Frank Miller: What Would You Have Him Do?

  • 98 results
  • 1
  • 2
Posted by Undeadpool (528 posts) - - Show Bio

Frank Miller. Frank Miller. Frank. Miller. Roll it around in your brain. Really think about what that name means to you because depending on when you started reading comics, or at the very least how well you know your comics history, the name probably means very different things to very different people. Frank Miller, for those who only have a passing knowledge, has been in the business of comics since the 70s but it wouldn’t be until the mid-80s that he would deliver what many believe to be his magnum opus: The Dark Knight Returns.

The book that launched a superstar

Considered by many to be THE absolute best Batman story ever written, it propelled Frank Miller to the top of stardom. But as a writer in his mid-20s who had already ascended to the peak of where most don’t reach until their 40s, where was he to go from there?

==TEASER==

I don’t use the term “peak” lightly either, he did more than just write an amazing story, he was credited with revitalizing a flagging character (this was post-campy Adam West Batman and no one really knew what to do with the character) and in addition to that he perfected what Alan Moore would call the “pacing” of a comic book when talking about Miller in his “On Writing” book. When Frank Miller wrote and drew a book, he very fastidiously controlled how quickly the reader’s eye moved across the page. He was one of the first to have little to no dialog in fight panels so that you, as the reader, read those panels faster, thus giving the fight a brisk, realistic pace (compare that to many writers even today who clog what’s supposed to be a single punch or sword swing with line after line of text that the person couldn’t possibly be saying that quickly).

Take, for example, a book he drew: Wolverine’s first mini-series, which Chris Claremont wrote. Claremont is nothing if not verbose, and you can tell that he really wrote that dialog because almost every fight scene has a block of text narrating what’s going on in the fight. Until the end. The final fight in that book contains no dialog and only single-syllable sound effects. It’s only about three pages long, but contrast how much more powerful and effective it is when your eyes just pass over the page, seeing the action unfold in mere seconds, to when you have to stop and read during what’s supposed to be a pitched, heated battle. So a writer in his late twenties who people credit with not only revitalizing a character, but with perfecting an entire writing technique, I ask again: what was he to do?

An example of Miller's dialog

Lest you begin to think this is going to be one long love-letter, I’ll tell you what he did: he wrote Sin City. But, as some have pointed out before me, he’d always been writing Sin City. Go back and read Dark Knight Returns after having read Sin City and see how Batman speaks exactly like a more in-control Marv. Read 300 or Ronin (both of which illustrate his expertise at pacing beautifully) and how the characters in that universe all talk like they’re in 1940s New York. Watch The Spirit and see how little it has in common with Will Eisner’s comic, but how much it has in common with Robert Rodriguez’s adaptation of Miller’s work. Sin City was, in my humble opinion, his true magnum opus, the book he’d always wanted to write, but it didn’t get as much attention as Dark Knight Returns because it wasn’t part of one of the Big Two Publishers. That has to grate on an artist’s nerves, so with the controversial All-Star Batman and Robin he seems to be writing it in “his style” of noire-inspired dialog as much as possible.

Miller's minimalist action

When Sin City came out, he’d resurrected a flagging franchise, AND written his magnum opus, which won him even more acclaim, and was still in his thirties. Again, dwell on that for a moment: Frank Miller had achieved the pinnacle of his chosen field and wasn't even forty yet. Writing is a job where most, even the best, don’t even get their break until they’re in their 30s or 40s. What should he have done? More importantly: what would you have him do?

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t really enjoyed much work of his post-Sin City, but I can’t be terribly angry with him professionally for two very simple reasons. 1) I’m not even close to his equal in the industry and 2) I don’t really know what I want him to do from here. He still needs to make money, but art is, in general, driven by pathos.

Look at your favorite artist or writer or musician and look how much more driven they were when they were young, hungry and filled with unspeakable rage. Now look at what happened after they got famous. Some people use the phrase “sell-out,” but that’s not quite right, is it? It’s not that they’re end goal was to get lazy, people don’t wrack their brains and write for days on end because they don’t enjoy what they’re still doing, it’s just that they don’t NEED it anymore, and I think that may be what happened to Frank Miller. He got full, and that’s wonderful, but now what CAN he do that we, as a community, would be happy with? Could he EVER top The Dark Knight or Sin City? And would you want him to? Would it make his creations better or more readable? I don’t have the answers, I’m not trying to tell you how to feel, I just want you to think about it.

Staff
#1 Posted by cattlebattle (12579 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd want him to quit drinking

#2 Posted by Billy Batson (57753 posts) - - Show Bio

Not seeing him doing anything good anymore. I would like that to happen but it's not going to happen.

BB

#3 Posted by marvelunivers_deleteme (315 posts) - - Show Bio
@cattlebattle said:
I'd want him to quit drinking
#4 Posted by cyberninja (10413 posts) - - Show Bio

I want him to blow my mind again. 

#5 Posted by tonis (6202 posts) - - Show Bio

good article and definitely his work on both Daredevil and Batman in the early days won me over for life.

The Dark Knight Returns was sort of a perfect storm for him, as the industry was changing and ready for what he did. Just like they were with Watchmen and the whole 'darker stories' idea that would become the 'modern age'. So it was inevitable that it would be a classic because he was brave enough to be ahead of his time then.

I think at this point in his life he's probably looking at things a little different in regards to what direction he wants to go but I do think he's smart enough to realize an area that needs groundbreaking and can do so just as good if not better than he has in the past if the right flame lights his ass :)

#6 Posted by hitechlolife (194 posts) - - Show Bio

I would like to see him do personal, more introspective work. Will Eisner thought Miller was selling out by only making violent books about 'horrible people doing horrible things to each other.'. I'd like to see the kind of work that a guy like Eisner thought him capable of.

#7 Posted by Crimson Thunder (286 posts) - - Show Bio

I would like to see him do a Moonknight story, a Spider-Man story, and his personal remake of the Fantastic Four's origin.
#8 Posted by AMP - Seeker of Lost Knowledge (1221 posts) - - Show Bio

Go back to his glory days on Daredevil (the art look better then...)
#9 Posted by Timandm (3374 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd like to see him take over the writing for the X-Men

#10 Posted by keith71_98 (387 posts) - - Show Bio

Don't let him near Batman! I couldn't even stay onboard with AS Batman & Robin regardless of how awesome Lee's art was. Miller has had some great runs but he's also had some real crap.
#11 Posted by goldenkey (2927 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd like to see him finish Allstar Batman.  Right when it went fro wierd to really good it was done.  WTF.  I liked his Dark Knight Strikes back, but I look at more like a JLA book then Batman.  I'm not to into his non super hero work.  The guy is great he needs to get back into the mainstream comics where his talent is best.  Someone mentioned doing another Daredevil book and I would not be apposed to that either since his Daredevil orgin mini was incredible.  Get him back with JRJR again.  The JRJR style works great with Frank...................and DKR is the best comic in my opinion ever.
#12 Posted by Decept-O (7274 posts) - - Show Bio

 I'd venture to say Miller would do it when he wants to, its not like he's spinning his wheels.  The man has been involved with movies as well, ranging from Robocop to the movies based on his own graphic novels, 300 and of course Sin City.    
 
It'd be great if he did more comic book work, and I admit some of his more recent stuff did not appeal to me, but I say just wait and see what he will do next, he may surprise people.  Not everything a talented creator does is guaranteed to be a hit.  Look at Spielberg, he had some misses with his repertoire as well, but I will wait to see if Miller pulls another rabbit out of his hat.   If not, well, that's a loss.  

#13 Posted by ltbrd (561 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm not really a fan of Frank Miller's work and while I find his gritty art style appropriate to the mood he's trying to convey I think his necessity to fill the page with as much dialog, information or internal monologue as he can (similar complaint against Grant Morrison) diminishes the imagination comics allow a person to employ to fill in the blanks of a character (and make that character special to them) and in the end gives his work an egotistical sense of self-importance. 
 
Also not a fan of extreme pain or depictions of violence simply to have extreme pain and depictions of violence. While I'm in no way saying comics need to be purely G rated (that would cause me to stop reading them) they need to strike a balance of fictional reality and realistic action. Miller's work just doesn't do that. His All-Star Batman & Robin series was one of the biggest piles of crap I've ever read and barely made one lick of coeherent sense outside of the premise that every character in that book was in some way a sociopath (aside from Superman and Green Lantern........even Plastic Man and Wonder Woman fit into that category) and Batman hated all other heroes. 
 
Yet people raved about it for awhile.......I just don't get it.
#14 Posted by HexThis (881 posts) - - Show Bio

I really think it boils down to this...
 
Back in the day, Frank Miller felt the sight of men in tights was repugnant so he referenced Noir style and storytelling with a modern-day blockbuster twist and incorporated it into his comics. It was fresh, it was gritty, it was exciting, and it was innovative. Superheroes didn't wear trench coats or carry guns, issues of perversion and corruption weren't addressed in comics before then so a lot of his work was very edgy and compelling to a lot of people. 
 
Nowadays, a guy in trench coat with a big gun and ammunition strapped to his belt with a gravelly voice and cynical disregard and contempt for everyone and everything isn't all that uncommon. It's become cheesy, it's become predictable. Not to mention nothing he writes has a comprehensive emotionality that extends past miserable, drudgery and despair, when critics said his work "lacked humanity" it resonated with me. 
 
Also, the fact that he makes every single female character a prostitute sticks in my craw far beyond my liking.

#15 Posted by iLLituracy (13537 posts) - - Show Bio
@cattlebattle said:
I'd want him to quit drinking
Wrong. He should drink more. 
 
Then write some more Batman. 
 
F*ckyeah.
#16 Posted by Donovan Montgomery (5416 posts) - - Show Bio

I want him back on Daredevil, maybe he could do a Punisher tale.

#17 Posted by NaruNick073 (173 posts) - - Show Bio

Definitely Not Directing, Especially After "The Spirit".

#18 Posted by Deadcool (6809 posts) - - Show Bio
#19 Posted by Vance Astro (91114 posts) - - Show Bio

Did he work on the Daredevil movie at all because if that movie was anything like how he wrote it in the books.I would have been way better.

Moderator
#20 Posted by wingster (138 posts) - - Show Bio
@keith71_98 said:
Don't let him near Batman! I couldn't even stay onboard with AS Batman & Robin regardless of how awesome Lee's art was. Miller has had some great runs but he's also had some real crap.
^^^^^ QFT. Miller's writing on that book was dreadful... seriously I don't care what past work he's done... that writing was dreadful.
#21 Posted by iLLituracy (13537 posts) - - Show Bio
@Vance Astro said:
Did he work on the Daredevil movie at all because if that movie was anything like how he wrote it in the books.I would have been way better.
He wasn't involved in Daredevil, I wish they'd involve him in the next movie's production, though.  
 
@HexThis said:
I really think it boils down to this...   Back in the day, Frank Miller felt the sight of men in tights was repugnant so he referenced Noir style and storytelling with a modern-day blockbuster twist and incorporated it into his comics. It was fresh, it was gritty, it was exciting, and it was innovative. Superheroes didn't wear trench coats or carry guns, issues of perversion and corruption weren't addressed in comics before then so a lot of his work was very edgy and compelling to a lot of people.   Nowadays, a guy in trench coat with a big gun and ammunition strapped to his belt with a gravelly voice and cynical disregard and contempt for everyone and everything isn't all that uncommon. It's become cheesy, it's become predictable. Not to mention nothing he writes has a comprehensive emotionality that extends past miserable, drudgery and despair, when critics said his work "lacked humanity" it resonated with me.   Also, the fact that he makes every single female character a prostitute sticks in my craw far beyond my liking.
What is life but all three of these things most of the time? 
#22 Posted by maxicere (936 posts) - - Show Bio

I want more Sin City !! I want Frank writes Green Arrow

#23 Posted by MrSeaman70 (294 posts) - - Show Bio

I want him to become Mr Sinister in X-Men First Class sequel :) He's got that evil doctor look :D
#24 Edited by The Velvet Rabbit (262 posts) - - Show Bio

All-Star Batman & Robin nearly killed it for me - I honestly think he needs to take a step back and reevaluate his writing perspective.   many of his stories were excellent (when alan moore likes your work, you HAVE to be doing something right), but like any other prolific writer, he's written some stuff that was pretty bad as well.   and don't look too deep into his motivations - I come from a family mixed with both left and right wing ideas, and even his ideas behind 300 seem a little bit on the far side of the nonsensical (think ditko's question or moore's rorschach, only multiplied and spread out to every character).
 
personally, I'd love to see him do more cooperative work with some stylistically different writers.   except for azzarello, since he already spends a lot of his time trying to be a mini-miller.

#25 Posted by FuryofObama2012 (84 posts) - - Show Bio

More of whatever tickles his fancy.

#26 Posted by HexThis (881 posts) - - Show Bio
@iLLituracy said:
What is life but all three of these things most of the time? 
True enough. A lot of things in life can be very dark but you can't see a 3-dimensional vision of just how dark things are if there isn't any light. There's cynicism and then there's just bleakness. 
#27 Posted by LiquidSwords (115 posts) - - Show Bio

>I wish he wasn't crazy anymore.

>Never direct another movie ever again

#28 Posted by iLLituracy (13537 posts) - - Show Bio
@HexThis said:
@iLLituracy said:
What is life but all three of these things most of the time? 
True enough. A lot of things in life can be very dark but you can't see a 3-dimensional vision of just how dark things are if there isn't any light. There's cynicism and then there's just bleakness. 
Lol, I was actually kidding. The thing is is that Frank's written things that weren't bleak and cynical in nature. Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot come to mind. I mean, I think he can do that but grimy city streets and hookers are his bread and butter. It's what he's best at. It's the way he's seen things. 
#29 Posted by Migz13 (169 posts) - - Show Bio

I want him back in Gotham City and do some good writing again. Nuff Said.

#30 Posted by Antonio_Blackheart (1542 posts) - - Show Bio

i like him to go back to the woods
#31 Posted by The_Tree (7209 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd have him finally write good stories again. 
I felt AS B&R was just a parody. All it did was make me laugh at the part with Green Lantern. 
And Holy Terror looks like crap.

#32 Posted by xanthiss (177 posts) - - Show Bio

I think he should work on Daredevil, Iron Fist, or Moon Knight. Grim and gritty! 

#33 Posted by AMP - Seeker of Lost Knowledge (1221 posts) - - Show Bio

Let him experience/explore another crime book....like the Green Hornet.

#34 Posted by JonesDeini (3620 posts) - - Show Bio
@HexThis said:
I really think it boils down to this...   Back in the day, Frank Miller felt the sight of men in tights was repugnant so he referenced Noir style and storytelling with a modern-day blockbuster twist and incorporated it into his comics. It was fresh, it was gritty, it was exciting, and it was innovative. Superheroes didn't wear trench coats or carry guns, issues of perversion and corruption weren't addressed in comics before then so a lot of his work was very edgy and compelling to a lot of people.   Nowadays, a guy in trench coat with a big gun and ammunition strapped to his belt with a gravelly voice and cynical disregard and contempt for everyone and everything isn't all that uncommon. It's become cheesy, it's become predictable. Not to mention nothing he writes has a comprehensive emotionality that extends past miserable, drudgery and despair, when critics said his work "lacked humanity" it resonated with me.   Also, the fact that he makes every single female character a prostitute sticks in my craw far beyond my liking.
Bingo! What did I want him to do? Keep creating innovative and intriguing art. Is that so much to ask? I'll always appreciate and respect what he's contributed to this genre I love, but I can't turn a blind eye to the hack he's become. Sin City was the best and worse thing to ever happen to Miller. 
#35 Posted by Mr. Dead Pool (2625 posts) - - Show Bio

Sin City was great and so was DKR. 300 was alright but then again it was just him writing about history in an awesome way so that really doesn't count. I think he might have a good story left in him.

#36 Edited by J1ml33 (518 posts) - - Show Bio

I would like to see him write/draw . ...Golden Age Daredevil ( you know just to see how his take on the public domain character would be with art by John Romita Jr ,Frank Quietly and Myself ) besides it was frank millers work on Sin City , Elektra  :Assassin , Elektra Lives and his  Daredevil Run that had inspired me to pursue my every challenging goal of creating comics and in my case( web comics ) for right now but with delusions of working professionally (and I had used his past as an Benchmark in the level of quality of what my work should be and that is great ) Note : really stress his Past work as an Benchmark not his current stuff right now or in the past four years ,but I really loved what he did with the spirit :the movie and Sin City . but I think it would be an honor (one day ) but for now I feel like just let the man do his own thing (for good or ill ) besides he`s only human (like the rest of us  on this site besides any writer/artist ,creator will have a few misses than hits after their great successes are lost in their better years (the real question is How Long can any creative Person keep up their over all level of quality before their talent starts to wane in later years besides even good ol Grant Morrison has a limit you know so I dont doubt Frank Miller I just see his style of storytelling go into different places ( mainly the grim and gritty ) besides it`s better to sometimes break out the formula (or the box if you will and just take a few chances than staying in an designated safe confortzone that a few writers do today , I think if holy terror is suppose to be a offensive than by golly let it be , I feel like we need a few more comics out there that take big risk and frank miller is the man for the job ) besides his writing can get a little tedious at times in his work but his true ideals  can for good or ill can be a either a breath of fresh air or the kiss of death (if your not in the mood for something extremely over the top and outlandish )yes he maybe past his prime , yes he may have gone a little crazy over the years , he`s not perfect ,but at least I give him the credit of doing what he loves .(but enough of my thoughts on the issue at had ).... and Now Back to your scheduled Programing ...^_^

#37 Edited by ArtisticNeedham (2233 posts) - - Show Bio

I would LOVE to see him do a portrait of Ozzy Osborne in his "Dark Knight Strikes Again" style, or most of his other works really.

#38 Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir (19714 posts) - - Show Bio

I respect what he's done for the industry and for Batman in particular, but the man has become a bloody embarrassment.  I'm sorry but it's the sad truth.

#39 Posted by Mainline (1129 posts) - - Show Bio
@undeadpool said:

 Some people use the phrase “sell-out,” but that’s not quite right, is it? It’s not that they’re end goal was to get lazy, people don’t wrack their brains and write for days on end because they don’t enjoy what they’re still doing, it’s just that they don’t NEED it anymore, and I think that may be what happened to Frank Miller.  

This is how I tend to look at Mark Millar.  We say he writes just to sell movies- and it's true- but if you could write comics and get movie studios to option everything you write, giving you a blank check to write whatever you like, is that something a lot of creators are going to turn down?  I mean, the man is still exploiting the medium that brought him to the dance.  He could just go into full on screen play writing, story boarding, action figures, or producing- become a business man or more lucrative writer if it was just about the money... but instead he's leveraging his success to write more comics.  So he likes the medium beyond just the movie money potential. 
 
That said, those market forces and that unfettered freedom can mean the work isn't the same as those early "hungry" or "passion" projects.
#40 Posted by Luke Danes (37 posts) - - Show Bio

 
 That´s simple: Make a living for him and dont bother the Comicbooks i read. I love his earlyer Stuff, but everything after 1993 is simply horrible to me...

#41 Posted by GraveSp (318 posts) - - Show Bio

If you ever wanted proof that All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder was controversial just mention it in front of a group of comic book fans.  People either love it or hate it, and usually its pretty much right down the middle.  I would like him the finish it though, you read the book and you understand why Dick Grayson is the way he is in Dark Knight Strikes Again.   

#42 Posted by Luke Danes (37 posts) - - Show Bio
#43 Posted by WhitOro (71 posts) - - Show Bio

I want him in the DC Relaunch writing a series out of continuity called Frank Miller's Goddamn Batman. And I'm serious. 
I love Frank Miller. The Dark Knight Strikes Again is probably my favourite comic book ever. I still can't find volumes/omnibooks of his Daredevil work, but the moment I see it I'm going to jump on it.
#44 Posted by primepower53 (5686 posts) - - Show Bio
@cattlebattle said:
I'd want him to quit drinking
#45 Posted by spaceboy (201 posts) - - Show Bio
#46 Posted by darkrider (438 posts) - - Show Bio

 
i dont want him to do any thing i hate frank miller

#47 Posted by TheBatman (27 posts) - - Show Bio

I wanna see him team up with Rob Rodriguez for a Sin City sequel. 
I loved his Sin City books! As far as his OTHER works go, they well all kinda... meh =P 
His All-Star Batman was... well, simply put, REALLY REALLY bad! At least I think so! XP
#48 Posted by Out_of_Space (720 posts) - - Show Bio
@AMP - Seeker of Lost Knowledge: If that happen most of his fans will star to hate him.
#49 Posted by welshguy (197 posts) - - Show Bio

Whilst I think the Dark Knight Returns is one of the finest stories I've ever read I'm not a fan of anything else he's done (aside fron 300). And I still haven't forgiven him for that Spawn issue he wrote.
As for what I would have him to do? Not turn into a total arse like Alan Moore. That would be nice. Or is it too late for that?

#50 Posted by Harlekin (680 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman: Year One > All Other Batman Stories

This edit will also create new pages on Comic Vine for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Comic Vine users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.