If this goes on much longer, I am going to have to re-title this blog “Comic artists who are apparently decent people but utterly dishonest moral cowards”. First it was Zach Weinersmith, then Dana Simpson, and now it is Randy Milholland, writer and artist of the webcomic Something Positive.
My usual disclaimer: Milholland has done amazing things with S.P. – I’ve been reading it steadily for over a decade. I can only admire his productivity, as well as his felicity with characters and plot. He deserves credit for all of this.
Now let’s get to why I add him to the ever-increasing list of “webcomic artists who are moral cowards.” I am referring to the comic below. It’s a guest strip he did for a webcomic called Shortpacked by David M Willis.
Let’s start with the last panel, because it is absolutely the worst. We all know the exactly where the Je Suis… motto comes from. You may search, and you may search, and you will find not one thing either S&P or Shortpacked made in support of Charlie Hebdo. But they make one in favour of Muslim batman.
Maybe after Charlottesville Milholland should have written a comic for American Renaissance decrying the stereotyping of innocent white nationalists?
(I’m kidding of course; that might be contemptible, but it would have been courageous.)
As to the rest of this, I had to suppress a laugh at this:
Then I’ll point out how often Muslims have been used for bad guys in comics
Even if you take the darkest, edgiest comics, such as Garth Ennison’s PunisherMax, when they have the courage to show the Taliban as bad, they go on to show how the Taliban are only really bad because they are being used by the CIA.
So where are these anti-Muslim or anti-Islam comics? Hello?
Of course, you know the truth and so do I: comic artists who criticize Islam will find themselves defamed, blacklisted and probably murdered.
Milholland has a huge audience and is widely respected in the webcomics community. If he and his chums could have gotten together and issue some support, some solidarity to Charlie Hebdo or Jyllands-Posten, it would have meant a lot. But, of course, they did nothing of the sort.
Then there’s this:
I remind you that not every Muslim is a homophobe…
Here are two maps, one of Muslim population as a percentage, and one of the countries where homosexuality is illegal. You may notice some overlap.
In this connection, Milholland has been doing many strips about how hard it is growing up LGB in America, and said exactly nothing about the Garland massacre.
Now that’s not necessarily a point against him. “Because others have it worse, you don’t have it bad” is a fallacy. But when someone keeps patting himself on the back about how brave he is sticking up for the gays and then makes excuses for the source of the most murderous homophobia on the planet… well, then my inner Yukio Mishima swims to the fore.
At this point it should not surprise you to read that Milholland has made comics at the time of the Cavanaugh hearings accusing everyone of being rape-apologists, and naturally has remained quite about either the accusations against Joe Biden, or the mass assaults in Cologne, or the gang-rapes of les banileus (notice how he cites France there).
Again, all of this could be know. He could have read up on Samira Bellil or Bruce Bawer or Oriana Fallaci or Ayaan Hirsi Ali or – well, any number of people. But he decides to avoid any of that, and show how brave he is by dunking on white male nerds.
One last point before I close, which is only tangentially related to the foregoing, but I want to address anyway:
Why is it anytime a hero shows up who isn’t white, male, hetero, or possibly christian, it’s a p.c. stunt?
I can answer that: because most comic book writers are useless? Most comic book writing – especially D.C. and Marvel – is puerile (which is the point: it’s supposed to be for kids). But many of the industry’s hacks don’t like to accept that, so they make a character who is gay or brown or trans, and if people don’t like it, they yell “racistsexisthomophobe” – and take the resultant anger as proof of bigotry.
The reason that this is taken as a stunt is because it almost always is.
Conversely, the few times the industry gets a credible writer doing this – see, e.g., Wonder Woman, SpiderMan: Into the Spiderverse, or Black Panther – they are smash hits because they manage to actually tell a good story with good characters.
People are just tired of hacks trying to bully them into liking their substandard work.
Now at this point, I try to remind myself that, whatever his flaws on this issue, Milholland is no doubt a good family man and father, and his productiveness is enviable, and I should keep all that in mind.
Then I remember I’m German, and conclude To Hell With That.
We know from bitter experience exactly what comes from otherwise good people who are moral cowards on the most pressing issues of the time. If you’ve ever wondered how it was that otherwise decent Burger managed to be good parents and citizens and also be somewhere else when their neighbors were being loaded into the cattle-cars… well, look no further than Milholland & Willis.