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Frank Miller is writing a new Batman story - this is a good thing thinks I. I'm not a big fan of the Batman comics (I was always a Marvel boy and not really a DC boy beyond the brilliant Vertigo range) but Frank Miller is a good writer.

The new series is called "Holy Terror, Batman" and is about Batman tackling al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden and thrawting a terrorist attack on Gotham City. Miller has openly admitted the book is a blatant piece of propaganda. He says it is his gut-reaction to remind people who seem to have forgotten what we're up against.

Does anyone else have the same gut-reaction as me when hearing about stories like this? My gut reaction being quite negative towards the whole project.

I don't like propaganda, and I certainly don't like propaganda that reaches kids yunder the age of 14 as well as adults. Most adults might not be bright but at least many of them should be able to distinguish propaganda slightly better than kids.

I don't think painting al-Qaeda as the 'big bad' is the right reaction. I agree we can't ignore the problem but terrorism thrives when people are scared and by pushing it in peoples faces through avrious mediums will keep the threat in peoples minds. The best thing to do with al-Qaeda directly is not give them hardly any news space. Play down the threat so people don't consider them about to chemically attack their local supermarket or kindergaten and poison the little baby rabbits at the local zoo. Meanwhile, let the governments and covert agencies tackle the main threat by seizing the organisations assets, communiques and suchlike. Media attention not only frightens people to a threat which is, in all reality, quite minimal for the majority of people, but also proves a massive recrutiing tool to al-Qaeda as disillusioned youth from around the world see a banner that they can respond to and fight 'against injustice' for.

Also from growing up in the 70's and 80's propaganda that kids end up seeing can have lasting affects. I know loads of people of my age range who still remember all of the Cold War and Nuclear Threat warnings and drills we were made to do. Growing up half-expecting to hear the five-minute warning sirens at any minute was not the best of experiences you could have.

Comic Book Hero Takes On al-Qaeda (BBC News Online; Wednesday 15th February 2006)

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
davedevil
Feb. 16th, 2006 03:13 pm (UTC)
While we are at it lets get that damne V for Vendetta movie banned as well! It sugguests we can fight opression with terorrism! Bastards!

Terrorism is a everyday and important aspect that we confront in this modern world of ours. 'The Terrorist' is the boggy man in the same way the commie and the gook were. Peraps addressing the story in a medium that youth interacts with (not that a large percentage of comic book readers are that young) is a good thing.

Frank Millar does not write in black and white, more than once he has potrayed Batman as insane as the scum he faces, so I trust him to shot at it fairly. It will hardly be the first tiem comics have courted such contreversy however, nor the first time they have been used as propoganda.

I not with interest the word used is propoganda though and not nationalism.





angusabranson
Feb. 16th, 2006 03:49 pm (UTC)
If the story's done intelligently and gives light to both sides arguements and griveances without being American 'Nationalist' propaganda then it is quite possible I will change my mind.

I just dislike the fact that al-Qaeda is being built up as this terrible threat. It not only scares people who probably have absolutely no real reason to be worried but also gives a lot of credence and support to the al-Qaeda network by building it up to be something that in all reality it never was. The West has built al-Qaeda and we seem intent on making sure it stays around and continues to get more support and grow bigger!

The problem with comparing this book to 'V For Vendetta' is that they are at the same very different and very similiar. 'V' is completely fictional whereas 'Holy Terror' is only going to be part-fictional. Also, I never said ban the book (my support for free speech and all would not allow me to say that even if I did think it - which I don't).

The problem with terrorism is that one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter. I'm sure many people have agreed with 'terrorism' in some form or another over the years. Perosnally I think 'V' is an absolutely fantastic comic and am looking forward to the film. It'll certainly be interesting to see how the film portrays what is essentially the 'terrorist as hero' and also the reaction it gets worldwide.

I'm also very annoyed that the 'Arab' Terrorist is suddenly this major problem that we should all be scared of when they have actually done very, very little to warrant being scared of them to this extent. The IRA in the 70's thru 90's were much more prevalent and we had bombs and assassinations in London and all around the UK on a very regular basis yet we didn't even get near the amount of media hysteria as we are now. I hate this feeling of it all being engineered.
davedevil
Feb. 16th, 2006 03:55 pm (UTC)
I was very much joking on the ban the book bit, i know you would never back such a thing :)

Of interest will be which age range they will be aiming this at, Millar tends not to write a comic for long so he is likely not to be the main line writer. I would guess a mini and that means they can give it a higher rating than standard teen fare.

Recently I have been reading the punisher MAX line from marvel where the maturity and honest of the worlds political problems are poked quite seriously and that is the sort of process I would peefer to see.

Hell generally I would love to see an ongoing Virtigo Batman line
mrmmarc
Feb. 16th, 2006 04:20 pm (UTC)
Axtually my friend... the 'Arab' terrorist is gone.
That was the 70's dude.
The 'arab' terrorist battle for Arab rights- the liberation of the Plaestine to be precise. They were for a pan-Arabic allaince.
They were, more importantly, SECULAR terrorists.
We are dealing with Islamist terrorists.
Most of the remaining members of Al- Qaeda are NOT Arab. We forget this.

Comics did deal with the IRA (i loved it when American comix did- I laughed so hard my sides hurt).
Comics have LONG been the realm of villianising 'bad guys' (folks- who here can remember a certain Ayatollah of Iran who hired THE JOKER to be his nations ambassadour to the UN briefly!).

The Media hysteria is also partly caused BY the emdia.
We didn't have over a dozen 24 hour news services back then. The DEMAND for news was not as intnese as it is now.
Is the whole thing hysteria?
Of course it is bubba!

Like the reaction to Diana's death... the world is losing their mind and luckily ten years from now it will be long gone.
angusabranson
Feb. 16th, 2006 04:24 pm (UTC)
**the world is losing their mind and luckily ten years from now it will be long gone.**

...but...but... I don't want the world to be gone ten years from now :(
mrmmarc
Feb. 16th, 2006 05:58 pm (UTC)
LOL!
Yeah, well what can I say.

2012 according to the conspiracy theorists.
End of the world.
December we reckon.


Bummer hey?
:)
davedevil
Feb. 16th, 2006 04:30 pm (UTC)
He is right you know, AL-Quida are Muslim terrorists in most people's eyes.

and yeah people have been dealing with terrorism for years, Garth Ennis has made a living out of being a Irish man commenting on the IRA.

Grant Morrision's use of Diana and the royal family in the Inisibles and Mark Millars use of American presidents in the Authority also ring try of political assault and satire in omic form.
angusabranson
Feb. 16th, 2006 05:01 pm (UTC)
I've got no worries about terrorism being the subject of comics or storylines but I get worried when they become used as propaganda and are the authors 'gut reaction' - making it sound like it will not necessarily be a non-biased look at what's going on.

The Invisibles and The Authority are both great comic series. I guess I also colour my vision slightly at the more anti-establishment portrayals that question the state of affairs and don't play alone with the 'party line' so to speak :p
mrmmarc
Feb. 16th, 2006 05:55 pm (UTC)
lest we forget SERIOUS usage of American political figures...
Insane 90 year old Reagan in Dark Knight Returns...
Clinton in Suicide Squad...
nesf
Feb. 16th, 2006 06:57 pm (UTC)
The last anon one was mine, I forgot I was logged out.
The IRA in the 70's thru 90's were much more prevalent and we had bombs and assassinations in London and all around the UK on a very regular basis yet we didn't even get near the amount of media hysteria as we are now. I hate this feeling of it all being engineered.

Ah, but that was a homegrown UK problem. If too much media ruckus was made then the UN or another independent nation would have to get involved to act as "peace-makers". And that wasn't going to happen.

It works both ways. Talk down one long running conflict because it suits a government to keep it a "national level problem", talk up a "short running one" because you need to throw your weight around a bit to remind other countries that the West are the big boys and that their permission should be sought before one plays in the public playground and in this modern world you need some kind of "international crisis" to convince the majority that there is legitimate cause for said behaviour.

It's a case of the "Tyranny of the majority of the rich minority". :D
corone
Feb. 16th, 2006 07:40 pm (UTC)
...and don't forget the other V, the sci-fi series you are a fan of.
That was a whole mini-series and series about a group of terrorists.

The line of terrorist and freedon fighter is so often a point of view.
I have to ask what I'd be prepared to do if my rights and liberty were being squashed (oh, heck, aparently they are)
Is the violence the work of evil psychopaths brainwashed with fanatical bull, or a desperate attempt to just be heard?

We need to address why terrorists feel they cannot find another diplomatic way to address their problem.
Is it because their loony ideas are being rightfully ignored,
or because governments are trying to oppress their rights and religion?

In many cases it is often the former (IMHO) but that doesn't mean a few arn't the latter.

I too am sick of Al-Queda being built up as a huge global conspiracy.
9/11 took a few fanatics, a couple of single plane tickets, a copy of MS flight simulator and a few knives.
How does that require multi-million pound resources and masterful corruption and conspiracy?
Any reasonably experienced gamer could have worked that one out.
Lets wonder how they got away with something so simple and figure out how we can stop it, rather than sit there going oooga booga.
brinker
Feb. 16th, 2006 03:15 pm (UTC)
As the article mentioned, having superheroes take on real life villians isn't a new trend. Neither is using them for propaganda.

I do share your concern about it, though. There are a couple different reasons from my end. For one thing, I'm very Muslim/Arab-sympathetic, and am afraid of how it will portray all the minions working with Osama himself.

I also think that right now the world needs a lot less fear and paranoia about the other side, and publicity isn't the way to do that. It basically gives the terrorists exactly what they are trying to accomplish.

In regards to being opposed to propaganda... my views are a bit more mixed. Propaganda does, and always will, exist. Trying to stamp it out is going to be about as effective as trying to stamp out the news. But if it's going to exist, at least in this case it's blatant.
I'm not thrilled with the idea of targetting kids as the case is here, though. And I share your sentiments about how badly it can affect them.
angusabranson
Feb. 16th, 2006 03:35 pm (UTC)
**I also think that right now the world needs a lot less fear and paranoia about the other side, and publicity isn't the way to do that. It basically gives the terrorists exactly what they are trying to accomplish.**

Totally agree.
angusabranson
Feb. 16th, 2006 03:38 pm (UTC)
** and am afraid of how it will portray all the minions working with Osama himself.**

Hopefully they'll tackle it in a similar vein as 'Munich'. In Munich the Arabs/Palestinians were very human and you could empathise with their plight and feelings whilst getting to see both sides of the arguement and the futility of both sides positions.
brinker
Feb. 16th, 2006 04:47 pm (UTC)
Haven't seen Munich, unfortunately. It hasn't come out here. Don't know if it will or not. I haven't seen any previews/posters for it.

But if they go this route, I'll be more okay with it.

Despite my obvious sympathies, I'm not oblivious to the facts of who a good share of the terrorists are. I am just hoping they do show both sides if they go the "evil Muslim terrorist" route.
angusabranson
Feb. 16th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC)
In many ways I would be surprised if 'Munich' was released in the Arab world. I'd be interested to hear feedback actually if it gets/was released in Israel as it doesn't "colour them pretty" by anymeans whatsoever.
brinker
Feb. 16th, 2006 05:13 pm (UTC)
Nod. I really only know the bare plot details, so don't know how likely/unlikely it would be to be released here. "Downfall" came out here, but I didn't see it since I was told it was in German... and they don't bother putting English subtitles on foreign movies.

It sounds interesting, though, so I'm sad it didn't/probably won't make it. But if it does, I'll let you know.
snesgirl
Feb. 16th, 2006 03:49 pm (UTC)
I agree with most of yoru article but...
Frank Millar has never never written for children.
At a stretch his stories ahve always been for young adult I'd definatley say 16+ although I'd feel easier at 18+
angusabranson
Feb. 16th, 2006 04:24 pm (UTC)
Re: I agree with most of yoru article but...
Ah, you're forgetting his stretch on the My Little Pony Comics in the mid-80's before turning his atention to The Dark Knight aren't you?
snesgirl
Feb. 16th, 2006 04:46 pm (UTC)
Re: I agree with most of yoru article but...
You are eigher joking, or my comics world just got a whole LOT more bizzare ! ;o
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )

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