Frank Miller has been something of a contentious figure for a good while now. In fact one could date this turn in Miller’s popularity to his Islamophobic Holy Terror graphic novel. His response to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center that even DC Comics wouldn’t publish, but was eventually put out Legendary Comics in 2011. That, and an array of poorly written comic books ever since. But, that last one’s my own personal opinion, I’ll admit.
Well, yesterday morning it took a statement from indie/crowdfunding publisher Shortbox to start the ball rolling and make Thought Bubble reconsider their invite. Here’s what they said about Miller’s inclusion in this year’s festival:
“I am sorry to inform you that ShortBox and I will no longer be attending Thought Bubble festival this November. I was invited as a guest in 2020 which rolled over to this year. I have been excited to attend, represent my authors, and share our books with readers after almost 2 years of no conventions. However, as a proud Muslim woman, I cannot in good conscience attend a festival that deems it appropriate to invite and platform Frank Miller, a person who is responsible for the propagation of abhorrent anti-Muslim hate, particularly via his work. Anti-Muslim bigotry is repugnant and condemnable yet has become so deeply rooted, so widely accepted in society that it is not even given a cursory consideration, as evidenced once again in this situation. I cannot comprehend how time and time again, festivals and communities within comics espouse values regarding inclusivity, diversity, ‘comics being for everyone’, zero tolerance on hate, but all that lip-service evaporates when they are asked to enact those same values.”
Later adding the following clarification:
“For clarity: I first contacted Thought Bubble about this, privately, 8 weeks ago. After discussions, I was assured action would be taken. This week it’s been communicated to me that I am the acceptable loss: repercussions to my career/income over repercussions to theirs.”
Well, it would seem Thought Bubble took note and after some time offered the following update/statement this morning, cancelling Miller from this year’s convention:
So, with the matter finally addresses, I do hope Shortbox now reconsider their attendance come November when Thought Bubble returns to Harrogate. And even without Islamophobe Miller in attendance, there are still a whole galaxy of stellar star talent to gaze at such as Scott Snyder, Chuck Palahniuk and Gail Simone. I mean, seriously, who needs a tired old grouchy creator well past his sell by date anyway? It may have taken a while, but well done, Thought Bubble.
Sadly, though, this has not stopped Zainab Akhtar and Shortbox from receiving a torrent of right-wing abuse on their Twitter feed as a result of their stance. In some ways it’s a pity this small outfit had to stand up when other, bigger voices, kept quiet. Something they point out for themselves only this morning in reacting to Thought Bubble’s statement. So, maybe show her and Shortbox some love today? We all know how cruel the internet can be, now don’t we?