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.”