This is the "Big Damn" Frank Miller episode. We look at his entire body of work while at once barely touching on Sin City or 300. In particular, more attention should be paid to his collaborations with David Mazzuchelli, Geof Darrow, Chris Claremont, Dave Gibbons, Klaus Janson, and Bill Sienkiewicz.
Meanwhile, John culls his collection by hundreds of comics, and we discuss the hard choices we make going digital.
- Bill Sienkiewicz (website, wiki, comicbookDB) will be the focus of a future episode. He spoke with Moisés for a total of over half an hour. The uncut version of that interview will eventually be available as an Artist Edition extra, after we complete our eventual Bill Sienkiewicz Creator Spotlight episode. Subscribe to the Giant Size Channel Feed and you'll see it as soon as it appears.
IDW Publishing: Check out the new Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland by Eric Shanower (Marvel's Oz books) and Gabriel Rodriguez (Locke and Key). Also out this week, the TPB of Monster and Madman by Steve Niles and Damien Wyrm and Star Slammers Remastered #6 by Walt Simonson.
- Not a book itself, but anyone who collects comics, no matter how few, should get some Drawer Boxes. If you do order, tell them we sent you.
- The Dark Knight Returns is not the best "first" Batman story to read, but it is important and great in various respects even if you're more a "Year One" person.
- Daredevil: The Man Without Fear from the mid-90's and Batman: Year One from the late 80's are both still held as among the greatest origin story re-tellings in comics history.
- Daredevil: Born Again (like Year One, drawn by David Mazzuchelli) finds the hero's arch-nemesis Wilson Fisk (Kingpin) having found out his secret identity, and then proceeding to dismantle the life of Matt Murdock.
- All-Star Batman and Robin, The Boy Wonder was never completely finished, and was widely derided upon release for it featuring a bizarre "I'm the goddamn Batman" characterization of the Caped Crusader. It's also notable that its tenth issue was recalled for going to print with swear words in it.
- Daredevil by Miller and Klaus Janson has been collected across three TPBs and in an Omnibus, and represents Miller's earliest Daredevil work, which includes the introduction of Elektra. The TPBs actually cost more than the Omnibus does at this point.
- The eight-issue miniseries Elektra: Assassin features artwork by Bill Sienkiewicz that then and now is absolutely jaw-dropping. On of John's first Daredevil experiences came from the Elektra "Megazines" that collected early Elektra stories.
- Daredevil: Love and War is often described by advocates as a "dreamy tone poem" and by detractors as a "incoherent mess". The detractors are wrong. It's one of the early Marvel Graphic Novels, like Void Indigo, Killraven, and God Loves, Man Kills. Love and War is out of print, but you can find suitable reading copies at conventions for under $15.
- The original Wolverine four-issue miniseries features writing by Chris Claremont and art by Frank Miller. Claremont did an interview about how it came into existence thanks to California traffic.
- Frank Miller's Ronin came from his research into eastern history and his resulting belief that modern men are ronin, or samurai without masters.
- Hard Boiled and Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot could not be more different works resulting from Miller's collaboration with the great Geof Darrow (himself the creator of Shaolin Cowboy).
- Hard Boiled was released over three years in three 40-ish-page volumes and follows a cybernetic protagonist who thinks he's human. It's ultra-violent and very much only for adults. It used to be hard to find, but now you can get all 120-ish pages of it for under $15. It represents some of our absolute favorite Geof Darrow art.
- Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot is much more acceptable for kids, since it was palatable enough to be made into a popular Fox Kids animated series. It's very much Astro Boy meets Gigantor.
- You can get all three volumes of Miller's The Life and Times of Martha Washington stories (featuring art by Dave Gibbons) collected for around $20, and it takes place over a series of then-near-future years. Martha Washington herself is an african-american female that begins in housing projects and goes to the front lines of the Second American Civil War and even space.
- Big Damn Sin City is truly the most definitive and reasonably-priced way to get Sin City on your shelf.
- 300, like Sin City, is entirely enjoyable completely independent of how you feel about the movies.
Show Notes and Links
- Bill Sienkiewicz personally loves the work of Sergio Aragonés, the creator of Groo The Wanderer. I can't say how I know, but all of Groo might just be collected later this year. Sergio's portion of our Usagi Yojimbo episode has already been recorded, and we hope to do one on Aragonés himself later in the show's run.
- Holy Terror should be avoided at all costs. A Batman pitch got repurposed for a story abotu a vigilante who goes after terrorists.
- That goes for The Dark Knight Strikes Back, too. It features some bizarre, impossible anatomical configurations that have to be seen to be believed. Worth flipping through in a book shop.