Tom Brevoort: Maybe Frank Miller can write a generic Captain America tale for Marvel

Brevoort Marvel
Marvel Comics is paralyzed by political correctness. One needs to look no further than Tom Brevoort’s response to an inquiry about Frank Miller taking a crack at Captain America.

Read Mr. Brevoort’s words — “I don’t think, for example, we’d have gone with Holy Terror as a Captain America story” — and then go to any reputable news source and examine the stories coming out of Iraq and Syria right now. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is doing everything within its power to bring about an Islamic caliphate in the heart of the Middle East, Iraq is imploding, Syria is a terrorist breeding ground and the president of the United States is so desperate for help that he needs Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to help stem the violence.

A relevant publisher would see such glaring national security threats and say: “This is a subject matter that a Captain America comic book must address.” Sadly, that is not the case at Marvel Comics. The character who punched out Hitler won’t take on radical Islamic extremists because that might offend somebody.

 

Militants from the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. (Associated Press)
Militants from the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. (Associated Press)

 

Let us turn to one of last week’s most interesting national security headlines. The Daily Beast reported June 14:

When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi walked away from a U.S. detention camp in 2009, the future leader of ISIS issued some chilling final words to reservists from Long Island. The Islamist extremist some are now calling the most dangerous man in the world [said]: “I’ll see you guys in New York,” recalls Army Col. Kenneth King, then the commanding officer of Camp Bucca.

Hmmm. This seems like a pretty bad dude. He’s got a huge bank account, an army of men willing to die for him, and his organization has left a trail of dead bodies all across the Middle East. Oh, and he just-so-happens to hate America — but somehow Marvel doesn’t want ask the kind of tough questions “Holy Terror” addressed — in a Captain America comic no less? Pathetic.

Abu Bakr al Baghdadi

When one reads excerpt’s from Frank Miller’s “This Old Cloth,” Mr. Brevoort’s answer becomes even more spineless:

Then came that sunny September morning when airplanes crashed into towers a very few miles from my home and thousands of my neighbors were ruthlessly incinerated — reduced to ash. Now, I draw and write comic books. One thing my job involves is making up bad guys. Imagining human villainy in all its forms. Now the real thing had shown up. The real thing murdered my neighbors. In my city. In my country. Breathing in that awful, chalky crap that filled up the lungs of every New Yorker, then coughing it right out, not knowing what I was coughing up.

For the first time in my life, I know how it feels to face an existential menace. They want us to die. All of a sudden I realize what my parents were talking about all those years.

Patriotism, I now believe, isn’t some sentimental, old conceit. It’s self-preservation. I believe patriotism is central to a nation’s survival. Ben Franklin said it: If we don’t all hang together, we all hang separately. Just like you have to fight to protect your friends and family, and you count on them to watch your own back.

So you’ve got to do what you can to help your country survive. That’s if you think your country is worth a damn. Warts and all.

No black ops for Cap in Syria. No black ops for Cap in Iraq. No black ops for Cap in Afghanistan. No black ops for Cap in Pakistan. But Marvel is all about Captain America taking on the tea party.

These days, Marvel doesn’t push the envelope at all. It puts out a press release every time it does something easy (e.g., the company creates a superhero that allows guys like Mr. Brevoort to chortle on about diversity, as if readers haven’t been bashed over the head with how awesomely-awesome diversity is since they could barely walk). Unfortunately, Marvel has not explored what it means when the desire for diversity allows the world to turn a blind eye to the most illiberal individuals and organizations on the planet.

Here is what I wrote about Holy Terror upon its release:

Holy Terror is at times raw, confusing, and poignant. Sometimes it angers (do you think that might be intentional?). It also makes anyone who reads it wonder why it had to be written in the first place. Fans of Holy Terror know why, and some of us aren’t afraid to talk about it. Critics of the book liken any frank (no pun intended) discussion of Islamic terrorism to an attempt to make it synonymous with Islam as a whole. Again, whose fault is that? Perhaps we should ask Theo Van Gogh, the Dutch film director to whom Frank Miller dedicates the book. Or not…because he’s dead, slain by Islamic radicals.

Tom Brevoort likes the idea of having Frank Miller write Captain America tales — provided he turns in politically correct milquetoast pap. While the world focuses on very real, very evil bad guys, Marvel gives the green light to “Cap vs. Tea Party.” Readers got a heaping helping of weird Bush administration allegories with “Civil War,” but suddenly the burning desire to keep readers politically abreast of real-world headlines cooled just around 2008… How convenient.

If you want a thought-provoking read, tell Marvel to reach out to Frank Miller about writing Captain America. If you like self-congratulatory fare masquerading as ground-breaking diversity, then do nothing; Marvel has mastered that act.

An ISIS terrorist executes an innocent man in Iraq. Meanwhile, over in America, Marvel editors wonder if it's appropriate to do another story where Captain America takes on the tea party. Sad.
An ISIS terrorist executes an innocent man in Iraq. Meanwhile, over in America, Marvel editors get nostalgic for the time they courageously had Captain America take on … the tea party.

Hat tips: Reader TruthWillWin1 and Hube over at Colossus of Rhodey.

Fank Miller’s Holy Terror: If You Hate It, Blame The Terrorists.

I wish Frank Miller’s Holy Terror didn’t have to exist, but it does. With that said, we should all thank our lucky stars that guys like him are willing to tell the story.

Frank Miller’s Holy Terror came out a decade after 9/11. For those who don’t know Frank by his artwork, you might recognize him by the celluloid adaptations: 300 and Sin City. If you’re fan of the grittier, darker portrayals of Batman, you can also thank Miller. In short, he’s an artist with a body of work that can claim to have reached the rarefied air of genius.

What really makes Frank Miller an interesting case study is his epiphanic eye opener to the “existential menace” that is radical Islam. His NPR piece, This Old Cloth, is beautiful and touching and sad:

Then came that sunny September morning when airplanes crashed into towers a very few miles from my home and thousands of my neighbors were ruthlessly incinerated — reduced to ash. Now, I draw and write comic books. One thing my job involves is making up bad guys. Imagining human villainy in all its forms. Now the real thing had shown up. The real thing murdered my neighbors. In my city. In my country. Breathing in that awful, chalky crap that filled up the lungs of every New Yorker, then coughing it right out, not knowing what I was coughing up.

For the first time in my life, I know how it feels to face an existential menace. They want us to die. All of a sudden I realize what my parents were talking about all those years.

Patriotism, I now believe, isn’t some sentimental, old conceit. It’s self-preservation. I believe patriotism is central to a nation’s survival. Ben Franklin said it: If we don’t all hang together, we all hang separately. Just like you have to fight to protect your friends and family, and you count on them to watch your own back.

So you’ve got to do what you can to help your country survive. That’s if you think your country is worth a damn. Warts and all.

The last pages of Holy Terror turn to Dan Donegal. “A hard man. A tough cop.” Interesting thing about Dan: he sports “a cough that comes out of nowhere, no telling when, making the most body-proud health nut sound like a chain smoker.” Funny thing is, when some of us see “Dan Donegal” on the page our minds read “Frank Miller”…and it’s with that lens customers should look through as they approach the book. Some reviewers haven’t done that, and as a result their analysis has been unfair.

The plot to Holy Terror is pretty cut-and-dry, as it should be. “The Fixer” and his sidekick, Natalie Stack, must weather a storm of suicide bombers and stop a larger terrorist plot from unfolding in Empire City. It’s that simple (mainly because the nuances are almost exclusively in the artwork). Readers who are upset over the mostly black and white (and red) presentation, or the storyline that lacks intricacy, miss the point entirely, which is to highlight the distinction between “us” and “them.” Dangerous? Yes. But Frank Miller should be commended for being one of the very few artists out there with guts to do it. Holy Terror isn’t just a comic — it’s a story about how 9/11 affected an artist who was there in New York — who had friends die in the terrorist attack. That is an aspect of the book Frank had no control over.

The Comics Alliance review by David Brothers asserts that the work is bigoted, the artwork at times incoherent in indecipherable. He complains about a panel of oblivious Transformers-watching American teens juxtaposed against the stoning of a woman in the Middle East.

Dear David,

The artwork is incoherent and sloppy at times (and at times truly touching) because it reflects the confused and complex feelings of the artist. It’s in black and white, but it’s still difficult to follow — just like the subject of 9/11 and Islamic terrorism! Detached, clueless teenagers who say “Kewl” and “Awesome” in Holy Terror are propped up against a stoning because Americans are clueless and detached from the very real stonings and state-sponsored murders that go on today in places like Iran.

For the first time in a comic book, someone had the guts to shed light on the barbaric practices going on, in 2011, in the Middle East. Bravo. (This too sickens David Brothers.)

Holy Terror is at times raw, confusing, and poignant. Sometimes it angers (do you think that might be intentional, David Brothers?). It also makes anyone who reads it wonder why it had to be written in the first place. Fans of Holy Terror know why, and some of us aren’t afraid to talk about it. Critics of the book liken any frank (no pun intended) discussion of Islamic terrorism to an attempt to make it synonymous with Islam as a whole. Again, whose fault is that? Perhaps we should ask Theo Van Gogh, the Dutch film director to whom Frank Miller dedicates the book. Or not…because he’s dead, slain by Islamic radicals.

Perhaps we should ask another comic book writer and movie director, Kevin Smith. Or not…because he’s busy writing horror movies about Christians.

Frank Miller is a brave man who wrote a bold book. Go out and buy it, and then tell a friend.

Frank Miller Drops Batman from Holy Terror. DC PC Police Offer Sigh of Relief.

Frank Miller is a gem.  He’s not perfect (e.g., The Spirit), but he’s certainly something rare that should be highly regarded, as I’ve explained before. He already has Ahmadinejad’s panties twisted into a knot, and with Holy Terror he’s going to have a fatwa or two placed on his head. And, like the South Park creators, we should honor our modern day defenders of Western Civilization.  Decades from now we’ll look around at Europe, a hollow husk due to moral relativism.  We’ll look at what happens when headstrong Islamic extremism butt heads with a Europe that won’t stick its neck out to stand up for itself, only to have its cultural head ironically severed with Taliban-esque precision.

And at that time writers like Frank Miller will be admired that much more for their contribution, no matter how small, to the defense of Western Civilization and American Exceptionalism.

For those of you who don’t know, Frank Miller was supposed to write a book featuring Batman, who would go on a search and destroy mission for al Qaeda terrorist scum operating in Gotham. This was years

Marvel Comics and DC now tend to op for the John Kerry Global Test when crafting stories. Sad. Thank God Frank for Frank Miller.

ago…and it’s not nearing completion until now. While I admit that Frank has been busy for the last decade or so, I can’t help to think that the hangup over the story had more to do with political correctness than a creative epiphany. Here, Frank talks about his decision to replace Batman with a different character, named The Fixer:

“I had a talk with [former DC president and publisher] Paul Levitz and I said, ‘Look, this isn’t your Batman,'” Miller said. “I pushed Batman as far as he can go and after a while he stops being Batman. My guy carries a couple of guns and is up against an existential threat. He’s not just up against a goofy villain. Ignoring an enemy that’s committed to our annihilation is kind of silly, It just seems that chasing the Riddler around seems silly compared to what’s going on out there. I’ve taken Batman as far as he can go.”

Frank knows as well as anyone else who loves comics that there once was a time when Captain America knocked Hitler’s lights out. And it was awesome. And it still is, because it’s cathartic to see pure evil bashed and punched and kicked and yes—killed—when existential threats face the nation. Both DC and Marvel Comics seem to have decided that modern day superheroes need to abide by the John Kerry “Global” smell test, which, while sad, I’ll deal with (by exposing it in this blog). However, we should all be worried when the two biggest comics publishers out there shy away from using al Qaeda as a punching bag for their casts of heroes.

If DC sat Frank down in a quiet room and said, “We love you Frankie, but we can’t just pull the trigger on this whole “Batman vs. Terrorism” story line you got going on inside your head,” then readers should be livid.  Why should DC be scared to pull the trigger when our enemies show no hesitation to pull out the box cutter, or the dull knife, or…Foot Locker hijacking shoes with Semtex plastic explosive soles! (How scary would Jordan have been in his prime if he was running around the court with some plastic explosives in his shoes?)

At the moment the only good thing about naming this character The Fixer is that my favorite liberal band, Pearl Jam, has got to be upset.  Eddie, you still haven’t responded to my blog post regarding The Mullah Baradar Curiosity. I guess I’m just a Nothingman to you, huh…

In short: I’m reading Frank Miller’s comic  when it comes out, and I hope you give it a shot too, if for no other reason than to send Marvel and DC’s weak-kneed editors a message. God bless ya, Frank. And if I was Anne Rice I’d say, “God Bless…Me.”

Frank Miller stands up for Western Civilization. He's a rare breed, my friends. I tip my hat to the man.