Frank Miller – D**k
Yesterday, myself, GMan and Deadgeek found ourselves in Porters, a drinking establishment a stone’s throw away from the Cardiff ComicCon, amidst a quiz harder than that of the aforementioned thrown stone. A question came up relating to Frank Miller. Out of my mouth came a throwaway comment –
Frank Miller is a d**k
GMan and Deadgeek gave me looks of surprise.
I’ll elaborate after
So here I am. Let it not be said that he hasn’t done a lot for comics, for that would be untrue. But he has also done a lot for himself.
The Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil, Batman: Year One, Sin City. All very respected titles. All over 20 years ago too.
His work on Daredevil is particularly close to my heart as I’m such a fan of Bendis, Mack and Maleev’s work on the title directly influenced by Miller’s work from 1979 to 1986 and a few one-shots after that. He was pretty much single handedly responsible for making Daredevil’s world the stark and gritty place I love. He made Hell’s Kitchen as much a character as DD himself. The rooftops and fire escapes and water towers. Awesome. He also introduced the characters Elektra and Stick, fleshing out his past and culminating in the famous Bullseye kills Elektra story that has shaped Matt Murdock for so many years.
But then in a similar fashion, the music I love is an obscure electronic genre called Electro Industrial or sometimes EBM, and the bands I like most all credit this one 80s industrial band called Front 242, and they’re bloody AWFUL! So I can respect that they were influenced by them, but that doesn’t mean I have to like them. The same is true of Miller.
Other notable works are for Batman, releasing The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One which are both still top sellers decades later. But then there are titles such as The Dark Knight Strikes Again which is quite frankly a piece of poo. His dark noirish style works well for the brooding gothic architecture of Gotham City, but this book is The Bat goes to Metropolis, and Miller’s style does not mesh with Technicolour assault to the senses this book offers. We also have the thankully short lived All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder in 2005 that portrayed Batman as badically a highly disturbed psychopath and coined the phrase “I’m the Goddamn Batman”
Another thing Miller is often criticised is his depiction of women. Sin City is a prime example but it is prevalent through other works. Every woman is characterised as being either a damsel in distress or a prostitute. Even a badass character like Gail needs “saving”, and Nancy is well… t&a quite frankly. Mark Millar (no relation) has also come under fire for this recently with his casual use of rape as a story device to upset the male protagonist of Kick-Ass 2.
In 1998 Miller released 300, his retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae, based very much on the 1962 film The 300 Spartans. The collected book gathers all 88 pages.. 88. The movie adaptation by Zack Snyder adds all the characterisations and subplots. The book has Leonidas leaving for war, then you never see the queen again, they fight a bit, then they all die. It’s quite quite rubbish. It’s been criticised as promoting fascist ideals which I pretty much disagree with, but clearly tries to portray the evil God-King as gay, or at the very least bisexual.
This leads onto another of Miller’s recent works – Holy Terror. This widely considered anti-Islamic propaganda, although I’ve seen some try and pass it off as art, satire or freedom of expression.
But basically Miller is not the same creative and critical powerhouse he was in the 80s. And that’s why he is a d**k