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Old 11-06-2013, 12:01 AM   #1
Hordakfan
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Default What are your thought on Frank Miller's vision?

Do you think he's one of the best men for the character? he did rebooted him back to darkness.

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Old 11-06-2013, 12:17 AM   #2
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Default Re: What are your thought on Frank Miller's vision?

BTDKR and BYO were two of the very best Batman comics I've read.

Now, TDKSB and All Star were just nuts. Only joy I got from those were seeing so many fans pissed off. It's incredible how Miller became a poor parody of himself.

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Old 11-06-2013, 02:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: What are your thought on Frank Miller's vision?

I very much respect Frank Miller for what he's done with Batman. The Dark Knight Returns is one of my favorite comics. I wasn't too high on Robin being a girl nor did I like the idea of Batman using an incredibly enormous tank. But that's somewhat minor. To me it's a timeless comic that's just as enjoyable as it was the first time.

I understand the impact Batman Year One had in 1987. At the time I'm sure it was the best thing since sliced bread. However I didn't read it until twenty years after it was first published. I must say it is a quality comic however it isn't my cup of tea. Personally I didn't find it very entertaining.

And I'm not going to get into DK2.

Frank Miller contributed in a good way, specifically with The Dark Knight Returns and I appreciate everything else he did (even if I didn't enjoy his other work). To me he is a hit or miss guy.

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Old 11-06-2013, 10:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: What are your thought on Frank Miller's vision?

This is a mashup of a couple of posts I did on DKR and DKSA. I think it touches on the theme of this thread.

I remember the context in which DKR was released. It was the first major comic series of the eighties to get recognition from both genre and mainstream media. It was a boldly innovative and controversial look at a conventional hero who had been regarded as camp by most of the population who only knew Batman from the TV show.

It was also the first time that North America was exposed to the European and Japanese tradition of comics dealing with issues for adults and being treated as a valid literary art form.

Miller's artistic style perfectly reflected the themes and subtext of his message, which is that superheroes either become enemies of the system they have sworn to uphold - the disenchanted Bruce Wayne/Batman who really endorses a brand of fascism by the end- or co-opted and neutered by the very people they once fought to bring to justice - a Superman whose ability to function depends on compromising the very reason for his functioning by selling out to government control.

You also have the yin/yang or duality of the roles played by Batman and Superman demonstrated by the artwork. Batman is large and grim and as the story progresses returning to his original gray and black form. The art shows every scar and wrinkle brought on him by his life's work. His size -larger as Batman than as Wayne- indicates how diminished he felt as himself and how his power was directly related to his role as Batman. He becomes more of a untamed uncontrollable force of nature when he reassumes his destiny as Batman.

Conversely, Superman who actually is a force of nature is drawn in bright colours, and as Kent his large, round blank eyes (as portrayed by glasses made unnecessary by his acknowledgement of his identity) convey an innocent and guileless quality similar to "Little Orphan Annie". Note that he is diminished and then restored by the nuclear explosion - and the sight of the stricken and shriveled Superman is one of the most haunting images in comics IMHO - but Batman seems to go stronger and purer as the story develops as his focus returns to give him a clarity of purpose even stronger than his traditional pursuit of justice/revenge. There is no doubt of the winner in a battle between the two.

Finally, you have to put DKR into the context of literary and mythological heroes. One of the weaknesses of comics as a literary form is its inability to provide an ending point for its characters. This is due in great part to the commercial nature of its existence. Yet all great characters need an end. Arthur would not be Arthur without his death at the hand of Mordred and his final journey to Avalon, to return in Britain's time of need. Robin Hood, poisoned by Marion fires his last arrow and is buried where it lands. These denouements provide the bittersweet and dignified closure to a hero's career. We know they can't go on forever, but hope that they have found peace or, at the very least, a renewed sense of purpose at the end. DKR was one of the first attempts to do this in comics and is, I think, responsible for Marvel comics attempts to providing endings for some of their characters - ie Hulk and Wolverine- and also for DC's character rollover where the original here - ie Green Lantern - is replaced by a newer younger hero adopting his/her mantle.

Like it or not, DKR provided the paradigm shift necessary for comics to become what they now are.
The difference between the original Dark Knight returns and the DK2 to me was that DKR was a fully realized and complete story that knew from the first panel where it was going. All good legends and myths must have a final act that completes them. Robin Hood, poisoned be Maid Marian shoots the arrow that finds his final resting point. Arthur sails off to Avalon to return at the time of Britain's need. These provide both closure and renewal to a character and an idea, and in some cases an era. DKR accomplished this by having Batman waiting to come on stage for one final act. His disappearance at the end provided hope for the future. Myths and legends also must reflect and resonate the time in which they are written. DKR was a reflection of Miller's view of the state of the world at the time he wrote it . By reading it, even if you didn't agree with it, you were forced to examine the real world and your place in it.

DK2, on the other hand tries to resolve the hope left at the end of DKR and by so doing diminishes it. There is never really any further development of the themes of DKR beyond that of "ultimate power corrupting ultimately". By shoehorning Luthor and Brainiac into the plot the currency of its reflection of our times is lost. In DKR, the fear came out of the fact that the events were put in motion by "real" people, or at least Miller's reflection of them. In DK2, we have the standard comic book plot of evil villains teaming up to manipulate the world to their own ends. It was hardly groundbreaking.

In DKR, there was a linear quality to the story. Its focus, although not immediately revealed, was apparent throughout. It's why the enjoyment of reading it does not diminish with time but actually increases. Knowing how the story proceeds allows you to appreciate even more the elements that get you there.

DK2, on the other hand doesn't have that focus. It tries too hard to include random elements and tie up loose ends. It's inclusion of the original Robin in his new incarnation is a perfect example. A passing reference to an unknown fate of Grayson in DKR is turned into a extraneous incident in DK2 with weak motivation and exposition to back it up. It would have been far more satisfying to have Dick Grayson introduced earlier and developed as an actual character with understandable motivations, then to have a caricature of him summarily disposed of. It seemed like his inclusion was to provide a threat to the new Robin and answer the question as to his fate. The story would not have suffered at all if this entire subplot had been eliminated.

Finally, I found the artwork disappointing. In DKR, the power of Batman as more an idea and will than an actual man was apparent from his dominance of every panel he was in. The Bat symbol became a totem of his idealism and power. Certain images still haunt me: Superman shriveled to a husk; Bruce hunched over the wheel of his race car; Batman exploding onto the scene in full costume. In DK2, the art appeared hurried and unfinished, almost as if it was a not quite complete draft. It conveyed what was happening but no more.

Anything Frank Miller does is going to be worth reading, but he himself set the bar high with DKR ; Batman - Year One, and his work on Daredevil. While I applaud his attempt to continue the story I'm disappointed in the result.

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Old 11-06-2013, 02:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: What are your thought on Frank Miller's vision?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mister Meddle View Post
I very much respect Frank Miller for what he's done with Batman. The Dark Knight Returns is one of my favorite comics. I wasn't too high on Robin being a girl nor did I like the idea of Batman using an incredibly enormous tank. But that's somewhat minor. To me it's a timeless comic that's just as enjoyable as it was the first time.

I understand the impact Batman Year One had in 1987. At the time I'm sure it was the best thing since sliced bread. However I didn't read it until twenty years after it was first published. I must say it is a quality comic however it isn't my cup of tea. Personally I didn't find it very entertaining.

And I'm not going to get into DK2.

Frank Miller contributed in a good way, specifically with The Dark Knight Returns and I appreciate everything else he did (even if I didn't enjoy his other work). To me he is a hit or miss guy.
I don't think there's one single Batman film - except maybe B&R - that hasn't got some of Miller in it.

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Old 11-06-2013, 11:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: What are your thought on Frank Miller's vision?

Dark Knight Returns and Year One are masterpieces, with the former being probably my favorite comic of all time. It's difficult to overstate how genius Miller was in the 80's, where he was this up and coming maverick who was galvanizing the whole industry by putting this iconoclastic spin not only on Batman but Daredevil as well. Unfortunately I don't think he was able to respond to the adulation all that well and his work, while still having bright spots, began to degrade in the 90's. At this point he's pretty much gone off the deep end. I can't tell if he's parodying himself or if he really believes in what he's done in Dark Knight Strikes Again and All Star. To me his closest analogue is George Lucas, a guy who's artistic integrity and perceptions warped from the years of praise he received.

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