“The best way to end Muslim aggression, and hence these endless wars in the Middle East? Soak ALL our ordinance in pigs blood, and let them know if we kill them, they’re going straight to Muslim hell, no 72 virgins for them. They’ll quiet down in a heartbeat.” – Mike S Miller
This week DC Comics published Ian Edginton and Mike S Miller’s take on Looker, as part of their National Comics line. And it was rather good, managing to rise above the cliches in the concept of a vampire fashion designer and present a rather fun rollicking comic book, albeit one heavily reminiscent of Humberto Ramos‘ Crimson.
But I’ve been made party to a discussion between comic book folk who are a little concerned to see Miller back amongst them again so prominently, which has spilled over onto Twitter.
At one point Mike Miller was a rather prolific artist working for DC Comics, until discussion on message boards revealed that he was a rather virilent homophobe. We had long discussions late into the night, he argued from a right wing fundamentalist Christian viewpoint, he believes homosexuality is a choice, that gay marriage should not be allowed, that gay couples should not adopt. And, as a result of his public stand, he found he could not get work at DC Comics.
But, as publisher of Alias Comics, he published Lions, Tigers And Bears, an all ages comic in the full knowledge that the artist was out cartoonist, Jack Lawrence, also responsible for the high profile explicit gay cartoons, BritDoodz. He then did work for DC again through Wildstorm, drawing issues of gay-friendly The Authority.
As the quote above shows us, he’s quite the Islamophobic neocon as well – with an interesting grasp of Islamic theology, up there with that of Bosch Fawstin. A run down his Facebook page gives a concentration of anti Obama, pro Romney, pro Paul Ryan rhetoric that you might expect.
But here’s the thing. These are his views. He is not forcing them on anyone. He also doesn’t seem to let his views affect who he works with. or for. Should he be boycotted or blacklisted (I oh so hilariously called it “pinklisting” once. Oh my sides)? I’d argue not.
This is an industry in which comic creators plan and carry out violent assaults on others at comic conventions, who issue death threats against each other, who steal the partners of their employees, who threaten to strangle each other, who sexually assault each other. If you were wanting to boycott shitty behaviour, you wouldn’t buy a single Marvel or DC book, and plenty of IDW, Image, Dark Horse, Fantagraphics etc etc books would be off the table as well.
But to boycott someone based on their beliefs rather than their actions feels worrisome. This is not someone in a public position, this is not someone with power and responsibility over others. Not only does it smack of being rather Orwellian or McCarthyite, but it could easily swing the other way.
Mike S Miller is a very talented comic book artist and Looker is some of his best work to date. He seems a generally nice fellow, with some seriously strong views that I find abhorrent and repellent. But that’s the thing, my views equally offend him.
That doesn’t stop me enjoying his work and reading his comics. Even if he turned them into political diatribes, which he has shown no sign of doing so yet, I’d probably read those as well, because I admire his comics work in the form.
I’m not reading his Facebook posts though obviously, I’m not a masochist.