I really fell in love with Frank Miller's work recently. Not that I have never read his stuff before, maybe because I was too young to understand and appreciate a lot of it. So much depth, so much content, and yet so much space left for wonder and thoughts that linger after you finish reading them. I'm telling you, his work is really unlike the "normal" typical superhero comics that we are familiar with, a.k.a some guy got powers - decides to make a difference - beats a bad guy - makes the world a better place - goes home with the girl, that kind of comics.
No, his work has so much more complexity to it, that his take on certain characters and message that he implies often arose controversies, like his writing of "The Dark Knight Strikes Again" and "All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder". His comics often has a "darker side", dealing with deeper political and social issues, which is possibly why it really attracts adult audience and not just simple minded kids. I mean if you read some (if not most) comic books on the market, you probably can flip through the book in a matter of minutes, quick browse at the cheesy content and the photoshop-coloured pictures that all look so similar. Fast-food type of stuff.
Frank Miller's stories? A totally different story. He is the type of comic book writer that will make you think you are really reading mainstream literature. Serious literature. The suspense in the story line, the dialogues, the building up of the characters, the depth in the background story, the not-so-happy endings etc. Great stories that will leave you thinking, not just waiting for the next issue.
Move on about his drawing, his drawing style is so distinctively different from other artists that I can spot his work right among other artists' artwork. I think he is really good with lines and shadows, which is great for black and white comics, or just with simpler colours. Not those photoshop stuff you see everyday. Real art, real drawing. His style also gives a darker feeling to the tone, which suits his story really really well.
I mean think about it, how many good comic book writers these days can draw? Great and good writers like Alan Moore, Jeph Loeb, Geoff Johns, Brian Vaughan, Greg Rucka, Grant Morrison all don't draw their own comic books. Even Stan Lee doesn't draw his own comics. I can only think of Frank Miller and Mike Mignola (Hellboy writer-artist) and maybe a couple few more in this era that can both write and draw very very well. (Lets not include Japanese writers/artists in this discussion.) With all due respect, I am too young to appreciate the works of Jack Kirby and Will Eisner, which is why I said in this era, this unique talent is really really rare.
By the way I really like the movies 300 and Sin City. Did real justice to the original work. Its like watching a story in a story. His comic book is like a movie. His movie is like a comic book.
I think there are two types of people in this world. People who loves Frank Miller's work, or people who have yet to grab a copy of Frank Miller's work. Go grab your copy of Ronin, 300, Sin City, The Dark Knight Returns now! Haha!
His artwork is really breathtaking, which is why I decided to share a few of my favourites here with you.
Taken from 300. Like I said, good with the simple lines and shadows, along with the simple colours, just great stuff.
Cover art for Batman Black and White.
Taken from The Dark Knight Returns. Notice how he draws the shape of the cape without really drawing a cape.
Artwork for Hellboy. Though he never draws for Hellboy, but his gritty style seems to fit with the Hellboy's mood and image very well.
From Sin City. Look at the four faces. Same face, same position, but the different shades of shadow seems to animate the face with a grim expression.
From Sin City as well. This is his typical style in the Sin City series, the art style is dark and strong. So distinctive. It is really amazing how he seems to put so much "motion" in a figure that is preparing to leap out from the dark with such simple lines of black and white.
Oh this is simply my favourite. The silhouette of Marv in the rain. Just a lot of white lines in a black background. The way the rain drops hit his coat makes him look so lonely. Like a warrior heading to his death. Lonely and sad.