As the mother of two Batman-loving boys, I'm worried about a graphic novel in the works in which the Dark Knight will take on Osama Bin Laden. Any terrorist/murderer is clearly a bad guy, so that's not my issue. And I'm all for the freedom of the press when it comes to comics or cartoons. My problem is that comic books about superheroes are in the fairy tale genre. They give readers a place to work out a fear of evil in general without vilifying a specific race, tribe, or culture. Creator Frank Miller's justification is that it's been done in the past:
"Superman punched out Hitler. So did Captain America. That's one of the things they're there for," he said. "These are our folk heroes. It just seems silly to chase around the Riddler when you've got Al-Qaeda out there."But graphic novels are meant to be seen and not heard, and Germans in America during WWII were usually identifiable only by their accents. They were white, too, so when Superman decked Hitler on the page, a good white guy was beating up a bad one. This time it's different. How will a young South Asian or Arab American reader process evil characters who resemble his father or uncles? How will my sons feel when their cool American superhero destroys scores of bad guy henchmen and thugs who have features and skin color like their own?