"Are you out of your mind?" demanded Harry. "A plot to get this house? Are you actually as stupid as you look?"
"Don't you dare -?" squealed Aunt Petunia, but again, Vernon waved her down: slights on his personal appearance were, it seemed, as nothing to the danger he had spotted.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
What does the part in bold mean exactly? I think it draws a comparison. I'm also wondering why 'as' is used. Can we remove it? "slights on his personal appearance were nothing to the danger he had spotted" seems fine to me.