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America's Captain 

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Daredevil.
Batman.
Wolverine.
Ronin.
Hard Boiled.
Give Me Liberty/Martha Washington.
Sin City.
RoboCop 2 and 3.
300.

Which of the above were your favorites? Which were the most influential? Do you wish one, some, or all of these had been LESS influential? Did I miss any of Frank's key accomplishments during our era?







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Superman's Pal

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Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 3,749


Sadly I have never read his Daredevil which is probably known as one of his high points.

I did read The Dark Knight Returns but like I said once before, I read it too late (in the '90s). I had already read a bunch of Batman Elseworlds stories and this was just another one on the pile for me. It was an okay yarn but it would never have occurred to me that it would be influential in any way. I guess at the time it came out people felt differently. I wondered why Batman seemed not as Batman-y (mowing down gang-bangers in a tank?) and why Superman was such a chump. I might compare it to Batman: Digital Justice which I actually liked better, which is kind of like Batman Beyond with a legacy Batman in the future. When I read Miller's Batman: Year One I liked it better.

Miller came back to write Spawn/Batman in 1994 which was "a companion piece to The Dark Knight Returns" whatever that means. I remember it being somewhat amusing but not all that memorable.

I haven't read his Wolverine or Ronin. From what I've seen of Ronin I always assumed the TMNT based a lot of their visual style on Ronin.

The Dark Horse era is where I met Frank Miller.

RoboCop 2 and 3 ... well, the movie of RoboCop 2 is okay but not great. Part 3 is awful. I can only imagine what Miller's original intentions were (obviously something different, because he swore off movies after this until Rodriguez brought him back for Sin City). If you want a slightly more accurate take on RoboCop 2 you should read "Frank Miller's RoboCop" from Avatar published in 2003 (9 issues). It is supposedly based on Frank's original script for the RoboCop 2 movie. It is bizarre, ultraviolent and offensive, of course. Supposedly only about half of what Frank put in his script made it into the movie. The leftover ideas were the genesis of the idea for Hard Boiled. I think one of the Rehab officers in Frank Miller's RoboCop is Seltz/Nixon.

Don't forget Miller also wrote RoboCop vs The Terminator (Walt Simonson artwork). It was sort of a fun action story with very little weight and a silly cop-out ending. They made a video game out of it.

Hard Boiled is just a roller coaster, action movie. It is not to be thought about deeply, it is just an exercise in excess. The excruciatingly detailed pages of Geof Darrow are the reason to pick it up.

Miller & Darrow also teamed up on The Big Guy & Rusty the Boy Robot which went the opposite way, the artwork was very clean and the story was pretty kid-friendly. There was a brief animated series on Fox Kids based on this series.

Give Me Liberty was great for me at the time, it was kind of political, very satirical, violent and actiony too. I felt the Martha Washington stories kept getting less and less interesting as they came out. They became less political and Martha became less interesting and it mostly just became action/adventure stuff.

I really liked Sin City, I don't know if I finished the entire canon, the last thing I read was Hell & Back and I think I got everything before that and all the one-shots and such. It's probably the story Frank was born to write. It just seems like Frank unfiltered by the censorship or standards of the big two publishers. Stories can be as long or short as they want, contain any content they want. Redemption through suffering seems to be a motif here. Great visual style.

I couldn't get into 300 quite as much, although it seemed equally over the top as Sin City. Didn't really care for the movie either, although my friends swore by it.



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Iron Man Unit 007


Member Since: Thu Oct 20, 2011
Posts: 4,451


Well Robocop/Terminator was one of the first big movie franchise cross overs of that era. We'd also get Aliens/Predator at that time then Batman/Predator and Superman/Alien.

Dark Knight Returns clearly had some influence and has a lasting legacy despite the taint of the two sequels that Frank wrote. While the artwork on all 3 leaves something to be desired the story of Dark Knight Returns makes up for the art with a good story and a good take on just how retirement does not agree with Batman.

Also that story set the tone in that yes Batman can take down Superman. However Batman had years of prep time, he synthesized his own kryptonite so that it wouldn't kill Superman but make him mortal enough to be beaten in that fight. Plus Superman doesn't want to kill Batman and Superman was still whipped from the nuke blast and subsequent nuclear winter, he was NOT at full power.




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Happy Hogan 

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Location: Northern Virginia
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,074



He made the dark brooding tone more popular in comics. The trouble with that is, there are a lot of characters for whom the dark brooding tone is wrong. His work influenced Zack Snyder in what turned out to be for the worse.


Even with Daredevil he seems to have had too much influence. This isn't really his fault, but after he left DD, the only Daredevil characters writers seemed willing to explore that weren't their own, were the Frank Miller ones. Having stories based just on Kingpin, Electra, Bullseye and Punisher got old before long.




America's Captain 

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Location: Bayville New Jersey
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 12,139



    Quote:

    He made the dark brooding tone more popular in comics. The trouble with that is, there are a lot of characters for whom the dark brooding tone is wrong. His work influenced Zack Snyder in what turned out to be for the worse.


The Superman films - right? I agree - although I don't have a good answer as to how a Superman film should be done. Certainly the way Snyder did it was wrong. I think I would aim for the tone of the first season of the Adventures of Superman live action TV series from the 1950s. The later seasons were progressively more childish but that first season was gold.


    Quote:

    Even with Daredevil he seems to have had too much influence. This isn't really his fault, but after he left DD, the only Daredevil characters writers seemed willing to explore that weren't their own, were the Frank Miller ones. Having stories based just on Kingpin, Electra, Bullseye and Punisher got old before long.


I agree. I consider the Kingpin to be Daredevil's most boring villain nowadays - only because he's been overused. I also have zero interest in Electra and Bullseye but I never did - not even under Miller. I like when the Punisher shows up, especially on TV.

Over all I agree with your basic argument. Many writers and editors (and directors) nowadays think the way to go is always to go darker. I think they're wrong, but I think there's a kernel of truth in their perspective. The way to go is more grown up. Childish is a mistake. This is why I love the first season of the Adventures of Superman TV series. It was for grown-ups. Yet it was absolutely a Superman show with costume and powers and secret identity and idealism.









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Happy Hogan 

Manager

Location: Northern Virginia
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,074




    Quote:

      Quote:

      He made the dark brooding tone more popular in comics. The trouble with that is, there are a lot of characters for whom the dark brooding tone is wrong. His work influenced Zack Snyder in what turned out to be for the worse.



    Quote:
    The Superman films - right? I agree - although I don't have a good answer as to how a Superman film should be done. Certainly the way Snyder did it was wrong. I think I would aim for the tone of the first season of the Adventures of Superman live action TV series from the 1950s. The later seasons were progressively more childish but that first season was gold.


Correct, the Superman films, especially Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. That film got both Batman AND Superman wrong. But as far as the old George Reeves series becoming childish, there are worse things that can happen to the character. That's having a Superman movie that you don't want your kids to see. That's what Snyder gave us with BvS. A Batman movie doesn't necessarily have to be kid friendly, but a Superman movie has to be. If a movie focuses on both of them, then it is both a Batman and Superman movie and by default has to be appropriate for children.




    Quote:

      Quote:

      Even with Daredevil he seems to have had too much influence. This isn't really his fault, but after he left DD, the only Daredevil characters writers seemed willing to explore that weren't their own, were the Frank Miller ones. Having stories based just on Kingpin, Electra, Bullseye and Punisher got old before long.



    Quote:
    I agree. I consider the Kingpin to be Daredevil's most boring villain nowadays - only because he's been overused. I also have zero interest in Electra and Bullseye but I never did - not even under Miller. I like when the Punisher shows up, especially on TV.



    Quote:
    Over all I agree with your basic argument. Many writers and editors (and directors) nowadays think the way to go is always to go darker. I think they're wrong, but I think there's a kernel of truth in their perspective. The way to go is more grown up. Childish is a mistake. This is why I love the first season of the Adventures of Superman TV series. It was for grown-ups. Yet it was absolutely a Superman show with costume and powers and secret identity and idealism.


It was for both grown-up and kids. I haven't watched the series for a while, so I'll take your word for it that it got more childish as it went further along. But I don't really fault the series for that. Everyone back in the fifties thought that comic books were for the kiddies.
I'm all for comics being something adults can enjoy, but if you don't have something kid friendly, you won't have kids reading comics. If kids don't enjoy comics, they probably won't be reading them (or watching their movies and TV shows) when they grow up.





America's Captain 

Maintainer

Location: Bayville New Jersey
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 12,139



    Quote:
    Correct, the Superman films, especially Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. That film got both Batman AND Superman wrong. But as far as the old George Reeves series becoming childish, there are worse things that can happen to the character. That's having a Superman movie that you don't want your kids to see. That's what Snyder gave us with BvS. A Batman movie doesn't necessarily have to be kid friendly, but a Superman movie has to be. If a movie focuses on both of them, then it is both a Batman and Superman movie and by default has to be appropriate for children.


Only way to do it is to aim for a cartoon aesthetic. Take a cartoon script and produce it with live actors. Bruce Timm could so it.


    Quote:
    It was for both grown-up and kids. I haven't watched the series for a while, so I'll take your word for it that it got more childish as it went further along. But I don't really fault the series for that. Everyone back in the fifties thought that comic books were for the kiddies.


Which seems weird since a lot of WW2 and Korean War soldiers were comic book fans.


    Quote:
    I'm all for comics being something adults can enjoy, but if you don't have something kid friendly, you won't have kids reading comics. If kids don't enjoy comics, they probably won't be reading them (or watching their movies and TV shows) when they grow up.


I don't know if that last part is really true any more. There are cartoons, video games, toys and other merchandise galore. Look at DC's Super-Hero Girls, which I think is far and away the most effective marketing to girls we've ever seen from either company. Surely no one would say the intermittent comic books are driving this concept's success. It's all about the cartoon and the merchandise.







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Happy Hogan






    Quote:

      Quote:
      Correct, the Superman films, especially Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. That film got both Batman AND Superman wrong. But as far as the old George Reeves series becoming childish, there are worse things that can happen to the character. That's having a Superman movie that you don't want your kids to see. That's what Snyder gave us with BvS. A Batman movie doesn't necessarily have to be kid friendly, but a Superman movie has to be. If a movie focuses on both of them, then it is both a Batman and Superman movie and by default has to be appropriate for children.



    Quote:
    Only way to do it is to aim for a cartoon aesthetic. Take a cartoon script and produce it with live actors. Bruce Timm could so it.


Has Bruce Timm ever done live action? But I agree that his storytelling style is what they should aim for.


    Quote:

      Quote:
      It was for both grown-up and kids. I haven't watched the series for a while, so I'll take your word for it that it got more childish as it went further along. But I don't really fault the series for that. Everyone back in the fifties thought that comic books were for the kiddies.

      Quote:
      Which seems weird since a lot of WW2 and Korean War soldiers were comic book fans.


But that didn't carry over to wanting to read comics books when those soldiers were back in the States as civilians.







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Unstable Molecule


Location: Calgary, AB Canada
Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 2,936


Coming to this chain a little late.

I really liked Miller's interpretation of Batman. I like my Batman a little crazy / obsessed, and Miller was the one to make this point the strongest. In Dark Knight, when a retired Bruce Wayne becomes Batman again, it's portrayed as falling off the wagon. Alfred strongly treats it as such. I kind of like that, because I feel like it's in keeping with the character's core motivation.

As for Wolverine - I know Miller did the pencils on Wolvie's famous (and excellent) mini-series, but to me it doesn't really feel like a Miller book - I think it's classic Claremont. Miller did a great job of the art though - far better than his work in Dark Knight.

I haven't read Miller's Daredevil work. I really should correct that one day. For me, Daredevil was only ever interesting when he showed up as a guest star in Spider-man's titles. They did an interesting job of portraying Matt as a foil for Peter. But I could never really bring myself to pick up a solo Daredevil title. I didn't find the character very relate-able.

I only know 300 and Sim City from the movies. They were entertaining but not masterpieces.




And a lean, silent figure slowly fades into the gathering darkness, aware at last that in this world, with great power there must also come -- great responsibility!
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