How Batman Almost Fought Osama bin Laden

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Back in 2006, Frank Miller–the cartoonist behind Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, as well as 300 and Sin City–announced that he would be writing and drawing a graphic novel for DC Comics called Holy Terror, in which Batman would take on al-Qaeda and face Osama bin Laden. (“Superman punched out Hitler,” he said at the time. “So did Captain America. That’s one of the things they’re there for.”) By November of that year, he claimed he only had “about 50 pages left to go.”

(More on TIME.com: Bin Laden’s Low Tech Hideout May Have Been His Undoing)

The title Batman: Holy Terror had been floating around for a while–a riff on Robin’s exclamations on the old Batman TV show, it had been an early working title for The Dark Knight Returns, and was actually used for a 1991 one-shot by Alan Brennert and Norm Breyfogle. By 2008, though, Miller had switched tacks. When the New York Times profiled him, he noted that Holy War, Batman!–as the article called it–had become “something that was no longer Batman… I decided it’s going to be part of a new series that I’m starting.”

(More on TIME.com: The Man Who Blogged Bin Laden’s Death By Accident)

In early 2010, Miller announced that he was “94 double-page spreads” into Holy Terror, but that “it’s just not a Batman story anymore. The content got too extreme, and a brand new superhero popped into my head.” Later in the year, he explained that Batman had been replaced in it by a new character called The Fixer, and that it wouldn’t be published by DC, but that it “should be finished within a month” and come out “next year, certainly,” meaning 2011.

There’s been no official word so far on publication of Holy Terror, or indeed on how it might be affected by yesterday’s news.

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