Frank MillerOnce upon a time, Frank Miller was a starving artist in NYC barely able to scrape enough money together to feed himself. The regular "Crusty Bunkers" at Neal Adam's Continuity Studios remember seeing him come in regularly to show Neal his work, and Neal sending him away saying, and we paraphrase, "not good enough... yet". But Frank persisted, and kept getting better, and finally, Adams started landing him work. In 1979, Miller began drawing DAREDEVIL, and before long, he turned the title into one of Marvel's hottest properties. His crime-noir stories struck a chord with readers, and his work became legendary. After writing and drawing a limited series called RONIN at DC, Frank's next opus (yes, there were more than one), was redefining Batman with the famous 4 issue "Batman, The Dark Knight Returns". This dark, dark portrayal of the hero, and socio-political commentary on Reaganism and the Cold War, marked an end of innocence for comic books, and further broadened the potential of the medium to explore more mature themes and grittier topics. The concept of the anti-hero was born, and for better and for worse, has been a predominantly emulated theme in comic book publications for the past 20 years (and counting). The work itself was so seminal and worthy of academic merit, that it has found its way onto many college curriculums since. Comic books were no longer for kids.
Frank Miller's next major impact on the comic market was his SIN CITY stories, originally published in Dark Horse Presents, and later produced as both limited series and collected trade paperbacks. The ultra-violent chiaroscuro stories gained critical acclaim and caught Hollywood's eye. Film-maker Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Spy Kids) fell in love with the idea of making the movie adaptation, and quit the Directors Guild of America in order to co-direct the movie with Miller to preserve the creator's vision. The film was widely well-received, and quickly led to the making of a sequel. Now firmly launched in Hollywood, Miller continues to pursue movie-making with the adaptation of another ones of his works, 300, and the movie, THE SPIRIT, produced by Batman Executive Producer, Michael Uslan.
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