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Tue Jul 10, 2012, 03:41 PM

Does Dark Knight Returns piss anyone else off?

I just started rereading Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns and now I remember why I never finished it before. He gets very political for no real reason. Worst of all it seems very right-wing, I mean Carrie's parents are portrayed like stereotypes of liberals who just smoke pot and never pay attention to their daughter. Batman openly says that criminal's rights makes him crazy. Granted, he has always operated outside the law, but this is the only book I can think of where he is so blatantly opposed to rights. It feels like Miller is using the book as a mouthpiece for his own ideas. Does anyone else agree or is it just me?

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Reply Does Dark Knight Returns piss anyone else off? (Original post)
white_wolf Jul 2012 OP
Shadowflash Jul 2012 #1
Hells Liberal Jul 2012 #2
white_wolf Jul 2012 #3
Orrex Jul 2012 #4
white_wolf Jul 2012 #5
barbara1981 Aug 2012 #6
SCALA13 Nov 2012 #7
mrwhite.13 Dec 2012 #8
hrmjustin Dec 2012 #9
Cheap_Trick Dec 2012 #10
Bucky Dec 2012 #11
Codeine Dec 2012 #12
Chathamization Feb 2013 #14
Bucky Feb 2013 #15
mlauer59295 Jan 2013 #13

Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 03:55 PM

1. Miller is a right wing crackpot

But I try not to let people's politics stop me from reading (or viewing) their creative work. I can put it aside that long.

However, I just couldn't stomach the art for more than half the book. Ugh. Miller used to draw well.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Tue Jul 10, 2012, 04:47 PM

2. Yes, indeed, Frank Miller is a right-wing, neo-fascist douchebag, but...

 

I think the politics of "The Dark Knight Returns" was pretty balanced. The president, who is not named, is clearly Ronald Reagan and he is depicted as pretty dumb. His way of announcing a Soviet first-nuclear strike was "Well those Russians can be pretty sore losers."

Also, Bruce Wayne (Batman) criticized his ex-friend, Clark (Superman) Kent for being subservient to Reagan, especially when the president had no real way to control Superman even if he wanted to. In that series, Wayne tells Kent, "No one can make you do anything you don't want to do."

When the Soviets used a missle called "Coldbringer" to create a nuclear winter, Bruce Wayne complained that neither Reagan nor Superman thought far enough ahead to consider the the Soviets might use such as weapon.

And, the series featured DC's most outspoken liberal, the Green Arrow. As the government troops were shooting at him to keep him from firing a kryptonite arrow at Superman, he referred to them as "Goddamn fascist sons of bitches." Without Green Arrow's help, Superman would have done more than just broke three of Batman's ribs.



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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Wed Jul 11, 2012, 01:55 AM

3. Interestingly enough I just came across this scene where Gordon is talking about Presidents

He is talking about FDR and Pear Harbor: "Since then, Preisdents have come and gone and each one seeming smaller, weaker... The best of them like faint echoes of Roosevelt."

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sat Jul 14, 2012, 12:21 AM

4. Hard to say--that was over 25 years ago

When I read it back then, I got the sense that Miller was writing with a certain characterization in mind. Granted, he's since revealed himself as a foaming, rightwing asshole, but at the time it was far less clear. Certainly his version of Reagan shows nothing of the reverence that one would expect from a standard Rightie. And professional curmudgeon Alan Moore, who more recently has castigated Miller for his idiotic Conservative views, wrote the forward to the original bound edition of Dark Knight Returns, wherein he commented on the political undertones but didn't take Miller to task for them at the time. It seems that Moore accepted these as a technic of character rather than as a piece of propaganda.

Miller also portrays Green Arrow, a character with famously left-leaning sensibilities, in an entertaining and favorable light, and in fact he provides a foil for Wayne's uncompromising all-or-nothing perspective.

It's also hard to pigeonhole 1986's Miller as a Rightwing writer when we consider that Batman: Year One came out at almost the same time, with a much different political tone, while Miller's Daredevil was far from a Conservative paragon. Likewise, Miller's horrendously bad Robocop II was an indictment of corporate culture in start contract to the pro-corporate mantras of typical Rightwing cultists.


I honestly believe that this is a case of Miller's later political views encouraging us to revisit his earlier work, but I'm not convinced he as as aggressively (or as shit-headedly) Rightwing back then as he later became.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #4)

Sat Jul 14, 2012, 03:57 AM

5. You may be right, in fact I posted this question over on Comic Book Resources forums...

and one of the replies backs up what you are saying:


"Miller was actually pretty liberal way back then. Didn't you notice the almost sadisticly dumb ass Reagan (AKA Republican Jesus), the War hero who was forced to sell guns to the Mutants in order to pay his Wife's surgery after she was denied by her HMO over a bogus claim (Wrapping him in the American Flag wasn't ''patriotism'' as some people mind bogglingly seem to think it is, is a metaphor, a super heavy handed metaphor but a Liberal one), the Asshole who wouldn't help anybody and only thought of himself while Jim Gordon pretty much rallies his comunity to solve their mutual problem etc. And The Hippies weren't a caricature on liberals, they were a cynic view of Hippies, similar to the one south park did, were they think they could change the world by smoking pot and listening to music.

It' was really only after 9/11 that he went all Ayn Rand on our asses. I don't like to play psychologist on people I don't even know personally but He seems like he was one of those who were completely traumatized by 9/11 and his writting reflected that. Still, he isn't as cartoonish as people paint him. I remember reading a pseudoliberatarian (actually conservative) blog which I heard he commented a lot in (I was sort of maybe perhaps virtually stalking him a few years ago) and read to my surprise him defending Obama. Well, maybe that's a bit to far. He said that even though he voted for McCain he thought that everybody in there was exaggeratingand that Obama will be an ''Adecuate president'' (Sorry I can't come up with the link, I stopped my stalking long ago) which resulted on a flame war."

Also, several posters over there are saying the Dark Knight Returns should be read as a satire of 80's culture.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Thu Aug 30, 2012, 04:22 PM

6. re

 

grrat

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Tue Nov 6, 2012, 03:39 AM

7. Never new that such interpretations resonated in DKR....

hopefully the animation flick thats out doesnt portray this.

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 01:09 AM

8. bat's was always a rt wing ass

The problem is when people look at the real world vs what and who writes it, miller WAS a decent writer/artist, he lost his mind, allen moore was and always a libertarian, dark knight was great, bane was the only real villain in film that got it, from our side and the fascists point, too bad bane lost the ass bag, and yes bat's always cheats, what pisses me off was the fact is he always wins, I'm still a bane fan and scarecrow is always good,

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Response to mrwhite.13 (Reply #8)

Sat Dec 1, 2012, 01:13 AM

9. Welcome to DU!

 

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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 12:53 AM

10. Miller went on a well publicised anti-Occupy rant.

My favorite response:



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Response to white_wolf (Original post)

Sun Dec 23, 2012, 11:31 PM

11. Don't read the sequel then.

I enjoyed Dark Knight Returns, even while seeing Miller's politics. He overmilitarizes and desperately dehumanizes Batman. I saw the story, a bit, about what could go wrong with the Batman as a self-indulgent moralist. His more recent works on the character have been fairly divisive among the fans--for exactly the reasons you outline.

Years later I found his sequel to DKR in a bargain bin at Half Price Books. It was an extended "fuck you" to the fan base that made his career possible. It's clear throughout the comic that he resents making this book and intentionally made it as bad as possible and threw in as many crappy mock mischaracterizations of beloved second string characters in the DC pantheon specifically to tell the fans how lame they themselves were.

Miller's a libertarian, not a conservative. He hates religion too--a frequent theme in his works is mocking anybody's beliefs in anything other than some above-the-law vigilante having his way on the streets. Essentially he's a wank off artist. The prevalence of the May-December pairings of grizzled street vets with nubile, barely legal playmates in his works (his Batman works, his Sin City stories, etc) should tell you that. Another running theme involves the "real men" telling off the snivveling weaklings of society that hold the great ones back. It's like he was cloned from Ayn Rand's renal glands.

What Miller does well sometimes is convey the raw emotional truth behind that worldview. It's sick, but it has a certain atavistic register to male emotional drivers. The fear of getting old & impotant coupled with the impatience with a world that doesn't let me have my way. It's all ego-trip, of course, but an ego-trip that once upon a time he did well. Success is turning him into a self parody, as happens with so many artists.

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Response to Bucky (Reply #11)

Tue Dec 25, 2012, 12:52 PM

12. ". . .he was cloned from Ayn Rand's renal glands"

That is fucking poetry, sir. I have added it to my mental quote bank.

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Response to Bucky (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 4, 2013, 09:51 AM

14. I enjoyed DKR2

It was lighthearted fun. Batman breaks different members of the Justice League out of their respective prisons, then goes and takes on Luthor and Braniac, who've taken over the world. The only think I didn't like is what they did with the original Robin.

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Response to Chathamization (Reply #14)

Fri Feb 8, 2013, 07:59 PM

15. Nitpick

He breaks the old male heroes out of their prisons. Except for the eternally youthful Wonder Woman, all the female heroes were dead. A critically trained eye can't look over Miller's stories without drawing some pretty unpleasant conclusions.

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