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Old 09-16-2012, 04:39 AM   #1
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Default Frank Millers Superman?

Ok I found this interesting:

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Clearing Up A Misconception About Frank Miller's Portrayal of Superman in Dark Knight Returns

I never liked Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns. Yes, I know it's critically acclaimed. Yes, I know it's technically excellent, and yes, I know it has stunning iconography and was revolutionary for the history of comics and one of its mainstay characters. Yes, I know its effect and how much we owe it. I just never liked it.

Part of the reason for my dislike of it is precisely because of its long-term effect. I don't have to go on and on about how it made Batman one-dimensional for the next twenty years; but what is oft-forgotten is his effect on that other icon, Superman. You see, in The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller portrays Superman as a government puppet, one that is happy to obey the government so long as he can do some good.



The reason I hate this is because, since Dark Knight Returns is held with such high canonical praise, it therefore gives off the wrong impression about Superman, and since Dark Knight Returns is a common "first" comic for a lot of people, it's an impression that lasts.

Because of the story's effect, too, it started off a whole trend of "Batman beating Superman" stories, all the way from Batman: Hush to Superman: Red Son. This then gets a lot of people saying - factually - that Superman will always play second fiddle to Batman. As if being made to look like a puppet isn't enough, he's also made to look incompetent. Folks, there's an adage: Dog bites man, that's not a story. Man bites dog, that's a story. There is no story when Superman beats Batman - any such scenes last about a panel.

The story is if Batman beats Superman. It worked in Dark Knight Returns not just because of the symbolism associated with each hero by the narrative, not their intrinsic concepts, but also because it was a first. At this rate, however, it's getting diluted. After all, if you have five stories where Superman gets his ass kicked by Batman, what's the point of making a sixth?

What makes this frustrating for me is that this was never what Miller actually intended. I have in front of me a copy of Wizard #64, dated December 1996, in which Frank Miller was interviewed regarding The Dark Knight Returns' tenth anniversary. In it, he says, and I quote, "The most questionable thing I did was make Superman a government agent. If this had been a Superman story, I'd never have done that - and I know that, because I have a Superman story I want to tell someday. In this story, Batman was the hero, so the world was built around him."

In other words, the portrayal of Superman is modified to fit Miller's Batman-centric story, which is completely understandable. It's something that's done often, especially in shared universes - how many times has Batman himself been made to look like a jerk just to make Hal Jordan look good? To add to that, the symbolism is so much more effective with Superman - if it had been anyone else, it wouldn't have been as powerful, and maybe Frank Miller's masterpiece, The Dark Knight Returns, might not have been as well remembered as it is... and who knows what the landscape of comics would look like in that event?

Source:http://www.comicscube.com/2010/05/cl...out-frank.html
Sorry to bring this up again but I have to admit after re-reading the Dark Knight Returns I'm not as against his portrayal as Superman as I was.

Anyway the interesting thing I took from it was Miller saying he has a Superman story he'd want to tell someday, I would love for him to do a Superman story and from the comment I don't think it'd be set in the Dark Knight world. Here's hoping he gets to tell his story someday.

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Old 09-16-2012, 09:05 AM   #2
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Default Re: Frank Millers Superman?

I agree with what Matt Rhodes said in response to that on Comics Cube.

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Matt Rhodes said... I think Superman was portrayed
well in DKR.

Superman is not without his own deal of suffering at the hands of the Soviet/US standoff, taking the 'bullet' that Bruce (as a human) never could by stopping the missile. Clark's dialogue with nature and the planet is amazing and uplifting.

Miller does a very good job at establishing Bruce's resentment towards him through the narrative. Why? Because Superman is everything that Bruce is not - and maybe even wishes to be.

When the two men face off, it's more of a one sided-battle. We all know who would win. This exposes Bruce's frustration with the state of the world and being 'powerless' (a bit of irony) as compared to Clark...

"It's over Bruce..."


The real amazing part is when Bruce collapses from a heart attack, Superman sits beside his old friend as the military comes in to apprehend/kill Bruce and says,

'Don't touch him!'


I think Superman is the real unsung hero of DKR.
October 2, 2011 1:07 AM

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Old 09-16-2012, 01:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: Frank Millers Superman?

Yeah I think I'd agree with that, Superman basically saves millions of lives. I'm willing to admit that I think I was wrong n my argument before I think you were right when you basically said the Superman in this is from Batman's POV.

So do you think there's any chance we might get to see Millers Superman story?

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Old 09-16-2012, 02:23 PM   #4
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Default Re: Frank Millers Superman?

I was always hesitant to read The Dark Knight Returns because of the so-called portrayal of Superman but when I finally did -- I agreed with Matt Rhodes.

I found Batman to be very tragic and Superman to be shed in a good light (despite the government stooge angle.)

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Old 09-17-2012, 01:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Frank Millers Superman?

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Originally Posted by Krumm View Post
I was always hesitant to read The Dark Knight Returns because of the so-called portrayal of Superman but when I finally did -- I agreed with Matt Rhodes.

I found Batman to be very tragic and Superman to be shed in a good light (despite the government stooge angle.)
I guess I struggled with it originally but re-reading it since I now feel the same way.

On the subject of Frank Miller's Superman I loved the covers he did for Superman: The Secret Years, better than the actual stories unfortunately:








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Old 09-17-2012, 06:40 PM   #6
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This reminds me of Tim Sale.

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Old 09-19-2012, 02:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: Frank Millers Superman?

Yeah I get what you mean.

You know I'm re-reading the Dark Knight Strikes Again and is it just me or does this seem more like a Superman story than a Batman one? I don't mean in terms of a typical Superman story but it just seems the focus of the story is mainly on Superman.

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Old 09-20-2012, 07:27 AM   #8
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Default Re: Frank Millers Superman?

It reminds me more of a justice league story.

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Old 09-20-2012, 08:13 AM   #9
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Default Re: Frank Millers Superman?

Or that I'd agree its more Superman and JL than Batman that's for sure.

I really can't help wondering what a Frank Miller Superman story would be like as he said it'd be different from his Dark Knight take on Superman.

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Old 10-16-2012, 12:03 PM   #10
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Default Re: Frank Millers Superman?

Love those covers... I personally never thought (as one SHH thread claims) that Frank Miller hated Superman. To be fair to Frank, he has never really done very much if anything with Superman outside of DKR. There is also his explanation as to why he made Superman a stooge for Reagan which does fit for the DKR story.

I would be intrigued to see what he could do with Superman.

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Old 10-17-2012, 12:08 PM   #11
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Default Re: Frank Millers Superman?

I have to admit I would love to see this Superan story he said he'd love to tell however his recent efforts in my opinion have been pretty atrocious All Star, TDKSA and Holy Terror. I would worry I think had he written All Star years ago it would have been different. I just hope he'd do an actual Superman story and not some terribly written f**ked up version. Admittedly though I find Franks horrible stuff strangely interesting kind of lie a freakshow you don't want to look but can't help yourself. All in all though would be very interesting to hear his ideas.

And yeah the Secret Years covers were better than the content.

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Old 10-17-2012, 01:15 PM   #12
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Default Re: Frank Millers Superman?

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I have to admit I would love to see this Superan story he said he'd love to tell however his recent efforts in my opinion have been pretty atrocious All Star, TDKSA and Holy Terror. I would worry I think had he written All Star years ago it would have been different. I just hope he'd do an actual Superman story and not some terribly written f**ked up version. Admittedly though I find Franks horrible stuff strangely interesting kind of lie a freakshow you don't want to look but can't help yourself. All in all though would be very interesting to hear his ideas.

And yeah the Secret Years covers were better than the content.

I agree. Lately, his work, at least in the past five years, has been rather terrible compared to stuff like DKR or Daredevil (though I am one o the few that thought Frank's early Daredevil wasn't that great).

I think he could write a great Superman book if given the chance!

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Old 10-17-2012, 03:23 PM   #13
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I agree. Lately, his work, at least in the past five years, has been rather terrible compared to stuff like DKR or Daredevil (though I am one o the few that thought Frank's early Daredevil wasn't that great).

I think he could write a great Superman book if given the chance!
I've never read his Daredevil would like to mind. Would you say it's overrated then? I didn't like Sin City either.

I do too, like I said I hope if he does get too he doesnt take it into that place where he took the stories I mentioned.

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Old 10-17-2012, 06:56 PM   #14
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I've never read his Daredevil would like to mind. Would you say it's overrated then? I didn't like Sin City either.

I do too, like I said I hope if he does get too he doesnt take it into that place where he took the stories I mentioned.
Frank's original DD run wasn't as good as everyone says (yes, very overrated) but Born Again and his Man Without Fear stuff that he did with Romita Jr. was excellent. I wasn't crazy about Sin City either.

As far as a Superman story, he should really have written it in DC's heyday when Superman was still the classic Superman. I believe Frank could write a great Superman tale as a one-shot, but it probably should have been done in the 80's or 90's before all of these mega-events happened such as New 52 and whatnot that change or undermine the original concept of the character so much.

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