Frank Miller gets it. It seems like there’s some hesitation on the part of executives at DC Comics and parent company TimeWarner to publish Miller’s Batman vs. Al Qadea graphic novel.
I’ve often thought that our battle against the bloodthirsty jihadist thugs – not freedom fighters, not mere insurgents, just plain thugs, no different from the member of any gang – is like Batman’s fights in the four issues of The Dark Knight Returns. He’s as resourceful and smart as ever, slowed somewhat by age, but he fights hard against a reconstructed Two-Face, against a massive gang army called The Mutants (and its bellowing leader), against the Joker, and finally, against Superman, beset on all sides by a media that paints him as a psychopath and a government that thinks he’s out of control and needs to be put in his place. The only ones around him to get it are Comissioner Gordon, Carrie Kelley (his new Robin), and, of course, Alfred.
I wrote this entry last year, after the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, in an earlier version of this blog on Blogspot. It was after I had seen a YouTube video (now removed) of bodies falling from the World Trade Center, shot by a couple from their hotel room close to the buildings. It showed the pink stains on the concrete and a smattering of bones and tissues where the bodies landed. Distressing stuff to watch. I thought of Miller and the Dark Knight series and wrote:
The whole story is dire, from the opening panel of the first book to the final page of the fourth one. . .with a twist at the end, though. I’ll admit that I couldn’t sleep after reading the third book. (SPOILER ALERT) The Joker’s mass murder of the talk show audience, the poisoning of the Cub Scouts at a fair (from tainted cotton candy he’d handed out), his grisly suicide in a tunnel of love as Batman slowly bleeds to death in the dark as a SWAT team makes its way in to arrest him: all like a microcosm of world turmoil.
I remember that same feeling five years ago yesterday. The images, the smoke, the terror of the faces of people watching the towers burn, the gaped mouths and wide eyes as they fled massive rolling boulders of dust and metal after the buildings collapsed.
And the bodies. The falling bodies. And now today seeing the pink scars on the concrete.
There’s one line in Dark Knight that I think fits the War on Terror. When Batman and his new Robin (the smartassed Carrie Kelley) descend on the fair and he surveys the scene of death the Joker has left, he says, “It ends tonight, Joker.”
Unfortunately, this war may never end. But at some point, when all the appeasers end up with slit throats, when all the mainstream media arrogance gets about-faced at gunpoint, when all the braying from those who say they want peace and the head of the President on a truncheon gets silenced but not by the ones they think are the real enemy, then the war will have to end.
And it may end in a dark place.
Any of us who work in the arts, either directly or peripherally, who support the war, who know there are those who wish us dead in the name of their jihad, all risk a fatwa.
I’d rather risk that then risk having my life ended or my family or loved ones enslaved by a barbaric theology.