) was an outright screaming lunatic or simply an utterly disgusting creep?

I’m sorry to report that I still can’t make up my mind, though I lean toward lunatic.

>>[Batman is] fighting al-Qaida.

Y’know, only Miller could make me hope that Al-Quaida wins.

All of which leads me to ask: any of the CSBG folks gonna review it here?

My friend, if you wish to pay for my ticket, then yes, I will review the Spirit. Otherwise, I have no intention of ever seeing it. Well… maybe when it inevitably shows up on FX or Sci-Fi in a couple years and I’m very bored.

But I think we’re getting away from the real beef with Miller on the Spirit movie and Holy Terror… it’s not that his views are ludicrous… I believe that, certainly, but I read a fair amount of writers I don’t agree with and/or consider dangerously insane, and that doesn’t stop me from enjoying their work for itself.
No, the real problem is that he called the Spirit the Spirit and Holy Terror a Batman story. I mean, if Miller wouldn’t have tried to claim some kind of tie to the Eisner material, if he just would have said he was going to make another ultra-stylized, hilariously violent, jingoistic action movie, probably we still wouldn’t have seen it, but it would have just been another case “okay, but that’s who Miller is now.” By the same token, what makes Holy Terror so distasteful is the gut reaction of “seriously? with Batman?”
If he had used characters that were entirely his own, we wouldn’t be having this debate.
I mean, I hate everything he’s ever done. But as long as he stays on his side of the fence, I’ll let him say what he wants/

Of course, come to think of it, given the pace at which he works, *if* Miller ever finishes HOLY TERROR he’ll probably do so while behind bars for crimes against the people, or something.

Not to beat a dead horse, but Miller has his facts totally backwards with regards to WWII. We didn’t declare war on Germany because their ally Japan attacked us . . . Germany declared war on the USA and so we responded.

No matter what one thinks about Iraq, Afghanistan, and islamowhateverism, Miller simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about when it comes to his point about WWII. He’s unambiguously ignorant, shooting off about something that he clearly doesn’t understand.

I should point out that regardless of whether a strike against Iraq is part of a strike against ‘world islamofascism’ – whatever the hell that is – the US didn’t declare war on Germany until AFTER Germany declared war on the US. The series of events went – Japan declared war on US, US and allies declared war on Japan, Germany and allies declared war on US, US declared war on Germany.

This may seem a fairly small point but it isn’t – if Germany hadn’t declared war on the US then FDR mightn’t have been able to sway public opinion towards war against Germany. Hitler’s declaration of war against the US is often seen as a strategic blunder – even though it was necessary under Germany’s treaty obligations because, you know, the Axis powers weren’t just allied but actually working together.

Maybe I’m just in the Colbert school but it seems that at a minimum people who use history as an argument should actually do some research. If liberals are guilty of misrepresentation, then at least this conservative is guilty of the much worse crime of blatant falsity.

>>I do wonder if this movie is going to be the tipping point for people to stop defending Frank Miller’s work as “satire” and instead start to wonder if maybe he really is just an arrested adolescent who’s been to the same well once too often.<<

If I were a far nicer & more temperate person (that ship sailed decades ago, of course), this is pretty much the way I would’ve expressed myself earlier. Well put, Greg H.

“…the movies sucks out loud. No, I haven’t seen it, but do I really need to?” – Greg Burgas

Only if you plan on commenting on it in an authoritative manner. Oops, too late!

Actually, this same thing happened over at Blog@. Would it kill comic book bloggers to so much as take a look at what they’re spouting off about before they spout off? Do you have any idea how severely that damages your credibility? Would you listen to Roger Ebert or anyone else if they hadn’t seen what they were reviewing?

“I do wonder if this movie is going to be the tipping point for people to stop defending Frank Miller’s work as “satire” and instead start to wonder if maybe he really is just an arrested adolescent who’s been to the same well once too often.” – Other Greg

And of course you’d know, never having seen it.

This weekend has taught me so, so much about the comics blogosphere. There are literally scores of people ripping apart a movie they’ve never seen based on general buzz, prejudice, and supposition. Never, ever wonder why people don’t take bloggers seriously as a legitimate source for objective and thoughtful insight.

And of course you’d know, never having seen it.

I DON’T know. Am I not allowed to wonder? Based on the overwhelmingly negative reviews we’ve seen from, oh, pretty much everyone inside and outside of comics so far? With said negative reviews generally citing the very same things many of us find off-putting about Sin City and All-Star Batman and Robin, and those same things constantly being defended as ‘satire’?

But by all means, paint US with the same broad brush you claim “the blogosphere” is using.

Actually, this same thing happened over at Blog@. Would it kill comic book bloggers to so much as take a look at what they’re spouting off about before they spout off? Do you have any idea how severely that damages your credibility? Would you listen to Roger Ebert or anyone else if they hadn’t seen what they were reviewing?

Ebert can probably smell shit a mile away, but at least he gets paid to watch it.

Listen, it’s not hard to figure out the Spirit is going to be junk, even if it wasn’t universally panned and we hadn’t seen the trailers eight dozen times every day. Hell, having seen those six minute-or-so-long clips they were showing, plus the fight scene where Sam Jackson says “toilets are funny,” I’ve probably seen more of the movie than I’d ever need to to declare it junk.

The writer in me and the critic in me sometimes get into fights, but they can usually agree on whether something is going to suck or not. I don’t need to sit through The Spirit to be able to dismiss it.

Forgot to add that, if someone asked Roger Ebert why he DIDN’T review something and he answered, “Because by all indicators it looked like a crappy movie and a waste of my time,” I would find that a perfectly acceptable answer.

Remember that no one here has attempted an actual review. The question on the floor was, “ARE you going to review it?” and so far we have three no answers, all of which are basically, “Not if we have to spend money to see it, because it looks like crap.”

Just to set the record straight on this, of all of us I probably love crappy movies more than any of the others, but even I try very hard not to PAY more than a dollar or so to see them.

Count me in the CSBG minority (but, according to sales charts, the majority of actual comic buyers), but I will pretty much buy anything Miller does blindly. I like the style and inherent humor of the man’s work — and no, I do not view it all as “satire,” but as genuine successful attempts at straight humor.

With that said, I saw The Spirit. It was terrible, and further proof that just because an author’s work is strong in a film adaptation it does not mean said author should necessarily crossover to the film medium. “Hollywood” Mark Millar, take note.

As for his EXTREMELY BRIEF POLITICAL COMMENT: Miller’s making a brief comparison between Axis Fascism and Islamic Fascism in a promotional interview for a movie. This is not an informed political piece, nor is this even the topic of the interview. This is no different from Obama/McCain/Bush/Cheney/InsertPoliticianHere making a brief comment in an interview or press conference — and we know how often those can go astray. Don’t hang the man for not making a thoroughly in-depth analysis of the geopolitical effects of two radical movements in a grand total of three sentences. Henry Kissinger, he ain’t.

“Henry Kissinger, he ain’t.”

I at least have _some_ respect, however begrudging, for Kissinger.

“This is not an informed political piece”

Obviously, since there’s no such thing as “Islamic Fascism.” It’s a bullshit phrase meant to reframe the current situation in terms of WWII (which, surprise surprise, is just what Miller does) in order to place the US on absolute moral high ground.

I’m just no longer interested in anything Frank Miller does. He tells one story, and he tells it well enough, but its always the same story. I can’t think of a sadder reality than only telling one story. Actually, I think he’s a fantastic artist, much better than his writing abilities. He made Wolverine’s face in Wolverine #1, the Wolverine kisser that heh we are all condemned to the end of time to draw…

As far as his comments on the War….uh….cult of masculinity this neo-conservatism that. I guess its good that the far right has at least the option of reading material by one of their own. Conservatives really get shafted in the arts, I almost feel for ‘em. It’s like Jeff Tweedy said after getting booed on stage for saying some anti-Bush stuff: “Go listen to your favorite Republican band!”

The weird thing I have noticed about Frank Miller over the years is that everything he does is either totally great, or completely crap! There’s nothing in the middle. Now, I’m a very serious Batman Fan so if he completes this book let’s pray it’s NOT crap.

He seems a bit full of himself to think that he could be the only one who could pull the spirit off, from a previous post, I already posted a link in which Brad Bird could have made the spirit.

I haven’t seen the movie, but my guess is that when I finally do, I’m sure a single issue of Darwyn Coooke’s run on the spirit could be infinitely more progressive in terms of feminism + Race.

Looking back on interview footage of Frank Miller, I was surprised at how good the pages of Holy Terror Batman looked though. But i’m wary about how misguided it could be. Al Quaeda are certainly responsible, but Iraq is a different jar of cookies altogether.

Also Darwyn Cooke already covered this subject in his issue of SOLO, where the question hunts down the actual people responsible for 9/11. Which was certainly not Iraq.

“There are literally scores of people ripping apart a movie they’ve never seen based on general buzz, prejudice, and supposition.”

You seem to have forgotten about the numerous actual parts of the movie that are shown to people as advertising.

Get off your high horse, and accept that The Spirit is a shitty movie.

To the people who are complaining about Holy Terror featuring Batman, and not just some Miller creation, didn’t Miller say the point of it was that it was meant to be like those old covers of Superman socking it to Hitler. Fictional characters offering simple quick enjoyable answers to complicated, horrific real world events? It its not Batman v Al Qieda (appologies for spelling), just some random guide v Al Qieda, I don’t see the point.

Plus, I’ll be buying for Miller’s artwork, regardless

The problem with Miller isn’t that he is a conservative, the problem is that he is creepy. Same with Dave Sim and Orson Scott Card. Chuck Dixon and Bill Willingham are conservatives, but they seem like regular human beings.

I feel better already knowing Batman is beating up on some real bad guys. Now if he can just stop that guy who takes two seats on the subway, my life would be anxiety free.

I’m always eager to see what craziness falls out of Frank Miller’s head. Even his so-so stuff is better than a lot of what is considered ‘hot’ these days. This just struck me as Batman beating up America’s bully.

As far as Golden Age books and Mr. Hil-ter – weren’t those books primarily written for kids and young adults. Is this book being written for the same audience? I’m kind of thinking this will sell well with the Dennis Miller/Ron Silver crowd.

Well wil, Superman putting Hitler and Stalin on trial (in front of the League of Nations, mind, not just the United States or himself) or Captain America punching Hitler in the face is all a bit different than looking at the events of September 11, 2001 and thinking “this looks like a job for Batman.”

First off, it was a very different time for both comics and the world. America ate, slept, and breathed World War II. Look at any movie from that era, there was at least some element of propaganda to it… I mean, “It’s a Wonderful Life” would have worked just as well without going into what everyone was doing for the War Effort, but it’s there for the same reason Bugs Bunny was telling everyone to buy bonds… it wasn’t the kind of war that got preempted by celebrity gossip.

Second, comics at the time were still seen as being primarily for children. They were cheap entertainment for kids coming out of the Depression that could kill an afternoon for a dime, then be disposed of. There was no such thing as a superstar creator… many of them actually used pseudonyms for fear that being associated with comic books would hurt their future in advertising (I read that on this very site, in fact). No one took it too seriously.

The point being, times have changed. And while we can accept basically anyone fighting the Nazis (except Lego Nazis, apparently), the idea of taking a real world tragedy and using it as a jumping-off point for a Batman comic is still a little touchy. If Miller wants to write his own diatribe about the subject, that’s certainly his right, but the fact that he’s using a character on lunchboxes, backpacks, and Pez dispensers across the globe is just distasteful.

Similarly, given his obsession with giving “today’s kids” what he thinks they want, he really should have got the book on the shelf back in 2002, before record numbers of young voters in America turned up and the candidate that kept bringing up “Islamo-fascism” was soundly defeated.

“You seem to have forgotten about the numerous actual parts of the movie that are shown to people as advertising.

Get off your high horse, and accept that The Spirit is a shitty movie.”

30 second clips in TV commercials? Are you out of your mind? If you advocate the validity of critics as objective sources of insight and analysis in the arts, you can surely recommend they look at the thing they’re criticizing, otherwise you’re in favor of them making rash statements based on random guesses, bias, and wholly subjective favoritism. You DO care about what critics say, right? Or maybe you just like seeing people agree with you, damn the validity of their argument. I should get off my high horse because I ask accountability for negative statements made about a movie you dislike… had negative statements been made about a movie you like, I suspect you’d take things a bit more seriously.

I haven’t seen the movie yet. It could be a shitty movie. That’s been espoused in dozens of perfectly legitimate reviews by people who watched it.

Gah. Never mind. Bigotry and dogpiling always win on the internet.

The problem with Miller isn’t that he is a conservative, the problem is that he is creepy. Same with Dave Sim and Orson Scott Card. Chuck Dixon and Bill Willingham are conservatives, but they seem like regular human beings.

Ha! But I guess conservatives can say the same about Erik Larsen and his obsession with the Savage Dragon/Barrack Obama “bromance.”

Bigotry and dogpiling always win on the internet.

Not to keep worrying at this, but it is getting a little offensive. YOU came in here swinging at the CSBG crew. Two of us answered you directly in a reasonable fashion. One more chimed in that he had seen the movie and it was bad. That leaves Apodaca, who is admittedly being graceless as usual… but that’s hardly a DOGPILE, and I am at a loss as to where this ‘bigotry’ exists.

Perhaps if you had initiated your conversation with something other than a condescending sneer at our qualifications to work here, simply because we dared to assume that the majority of the critics panning the movie probably are correct to do so, people here would be more inclined to be nice to you.

“Ha! But I guess conservatives can say the same about Erik Larsen and his obsession with the Savage Dragon/Barrack Obama “bromance.””

Sure. Creepiness transcends political lines.

Erik strikes me more as silly and weird than creepy, but perhaps that is my own political bias showing.

Greg Hatcher – Oops. To clarify: I mean dogpiling the movie, not me. I’m not offended by your response to me.

And by “bigotry” I just meant reaching decisions about something based on trends and prejudice rather than seeing it for what it is. Again, the movie might suck, I’m just shocked at the number of people who have reached that conclusion based only on consensus rather than the movie itself.

As for Bill’s statement that he doesn’t need to sit through something to dismiss it, I completely disagree. And I think the operative word in your recent reply is “assume.”

And by “bigotry” I just meant reaching decisions about something based on trends and prejudice rather than seeing it for what it is. Again, the movie might suck, I’m just shocked at the number of people who have reached that conclusion based only on consensus rather than the movie itself.

Fair enough. However, I’ll point out again that no one on the crew has actually WRITTEN an Official Review of the thing. We’ve mostly been explaining the reasoning behind the fact that we HAVEN’T… that news from all fronts suggests that it’s a stinker. Certainly, that’s why I haven’t run right out to see it. (That and the fact that my wife makes horrible EWWW faces every time one of the TV ads comes on.)

I guess what stuck in my craw was your blithe suggestion that we are somehow being lazy because of this. I assure you that we all work at this, especially Brian. The idea that we don’t, just because we haven’t reviewed Frank Miller’s movie, is absurd on its face, and whether or not that’s what you’re suggesting, that’s how it comes off.

No, I didn’t mean that you were lazy at all. I only meant that people should be sure of what they’re talking about before they make a firm assessment. I see what you’re getting at, though… if a statement isn’t in the context of an Official Review, it doesn’t have the same weight. That’s fair.

And I understand if you don’t review the film, as you don’t have to if you don’t want to. It’s the declarations made without the basis of seeing the movie that puzzle me. And I don’t want you to think I’m singling you or this blog out, because it’s all over the place.

Hey, guys, regarding that Miller interview thing you’re all discussing: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2007/09/14/karindu-on-comic-hitler/

(This is me being graceless.)

It’s certainly fair to pass judgment on a movie to be “probably terrible” if 85% of the reviews pan it and it does less than 7mil in its opening weekend. Although on the other hand, that’s almost as much as Punisher: War Zone has made so far in a month, and The Spirit faced much tougher opening competition. And after seeing the film, it was about 85% terrible — although that was 99% what I expected it to be.

What ISN’T fair is for people to declare a movie before it even comes out or is reviewed, like a lot of people have done for The Spirit prior to release, and an increasing amount seem to be doing the same for Watchmen. The pre-release anti-buzz for Valkyrie seemed to backfire somewhat because it had a decent opening and much, much better reviews than The Spirit. Plus it has General Zod. ZOD!

What also isn’t fair is to make a review of a film that you haven’t actually seen, but nobody here has done that. There’s Maxim magazine and Larry King for that sort of thing. “Most Fun You’ll Have In a Theater This Summer!”

Miller rules.

(This is me being graceless.)

Okay, NOW I’m embarrassed. Especially since I’ve occasionally busted Brian for forgetting columns I’ve done.

Just sounds like Frank Miller has the typical dumb “Dubya” worldview… Iran (with an “n”) is the religious fundamentalist state… Iraq (with a “q”) under Saddam was repressively secular, and Al Qaeda wanted him out of power as much as Iran did…
The last Gulf conflict was really about oil. Full stop. The US (and Britain) made up all sorts of stories to justify it, but when it came down to it, they needed to remove from power the same person they put in power 20-30 years previously…
Saddam was put in power (and sold weapons by a Mr Rumsfeld) to stop IRAN spreading Islamic fundamentalism any further West… He then wouldn’t play ball…

As for The Spirit movie… I might wait for it on DVD.. Or borrow it from a friend who seems to get ALL the movies… But I’m not going to go out of my way to see it… From a comics point of view, The Spirit is not Sin City. And I really lost hope for it when they A) revealed who the Octopus was… and B) didn’t get why he was called “the Octopus”… It’s not because “[he] has eight of everything”… It’s because octopus alludes to murky depths, clouds of ink covering a getaway, and tentacles [in everything criminal]…

Watchmen, on the other hand seems to at least have the essence of the comic correct… I don’t know about the ending, but I’m willing to watch the film to see if any changes make more contemporary sense (assuming it actually gets released now, of course)

For what it’s worth, I went to see The Spirit on Saturday night with some friends, and we walked out after about 30 minutes. And I don’t even remember the last time I walked out of any movie, much less an adaptation of comic books I’m a huge fan of, so that’s saying something. I’m sure he had good intentions while making it, but Miller really did “The Spirit” and Will Eisner’s legacy a huge disservice with this movie. I think of all the people who are going to be first introduced to these characters through Miller’s movie, and it’s honestly kind of depressing.

As for the Batman comic in question, safe to say I wouldn’t touch it with a ten-foot pole. I’m as big a fan of Miller’s work in the ’80s as anyone else, but it’s clear his glory days are long past him, and I find his worldview on matters like this more than a little skewed. No thanks.

I should point out that regardless of whether a strike against Iraq is part of a strike against ‘world islamofascism’ – whatever the hell that is – the US didn’t declare war on Germany until AFTER Germany declared war on the US. The series of events went – Japan declared war on US, US and allies declared war on Japan, Germany and allies declared war on US, US declared war on Germany.

This may seem a fairly small point but it isn’t – if Germany hadn’t declared war on the US then FDR mightn’t have been able to sway public opinion towards war against Germany. Hitler’s declaration of war against the US is often seen as a strategic blunder – even though it was necessary under Germany’s treaty obligations because, you know, the Axis powers weren’t just allied but actually working together.

Maybe I’m just in the Colbert school but it seems that at a minimum people who use history as an argument should actually do some research. If liberals are guilty of misrepresentation, then at least this conservative is guilty of the much worse crime of blatant falsity.

This response is not an example of the “Colbert school” because you actually engaged what Miller was saying without micharacterizing his point first. Like I said before, there are enough valid grounds on which to disagree with him that such mischaracterization is unnecessary.

John Stanshall

First – well structured intelligent response, unlike a lot of the posts on this thread

I have two points to make in response:
1: In 2008, post War on Terror/ Invasion of Iraq etc, it may seem a little naive or even tasteless. But in the months after 9/11, I would have loved Batman to have been there to kick the shit of the terrorists (importantly terrorists, not muslims, Iraqis, or other uneducated generalization). I’m a Londoner, and and in the week after the 7/7 bombing in 2005 I remember randomly catching a re-run of 24 and almost cheering when Jack Bauer shot some terrorists. Of course, less than a fortnight later the shooting of John Charles de Mendez, which showed the error of my ways, but the feelings I had were valid and shouldn’t be ignored. Instead of bottling them up we should acknowledge them and explore them in works of fiction and the like, hopefully leading to people realizing that such thoughts are ultimately wrong. So yeah, I agree that this book would have been far more relevant in 2002, and Miller has only his laziness to blame for that. Though I’m still interested in it.

2: Comics from the 1940’s and the like from the era are far from innocent. I think I know the Supperman you’re refering to, the two page thing from Time magazine, which is suprisingly well balanced for the time. Have you ever seen the original Batman movie serial? It’s so incredibly racist! The narrator even refers to slanty eyed bastards or something like that. We can’t just forgive that with the old adage that ‘times were different then’. Yeah, the Japanese government wanted to attack America, but did the average Japanese man? In the same way that Bin Laden claims to be fighting for Islam yet there are millions of responsible sensible Muslims who condemn him.Your fear of a character who appears on kids lunch boxes et al appearing in a horribly racist piece of work has unfortunately already happened. I believe Miller at his prime (ie late 80’s) could have produced a powerful satire on those old comics with the concept. And the power of that satire WOULD HAVE COME FROM IT ACTUALLY BEING A BATMAN COMIC ITSELF. Whether or not the book will be that when it finally hits the stands is of course a whole different matter.

I think the policy of demanding that you see a movie in its entirety before forming an opinion on it is a very good one, and should be adopted by all. I think the same policy should be adopted in regards to stoves. Sure, that little light is saying, “Hot Surface”, but how do you know that light isn’t malfunctioning? The only real way to know if that stove is going to sear your flesh is to slap your hand down on it, palm-first, and press down hard!

Likewise, I think we should all rethink our policy on drinking household cleaners. Sure, it says, “Toxic if swallowed,” but why should we accept someone else’s word for it? Why should we accept the evidence of our nose when the scent makes us gag? The only real way to know if that Drano is lethally poisonous is to take a good long swig and see what happens.

And why would anyone just assume that metal is cold, just because it’s been out in cold weather for a long time? Go ahead, french-kiss that sucker, it’s the only way to be sure!

people have been burnt by fire and dies by poisons.
your straw man is out of stuffing. :)

Seavey –

I think I see your point (that accepting the advice and wisdom of purported experts before you try something yourself is often a good thing) but the faux logic you use to arrive at this conclusion (drinking household poison is exactly the same as watching a bad movie!) is so utterly asinine it barely merits a response.

I’m of the mind that although critics ought to be, and usually are, a source of insight and valid commentary, no one critic should allow the Hive-Mind of general consensus to make decisions for him. That’s intellectual laziness and I disagree with it. And for the record, licking a hot stove and seeing a bad movie are apples and oranges. Weird, right?

To clarify: I’m not accusing Greg, Greg, Brian, Bill, or anyone else at this blog of writing a review prematurely or of being lazy (that’s already been established and I apologize for the confusion) but concrete and definitive statements should be backed up by a certain level of experience. Again, this isn’t a problem at CSBG as much as it is all over the web, with bloggers making rash decisions without any knowledge of what they’re talking about.

Having actually seen The Spirit, and as someone not usually given to hyperbole, I can safely say it’s a pretty terrible movie, and a total disgrace to Eisner’s work. Seriously, what was Miller thinking?

Seavey…that was a REALLY bad analogy, given that entertainment is largely subjective and poisonous death and horrific burns are pretty much an objective experience.

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