Frank Miller says ‘Holy Terror’ Almost done, No Batman

It was oh so long ago that Frank Miller, armed with a passion for vengeance after September 11th told us of Batman: Holy Terror, the story of Batman out to get Al Qaeda.  Then some time passed.  Then some more time passed.

But now, it is almost upon us.  Albeit with some differences.

"It's almost done; I should be finished within a month," Miller said. "It's no longer a DC book. I decided partway through it that it was not a Batman story. The hero is much closer to 'Dirty Harry' than Batman. It's a new hero that I've made up that fights Al Qaeda."

Talking to the LA Times, Miller talked about the shift. "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."

I have to say, I'm terrified by this.  It's perfectly fine to have political views and mix them with comics, but this has the power to be quite volatile, and I'm seeing the flame wars taking over message boards and comments all over comic fandom, and things getting ugly.  Or maybe, and I hope for this, maybe it will be something great.  Or maybe it will just hit with a thud, and be ignored. I honestly have no idea.

I kind of think I have to buy it, but I'm not sure I want to. I also want very much to know who's going to publish it.


  1. I’m actually more interested in this now that Batman has been taken out. 

  2. Forgetting the subject matter of the upcoming Holy Terror.  His hubris in this article is overwhelming.  Has Frank Miller pushed Batman as far as he can go?  All-Star Batman and Robin was mostly misogynist, over-the top garbage with the occasional really cool plot point (Robin painting the room yellow before calling out The Green Lantern was actually brilliant fun.).  If, anything, Frank Miller inches closer and closer to Dave Sim with every self-important utterance, and ignorantly prejudiced comic he puts out.

    I hope I’m incredibly wrong about how this project will pretty much end Miller’s already wobbly reputation as a comic writer, but the fact that he’s so focused on making this project happen makes me queasy.  

  3. "I kind of think I have to buy it, but I’m not sure I want to."

    Josh: This sentence completely encapsulated my thoughts on this project.

    I also can’t wait for the internet drama! 🙂

  4. Does no one else enjoy watching Frank Miller be Frank Miller?

    I’m really jazzed to see him return to comics. Even though I enjoyed The Spirit, the storyboards/end credits were the best things to come out of that project.

  5. I think I’m about as scared and curious as you are Josh. I love Miller’s past works, Year One is probably my favourite comic book story ever, and it holds up incredibly well.  I don’t like the things Miller’s saying here though.  Incidents like 9/11, 7/7, the Madrid bombings (the list goes on) are absolute atrocities, but the "War on Terror" is incredibly complex.  Much as I loved Dirty Harry, I don’t think he’s the man to solve the problem of Al Quaeda.  Miller says he’s approaching this story realistically, yet the man sometimes sounds as if he’s on another planet.

    Thing is, I still love the man’s art, no matter how it twists and changes, I think it always has this brutal beauty to it.  Can I buy it just for that and swear never to read the words?

  6. @OttoBott: I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before somewhere onsite (but I’m too lazy to find that thread): the whole "hey! remember what happened not too long ago [some political debacle that enrages me] well I’m still pissed so here’s my fantasy of some guy going out there and righting that wrong or getting revenge. I hope you enjoy," is the type of story I DON’T want sitting on my coffee table. Hey I’m sure it’ll be a decent story and I’m sure some people will love it to death but as for me, I’m out. He clearly has a vendetta in this and that’s all well and nice but not really the kind of background that’ll enhance your reading experience. To me it’s an enjoyment inhibitor. If I want that kind of tale I’ll read fanfiction, but I don’t.

    It’s kind of a murky water for me because mostly because I feel that the times of sating political vendettas on panels is over. Morrison’s Animal Man and The Invisibles did it best and is up there with "Captain Planet". It set that bar pretty high followed by many lousy imitators so I’m pretty desensitized to that premise.

  7. *edit: I must be tired, because I didn’t see that extra "because".

  8. @Nate – I feel the same way.  Batman never seemed to fit very well.  I actually think this could be pretty interesting.

  9. Seems more like a Punisher story to me.

  10. I just hope that Miller has created this with a post-"Dark Knight Strikes Back" mentality, because that hit the floor with a thud. If he’s corrected his creative trajectory, I’d be interested in seeing what this is all about.

  11. an OGN done by Miller, with a new hero he made up? Sign me up!! The premise? That, I’m not so excited for. I guess he destroys Al Qaeda Punisher style, but it should make for an interesting journey.

  12. It seems ironic to me that he talks about how silly and inappropriate the riddler would be for a story like this (which he of course is) but he then appears to be looking at al Qaeda entirely simplistically. I’d like to think it won’t be a one dimensional good v evil story but I’m not gonna hold my breath. Paraphrasing grant Morrison: if you want to fight al Qaeda, go join the army.

  13. Part of me likes it there is no more Batman in this. I would love to see what Miller can do when he’s insane but not using established characters.

    On the other hand……Batman fighting Al-Qaeda seemed like a cool thing. It’s an insane thing, but cool enough.

  14. I’m going to give Miller the benefit of the doubt.  Not every one of his works have been a masterpiece (i.e. Elektra Lives) but he has a fantastic track record.  As far as it being politically charged, comics today are littered with politics and innuendos.  Just look at DMZ, Ex Machina, Pluto, and even Captain America (Brubaker issue with the sign).  Just because Miller’s story is of a militarized plan of action vice diplomatic route and right-leaning doesn’t mean it has no merit.  Done in the correct manner it has the potential to be very powerful.

  15. Yes to devildog and agreed to TNC.

  16. I don’t even like the idea of the story, but I think chastising Miller before anyone even reads a page of this is unfair. This isn’t the ’40s; he isn’t doing war propaganda comics against entire nations/races. It isn’t that by a long shot. It’s apparently against one terrorist organization. But so many people are so sensitive now that we can’t even have heroes going against a real life terror organization because they happen to be non-U.S. and non-causasian? I read comics that poke fun at white Christian Americans pretty often–and usually that’s fine, because everyone knows that the comic creators aren’t trying to extend that to mean that all whites, all Christians, and all Americans are bad. But when it comes to a TERROR organization, everyone worries?

    I’ve never even supported the so-called War on Terror, but this is just a comic portraying real badguys as bad. I don’t have a problem with it.

    @akamuu: You must enjoy forming your opinions third-hand or something, believing everything bad that’s said about creators you dislike. All Star Batman is satire. It’s no more misogynist than it is anti-man (which is all All Star Black Canary and Wonder Woman are about: pointing to the failings of horny men who accost them), and none of the over-the-top portrayals are meant to be taken seriously. I don’t even like A.S. Batman, but it’s not a sexist work. That’s also incomparable to Dave Sim, who wrote a few SERIOUS anti-feminism ESSAYS like twenty years ago…and hasn’t said much about that stuff since. Cerebus also includes a ton of anti-male passages, but I guess you’d rather not read it and just brand the guy anti-woman thru and thru. The issues are more complicated than that. Sim isn’t anti-female, he’s anti-feminism. I don’t even agree with the guy, but the issues are more complicated than the simplistic way you’re protraying them.

  17. ^Oops, I meant to say that Miller’s satires are NOT comparable with the serious thoughts of Dave Sim.

    Also, it should be pointed out that Miller’s been all over the political spectrum and has satirized various sides before. In Dark Knight he satirized Reagan and his wars; in Elektra Assassin he took on phony liberals. There’s no reason to suspect that "Holy Terror" will read like Don Rumsfeld (or whoever) wrote it on September 12, 2001.

    I do think it’s good that Miller’s had more time to think about it now, though. I DON’T agree that the conflict in the Mid-East is "World War Three", which is what he seemed to indicate in an interview a few years ago. I think it’s good he’s probably had time to arrive at a more nuanced view.

  18. I’m interested in this. I’ve found that i don’t have to agree with an artist ("artist" in the broader sense, not just penciller) to enjoy their work. There are some creative people I feel I’d get into screaming matches with over politics, religion, or whatever, but damn they do amazing work. 

    Orson Scott Card is one of my all time favorite writers, and by all accounts he’s a nice guy, I’d never want to talk to him about religion and politics though. But with something like this, where the art is about religion and politics, it’ll be interesting. I love Miller and even thought he’s said some things in the past that make me go all Mel Gibson "What!?" at my computer screen, I’ll still pick up everything the man does. So I’ll pick this up, and hopefully at the very least it’s very pretty and at the most, I love it.

  19. @akaamu: He’s saying he pushed/stretched batman as far as he could in this story, but it didn’t fit. Nothing wrong with that. He’s not saying he has already (in his past works) done all that could be done with the character.

  20. Didn’t Ennis already do this both intelligently and very well with Punisher: MAX?


    I really wish Frank Miller would shut the fuck up with his crazy ass views.

  21. all star batman and robin was awsome!!! this is the 1st time hearing anyone not love it. SHOCKED

  22. @peterporker: Lots of people hate it. It’s a very polarizing book.

  23. Mr. A

  24. I would absolutely buy this.

  25. yeah i am seeing that now 🙁  i never heard of it till it was recommended by alot of people including my shop.

    this story didn’t seem like a batman story at all. i kinda smelled a train wreck but with him not in it i am very curious to see what miller was in store

  26.                                      has in store


  27. I’ve disliked everything Miller has done since Martha Washington other than the first 3 Sin City arcs.  DK2 and All Star Batman and Robin I actively loathed.

    Despite all this, I’m looking forward to Holy Terror, part of me is holding out hope that the same Frank Miller who did Ronin, The Dark Knight, Year One, Elektra Assassin, Daredevil: The Man Without Fear, DD: Born Again, and Martha Washington is still in there somewhere.

  28. He is UltimateHoratio, and I’m curious if you loathed "300" too?

  29. Oh!  Forgot about 300!  I thought it was very, very good.

    I even saw some things I liked in Robocop 2 and 3.

  30. @Ultimatehoratio: How you actively loath them? You’re still telling people about how much you don’t like them? Grabbing folks off the street to tell them your thoughts? Big part of your daily life?

  31. What we all really cant wait for is will there be swastikas in this book?!

    (preferably drawn on a womans breasts)

  32. @Jurassicalien – It means that there is a part of my brain and heart dedicated to how much both suck.  It’s right next to the "Identity Crisis Is Overrated" section.

  33. I like how Miller has the guts to be able to allow his story to evolve organically and letting it inform who the main character is instead of worrying about shaping it around an existing character artificially. I don’t think any other creator could pull this kind of switcharoo off.

    I really had a lot of fun with All Star Batman and Robin, but i can see how some of the continuity/canon people would have problems with what he was doing and how he was portraying every character involved. His portrayal of Green Lantern had me cracking up. 

  34. I am sorry, are you guys seriously expecting anything other than neo-con propaganda? Have you guys not read 300?

    I hope onw of these days people will realize that ASB&R is supposed to be taken seriously. And then they would feel like complete douchebags because its exactly like laughing at a retar…a ‘special’ person.

  35. So alot of folks don’t agree with his political view. Here’s a thought, don’t pick up the book then. If you feel you already know it’s going to upset you, because Miller has handed you the script of course, don’t pick it up. And with Batman and Robin, I’m of the mind that we had 8 other books coming out with Tride and True Bruce Wayne Batman. The point of the "All Star" line, was to give creators a chance to do something different, which is what Miller did, if it worked for you or not is fine, but it was different because it was meant to be. It’s just odd that there is so much anger towards Miller, I can understand going "Ah, I don’t think he has it anymore, he doesn’t do it for me like he used to" but to be like "OH F him and I loath his books, and he needs to just shut up with his crazy man views." Really? The man hasn’t earn the chance to do whatever kind of book he wants? Come on, calm down and don’t pick it up if you don’t want to, and go pick up something you know you’ll love. It’s comics, there’s plenty out there to love.

  36. Instead of criticizing Miller for his political views, misogyny, etc., just ask yourself the following three questions:

    1.  What was the last thing he wrote that you actually liked?

    2.  What was the last thing he wrote that you actually read and disliked?

    3.  What does this current work most resemble? 

    Here are my answers: 1. DKR 2. ASB&R 3. Neither

    Based on that, I am erring on the side of caution and not planning on getting this book. 

  37. It’s just a comic book.  Nothing more.  The only power it has lies in what YOU give it.

  38. I am sorry if I offended anyone for my dislike for something. We should just enjpoy something or shut up about it!

  39. I hate to say it but Miller’s work has not been up to par lately , All Star Batman was abysmal and The Spirit movie was quite posssibly the stupidest thing I have had to pay ten bucks to watch , and this is coming from the guy who loved Super Mario Bros, the movie . I am hoping that he will have fun with Holy Terror and maybe try writing a book where the charecter stays away from lame inner monologues.