Frank Miller, whose tirade against the Occupy movement was met with a largely negative, and frequently heated, response, has found an unlikely defender: left-leaning writer Mark Millar.
In a post on his Millarworld forum, the writer of Kick-Ass and The Ultimates says, “It’s strange to watch your favourite writer getting strips torn off him for a couple of days.”
“Politically, I disagree with his analysis, but that’s besides the point,” Millar continues. “I wasn’t shocked by his comments because they’re no different from a lot of commentators I’ve seen discussing the subject. What shocked me was the vitriol against him, the big bucket of shit poured over the head by even fellow comic-book creators for saying what was on his mind.”
As one commenter points out, it probably shouldn’t be shocking that Miller’s no-holds-barred screed, which characterizes Occupy protesters as “a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists” who “can do nothing but harm America,” was answered with a degree of vitriol. Or, in the commenter’s words, “if you throw the first bucket of shit […] then you should be prepared for some splashback.” Perhaps if Miller’s commentary had been more reasoned and less inflammatory — “decorous,” as Miller himself would say — the reaction might’ve reflected that.
Instead, the writer of Daredevil: Born Again, Batman: Year One and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns delivered an unfocused, angry rant sprinkled with name-calling, weird putdowns — “Go back to your mommas’ basements and play with your Lords Of Warcraft“? — and an incongruous reference to al-Qaeda and “Islamicism” (it’s difficult not to be reminded of then-Sen. Biden’s criticism of Rudy Giuliani, that “there’s only three things he mentions in a sentence — a noun and a verb and 9/11”). There’s a strange, impotent fury to Miller’s words that makes him an inviting target for derision and dismissal as a paranoid crank, and leaves many readers wondering when precisely the disconnect occurred … and what he has against iPhones.
Millar (with an “a”), who faced criticism himself for comments made before the invasion of Iraq, bristles at what he sees as a “distasteful” “cyber-mob mentality” that’s rallied in response to Miller’s remarks.
“It’s not just that I like the guy, that his body of work is among the best the industry has ever seen,” Millar writes. “It’s the GLEE I’m seeing from some people and, worse, the calls I’ve seen to boycott his work because his perspective on a point differs from yours and mine. […] Liberalism doesn’t mean throwing guys in jail who DISAGREE with your liberalism. It means accepting that society is richer when everybody has a voice. Starting economic sanctions against a writer until they shut up and agree with you is horrific.”
Although I’ve not seen the calls for boycotts, I’m sure they’re out there; the Internet is a greenhouse for boycotts and petitions. However, like so many other online protests, a movement against Miller’s body of work will fizzle, if it even gets off the ground. Readers outraged by the writer’s views about the Occupy movement likely weren’t ordering Holy Terror, tracking down 300 or counting the days until Xerxes. And few, if any, are going to stop reading or buying such seminal works as Batman: Year One or The Dark Knight Returns because, after a quarter-century, they conclude Miller is a crackpot whose views differ radically from their own. Odds are, both collections are already on their shelves anyway.