Height 1.86 m
Spouse Lynn Varley (m. ?–2005)
|Name Frank Miller|
TV shows HypaSpace
|Born January 27, 1957 (age 58)Olney, Maryland, U.S. (1957-01-27) |
Area(s) Writer, penciller, inker, film director, screenwriter, actor
Notable works Batman, Daredevil, Elektra, Wolverine, Ronin, 300, Sin City
Movies Sin City, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, 300, The Spirit
Books Daredevil by Frank Miller & K, Born Again, Sin City, Daredevil: The Man Without F, Holy Terror
Similar People Robert Rodriguez, Alan Moore, Zack Snyder, Lynn Varley, Jim Lee
Frank miller comics
Frank Miller (born January 27, 1957) is an American comic book writer, novelist, inker, screenwriter, film director, and producer best known for his comic book stories and graphic novels such as Ronin, Daredevil: Born Again, The Dark Knight Returns, Sin City and 300.
- Frank miller comics
- Frank miller reveals western sin city prequel in the works goes comic book shopping
- Early life
- Daredevil and the early 1980s
- Batman The Dark Knight Returns and the late 1980s
- The 1990s Sin City and 300
- Batman The Dark Knight Strikes Again and 2000present
- Legal issues
- Public image
- Personal life
- Style and influence
- Criticism and praise
- Cameo appearances
He also directed the film version of The Spirit, shared directing duties with Robert Rodriguez on Sin City and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, and produced the film 300. His film Sin City earned a Palme d'Or nomination, and he has received every major comic book industry award. In 2015, Miller was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame.
He created the comic book characters Elektra for Marvel Comics' Daredevil series, and a female version of the Robin character, Carrie Kelley, for DC Comics.
Miller is noted for combining film noir and manga influences in his comic art creations. "I realized when I started Sin City that I found American and English comics be too wordy, too constipated, and Japanese comics to be too empty. So I was attempting to do a hybrid".
Frank miller reveals western sin city prequel in the works goes comic book shopping
Miller was born in Olney, Maryland, on January 27, 1957, and raised in Montpelier, Vermont, the fifth of seven children of a nurse mother and a carpenter/electrician father. His family was Irish Catholic.
Miller grew up a comics fan; a letter he wrote to Marvel Comics was published in The Cat #3 (April 1973). His first published work was at Western Publishing's Gold Key Comics imprint, received at the recommendation of comics artist Neal Adams, to whom a fledgling Miller, after moving to New York City, had shown samples and received much critique and occasional informal lessons. Though no published credits appear, he is tentatively credited with the three-page story "Royal Feast" in the licensed TV series comic book The Twilight Zone #84 (June 1978), by an unknown writer, and is credited with the five-page "Endless Cloud", also by an unknown writer, in the following issue (July 1978). By the time of the latter, Miller had his first confirmed credit in writer Wyatt Gwyon's six-page "Deliver Me From D-Day", inked by Danny Bulanadi, in Weird War Tales #64 (June 1978).
Former Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter recalled Miller going to DC Comics after having broken in with "...a small job from Western Publishing, I think. Thus emboldened, he went to DC, and after getting savaged by Joe Orlando, got in to see art director Vinnie Colletta, who recognized talent and arranged for him to get a one-page war-comic job". The Grand Comics Database does not list this job; there may have been a one-page DC story, or Shooter may have misremembered the page count or have been referring to the two-page story, by writer Roger McKenzie, "Slowly, painfully, you dig your way from the cold, choking debris..." in Weird War Tales #68 (Oct. 1978). Other fledgling work at DC included the six-page "The Greatest Story Never Told", by writer Paul Kupperberg, in that same issue, and the five-page "The Edge of History", written by Elliot S. Maggin, in Unknown Soldier #219 (Sept. 1978). His first work for Marvel Comics was penciling the 17-page story "The Master assassin of Mars, Part 3" in John Carter, Warlord of Mars #18 (Nov. 1978).
At Marvel, Miller would settle in as a regular fill-in and cover artist, working on a variety of titles. One of these jobs was drawing Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #27–28 (Feb.–March 1979), which guest-starred Daredevil. At the time, sales of the Daredevil title were poor but Miller saw potential in "a blind protagonist in a purely visual medium," he recalled in 2000. Miller went to writer and staffer Jo Duffy (a mentor-figure whom he called his "guardian angel" at Marvel) and she passed on his interest to editor-in-chief Jim Shooter to get Miller work on Daredevil's regular title. Shooter agreed and made Miller the new penciller on the title. As Miller recalled in 2008:
When I first showed up in New York, I showed up with a bunch of comics, a bunch of samples, of guys in trench coats and old cars and such. And [comics editors] said, 'Where are the guys in tights?' And I had to learn how to do it. But as soon as a title came along, when [Daredevil signature artist] Gene Colan left Daredevil, I realized it was my secret in to do crime comics with a superhero in them. And so I lobbied for the title and got it".
Daredevil and the early 1980s
Daredevil #158 (May 1979), Miller's debut on that title, was the finale of an ongoing story written by Roger McKenzie and inked by Klaus Janson. After this issue, Miller became one of Marvel's rising stars.
However, sales on Daredevil did not improve, Marvel's management continued to discuss cancellation, and Miller himself almost quit the series, as he disliked McKenzie's scripts. Miller's fortunes changed with the arrival of Denny O'Neil as editor. Realizing Miller's unhappiness with the series, and impressed by a backup story he had written, O'Neil fired McKenzie so that Miller could try writing the series himself. Miller and O'Neil would maintain a friendly working relationship throughout his run on the series. With issue #168 (Jan. 1981), Miller took over full duties as writer and penciller. Sales rose so swiftly that Marvel once again began publishing Daredevil monthly rather than bimonthly just three issues after Miller became its writer.
Issue #168 saw the first full appearance of the ninja mercenary Elektra—who would become a popular character and star in a 2005 motion picture—although her first cover appearance was four months earlier on Miller's cover of The Comics Journal #58. Miller later wrote and drew a solo Elektra story in Bizarre Adventures #28 (Oct. 1981). He added a martial arts aspect to Daredevil's fighting skills, and introduced previously unseen characters who had played a major part in the character's youth: Stick, leader of the ninja clan the Chaste, who had been Murdock's sensei after he was blinded and a rival clan called the Hand.
Unable to handle both writing and penciling Daredevil on the new monthly schedule, Miller began increasingly relying on Janson for the artwork, sending him looser and looser pencils beginning with #173. By issue #185, Miller had virtually relinquished his role as Daredevil's artist, and was providing only rough layouts for Janson to both pencil and ink, allowing him to focus on the writing.
Miller's work on Daredevil was characterized by darker themes and stories. This peaked when in #181 (April 1982) he had the assassin Bullseye kill Elektra, and Daredevil subsequently attempt to kill him. Miller finished his Daredevil run with issue #191 (Feb. 1983), which he cited in a winter 1983 interview as the issue he is most proud of; by this time he had transformed a second-tier character into one of Marvel's most popular.
Additionally, Miller drew a short Batman Christmas story, "Wanted: Santa Claus – Dead or Alive", written by Dennis O'Neil for DC Special Series #21 (Spring 1980). This was his first professional experience with a character with which, like Daredevil, he would become closely associated. At Marvel, O'Neil and Miller collaborated on two issues of The Amazing Spider-Man Annual. The 1980 Annual featured a team-up with Doctor Strange while the 1981 Annual showcased a meeting with the Punisher.
As penciler and co-plotter, Miller, together with writer Chris Claremont, produced the miniseries Wolverine #1–4 (Sept.-Dec. 1982), inked by Josef Rubinstein and spinning off from the popular X-Men title. Miller used this miniseries to expand on Wolverine's character. The series was a critical success and further cemented Miller's place as an industry star.
His first creator-owned title was DC Comics' six-issue miniseries Ronin (1983–1984). In 1985, DC Comics named Miller as one of the honorees in the company's 50th-anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great.
Miller was involved in a few unpublished projects in the early 1980s. A house advertisement for Doctor Strange appeared in Marvel Comics cover-dated February 1981. It stated "Watch for the new adventures of Earth's Sorcerer Supreme - - as mystically conjured by Roger Stern and Frank Miller!". Miller's only contribution to the series would be the cover for Doctor Strange #46 (April 1981). Other commitments prevented him from working on the series. Miller and Steve Gerber made a proposal to revamp DC's three biggest characters: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, under a line called "Metropolis" and comics titled "Man of Steel" or "The Man of Steel", "Dark Knight" and "Amazon". However, this proposal was not accepted.
Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and the late 1980s
In 1986, DC Comics released the writer-penciler Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, a four-issue miniseries printed in what the publisher called "prestige format"—squarebound, rather than stapled; on heavy-stock paper rather than newsprint, and with cardstock rather than glossy-paper covers. It was inked by Klaus Janson and colored by Lynn Varley.
The story tells how Batman retired after the death of the second Robin (Jason Todd), and at age 55 returns to fight crime in a dark and violent future. Miller created a tough, gritty Batman, referring to him as "The Dark Knight" based upon his being called the "Darknight Detective" in some 1970s portrayals, although the nickname "Dark Knight" for Batman dates back to 1940. Released the same year as Alan Moore's and Dave Gibbons' DC miniseries Watchmen, it showcased a new form of more adult-oriented storytelling to both comics fans and a crossover mainstream audience. The Dark Knight Returns influenced the comic-book industry by heralding a new wave of darker characters. The trade paperback collection proved to be a big seller for DC and remains in print 25 years after first being published.
By this time, Miller had returned as the writer of Daredevil. Following his self-contained story "Badlands", penciled by John Buscema, in #219 (June 1985), he co-wrote #226 (Jan. 1986) with departing writer Dennis O'Neil. Then, with artist David Mazzucchelli, he crafted a seven-issue story arc that, like The Dark Knight Returns, similarly redefined and reinvigorated its main character. The storyline, "Daredevil: Born Again", in #227–233 (Feb.-Aug. 1986) chronicled the hero's Catholic background, and the destruction and rebirth of his real-life identity, Manhattan attorney Matt Murdock, at the hands of Daredevil's nemesis, the crime lord Wilson Fisk, also known as the Kingpin. After completing the "Born Again" arc, Frank Miller intended to produce a two-part story with artist Walt Simonson but it was never completed and remains unpublished.
Miller and artist Bill Sienkiewicz produced the graphic novel Daredevil: Love and War in 1986. Featuring the character of the Kingpin, it indirectly bridges Miller's first run on Daredevil and Born Again by explaining the change in the Kingpin's attitude toward Daredevil. Miller and Sienkiewicz also produced the eight-issue miniseries Elektra: Assassin for Epic Comics. Set outside regular Marvel continuity, it featured a wild tale of cyborgs and ninjas, while expanding further on Elektra's background. Both of these projects were critically well received. Elektra: Assassin was praised for its bold storytelling, but neither it nor Daredevil: Love and War had the influence or reached as many readers as Dark Knight Returns or Born Again.
Miller's final major story in this period was in Batman issues 404–407 in 1987, another collaboration with Mazzucchelli. Titled Batman: Year One, this was Miller's version of the origin of Batman in which he retconned many details and adapted the story to fit his Dark Knight continuity. Proving to be hugely popular, this was as influential as Miller's previous work and a trade paperback released in 1988 remains in print and is one of DC's best selling books and adapted as an original animated film video in 2011.
Miller had also drawn the covers for the first twelve issues of First Comics English language reprints of Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima's Lone Wolf and Cub. This helped bring Japanese manga to a wider Western audience.
During this time, Miller (along with Marv Wolfman, Alan Moore and Howard Chaykin) had been in dispute with DC Comics over a proposed ratings system for comics. Disagreeing with what he saw as censorship, Miller refused to do any further work for DC, and he would take his future projects to the independent publisher Dark Horse Comics. From then on Miller would be a major supporter of creator rights and be a major voice against censorship in comics.
The 1990s: Sin City and 300
After announcing he intended to release his work only via the independent publisher Dark Horse Comics, Miller completed one final project for Epic Comics, the mature-audience imprint of Marvel Comics. Elektra Lives Again was a fully painted graphic novel written and drawn by Miller and colored by longtime partner Lynn Varley. Telling the story of the resurrection of Elektra from the dead and Daredevil's quest to find her, as well as showing Miller's will to experiment with new story-telling techniques.
1990 saw Miller and artist Geof Darrow start work on Hard Boiled, a three-issue miniseries. The title, a mix of violence and satire, was praised for Darrow's highly detailed art and Miller's writing. At the same time Miller and artist Dave Gibbons produced Give Me Liberty, a four-issue miniseries for Dark Horse. Give Me Liberty was followed by sequel miniseries and specials expanding on the story of protagonist Martha Washington, an African-American woman in modern and near-future southern North America, all of which were written by Miller and drawn by Gibbons.
Miller also wrote the scripts for the science fiction films RoboCop 2 and RoboCop 3, about a police cyborg. Neither was critically well received. In 2007, Miller stated that "There was a lot of interference in the writing process. It wasn't ideal. After working on the two Robocop movies, I really thought that was it for me in the business of film." Miller would come into contact with the fictional cyborg once more, writing the comic-book miniseries, RoboCop Versus The Terminator, with art by Walter Simonson. In 2003, Miller's screenplay for RoboCop 2 was adapted by Steven Grant for Avatar Press's Pulsaar imprint. Illustrated by Juan Jose Ryp, the series is called Frank Miller's RoboCop and contains plot elements that were divided between RoboCop 2 and RoboCop 3.
In 1991, Miller started work on his first Sin City story. Serialized in Dark Horse Presents #51–62, it proved to be another success, and the story was released in a trade paperback. This first Sin City "yarn" was rereleased in 1995 under the name The Hard Goodbye. Sin City proved to be Miller's main project for much of the remainder of the decade, as Miller told more Sin City stories within this noir world of his creation, in the process helping to revitalize the crime comics genre. Sin City proved artistically auspicious for Miller and again brought his work to a wider audience without comics. Miller lived in Los Angeles, California in the 1990s, which influenced Sin City.
Daredevil: The Man Without Fear was a five issue miniseries published by Marvel Comics in 1993. In this story, Miller and artist John Romita Jr. told Daredevil's origins differently from in the previous comics, and provided additional detail to his beginnings. Miller also returned to superheroes by writing issue #11 of Todd McFarlane's Spawn, as well as the Spawn/Batman crossover for Image Comics.
In 1995, Miller and Darrow collaborated again on Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, published as a two-part miniseries by Dark Horse Comics. In 1999 it became an animated series on Fox Kids. During this period, Miller became one of the founding members of the comic imprint Legend, under which many of his Sin City works were released, via Dark Horse. Also, it was during the 1990s that Miller did cover art for many titles in the Comics Greatest World/Dark Horse Heroes line.
Written and illustrated by Frank Miller with painted colors by Varley, 300 was a 1998 comic-book miniseries, released as a hardcover collection in 1999, retelling the Battle of Thermopylae and the events leading up to it from the perspective of Leonidas of Sparta. 300 was particularly inspired by the 1962 film The 300 Spartans, a movie that Miller watched as a young boy. In 2007, 300 was adapted by director Zack Snyder into a successful film.
Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again and 2000–present
He was one of the artists on the Superman and Batman: World's Funnest one-shot written by Evan Dorkin published in 2000. Miller moved back to Hell's Kitchen by 2001 and was creating Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again as the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred about four miles from that neighborhood. His differences with DC Comics put aside, he saw the sequel initially released as a three-issue miniseries, and though it sold well, it received a mixed to negative reception. Miller also returned to writing Batman in 2005, taking on the writing duties of All Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder, a series set inside of what Miller describes as the "Dark Knight Universe." and drawn by Jim Lee.
Miller's previous attitude towards movie adaptations was to change after Robert Rodriguez made a short film based on a story from Miller's Sin City entitled "The Customer is Always Right". Miller was pleased with the result, leading to him and Rodriguez directing a full-length film, Sin City using Miller's original comics panels as storyboards. The film was released in the U.S. on April 1, 2005. The film's success brought renewed attention to Miller's Sin City projects. Similarly, a film adaptation of 300, directed solely by Zack Snyder, brought new attention and controversy to Miller's original comic book work. A sequel to the film, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, based on Miller's second Sin City series and co-directed by Miller and Robert Rodriguez, was released in theaters on August 22, 2014.
In 2015–2017, DC released an nine-issue, bimonthly sequel to The Dark Knight Returns and The Dark Knight Strikes Again, titled The Dark Knight III: The Master Race. Miller co-wrote it with Brian Azzarello, and Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson are the artists. It was the top-selling comic of November 2015, moving an estimated 440,234 copies.
On July 10, 2015, at the San Diego Comic-Con, Miller was inducted into the Eisner Awards Hall of Fame.
As of 2017, Miller is working with John Romita Jr. on a Superman: Year One graphic novel.
In October 2012, Joanna Gallardo-Mills, who began working for Miller as an executive coordinator in November 2008, filed suit against Miller in Manhattan for discrimination and "mental anguish", stating that Miller's former girlfriend, Kimberly Cox, created a hostile work environment for Gallardo-Mills in Miller and Cox's Hell's Kitchen living/work space.
In July 2011 at the San Diego Comic-Con International while promoting his upcoming graphic novel Holy Terror in which the protagonist hero fights Al-Qaeda terrorists, Miller made a remark about Islamic terrorism and Islam saying, "I was raised Catholic and I could tell you a lot about the Spanish Inquisition but the mysteries of the Catholic Church elude me. And I could tell you a lot about Al-Qaeda, but the mysteries of Islam elude me too."
In November 2011, Miller posted remarks pertaining to the Occupy Wall Street movement in his blog, calling it "nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness." He said of the movement, "Wake up, pond scum. America is at war against a ruthless enemy. Maybe, between bouts of self-pity and all the other tasty tidbits of narcissism you’ve been served up in your sheltered, comfy little worlds, you’ve heard terms like al-Qaeda and Islamicism." Miller's statement generated controversy.
Until their divorce in 2005, Miller was married to colorist Lynn Varley, who colored many of his most acclaimed works (from Ronin in 1984 through 300 in 1998), and the backgrounds to the 2007 movie 300.
Miller has since been romantically linked to New York-based Shakespearean scholar Kimberly Halliburton Cox, who had a cameo in The Spirit (2008).
Style and influence
Although still conforming to traditional comic book styles, Miller infused his first issue of Daredevil with his own film noir style. Miller sketched the roofs of New York in an attempt to give his Daredevil art an authentic feel not commonly seen in superhero comics at the time. One journalist noted,
Daredevil's New York, under Frank's run, became darker and more dangerous than the Spider-Man New York he’d seemingly lived in before. New York City itself, particularly Daredevil's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, became as much a character as the shadowy crimefighter; the stories often took place on the rooftop level, with water towers, pipes and chimneys jutting out to create a skyline reminiscent of German Expressionism's dramatic edges and shadows.
Ronin shows some of the strongest influences of manga and bande dessinée on Miller's style, both in the artwork and narrative style. Sin City was drawn in black and white to emphasize its film noir origins. Miller has said he opposes naturalism in comic art. In an interview on the documentary Legends of the Dark Knight: The History of Batman, he said, "People are attempting to bring a superficial reality to superheroes which is rather stupid. They work best as the flamboyant fantasies they are. I mean, these are characters that are broad and big. I don't need to see sweat patches under Superman's arms. I want to see him fly."
Criticism and praise
Daredevil: Born Again and The Dark Knight Returns were both critical successes and influential on subsequent generations of creators. Batman: Year One was met with even greater praise for its gritty style, while comics including Ronin, 300 and Sin City were also successful. However, later material such as Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again received mixed reviews. In particular, All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder was widely considered a sign of Miller's creative decline.
Miller's graphic novel Holy Terror was accused of being anti-Islamic. Fellow comic book writer Alan Moore has described Miller's work from Sin City-onward as homophobic and misogynistic, despite praising his early Batman and Daredevil material. Moore previously penned a flattering introduction to an early collected edition of The Dark Knight Returns, and the two have remained friends.
In terms of Miller's film career, his 2008 adaptation of The Spirit received negative reviews, earning a metascore of 30/100 at Metacritic.com. Meanwhile, his film adaptation of Sin City was well received by audiences and critics.
Frank Miller has appeared in six films in small, cameo roles, dying in each.
Cannes Film Festival
The film version of Daredevil (2003) predominantly used the tone established and stories written by Miller, who had no direct creative input on the film (except for a cameo appearance). In Elektra (2005), Miller received credit for "comic book characters". The Wolverine (2013) was inspired by the 1982 Wolverine miniseries that Miller penciled with writer Chris Claremont.