This is going to be episode 1 of a mini-series I’m wanting to cover. Of course, the main comic creator I had to add first was Frank Miller. Why? I admire the hell out of the man. His style captures both main stream and comic audiences. And he has that sort of, ‘no fuss’ attitude I so love.
In a recent interview Miller says just that. They ask him if Marvel should pay him for creating Elektra, to which he responds:
“I’m not running for president. I don’t want to be one of those cranky old guys grinding an ax, wishing I got paid better. I’ve done my best to pave the way for artists in the future to be treated better than I have. And that’s all I can do. Beyond that, I’d be pissing and moaning about things I have no control over. I’ve signed every contract that I’ve signed and agreed to the working conditions that I’ve worked in. And I’m not going to whine about this. I make a good living.”
Why else? Miller is soft spoken, but extremely intense. Which are two combinations, I can completely relate to. Being a fairly intense person myself, I can understand the need to really work hard on something that you love. My stories are no different. You have to know the balance between your own bias, and what the public will want to read. Sometimes, it gets rough. But Miller has proven that you can walk that balance by putting your own style and touch to something others can relate to.
To date, I’ve yet to find a Batman that really speaks to me like Frank Miller’s version. He’s real, he’s raw and gritty─ and he cares. Though it has it’s interesting moments, the earlier versions of a more jovial Batman from the 1940s-1970’s just never spoke to me. He [Bruce Wayne] had been through a lot, and watched it all. This would profoundly affect a person and how they behave. Having been through many tragedies of my own in life, I can testify that you can go one way or the other with all the bad things that happen that you can’t control.
In the recent interview in March, just before the release of Batman vs. Superman on the 25th, Miller spoke about how he drew from the Dark Knight returns and what inspired him with the original gritty character. He explained that he knew what it was like, losing control and being mugged─ having a gun waved in his face. He had been involved in a few muggings in Manhattan. It made him angry, and that anger transferred to the Dark Knight.
One of my favorite quotes, was one in Holy Terror, Batman! that sounds suspiciously like Miller’s inner monologue:
“All my life there’s been something wrong. Something missing. A sense that everything I’m seeing all around me isn’t entirely true. That this seemingly ordered world of laws and logic and reason is nothing but a shroud, a chimera. A mask. But every once in a long while, the mask falls away. Every once in a long while, the whole world makes perfect sense. The world reveals itself. I am at peace. And at war.”
Like this? Stay tuned for my next show covering Manga creator and horror grand-master, Junji Ito. His haunting imagery and wickedly crafted tales will keep you awake for hours.