Even today, Frank Miller’s Holy Terror is still victim of censorship
Andrew Harrod at the American Spectator (via Middle East Forum) has given an alert that Miller’s notable 2011 graphic novel, Holy Terror, originally planned as a Batman tale before DC under Paul Levitz rejected it, has been shunned at a Texas library because the Council of American Islamic Relations called for it:
The Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Dallas-Fort Worth chapter (CAIR-DFW) recently “applauded a decision by the Plano Library to resolve an issue related to anti-Muslim material in its catalog.” CAIR claims to have convinced this Texas library to remove the book Holy Terror by renowned graphic-novel author Frank Miller, a disturbing act of censorship and a flagrant violation of longstanding library standards.
This author asked the Plano Library Director Libby Holtmann about the book’s removal. She stated that the library “did not remove the subject item from its collection from a request by anyone including CAIRDFW,” but rather “was alerted by a comment sent through social media.” Examination of Holy Terror revealed “that it did not have any professional reviews,” which she claimed is a “necessary component for maintaining an item.” She also cited library records showing little reader interest in Holy Terror.
In fact, dozens of reviews of the comic book have been published, including by prominent newspapers and peer-reviewed journals. Plano library’s dubious response leaves several troubling questions. What was this social media comment that led to an immediate “evaluation” of Holy Terror? Why does Plano Library appear to be kowtowing to CAIR? Does the very controversy itself surrounding Holy Terror raised by groups such as CAIR not justify keeping a copy for the sake of healthy public debate?
CAIR’s opposition to Holy Terror, a story of comic superheroes battling Al Qaeda in New York City, goes back to when it first appeared in 2011. CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad had condemned Holy Terror as a “shameful” example of how “Islamophobia is becoming mainstream.” That same year, journalist Spencer Ackerman wrote that “Holy Terror is a screed against Islam.”
Accordingly, CAIR-DFW Executive Director John Janney asked the Plano library about “standards, policies or code of ethics that the publicly funded library followed when faced with publications that dehumanize or marginalize minorities.” This applied, he claimed, “especially when those publications are targeted at children” (which the adult graphic novel Holy Terror is in fact not). Although paying lip service to First-Amendment free speech guarantees, CAIR-DFW’s argued that “imposing hate literature on a captive audience of children is not appropriate” for a library’s mass holdings.
Well this does tell something besides the sad fact CAIR, which was founded by Hamas sympathisers, is still active: they have a backwards view of the comics medium itself, taking the antiquated vision that it’s only for children.
CAIR-DFW also claimed that Miller had in 2018 “expressed regret for the book” — implying that Miller would support the censorship of Holy Terror. Yet he actually stated, in a Guardian interview, that he did not “want to go back and start erasing books I did.” Importantly, he described Holy Terror in a 2011 interview as a specific “screed against Al Qaeda,” not Islam. “The issue here is a method of killing. It’s not a religion,” he explained. “I can tell you squat about Islam,” but “I know a goddamn lot about Al-Qaeda and I want them all to burn in Hell.”
Ironically, CAIR-DFW’s announcement appeared during the annual Banned Books Week of the American Library Association (ALA), the “oldest and largest library association in the world,” founded in 1876. During Banned Book Week, ALA promotes a “Stand for the Banned Read-Out” for people to “declare your literary freedoms by reading from a banned book or discussing censorship issues on camera.” Since the Week’s 1982 beginnings, “libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs, continuous readings of banned and challenged books.”
What the Plano library did was a slap in the face to anybody opposed to book censorship. But most curious is where the CBLDF stands in all this, if they focus on topics like these? Unsurprisingly, this hasn’t been in the mainstream comics press from what I can tell, proving where they actually stood all these years, and if the CBLDF won’t give Miller any backing in this case, then they’ve rendered their mission meaningless.
I think it’s a shame Miller reverted back to leftism, since he supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 elections. Though this current case can demonstrate the unforgiving positions of social justice advocates – he dared do something the late Will Eisner also did with his last graphic novel, The Plot, and for this, the SJW leftists shunned Miller for all eternity by not coming to defense of his work.
Originally published here.