Tag Archives: Holy Terror

HOLY TERROR and Propaganda vs. Storytelling

16 Nov

by Mike Hansen

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

Can this guy be in a comic book without it being one-sided propaganda? (Hint: YES) (Image via Wikipedia)

There’s a really interesting discussion going on over at the Marvel Masterworks Fan Site forums (in which I’ve participated a bit) over Frank Miller’s Holy Terror and whether it, or Miller, are offensive.

My post there today ended up being much longer and more time-consuming than I’d intended, so there probably won’t be as many site updates here today. I’m going to be lazy and just share some of what I posted there, since I do think it’s worth further discussion (either there or here, whatever you feel like).

Unlike Miller’s comments section (or most comments sections on the ‘net), this thread has inspired a lot of great ideas and points of view about politics and propaganda. And the discussion has broadened into whether comics and other popular media are appropriate tools for depicting polarizing/political figures, or groups of people (like, say, Muslims), and whether said depictions are inherently biased.

From my last post:

Yes, Alex Ross’s Bush/Obama paintings are obviously ridiculous, editorial works that fit perfectly with his approach to superhero cover art and his work on Uncle Sam (the American Dream vs. the cynical, imperfect reality). Ross works in symbols and iconography; I don’t see why anyone would be offended by an artist having a point of view in his work, especially when it’s making a statement about a public figure. To me, that’s the beauty of free speech in America: any public figure deserves all of the praise and criticism people convey in their editorial work, because they’re asking for it. No other country has the same absolute guarantee of this sort of criticism, and that’s the one thing I value about America more than any other.

But editorial cartoons aren’t comic-book stories. The Continue reading

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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, Continue reading

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