He's the goddamn.. oh.. wait..

Revered by many, criticized by more, and read by all. This seems to be the fate of one man that’s been called everything from one of modern comics’ forefathers, to a fear-mongering mad man. Despite what many may think of Frank Miller, it must be recognized that his work has made a serious impact on the way we see comics today, many of his writings still reverberating consequences decades after being put to paper.

Not only does he write comics, but he also claims the title of artist for many of his works. How many people in the industry can say this? A handful, at best, and none with the same level of exposure as Miller. Two of his pieces have gone on to become major motion pictures (300 and Sin City), and one was made into an animated feature length movie (Batman: Year One). His work on such already developed characters as Batman and Daredevil have taken the characters to lengths never before seen in comics, for better or worst.

Most current in Miller’s controversy train is his recently completed hard cover graphic novel, Holy Terror. For those unfamiliar with this project, Miller had been working on the story since the early to mid 2000’s, originally under the name Holy Terror, Batman! This shouldn’t be a surprise to many comic fans, but the name had two main points to get across. Without even opening the book, a reader could read the title and see a connection to the timely fear of terrorism (in the wake of the 9/11 tragedies and the subsequent wars in the Middle East) and to the famous one-liners used by Robin (played by Burt Ward) in the 1960’s Batman television series that would always follow the formula of: “Holy _____, Batman!” For those thinking, “It can’t possibly be a story about Batman fighting a real-life terrorist group…”, you would be very wrong. The book was to feature Batman taking a war to Al Qaeda, and in true Frank Miller fashion, it would not be polite or peaceful.

Later in the book’s development, Miller announced that he felt the book was no longer a Batman story, and that he would be removing the Batman elements of the story. The book would now be called Holy Terror, and would center around a new character called The Fixer.

It seems pretty obvious Miller used minimal effort when redesigning the characters away from Jim Gordon (top left), Batman (top right), and Catwoman (bottom).

Upon release, the book immediately received scathing reviews from all corners of the world, most considering it to be a piece of pure propaganda, focusing hate and ignorance on all the Muslim people in the world, and all peoples in the Middle East. It can easily be argued, however, that this is exactly what Miller was going for, as he is quoted in 2006 by the UK based news service, The Telegraph:

“It is, not to put too fine a point on it, a piece of propaganda – Batman kicks al-Qa’eda’s ass,” … “It just seems silly to chase around the Riddler when you’ve got al-Qa’eda out there” … “Superman punched out Hitler. So did Captain America. That’s one of the things they’re there for. It’s an explosion from my gut reaction of what’s happening now, a reminder to people who seem to have forgotten who we’re up against.”

When held in this light, how can one put any more of a criticism on Miller for doing what many comic book creators did 60-70 years ago with Nazi-Germany in their stories featuring characters that are still very relevant even today? But, on the other hand, it was a very different time, and the wars were also very different, both in nature and in events. Whether you are Pro-Miller or Anti-Miller, at least his book made people step out of their comfort zone and make some real discussions on topics that most would prefer to play it safe and just leave alone.

It may have been another time, but this cover still resonates pretty loudly with the country's state of being at the time.

This weekend, Frank is no doubt enjoying his life a bit. For those of you keeping score at home, Friday (January 27th) was Miller’s 55th birthday. In commemoration of that birthday, today I am going to list my Top-10 Controversial Moments in Comics.

DISCLAIMER: The following are not necessarily on the list because I personally found them controversial, but because they were able to generate controversy throughout the world in one way or another.

10. Kevin Keller (Archie Comics)

Riverdale's first openly homosexual teen is even getting married! Did you get an invite?

9. Tony Stark: Alcoholic (Marvel Comics)

The late-70's were more of a cocaine time anyway, so things could have been worst for Tony...

8. The Goddamn Batman (DC Comics)

In Batman's defense, the kid was being kind of a DICK...

7. The Muslim Batman of Paris (DC Comics)

Were people angry about Nightrunner because he was Muslim or because he was French?? Oui, la grenouille mange du pamplemousse.

6. Ultimate Quick Silver and Scarlet Witch (Marvel Comics)

Wasp: "You don't get it, Mr. Rogers, do you? They love eachother." Cap: "Of course, they do. They're brother and sister." Wasp: "No. It's more than that. They're IN love."

5. Roy Harper: Cats and Junkies (DC Comics)

It's exactly how it looks, in a heroine induced haze, Roy mistook a dead cat for his dead daughter... There's really no way of getting around that...

4. New 52 Promiscuity (DC Comics)

Not than any of these characters were not known for their controversial activities before, but this certainly brings it to a Penthouse Forum type level...

3. Holy Terror (Legendary)

No witty comment needed, see above!

2. Women in Refrigerators (DC Comics)

This one panel more or less opened the door for many more seemingly pointless female character deaths in comics... You could say it opened the refrigerator door...

1. Henry Pym’s Relationship with Janet van Dyne (Marvel Comics)

If he can hit a Wasp like that, just imagine how he treats his ants! But in all seriousness, this was a pretty terrible instance in the Avengers' lives.

What do you think of the list? Is there something you would have added? Something you would have taken out? Something you found was particularly controversial? Leave a comment and let’s hash it out!


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