To the Point: Bwog Talks to Frank Miller
Written by Bwog Staff
When Bwog first learned that there was a possibility of comic book legend Frank Miller making an appearance at Columbia in conjunction with the Libararies’ Graphic Novel division, we quaked in our boots to hear what the author of Sin City, Batman: The Dark Knight, and 300 would have to say to us. For logistical reasons, the event was never realized, but we managed to obtain the better-than-consolation prize of an e-mail interview with Miller. Like his characters, he’s incredibly terse and takes an unflinching stance on the issues he’s passionate about.
Your new work, Holy Terror, is your first full-length graphic novel for some time. How long have you been working on it? Where did you get the inspiration from?
Where else? 9/11. Who could ask for a more perfect villain? With much interruption, my conviction only hardened. I want all those terrorist bastards dead.
On your website, you wrote an interesting piece on how Holy Terror is propaganda, and how the comic-book medium has been rife with political messages in the past. When you sat down to write Holy Terror, did you intend for it to honor this legacy, or did that happen in the process?
From the beginning, I sought to create propaganda. Evil is Evil: I want every member of al-Qaeda to burn in hell.
Do you think your past work has possessed the same political potency? Where do you think Holy Terror fits in your body of work?
My political commentary, was, in the past, satirical. 9/11 changed all that. Now I’m serious. An existential enemy has attacked my country. I respond in kind, with the best of my tools at my disposal.
Besides writing, you’ve also had a a recent entry into the movie business. What was directing alongside Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino like? What was it like to take the reigns on your own movie, ‘The Spirit’?
It has been an utter joy. I particularly enjoy working with actors. I can’t wait to do more.
In general, how do you feel about the recent growth of superhero movies? Do you think it has meant good things for the future of the comic books?
Yes. Comics can serve as a creative fountainhead for movies. We don’t answer to anybody, so we can offer stories that are untainted by the “development process”. The movie business can see what free minds can create.
Having explored other mediums, what do you think can be found in a graphic novel that cannot be found in other art forms? Why do you think comic books have managed to survive even as the movie industry became larger?
Movies have sound. They have movement. They have actors. It’s a whole ‘nother show. Graphic novels, however, can crawl inside a reader’s brain, creating fantasies, wonders and horrors that you won’t find on the silver screen.
Is there some branch of human experience or area of intellectual inquiry to which graphic novels have unique access?
We can wed the word with the drawing, a pair of disciplines that have been wrongly separated in the last two centuries. We can spark the mind, and take it to new places.
At Columbia, we have quite a conservative core curriculum of canonical western texts and visual arts. Do you think that graphic novels, or other kinds of graphic media, should be included in such a survey?
Hell, yes. What’s holding you back?
Miller in person via Wikipedia