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When Bosch Fawstin tried to sell the first chapter of his serialized graphic novel The Infidel through conventional channels, he received word that the distributor he had chosen rejected the comic as “violating our terms of service.” That general phrase no doubt referred to Fawstin’s use of storytelling elements that make Western publishers nervous: unapologetic American heroes delivering payback to jihadists who are motivated not by “blowback” against the CIA and colonialism, but by the religious imperative of Islam itself.
Fawstin is a cartoonist who scored a nomination for an Eisner Award – the comics industry equivalent of an Oscar – for his debut graphic novel, Table For One. He’s also a FrontPage contributing artist and the author/illustrator of ProPIGanda: Drawing the Line Against Jihad, a collection of images and essays that serve as a companion piece to The Infidel. Feeling certain that the distributor’s rejection of chapter one didn’t bode well for chapter two, Fawstin decided to digitally serialize the works himself from his blog site. Download them here.
A story within a story, The Infidel is about twin brothers Killian Duke and Salaam Duka whose lives veer in polar opposite directions after the 9/11 attacks. Killian (who just happens to closely resemble his creator Fawstin) responds to the atrocity by creating a counter-jihad superhero comic book called Pigman, while Salaam submits fully to Islam. Pigman’s battle against his archenemy SuperJihad is mirrored in the escalating conflict between the twins. The novel also reflects Fawstin’s own personal journey from Albanian Muslim to apostate to Ayn Rand devotee.
In The Infidel, Killian’s character Frank Warner (note the implication of the last name) watches the Twin Towers fall on 9/11 and knows immediately that Islam is the reason. He begins “thinking about all the terrible things that must be done to those who had a good day on 9/11.” Frank dons a costume made of pigskin, which Muslims consider unclean, to become his alter ego, Pigman, to take on jihad. He travels to the Afghan-Pakistani border to confront al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden face-to-face in a cave hideout (The Infidel #1 was completed just prior to bin Laden’s actual death at the hands of SEAL Team Six.) The result is an action-packed catharsis.
Killian’s Muslim friend asks him, “How do you think true Muslims will respond to your work?” “They’d kill me for it if they could,” the cartoonist replies. Then why do it? “I love seeing this enemy get what it deserves at the hands of a ruthless hero.”
Killian confronts a group of Muslim proselytizers near the WTC ruins; the resulting scuffle comes to the attention of “Bo Riley” of “Ox News,” who questions Killian on his talk show about Pigman being perceived as “an insult to 1.5 billion Muslims.” Killian responds:
I’ve heard that 1.5 billion times. Your average Muslim is morally superior to Mohammed. They’re individuals who may or may not be the problem. Organized Islam is.
Riley brings on an opposing viewpoint from a CAIR-type organization, a character named Soze Keiser (a nod to The Usual Suspects’ mysterious evil mastermind Keyser Soze), who complains with typical CAIR hyperbole that in the Muslim mind, the offensive Pigman is the equivalent of 9/11.
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