Robot 6

What will bin Laden’s death mean to Frank Miller’s Holy Terror?

Frank Miller

The global ramifications of the killing of Osama bin Laden on Sunday by U.S. Navy SEALs will be pondered by intelligence experts, media pundits, politicians and historians for weeks, months and years to come. On a much, much smaller scale, and one germane to comics readers, it also raises an immediate question:

How will the death of Al Qaeda’s leader affect Frank Miller’s long-gestating graphic novel Holy Terror?

Announced in 2006 as a Batman project, the book was described by the artist at the time “as a piece of propaganda” that would pit the Dark Knight against the terrorist organization. “Superman punched out Hitler. So did Captain America. That’s one of the things they’re there for,” Miller said.

The revenge-fantasy concept drew more criticism and bewilderment than praise, with Grant Morrison firing perhaps the most widely reported shot across Miller’s bow: “Batman vs. Al Qaeda! It might as well be Bin Laden vs. King Kong! Or how about the sinister Al Qaeda mastermind up against a hungry Hannibal Lecter! For all the good it’s likely to do. Cheering on a fictional character as he beats up fictionalized terrorists seems like a decadent indulgence when real terrorists are killing real people in the real world. I’d be so much more impressed if Frank Miller gave up all this graphic novel nonsense, joined the Army and, with a howl of undying hate, rushed headlong onto the front lines with the young soldiers who are actually risking life and limb ‘vs’ Al Qaeda.”

But Miller stuck to his guns, periodically offering updates as the idea, and the page count, grew. Then, last April, he revealed “the content got too extreme,” leading him to replace the Caped Crusader with The Fixer, “a much more well-adjusted” character trained as special ops who “happens to shoot 100 people in the course of the story.”

He also parted company with DC and began searching for another publisher — perhaps 300 publisher Dark Horse — with an eye toward releasing Holy Terror sometime this year.

“I had a talk with [former DC president and publisher] Paul Levitz and I said, ‘Look, this isn’t your Batman,’” Miller told Hero Complex in July. “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.”

Although Miller frequently referenced the World War II-era comics in which superheroes went toe to toe with Hitler, Holy Terror apparently won’t be as literal — an approach that may allow the graphic novel to remain timely, no matter when it’s published.

“It’s going to be a very 21st century version of Superman punching out Hitler,” Miller told Graphic NYC late last year. “Osama bin Laden is not mentioned, and I attribute one line, and it’s not as obvious as that. It’s definitely my story about a crusade on terror.”



In fairness, we never actually saw WHO killed Bin Laden, so it could still be Frank Miller’s Batman…!

I think Frank waited too long on this.

I’d still like to see it. Hey, it’s Frank Miller.

In Pigman’s world, Osama got it back in February

Didn’t Miller say on a MoCCA 2010 panel that it wasn’t happening anymore?

So the title of this article is, “What will bin Laden’s death mean to Frank Miller’s Holy Terror?” Did I miss the part where the writer offered ANY kind of answer to that?
Could there have been a subhed that reads, “We have no idea”?

go away, Frank Miller, you stopped being relevant a long time ago…

Poor Frank.
He made have made some money on his movies, but his comics really haven’t been much more than a niche market for years. Sin City was okay for awhile, but as good as the writing was, the art was terrible.
All I can say about his sequel to Dark Knight was that the paper was too slick for toilet paper.
Go count your cash and be quiet. Stay away from Will Eisner’s material as well.

I’ve been waiting for news on this for years. Not interested anymore since he dropped Bats from it.


May 2, 2011 at 2:35 pm

“Sin City was okay for awhile, but as good as the writing was, the art was terrible.”

This statement is silly.

When I heard that shitbag bin Laden was finally dead, the first thing that went through my mind was “What does this mean to Frank Miller’s Holy Terror project?”. It was late at night, and my wife was asleep, but I woke her so that we could discuss the ramifications. She reminded me that comics are always a year or so behind the trends, so Miller’s work will come out right on time! This put my mind at ease, and I slept like a baby.

P.S. You know what went through Osama’s mind when he realized the U.S. had finally caught up with him? A bullet! Ha! Ha! Ha!

I had totally forgotten about this. Honestly, I don’t think it really matters b/c this will likely never be published. I still love just about everything Frank has ever done, so if does appear sometime in the next 10 years, i’ll buy it – but I’m not holding my breath.

I have to admit that this was one of the first things I thought of when I heard the news.

I think he’s just stringing the fans along. And he ALREADY took Batman too far is ASBAR.

Hitler has been dead for decades, but we still use Nazi’s as villains in every form of media imaginable.

I don’t see any difference here other than that pretentious hipsters really want to hate on Frank Miller.

Nice to see you’re dealing with the heavy, important issues today :p

I kid, I kid – good to see a thoughful piece on this topic :)

He should switch to writing pseudointellectual crap like Grant Morrison does. Because villains made up of a jumble of random words is sooooo much more proof of genius.

Extremely disappointed Holy Terror hasn’t appeared yet, if not with Batman, then with a new character from Some Publisher.

Surely someone would’ve published this.

Avatar, Dark Horse, Image, Top Shelf, Fantagraphics….someone.

We’re at war with terrorism and no one has the guts to put this together. I’d buy the $h!+ out of it and give it to friends.

Sad that Superman and Captain America, and others, could put the smack on Hitler back in the day and NO ONE has done it in the 10 years since 9/11.

Still wish we could see the CrossGen graphic novel Chuck Dixon was going to do, “American Power.” Now that Disney’s bought the CrossGen properties, we’ll never see it. Too bad Chuck doesn’t rewrite and take it somewhere else.

Given Osama’s not in it then “not at all”. Al-Qaeda isn’t going away quickly. Everything up to the last paragraph of that article was pointless.

It’s strange how people always forget the amazin Big Guy and Rusty, Hard Boiled, and the first run of Martha Washington.

I’d like to draw attention to Kumar’s post.

Miller he’s no longer doing “Holy Terror” according to the transcript from The Art of The Superhero Panel at Mocca (2010)

BAKER: Getting back to the last question, the reason I hadn’t answered it, regarding relating to personal stuff related to superheroes: Whenever I have something on my own mind, I’ll make up my own character and story, rather than trying to shoe in Batman at the end. You could do that, but Afghanistan would be better. He’s going to do it.

MILLER: No, I’m not.

BAKER: You’re not doing it anymore?

MILLER: No, I’m not. (Laughter)

I wonder if Miller has changed his mind regarding the project? I guess someone should ask him.

So sad that people keep forgetting that Osama was a CIA asset and a US ally who fought against the Soviets during the Cold War. And why is it that the Osama who died yesterday looked way younger than the withered old guy with kidney problems 10 years ago?

If people can’t let go of conspiracy “theories”, it’s because there’s already so much BS in the mainstream media.

Zor-El of Argo

May 2, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I thought Batman: Holy Terror was already published over 15 years ago. I forget who wrote it but art was by Jim Aparo. Had nothing to do with terrorism though, it was one of the early Elseworlds. And it was awesome.

Yeah, and the Soviets were our allies in the fight against Germany and the Nazis in WWII. Times change and allies change. It’s how it’s always been. No one has forgotten, it’s just that it’s irrelevant now because of his attacks against our homeland and our troops in Africa.
And that picture floating around on the internet of a dead Osama was a photoshop from about 5 years ago and its resurfaced both because of the current news that Osama is dead and because the Pakistani press ran the story with that picture, not bothering to check to see to confirm its authenticity.

“I don’t see any difference here other than that pretentious hipsters really want to hate on Frank Miller.”

What the hell do hipsters have to do with Frank Miller?

I hope this crap never sees print.

I’m relieved in a way. This was the last thing I wanted to read from Frank Miller.

With all those delays I am really doubtful Miller was actually going to finish the project anyway.

this man is a sellout

Frank Miller is one of the worst writers I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading. Every time I read some steaming pile of Miller someone suggests that I read another of his piles, and THAT will convince me of his messianic status. Dark Knight Returns? Yawn. Never would have happened if not for the 15 years of groundwork laid by O’Neil and Adams, and their successors. Sin City\? Everyone has the same ridiculous internal monologue. 300? Great movie, but the graphic novel reads like one of those comic adaptations that skips 2/3 of the lines, scenes, and plot, not the other way araound. I saw Robocop 3. He wrote that, too. It was garbage. All Star Batman and Robin…for a story that ran 10 issues, it read like one issue repeated over and over, and over. Seriously, the man is as famous for moaning about how much he hates Marvel and DC (the only reason he has either fans or residual income) as he is any actual work.

But hey, now that this is dead in the water, we can look forward to Batman: The Dark Knight Attack of the Menace.

In all fairness, what has Morrison ever stood up for but LSD?

Frankly, I just think this entire story should just die and be forgotten. I’m not interested in Frank Miller’s revenge-murder-fantasy involving a comic book character going against real world villains.

Yes, during WWII they had images of Batman & Robin, Captain America and Superman beating up Nazis and punching Hitler. But here’s the thing thing. In most cases, those images were only COVERS to comics, essentially asking the readers to support the war effort and to make the troops themselves smile at the idea of Robin the Boy Wonder kicking Hitler in the nuts. The actual stories rarely involved the heroes fighting Hitler and Stalin, but instead gangsters and super-criminals. And in the events where they did fight the Nazis, like in Captain America comics, they never showed him defeat the enemy.

The reason for this is because the writers knew how easy it would be for a superhero to fly in and take out Hitler. Captain America could do it in a couple of hours. Superman could do it in 10 seconds. Batman could probably do it in 3. But the writers didn’t want to dismiss the hard work and effort of the real soldiers and treat the war like something that could be easily solved by a guy in bright spandex.

Frank Miller’s idea doesn’t feels like it’s showing that kind of respect that the WWII comics showed. He wants to create his own revenge fantasy of a costumed hero who embodies his personal feelings of vengence swooping in and killing off all of America’s Enemies. Well, if he wants to create that for himself, fine, but I don’t want to read it.

It sounds almost disrespectful to the troops, to the people who died or to America.

But even if this story does see print (which I won’t buy) I will say I’m VERY VERY glad that Batman is not involved. Frank Miller’s work on All-Star already severely damaged the character’s reputation, making from a respectful and dark character into a disgust and perverted freak. I was terrified to imagine what he would have Batman in this kind of story.

Obama kills. Batman don’t.

the guy earn his place in the history books…
even if it’s for his first 20 years of works and not the last 10 years.

the rest is just pigeons shitting on a statue.

Why didn’t Frank Miller used The Punisher?

Although I will likely check this project out if it ever sees the light of day, I am in spirit with Grant Morrison’s take on Miller–put down the pencil and enlist; they are taking anyone these days, even over the hill Randian Objectivists.

Time-mail that question back to 1998 or so, the last time Miller was at all relevant.

The One and Only

May 3, 2011 at 7:59 am

I’m surprised that no one here has mentioned Adolf Hitler in the Marvel Universe being killed by the original Human Torch and Toro. A bit of a retcon, as the story was written years after the Fuher’s suicide in his stinky little bunker. But no one has objected to the tale sticking to Marvel canon. Heck, they’re still telling stories of mind being transfered to cloned bodies, and coming back as the Hate-Monger. No one’s been complaining, maybe one or two busibodies, but I’ve yet to hear anyone getting riled about using the guy who’s run as the leader of the zThird Reich nearly wiped out the Jews, along with the Gypies. Maybe because they’ve been gone for about sixty years, and they won’t be coming for the entertainers for mocking them. Unlike the Muslim Extremists, ask Comedy Central, or Theo Van Gough.

I_Captain Blanco

May 3, 2011 at 8:16 am

Madmike wrote:
“When I heard that shitbag bin Laden was finally dead, the first thing that went through my mind was “What does this mean to Frank Miller’s Holy Terror project?”.”

That was the FIRST thing that went through your mind when you heard that bin Laden was dead?!?

You need to get out more. Seriously.

Captain Obvious

May 3, 2011 at 9:16 am

@I_Captain Blanco: I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that Madmike was just being facetious.

Maybe you need to get out more and buy yourself a sense of humour. Seriously.

Also, I’m not actually out on a limb. Just to clarify for you.

Optimus Prime

May 3, 2011 at 9:38 am

My first reaction: “he’s been dead for years.”
My second reaction:”Will Frank Miller still do that comic?”

Are you serious!? Bin Laden dies, the mastermind behind 9/11 & Al Qaeda is finally brought to justice, and your first thought was about a Batman graphic novel? Jesus..

Why won’t Morrison enlist? He sounds really tough behind a keyboard . Drop the Acid, Put down the bong and collection of Aldous Huxley quotes, Morrison. You aren’t cool and you DAMN sure have no place in calling anyone out.

Did you just tell Grant Morrison to “drop the acid”? He’s been waiting all day to hear that.

Pictures of the body, and video of the assault, have yet to be released with Pres. Obama saying; “they’re just too graphic”. But who’s to say pictures and video prove anything, anyway. As everyone knows they (the Government) faked the moon landing with pictures and video?

I say, “Go for it”, Frank!
And take it anywhere you want to go. As at the very least, it will serve to keep Americans from becoming once again, complacent.

@Shifty said; “It sounds almost disrespectful to the troops, to the people who died, or to America”. And the News Media agrees as they would post the names of the Seal team members in the papers and on the internet, along with the names and addresses of their friends and family, to honor them all. Or… is it to paint a target on their backs? Come to think of it, the idea of a fictitious super hero killing Osama Bin Laden, doesn’t sound too bad.

I say,

@ Captain Obvious: Thanks for clearing that up for me. Glad somebody gets it.

Chris Newton

May 3, 2011 at 7:05 pm

“pigeons shitting on a statue.” Brilliant!

It’s downright obnoxious how people who never have and never will accomplish a damn thing make these proclamations that a giant in the industry is a hack, washed up, no longer relevant, should go away etc…

Sorry dudes, your opinions never were and never will be relevant.

It’s called opinion, Newton.

That’s kinda the point of these blogs and forums.

Does anyone really think that Miller would ever get this project done? Regardless of whether bin Laden was killed this past week or were to die of natural causes in 10 years, Miller would STILL not be any further along with the project than he was 5 years ago when he first floated the idea around.

For crying out loud, he started “All-Star Batman and Robin” back in 2005, and in a span of three years, only 10 issues were actually published and it’s been three years since the last of those issues came out (with issues 11 and 12 having been re-solicited in late 2008 since they were already months behind schedule at that point–Diamond, incidentally, has yet to cancel either solicitation officially).

Miller will never write another Batman and he knows it. If the dude isnt busy making people wait 15-20 years in between comics, then he is busy getting his name out there advertising projects he has lost the creativity to produce. I mean, can you imagine Jack Kirby ever taking 15 years to put out a comic ( and his were brilliant, more brilliant than Millers, by a longshot) I used to love Miller, I really did, I loved the last Batman book (Back in 2001- whatever Frank) But the dude is a diva, a prima donna. He doesnt deserve to be mentoned along with Kirby, who would barf at the thought of taking 15 years.. I mean, no one now a days can compare with Kirby, but Miller goes around thinking he should. Start thinking more about the fact that comics fans want to read comics Frank,

randypan the goat boy

May 26, 2011 at 9:45 pm

I have to admit to being a little torn on this one.The world trade center affected everyone a little differently, and with Frank Miller actually living as close to ground zero as he does should be allowed to write his revenge fantasy. the one problem that I have is that Millers work sucks donkey pole anymore. I think I see a way out of this . frank Miller can write his revenge fantasy and then he can release it using Rob Liefelds name as a psudoneme. Nobody expects anything out of rob liefeld except tiny feet and grossly mishapen women. as far as grant morrison goes…fuck you and fuck final crisis as well… I seriously wondered what would happen if i pulled every page out of the trade and put them back in upside down and in a non linear pattern,,,and Guess what,,,it was still final crisis

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