Bum fight! Alan Moore and Frank Miller in a lefty-righty feud over Occupy Wall Street.
Before I get into this feud between two comic book gods, someone please tell me why they look like hobos? Frank Miller looks like an angry homeless man, while Alan Moore looks like he mutters to himself a lot.
Okay, to be fair Miller, creator of Sin City and recreator of Batman, only looks like a bum in some of his photos, but I have thoughtfully searched the Internet to find one for you. You’re welcome. He does always seem to appear angry, though.
Moore, famed for Watchmen, V for Vendetta, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and others, pretty much resembles a confused hobo in every recent picture I can find. Or maybe an aging member of Jethro Tull.
These two titans of graphic storytelling have come to figurative blows over, of all things, the Occupy Wall Street movement. Miller has long been open about his far-right views, leading novelist Rick Moody (who seems a bit confused himself, and at length) to label him a “crypto-fascist.”
This is all in response to a blog Miller posted a few weeks ago, blasting Occupy Wall Street as “nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness. These clowns can do nothing but harm America.”
And so on, in a not-even-slightly-coherent rant that ends up accusing OCW of being dupes of terrorists: “Maybe, between bouts of self-pity and all the other tasty tidbits of narcissism you’ve been served up in your sheltered, comfy little worlds, you’ve heard terms like al-Qaeda and Islamicism.”
Rather than giving this addle-pated diatribe the response it deserves — silence — Moore crawled out from under his bridge this week to defend OWS and blast Miller. Alas, Moore’s remarks are scarcely more rational than Miller’s.
“As far as I can see,” Moore told Bad Haven, “the Occupy Wall Street movement is just ordinary people reclaiming rights which should always have been theirs.”
So far so good. But then he adds, in reference to Miller: ”I’m sure if it had been a bunch of young, sociopathic vigilantes with Batman make-up on their faces, he’d be more in favour of it.” Uh….
Moore, who has abandoned the comics industry out of disgust for its commercialism and battles over rights to his work, made the interesting observation that “the majority in the comics field” are “center-right.”
If so then Miller is on the far, far, far right end of that spectrum, as he demonstrated in this NPR interview from several years back, where he condemns the entire history of Islamic culture as “sixth century barbarism.”
Please don’t anyone tell Miller that Arabs invented algebra, or that without the work of Islamic scholars, preserving the classics of Greek and Roman antiquity, the European Renaissance would have been impossible.
Moore goes on to add that while he hasn’t “paid attention” to Miller’s work in 20 years, he considers Sin City “unreconstructed misogyny,” while “300 appeared to be wildly ahistoric, homophobic and just completely misguided.” Is it impolite to inquire how he arrived at those opinions, as Sin City and 300 were somewhat less than two decades ago?
For the record, I’m as appalled as anyone by Miller’s brutish triumphalism. Politically I’m probably much closer to Moore. But that doesn’t mean I’m altogether comfortable with Moore as a champion of liberal common sense.
I’ll never forget walking out of the movie V for Vendetta (2006), based on Moore’s 1980s-era graphic novel, and wondering why people weren’t outraged. Did no one else care that the hero was a terrorist who kidnapped and tortured the heroine and blew up a major government building in the climactic scene?
Besides, I saw 300, too, and, like most viewers, I thought it was not so much homophobic as homoerotic — strongly homoerotic. Although, of course, it is possible to be both.