Why is Everybody Pickin’ on Poor Ol’ Frank Miller?

15 Nov

by Mike Hansen

Frank Miller at the "X-Files: I Want To B...

(Image via Wikipedia)

I’ve said what I have to say, and I meant every word.

But one superstar creator doesn’t understand the reaction to Frank Miller’s nasty rant. Mark Millar posted,

Politically, I disagree with his analysis, but that’s besides the point. I wasn’t shocked by his comments because they’re no different from a lot of commentators I’ve seen discussing the subject. What shocked me was the vitriol against him, the big bucket of shit poured over the head by even fellow comic-book creators for saying what was on his mind.

Obviously, it’s within their rights to exercise the First Amendment as much as it was within Frank’s to make the original point. But there’s something so distasteful about that cyber-mob mentality that revolts me. It’s not just that I like the guy, that his body of work is among the best the industry has ever seen. It’s the GLEE I’m seeing from some people and, worse, the calls I’ve seen to boycott his work because his perspective on a point differs from yours and mine…

..I just hate a mob. I think it demeans us. I also hate a bandwagon and would urge my fellow left-wing readers to boycott Miller no less than HP Lovecraft, Steve Ditko, David Mamet or any other writer who might not share my personal philosophy, but [whose] work I’m happy to have on my shelves.

(more in the link.)

Mark Millar has cultivated a public personality as a Nice Guy, with a rah-rah positive, let’s-all-get-along diplomacy that’s won him a lot of work and connections. It’s an admirable thing to see in such a talented and high-profile comics creator. But I think he’s missing the point here.

Usually, when I see blindly ignorant stupidity on the internet, whether it’s Frank Miller’s dumbass comments or (say) over half of the 7000-plus comments in response, I just ignore it. But Miller is not just another average Joe typing into the internet void; he’s FRANK MILLER, one of the few comics creators whose name is recognizable outside our little comics world, and someone who in a lot of the public’s mind represents Comics. And when he says something this stupid, this angry, this bizarre, and this personally insulting to a whole lot of people, he’s going to be called out on it.

It brings me no pleasure to speak against one of my comics heroes. I proudly have nearly all of his work on my bookshelves (except the execrable Holy Terror, which I look forward to removing from my home). But when Miller is making Comics, and all of us in it, look bad, he deserves a response. On the other hand, anyone who’s actually enjoying piling on Miller, hopping on the anti-Miller bandwagon, or calling for a boycott (!) needs to rethink their priorities and (as Miller might say) get a life. But those who take issue with or are offended by Miller, and giving an honest response, deserve the respect that Miller has denied them.

The first issue of Batman: The Dark Knight Ret...

Nothing can take away from this greatness. (Image via Wikipedia)

Now, it’s certainly possible that Miller chose his words specifically in order to get attention, to troll the internet, and boost interest and sales for Holy Terror. But after reading such a shitty, one-dimensional graphic novel from him, I don’t doubt that he also meant every word. A serious number of people bought Holy Terror because Miller’s name has always meant incredible and innovative storytelling – the massive disappointment that many have expressed after reading a bad $30 book with only 120 pages is hopefully a wake-up call for Miller. I guess those who haven’t given up on him will see when Dark Horse releases Xerxes – yet another Miller project piggybacking on a previous hit instead of something new.

Frank Miller’s works have inspired generations of writers and artists like few others, and he deserves his success. If, after a dozen or so masterpieces, he’s run out of things to say in Comics, there’s nothing wrong with that. I hope he has more great works in him, and that his third act will be as grand as Bob Dylan’s. As of right now, his cranky online rant (the internet: where your idiocy lives forever!) and Holy Terror are like the Sex Pistols without Johnny Rotten: a bad imitation cover band.

If Miller wants to meet his rocking chair (to paraphrase another young punk), good for him – but if he keeps shooting his mouth off and making Comics look bad, he’s going to keep getting a response.

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4 Responses to “Why is Everybody Pickin’ on Poor Ol’ Frank Miller?”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Frank Miller: The Dennis Miller of Comics « All Day Comics - November 15, 2011

    […] [UPDATE: More thoughts on others' reactions to Miller, including Mark Millar, here.] […]

  2. HOLY TERROR and Propaganda vs. Storytelling « All Day Comics - November 16, 2011

    […] Why is Everybody Pickin’ on Poor Ol’ Frank Miller? (alldaycomics.com) […]

  3. I read MYSTIC #1-4 « All Day Comics - November 17, 2011

    […] Why is Everybody Pickin’ on Poor Ol’ Frank Miller? (alldaycomics.com) […]

  4. Fast Facts for Frank Miller (and Friends) « All Day Comics - November 23, 2011

    […] Why is Everybody Pickin’ on Poor Ol’ Frank Miller? (alldaycomics.com) […]

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