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Don’t Judge a Comic Book By Its Creator’s Appearance on The Daily Show

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Posted on March 2 2011 7:57 pm
Bosch Fawstin is an Eisner Award nominated cartoonist currently working on a graphic novel, The Infidel, of which the first chapter is now available as a digital comic. Bosch's first graphic novel is Table for One. He is also the author of ProPiganda: Drawing the Line Against Jihad, a companion to The Infidel, and the 1st print appearance of Pigman.

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Why I agreed to appear, and what was cut from the 3-hour taping.

Last night “The Daily Show” aired a prerecorded segment that I taped with them a few weeks ago. During the segment I was interviewed by Aasif Mandvi, the show’s “liberal Muslim” correspondent. The main topic discussed was the “Muslim” Batman, but we also spent a significant amount of time discussing my own creation, a counter-jihad superhero named Pigman. Based on what was filmed during the 3-hour shoot, the segment had the potential to be humorous, controversial and informative. How it actually turned out was the product of some pretty crafty editing. And, unfortunately, I had no control over that. It was still humorous, but it was gutted of almost all significant substance, and some of the good humorous bits were left out as well.

 

First, I need to explain why I agreed to do it at all. I’ve been working on my graphic novel, The Infidel featuring Pigman, for years. After trying with dozens of agents, editors, and publishers to get someone to take on the project, and finding that not even those who were sympathetic were willing to do so (some cited Muslim reprisal as a reason,) I needed to get publicity however I could. In this context, one day I received an e-mail from one of “The Daily Show” producers, asking me to appear and discuss my views on Nightrunner, the “Muslim” Batman, which I had discussed in this post here at NRB. After having long conversations with two different producers, and realizing their interest in having me on was real, and included an interest in discussing Pigman, I decided, for better or worse, to go ahead with it.

When I arrived at the shoot, I learned that my interviewer would be Aasif Mandvi, the show’s “liberal” Muslim correspondent. When I commented on this to the producer (he had actually mentioned a different correspondent in one of the e-mails leading up to the shoot), he played dumb (of course.) I smelled a rat, but proceeded anyway. During my interactions with them on the set, the producer, Aasif, and the crew were professional and friendly, which was to be expected. (The producer was also friendly to me in correspondence via e-mail both before and after the shoot. This was also to be expected.)

Then came time for the sit-down interview. It was wide-ranging, going from serious to funny to silly to blasphemous. Here are some of the things I recall that were left out of the edited segment:

The most egregious omission/dropping-of-context was with respect to my answer to the question that was supposed to be the focus of the piece: “What is wrong with a Muslim Batman?” The aired segment makes it appear as if my answer was “Nightrunner could be a Jihadist.” During the actual shooting, I was prompted to state that as a complete sentence, after responding “yes” to Aasif’s question, “Could Nighrunner be a Jihadist?” That statement was NOT given as an answer to the question, “What is wrong with a Muslim Batman?”  My answer to that question is and was a lot more involved. The short answer, which I stated immediately after being asked the question, and which was edited out, was, “What’s wrong with Batman, during WWII, recruiting a German Batman with no mention of Nazis?” During a significant portion of the interview, Aasif was emphasizing that comics aren’t real and was asking, in essence: Why can’t comics just take a piece of reality, out of context, if they want? My point was, you can’t peer into reality just a little bit, and pick-and-choose in this way. The only reason Nightrunner exists (and probably the reason Aasif is on “The Daily Show” although he seems to be a nice guy who does a good job) is because Muslim terrorists attacked us on September 11, 2001, and they did it in the name of Islam. (I made a similar point during the interview.) In my view, it is irresponsible for any cultural medium to include Muslims while dropping the larger context that is the reason for including them at all. (At least “The Daily Show” sometimes includes some of this larger context, and often does a good job of it.)

Next: More significant points ignored, out-of-context quotes, and a few good jokes that made the cutting room floor.

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