swing anna miss, big frank [holy terror]

September 26th, 2011 by | Tags: ,

(this is long, sorry, but i guess i have FEELINGS :rolleyes: )

In between NBA 2k11 (and soon 2k12) games, I sometimes write about comics. It’s just a thing I do, you know, keep the lights on and the Hawks on my TV. I reviewed Frank Miller’s Holy Terror, his big 9/11 getback novel. If you’ve talked to me for more than thirty seconds, you probably know I really enjoy dude’s work, and was looking forward to Holy Terror with more than a little trepidation. Maybe more excitement than trepidation, but I definitely knew 1) how bad this could get and 2) that Miller doesn’t have a subtle bone in his body. Which makes the fact that Holy Terror is as bad as I expected it to be all the more depressing. Read the review–it’s two thousand words, and I spent a long time writing it (more on that in a bit). People are going buck wild in the comments, I bet.

Here’s a quote for something I want to talk out:

There’s a line from a poem that’s been running through my head ever since I finished Holy Terror: “When she was good, She was very, very good, But when she was bad she was horrid.” It applies very well to Holy Terror. The last page is a stinger as good as anything ever seen on The Twilight Zone. The rest of it? It’s depressing. It feels almost like a betrayal. Miller has done many things that were forward-thinking or intelligent, whether exploring the ideals of black beauty in Sin City or blowing the hinges off what comics could be with Elektra Assassin. For him to do something like this, which is stupid at best, is… let’s call it disappointing. He’s punching far below his weight class. I’m still looking forward to the 300 sequel Xerxes, but my desire for it has definitely been tempered, if not nearly annihilated, by Holy Terror.

And “betrayal” feels like one of those things that the comics fans I hate would say in a review, in-between sentences about how this portrayal of the Vision is something something continuity joke. That got away from me, but you get my point. I wrote it in the review yesterday and then stopped. I erased it, rewrote the sentence, and then put it back, because that’s what it feels like. Not a dramatic, everything-you-know-is-wrong, GOTCHA betrayal. Just a minor one. Something I thought was true was revealed to be false.

I’ve talked incessantly about how The Big Fat Kill pretty much completely rewired my head and is probably the thing that led to my love of straight up crime fiction. I grew up and read more and realized that Miller was bigger than hardboiled books. I was pleased to see that his body of work was not only diverse, but groundbreaking. I mean, count ’em: Daredevil, Wolverine, Born Again, Year One, Elektra Assassin, Dark Knight Returns, Sin City, A Dame to Kill For, 300, and Hard Boiled, to name his more inarguable examples of classics. He’s been in comics for 33 years, so… what is that, around a one hot book every three years average? That’s pretty great. He’s a legend for a reason.

And so, the “whores whores whores” stuff online bothered me a whole lot. If you’re pulling that card, you’re ignorant of Miller’s body of work. There’s really no other way to say it. I did/do a lot of eye-rolling at that stuff and try to correct it when appropriate. Miller’s back catalog is way deeper than that criticism suggests, and I guess because of my attachment to his work over the years, it’s my pet bugaboo?

I expected Holy Terror to be pretty bad. I was hoping for ASBAR bad, where there are these glorious shining spots of fantastic storytelling mixed in with the inexplicable nonsense, instead of The Spirit bad, which was mostly bad except for those parts where I kinda sorta got what Miller was trying to do. Back in July, I said “boy do i hope this isn’t super racist when it drops.” And I kept doing that. I kept making jokes about how it was probably gonna be pretty offensive or racist with each new bit of news. I think it’s because I knew, deep down, that it would be terrible, but hopefully if I joked about it, it would somehow become less racist or something. Denial, son.

G Willow Wilson posted this on her Twitter:

“As a Muslim comics creator, seeing an icon like Frank Miller write a book like Holy Terror is like getting punched in the face. Just sayin.”

And ugh, man! I like Wilson a lot, though I don’t follow her on Twitter, so this was the written equivalent of somebody punching you in the face while you’re asleep. You’re gonna feel it, and you’re gonna remember it for a long time. It will cold ruin your day until you finally man up and take care of it. What she said crawled all the way up into my brain, and it sat there asking me why I was being stupid. I knew better, I always knew better, so why the hesitance and dumb jokes instead of facing up to what Holy Terror was shaping up to be? I knew that I needed to recognize wisdom and do what I should have done ages ago.

So I canceled my preorder. No, really. I did it the same day, a couple hours later:

’cause I mean, I’m a smart guy, but I was being a smart dumb guy by fooling myself into thinking that Holy Terror was something that I would possibly be able to like and still respect myself. I’m a fan–not a stan. Or so I’d like to think anyway.

I got a PDF galley of the book the very next day. I laughed at the timing and read it as soon as I got home. And on the first read, I was stunned. Or not stunned–more like blank. I read every page, some twice, and at the end, I was empty. I didn’t hate it, but I was completely devoid of anything to really say about it. That was it? I read it again and everything fell into place. That blankness was me working through the cognitive dissonance of someone I’d thought was a modern, progressive person doing a book that was filled with wall to wall hate for people I respect a great deal. I mean, no way, no how does that happen.

Except it did, it’s real, and man, yeah, I’m glad I canceled the preorder. I would’ve been furious. I would’ve felt terrible. I would’ve felt a lot of things, probably. Even with not having put money into it, I felt bad about it. I felt gross. Holy Terror was everything I was hoping it wouldn’t be. I was a fool for thinking otherwise.

It took me three hours to write that review. That’s an extremely long time for me to take to write anything of that length. (embarrassingly long.) I spent the whole weekend thinking about Holy Terror, despite going to a Hong Kong cinema film festival, and wrote it on Sunday. Writing the review wasn’t working for me at all–and maybe this is melodramatic but whatever, it’s true–until I put on Spike Lee’s Malcolm X. It came out on my ninth birthday and a gang of my family all drove to Macon as a group to see it. It was genuinely life-changing for me, like a watershed moment or Paul waking up on the road to Damascus. If I had to make a chart of things that have had a huge influence on my life, Denzel Washington as Malcolm X would be one of the top five biggest things. It’s that real to me. I don’t watch it near as often as I should, but every time it’s as good as it ever was. (I forgot about the children saying “I am Malcolm X” at the end this time around, and they caught me completely flat-footed. Long story short, FYI, I got a lil choked up.)

(My man Pedro from Funnybook Babylon also hooked me up with a Kindle copy of the new Malcolm bio while I was watching the movie. Very X sort of day.)

I dunno why, but that made the review flow easier. Writing alongside something I knew and loved, and that was in a very real way directly relevant to what Miller was writing about, worked. I got that I needed to make it more of a personal essay than a “Buy this book/don’t buy this book” review, and I wanted to do it from the perspective of someone who loves Miller’s work in general and was disgusted and disappointed. “Betrayal.” I was surprised when I wrapped up the review a little bit before the credits rolled, but there’s something weirdly fitting there. I dunno. Serendipity. It is what it is.

I don’t hate Frank Miller. I’m entirely more disappointed than I expected to be, but I’m still kinda sorta looking forward to Xerxes. I dunno.

I threw some shots Grant Morrison’s way last month, and I didn’t even bother buying (or bootlegging) Action Comics. I’m just not interested any more, and that’s a feeling that’s been growing for a while. I don’t need his books and I don’t think I’m missing all that much these days. I haven’t written Miller off like I have Morrison, though I think that Holy Terror and what it represents are an objectively bigger sin than “has stupid opinions about Superman and needs to openly rep for the Siegels and Shusters or quit comics.” I liked Morrison a lot at one point, but he’s never been as fundamental to me as Miller was. Is that why I haven’t entirely quit his comics? I dunno, but that feels like the correct answer.

But even then, I’m giving a lot of thought to Xerxes. The comic is one of his best, and the movie felt offensive in ways the comic didn’t. Vagaries of the medium, maybe. I don’t think that’s stannery. I feel like that’s probably true. I’ve liked what I’ve seen of it, but I’m still thinking about it a lot. I dunno.

The Miller and Morrison things are sort of identical, in that both situations involve a creator I respect proving that my faith was misplaced. We build up these pictures of others in our heads, and we fill in the blanks based on what we know or what we want to believe. Seeing those differences made as plain as day is always a shocking, surprising thing. It’s unfair, maybe, but we still do it.

I have a hard time separating the art from the artist once I become aware of something I would personally find loathsome about the artist. Sure, they’re still talented, but there are SO many things to take that I can live my entire life experiencing new things before working my way over to them. Other people are better at it than I am, and I’m a little jealous. But I don’t like the idea that my money would go to supporting someone who represents something I hate. And it’s disappointing when people you like give you reasons not to like them.

Every time I see their name, I’ll think of what they did. I dunno if that’s being an informed, responsible consumer or just thinking too much about comics or both.

But you know, whatever whatever. I’m glad I got to see a dozen or so brand new and genuinely incredible Miller pages, despite the words that were on them. You speak of “love and hate.” This is it in a nutshell.

This post is around ten words longer than the actual review and took me around an hour to write. (More words now.) Sorry. I’m kinda bummed out.

Y’all probably shouldn’t buy Holy Terror though.

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23 comments to “swing anna miss, big frank [holy terror]”

  1. David I try to comment on your articles a lot but I always find myself just writing a summation of everything you’ve already said, realizing i have nothing else to contribute, and closing the tab. That said, I too was finding myself writing off the backlash as rote “goddamn batman”/”whoreswhoreswhores” jokery and missing the point, and am sorry I did. Hoping Miller isn’t completely lost in this progressively concerning worldview of his.

  2. Screw you man, I can have real feelings about the Vision’s characterization.

    Not “marginalizing/demonizing billions of people” feelings, sure. At least until we’re about a thousand years into Synthezoid culture.

  3. You bring up the same point that I think Matt Seneca did when he talked about Chester Brown’s Paying For It: Separating the artist from the financial transaction. I think–and again, I’m going on memory, so if I’m misrepresenting him, it’s not intentional–Seneca said that if Brown didn’t directly benefit financially from a sale of the book, he wouldn’t have as visceral a reaction to the work (I think he used the writings of the Marquis de Sade as a comparison). Does the same go for you when it comes to Morrison and Miller? Is it easier to appreciate the work of artists with objectionable and despicable views–like, say, Leni Riefenstahl or D.W. Griffith–because time has created a distance to them that they’re pieces of history and not actual people? Do people swear off Orson Scott Card’s novels because he’s not shy about broadcasting his homophobic views, but have no problems reading H.P. Lovecraft because he’s no longer around to espouse his racist beliefs?

    I was similarly disappointed with Morrison’s remarks about Siegel and Shuster, but my reaction was more along the lines of yours to Miller (although with more benefit-of-the-doubt rationalization). As a rule, though, I tend to be able to separate the art from the artist, but I really question whether that shows a greater understanding, respect and appreciation for the creative process or if it simply shows that I’m pretty weak in the principles department when confronted with things I enjoy.

    Anyway, great thought-provoking post.

  4. @Joe V.: I feel the same way but more often it is about movies, I mean Roman Polanski and Mel Gibson make some absolutely killer films but I wouldn’t want to ever be in the same room as them or anything like that.

    It is a strange thing paying for something that someone whom you do not agree with produces, I guess however that is the power of art. It transcends all that small stuff, I do plan on flipping through Holy Terror soon and I am still on the fence on the buying side.

  5. I don’t see how buying this book would be any different from me buying rap albums that are homophobic and sexist. I guess I’m used to being the target of offense across so many works I otherwise enjoy, that I’ve gotten to the point where I can seperate it out, and say “this work offends me” and that is an aspect of the work–but do I otherwise get something out of it?

    I suppose maybe this time it’s different because the target is a group to which I don’t belong–but really I’m not a super huge fan of christianity OR islam because both have been the engines behind a lot of violence and hate toward my people–not just books about it either–we’re talking legitimate kill you if your gay, female circumcision, actively petitioning government against you shit. I don’t let all of this drive me to hate–because I know that on the micro-level it’s just people–and I’ve met and been friends with so many good muslims and christians, that it would be silly to paint them as some sort of other for me to direct my frustrations at. But I’m just saying, that as a group that is used to being a punching bag in works I otherwise enjoy–I guess I’m not uber sympathetic to works going back at some of those same institutions. I won’t lie, I’d probably get a quiet thrill if Frank Miller did a Holy Terror book for the Westboro Baptist Church idiots.

    Anyways. Yeah I know all of that is contridictory, and small. And a lot of it is just probably excuses for a work I very very much am excited about.

    Something I would be interested in seeing someone write about this book–is I would like to see someone truthfully unpact Miller’s Propoganda capsule to this book. He has been running around for years saying this is a propoganda piece–I was wondering how that changes things. I mean is a possible reading of this book, not to get completely metafictional, Miller simultaneously critiquing the propoganda form? I mean everything you’ve described about the book is what all propoganda does. It is rarely specific. It is always about making an us vs. them situation–I would like to see someone address that angle more in depth, since it’s clearly THE overriding aspect of this book. Is Miller making a critique or is he making a crutch because he’s in denial about his own racist feelings? Like you say here, Miller through his body of work, has settled himself as a fairly progressive guy in his work–is it possible that a lot of these negative reviews are perhaps misinterpreting the work, just because it’s a lot easier to call Miller a racist(or religionist I guess) and be done with it?

    This was long.

  6. Sarah,

    The biggest problem with Holy Terror is that it’s terrible. It doesn’t work as a piece of propaganda at all. You don’t get a sense of the righteous outrage that would turn a garden variety progressive leaning libertarian into a raging neocon.

    I’m a muslim, but was pretty excited for the book, myself. I think there’s something cathartic about expressing offensive/hateful sentiments through art. There’s a real value to propaganda, especially when it’s done creatively. Think Gone With the Wind or Ras Kass’ Nature of the Threat, or James Ellroy’s Underworld USA trilogy. There’s an honesty behind that hatred that’s important to explore.

    Frank Miller didn’t do any of that. In the end, it was conventional, boring, even. The plot was paper-thin. The characters were poorly crafted archetypes. Miller’s “Al Qaeda” were far less compelling than the real thing. That’s what bothered me about the book. It just wasn’t any good.

    Have you ever read Ron Suskind’s The One Percent Doctrine? I’m the kind of person who suspects that Dick Cheney may be the Devil (j/k), but there’s a passage in the book, right after 9/11, when Suskind puts the reader in Cheney’s shoes. You can imagine how powerless he felt, how scared and outraged he was. When he lays out the One Percent Doctrine (don’t have time to explain it now, but can later if you’re not familiar w/ it), there’s a part of you that understands where he’s coming from. That feeling – this can never be allowed to happen again. We all know what that feels like.

    That’s what I expected from Holy Terror. I wanted to feel something. Instead, I felt cheated.

    More later.

  7. Jamaal,
    I haven’t read Ron Suskind’s One Percent Doctrine. I’ll google it up. I saw him on the Daily Show last week I think though hawking his new book. Which sounded interesting.

    It’s definitely difficult for me to really discuss Holy Terror since I haven’t read it yet. Maybe once I’m done I’ll feel the same way as you do. I mean the reason you gave for it not being good, would definitely be my main problem as well. I’ve never really had a problem enjoying Nature of the Threat or Gone with the Wind on their own merits, while still keeping in mind what was wrong with what was going on. I think my problem this week with the Starfire pages were less that they were offensive, than more that they were more of the same old boring crap, and it was done in a very boring stupid way.

    So to that end, I hope you are wrong, because I still have expectations for this book. I just hope by the time I get to read it, I haven’t so tainted my reading that I’m forcing myself to like it.

    I think something at play here is also after the Morrison interviews really disapointed me in him, I really don’t want to be disapointed by Miller. I’ve defended his work against so much dumbassery over the years, it would really suck to have him disapoint at this juncture. And I suppose in the end that has nothing to do with the book itself, and more his entire body of work previous.

    There’s a lot to untangle here that’s for sure. I can see why David has written so much about it. There’s something about this that really picks at a lot of threads in my brain about how I think about art, and comics, and social issues. It’s very difficult to be progressive on all of those fronts without them trying to eat each other–and that tension really gets the brain going.

  8. Hey David, I’m with you on sensing a profound disappointment and betrayal by Frank Miller. I was the one who sent you the comparisons between Miller and Michael Jordan some time back, and the only way I can reconcile the Frank Miller of the 20th Century, of Daredevil, Ronin, The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, Elektra, Sin City and 300 and the current unhinged neo-conservative troll of All-Star Batman, DK2, Martha Washington Dies and now this is that they are two different people: 1980s and 1990s Jordanesque “FM”, and the current incarnation, Hollywood “Frank Miller”. Great analysis in your two pieces!

  9. No matter how hard I try to take another stance on the matter, the subject of Miller’s views on Islam always ends up pissing me off. The more I think about it, the worse my opinion on Holy Terror becomes. And I’m fine with that. Should I really give Miller a straight pass for getting away with this sort of rhetoric just because he was a fantastic creator? Personally, I think not.

    Jamal, it’s cool that you even were willing to consider that Miller was willing to explore and discuss his prejudices in this book, which I agree can often be something worth checking out. My first reaction to the news of Holy Terror, back in 2006, was outrage and I quickly dismissed Miller and just left it at that. His comments never exactly filled me with the confidence that the book was going to be anything but Frank splashing his rage and hatred of Islam in print.

    I mean the fact that Miller continued with this project all these years makes me very uncomfortable. Why was has he been so persistent to communicate his views on Islam to the world? Does he think he’s achieving anything worthwhile with it. What’s the point. A big fuck you to Islam and everything the culture represents? Or as you mention, a form of personal catharsis for somebody who was deeply affected by 9/11? By the sounds of most of the criticism I’ve heard against it, it doesn’t seem so.

  10. Thanks for the comments everyone.

    @Chris: Yeah, but which Vision do you prefer? The white one or the colored one?

    @Joe V.: I still love Ender’s Game, but I don’t read Orson Scott Card for exactly the reasons you state. Never been a Lovecraft fan, so purposefully not buying his work wouldn’t really be worth anything. It’s a tough conversation, and almost absurdly subjective. I think part of it is the money thing you state, a kind of de facto support of the mentality. Another part is that… life is short, and having these arguments with myself, while valuable, aren’t as valuable as falling completely in love with something else. I’m sure I buy media from people I would or do loathe. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head (long day), but I’m sure that’s true. It’s the finest of lines.

    @Sarah Velez: I don’t know that this is a parody of propaganda. Miller’s been awful honest about exactly what he intended to do (which was old-fashioned propaganda of the WWII cape comix variety) and most of the talking points in the book are things that Miller has said in interviews–Dark Ages, chopping off heads, etc etc. There’s no critique here, just a straightforward narrative about terrorism and revenge.

    And it’s not so much that I don’t agree with Miller, though I emphatically do not, but that the story he chose to hang his treatise on isn’t worth much. He draws some genuinely incredible pages, some pretty good ones, and a handful of terrible ones. But the story just doesn’t work on any real level, from parody to propaganda to just being internally consistent. There’s this left-field twist late in the book, like last-scene late, that completely saps the book of all any of its propagandic (made that up, but you get me) power and sends the story flying off in a positively absurd, but visually interesting, direction.

    I’m totally down with works I don’t agree with. I think the difference of opinion between me and Miller is striking and troubling to me here, but I can definitely give credit where it’s due. There are precious few books that will look better than the best parts of Holy Terror this year. But the combination of the story being worthless and it being intended as a propaganda piece is just… ugh.

    I wouldn’t mind reading an examination of the propaganda aspects of the book. I think that would be very interesting, in fact, but so much of it lines up with lazy anti-Islam hate speech that I wonder how successful that post would be. It’s like, “Yeah, thanks, these are all the same old tired stereotypes.”

    I’m very interested in seeing your thoughts on the book, and I totally feel you on the not wanting to be disappointed front. Like, I’m 100% with you there. I really (genuinely) hope you dig it. It’s compromised for me, though.

    @Mo Hussain: I’m not sure it’s a matter of persistance. Miller was saying in 2008 that he’d drawn most of the book, and in early 2010, he said that he wasn’t doing it any more. In June 2010, he said that he was changing the hero to someone else. By December, Legendary Comics was formed with his buddy Bob Schreck.

    My guess? It sat on a shelf for a while until someone offered to publish it, because they knew that Miller on a book is money in the bank. I’d like to think that his position has changed ont he work, but I doubt it. Disappointing.

  11. You mentioned something about a dude with a Star of David plastered all over his face being an ally of the Fixer on Comics Alliance. What’s up with that? Is Miller dragging Jews and Israelis (I imagine he makes no distinction) into this hot mess too? I mean all Jews are David Horowitz so it makes sense that Semitic Nuke would be on board for this, right!?

    On another note I’ve recently come to appreciate Malcolm X much more now that I’ve learned that he changed his mind about Jewish people after he made Hajj. I also appreciate W.E.B. DuBois speaking out against the Nazis. I think I had a biased education since I somehow acquired the demented idea that there was a tendency among black social luminaries to blame “the Jew” for their problems.

  12. For me, reading your review was just the slight nausea of coming to know the sausage maker, knowing full well there was going to be some guy up to his elbows in pig feces behind the shiny metal door but hoping against hope that he would be charming, maybe have some sharp observations on the process.

    Same feeling I got when I cracked SUPERGODS: would there be anything in there that would bother me more than the inevitable chapter where the drugs explained to Grant that lack of health care is an illusion? (Yes: the chapter where Grant explained to me that because I read his books, I was better than the female “Zeppelins” who read Gaiman.)

    I’m left with the usual impression that most of the time, success at art makes self-critique impossible.

  13. I felt the same way when Jim Balent had Saddam Hussein in 3 Little Kittens part 2. But, at some point, you have to look in the mirror and realize… this shit is just comics.

  14. I’ve been on the Miller train since Elektra: Assassin was only available as single issues, but I wrote “Holy Terror” off as soon as I learned that the story was too far outside DC’s margins to wear Batman’s cape & cowl.

    Mindful of what that editorial decision implied, I felt that the story could probably come off as extremely xenophobic, and it was the last thing I needed to see from the hand of Frank Miller or anyone else in comics. Even the day after 9/11, there would have been no place in my head or heart for what seemed to amount to a “Giuliani time” hate crime in comic book form.

    Thanks for being so honest about the ups-n-downs regarding the buying the book and writing this post.

  15. Gotta love that failing to mention how Siegel and Shuster got screwed over is comparable to portraying 22% of the world’s population as murderers or murderers-in-waiting.

    Only on the internet.

  16. @Simmered: You’re an idiot. Read what I wrote, not what you think I wrote. Specifically, from the post which you just skimmed:
    “I haven’t written Miller off like I have Morrison, though I think that Holy Terror and what it represents are an objectively bigger sin than “has stupid opinions about Superman and needs to openly rep for the Siegels and Shusters or quit comics.””

    I don’t compare the two situations ever. I’m comparing my reactions to two people doing two things I didn’t appreciate.

  17. While I agree for the most part on the quality of the work I’m a bit baffled when anyone says they are offended by this book. Nowhere does Miller say Islam is evil. It is certainly used for evil but nowhere does he equate Islam with evil, unless I’m misremembering. If I am, apologies. But when did it become wrong to attack terrorists? We know who attacked the WTC because they took credit for it, and it wasn’t the IRA. As a New Yorker I remember those days after and hated the ugliness that came out of people. But let’s be realistic here, white people aren’t the only villains in the world but it seems that they are the only ones deemed acceptable. Al-qaeda attacked the WTC, do we have to pretend they are not a militant Islamic group? Theo Van Gogh was killed by Christians?

  18. “And so, the “whores whores whores” stuff online bothered me a whole lot. If you’re pulling that card, you’re ignorant of Miller’s body of work.”

    Yeah, as I’ve said before, I’m very familiar with Miller’s body of work, have read most of it and own a good portion of it, and in the last 10ish years it definitely HAS been a large amount of “whores whores whores” stuff. I know that it’s tough to see a once great writer fall to shit, but that’s what’s happened here. Sorry:(

  19. […] couldn’t get it out of my head. Something was echoing in the back of my mind. David Brothers mentioned offhand that “Frank Miller doesn’t have a subtle bone in his body.” And I think […]

  20. Haven’t read it yet, and it looks like the most I’ll ever do is skim it at the store. Miller’s writing is hit-and-miss with me (mostly miss lately, so much so that, but I’m a HUGE fan of his black & white work. However, no matter how beautiful the B&W art is, I can’t pay money to support such an objectionable and bigoted message. I’m a white Christian, and that stuff STILL aggravates the hell out of me.

  21. […] Frank Millers “Holy Terror, Batman!“ is uitgekomen in Amerika – en dus ook bij de goeie Nederlandse Stripwinkel, maar long time fan David Brothers is niet onder de indruk. Zijn recensie, en zijn post-game analysis […]

  22. I’m sorry for zeroing in on one tiny bit of a post that’s about something larger, but I gotta nitpick:

    And so, the “whores whores whores” stuff online bothered me a whole lot. If you’re pulling that card, you’re ignorant of Miller’s body of work. There’s really no other way to say it.

    I still don’t need to have read all of his stuff to know that I have problems with gender, sex, and female characters in what work of his I have read.

    Like, I get that someone describing his entire body of creative work as “whores, whores, whores” is dismissive and does injustice to his creative work, and what aspects of his work may be progressive. But if I dip my toe into his work, and what I see is akin to “whores, whores, whores”, I have every right to walk away from Miller entirely after that. I have no obligation to the go through rest of his work, if I’m so turned off by some of it I don’t want anything to do with the rest of it. Sure, a turned-off reader might remain ignorant of the rest of his work, but I feel like maybe that’s Frank Miller’s problem, not the reader’s?

    I’m not sure if I’m explaining what I mean very well, but maybe it’s this: while a more informed, well-read opinion of someone’s work is worth listening to, the uninformed opinion isn’t always worth dismissing.

    I’ve read Batman: Year One, ASBAR, bits of other comics, and have tried on multiple occasions to watch the Sin City and 300 movies (and failed every time). I have a lot of love for B:Y1, despite the problems I have with it. I recognize that Miller’s capable of good storytelling, and I actually do intend to read more of his work because of that, but I guess the idea of being obligated to do so in order to criticize kinda irks me, even if I understand the value in it.

  23. I agree with Jamaal that the biggest problem with this book is that it’s just terrible. The story is meager and extremely messy. I don’t know how this took him 10 years to complete, because the end result is largely incomprehensible. I don’t even care that there are racist and xenophobic characters in it, I just don’t like that there’s nothing to balance it out. We can all read Watchmen and understand that Rorschach isn’t a mouthpiece for Alan Moore’s worldview. You don’t get any of that with this book. It feels like Miller’s speaking from the heart. If it’s supposed to be a stealth parody it completely missed the mark.
    For example, we’re supposed to think that the Irish guy’s a jerk because his racism is a 9.5, but the Fixer is clearly an author avatar and his racism’s like a 9. This story never would have worked with Batman, because the Fixer has no problem torturing and crippling suspects, blowing people’s heads off, and peppering his conversation with F-bombs and ethnic slurs. Maybe FM should have kept it a Batman story and had him fight Kobra. He’d still be accused of using thinly-veiled Islam analogues, but at least they’re a preexisting terrorist group in the DCU and they do have the kind of resources to wreak serious carnage. I don’t remember Al Qaeda having fighter jets.