Baff! Pow! Jihad!

He compares it to comics from 60 years ago with Superman and Captain America punching Hitler, but I have reservations about Frank Miller's planned 200-page graphic novel for next year about Batman going after bin Laden when Gotham is attacked by terrorists. I kind of prefer my superheroes not to live in the same world as me... but after Bush vowed vengeance on the "Axis of Evil," I guess the lines are blurred.

Comments (6)

I'm not too sure about this one...I like my comic books to stay in their fantasy universes. Batman and Osama? Sure Captain America and Superman went after Hitler, but that was so long ago...I mean, Captain America's entire reason of existing was to kill all the Nazis he could during WWII. I didn't seem to mind that because I wasn't really around during WWII...at all. Osama though, seems very weird to me.

LKM:

I think the Nazis have been used as bad guys so often that people don't really perceive them as real anymore. If you see Nazis, you don't really perceive them as Germans from WW2 anymore, you simply perceive them as "the evil guys". Look at Hellboy. The Nazis aren't actually Nazis, they're simply evil guys who use Nazi emblems so you immediately know that they're the evil ones.

Besides, Nazis are gone. Hitler doesn't live anymore, and there are no real Nazi countries, or even Nazi terrorist cells attacking other countries.

Bin Laden and Al Kaida are different. They're very much real, they're alive today. Having them in a comic book just feels wrong, and a bit jingoistic. Don't get me wrong, Frank Miller is one of the greatest comic artists alive, but that's just weird.

I so wish we could use that post title on something else one day... It's too good to pass up on a small blog post.

Jordan Fouts:

You're right on the jingoistic bit - Miller says in the article he intends this as propaganda. To what purpose I don't know, but it better not be an army recruitment stunt. I had a debate with someone over whether propaganda is more or less insidious when it's overt...

I'd prefer bin Laden didn't appear as an actual character. It would be too much like the cartoons and stupid flash games, trivializing something far too real - something larger than a single megalomaniac devoted to his ideas. Hitler can be trivialized, he's even funny in a lot of ways (like Monty Python's "Hilter" sketch), but only because we beat him. I'm sure propaganda had a legitimate role in that time and in the kind of war it was... but the ideological role in our war goes too deep for the same treatment.

Miller can do gunfights and he can do sexy, but can he do the sort of cultural awareness and political relevance that it would take to do this project right? I mean not just a Taliban Noir, but, like... Batman's a smart guy, I imagine he would see the other side, appreciate the larger issue of culture clashes, the Islamic struggle against the decadent amoral West... the images could be effective. Batman stalking some dusty desert village like a scene out of Splinter Cell, navigating networks of caves as he searches out and infiltrates a hidden lair... and as far as the intruige factor? Historically there are plenty of layers to peel back here, right down to US involvement in the '80s. Maybe he, and the rest of us, will learn something along the way. At least we know that Batman's the last guy to resort to his fists.

I would have to agree, "Baff! Pow! Jihad!" is just priceless.

-E:

Osama would kick Batman's ass. I'm sorry to say. But with all the body doubles Osama has, Batman has his work cut out for him. Plus with his little Batman light in the sky, people know where he is, or at least a general vicinity. No one has a clue about Osama. And those who do, probably only know where a body double is. Hell, I bet the body doubles don't even know if they're the real thing or a double!

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