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Ian Wells' Comics Corner

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Hi guys heres the first of hopefully many articles, reviews, previews and interviews by me to give you all an insight to the comic industry.

 

 

# 1 Frank Miller Biography

 

NAME: Frank Miller

DOB: 27/01/1957

1st Published work: The Twilight Zone (Golden Key comics-1978)

 

In my opinion Frank Miller is the best in the comic book industry. Writer, penciller, inker, director, screenwriter and actor hes done the lot. Over the years has established himself as one of the most influential and popular creators. Best known for his film noir style which breathed new life into Daredevil (Marvel), Batman (DC) and saw the creation of his very own series Sin City (Dark Horse).

 

His work on DareDevil was incredible and made the character popular as he shot up the sales charts. Miller took over writing duties on Daredevil (#168). Having drawn DD in #158 and Spectacular Spiderman (#27,2. His 1st issue saw the introduction of Elektra who would play a major role in DD's life. He made the Kingpin the character we all know and love today and made Bullseye the villain you love to hate and occasionally route for. Best known for the epic saga that played out between DD,Elektra,Bullseye and Kingpin, which ended tragically with #181. Killing off the character he had created and given life to with the 1st ever rape murder in a comic. This was a brave move but Miller was telling the stories he wanted to tell. Gaining a reputation for frequent graphic violence. He as he said writer for a audience that wanted this not one that wasn't there, whcih was so often the case with Marvel comics. Miller followed this up with Two more epic story arcs: Man without fear and Born Again. Using his self proclaimed cinematic style with beautiful shadows to make the character and setting his. Miller didn't stop there, he them went to DC and in much the same style reinvented Batman with equally impressive results. The 1st time I remember seeing and absolutely loving Miller's work was in the Wolverine mini series as penciler. His style was well suited to the story arc of Wolverine the failed samurai set in Japan. And the cinematic fight sequences are amongst his best ever. Lastly the most creative stage of Millers illustrious career was the creation of his very own mythology: Sin City. Having only experienced this mythology thought the movie there's not much I can say. I did enjoy the film and know it stayed close to the source material, which means he wrote some ##*$#$@ good stories. Violent, funny, seedy everything you come to expect from a Frank Miller film noir style comic book. And some unique pencils shown in the characters and settings of Sin City. Recently he has gone back to DC to rewrite the origin of Robin. Internet reviews are very critical but at the same appreciative of the bold change in his style late in his career. In my opinion nowadays you can't read DareDevil or any crime comics without thinking back to how successfully he integrated the fiml noir style into mainstream comics, making them more mature and to quote the man himself "More about beauty, because I don't care for pretty." So in closing Frank Miller is to comics, what Marlon Brando is to the Godfather.

 

Frank Miller timeline

1978: 1st publsihed work

1979: #158 1st work on DareDevil (penciller)

1981: Took over writing an penciller duties on DareDevil #168

1982: Penciller Wolverine miniseries

1983: 1st issue of Ronin published

1986: Batman: Dark Knight Returns and DareDevil: Born Again both published

1987: Batman: Yearone published

1990: Writes screenplays for Robocop 2 and 3

1991: 1st Sin City stories published

1993: DareDevil: Man Without Fear published

2000: Batman: Dark Knight Strikes Again published

2005: Begins work as co-director on Sin City movie and 1published st issue of Allstar Batman & Robin

2007-: Will begin work as screenwriter and diretor for The Spirit movie, co-director for more Sin City movies and hopefully retunr to Marvel to write a DareDevil mini-series

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In my opinion Frank Miller is the best in the comic book industry. Writer, penciller, inker, director, screenwriter and actor hes done the lot. Over the years has established himself as one of the most influential and popular creators.

While I'd agree that Miller is one of the most versatile of comic book writers, in the sense of how many other fields he has proven himself in, and he's also one of the most influential in the last few decades, I'd argue against him being the best.I don't think we can really rate Miller as an actor based on his cameo walk-ons in Sin City or Daredevil (where, lets face it, he just plays a corpse); he might be an excellent actor, but we've got no evidence of it. In terms of writing, I'd easily place Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman ahead of him for writing range (Miller does gritty well, but pretty much everything he's done is "gritty" and we've not really seen his ability to write other genres/styles). By choice Moore hasn't ventured out into writing for other mediums, while Gaiman has proven himself a best selling novelist, something Miller has yet to do. None of which is to downplay Miller's major contribution to the comics field, and latterly to movie adaptations of same.

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lol,i'd also add warren ellis to that.

i can't believe i just typed that.

thr trouble with miller,is he writes the same old stuff,just dressed up in different clothes...

yeah,nobody does gritty like miller... but his all star batman and robin?

i think not.

and mark millar,is another writer well deserving of that title,even though i believe his best is yet to come...

grant morrison has changed the face of modern comics in a way that neil gaiman can only dream of...

lol,did you get my little gag there?

neil gaman...? dream...?

oh,please yourselves...

:blink:

sorry,warren ellis,mark millar and grant morrison.

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Thanx for the input guys I appreciate your views and they may influence my choice of future articles to write. I merely started with Miller because he is my favourite and most influential to me.

Thanx again.

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Civil War Review

 

*SPOILERS*

 

The rumours and gossip leading up to the Marvel Civil War seemed to go on for months and then the main event was over prematurely. I'm not saying this as a bad thing (althought I'm not fond of the 'event') but wars are normally long winded. I'm not discounting any of the work that was done over the months on a creative and editorial level to bring this book to the fans, I just think it could've been so much more, because what do we have now already another 'event' in the form of 'World War Hulk'. Having just finished the trade format of the book I can say I was blown away and it stands up as one of the most important and best comics of modern times.

 

I've already said I'm not fond of the 'event' idea so because of this I have only read the 'Civil War' trade and the storys from 'Wolverine'. I'll start with the Wolverine arc by Marc Guggenheim and Humbuerto Ramos. I really enjoyed Guggenheims plot, however I did find it abit heavy on guest stars. The one I found confusing was Iron Man, these two characters were on opposing sides but there they were helping each other out. The Sentry was nice to see and I think he should get his own series once Civil War dies down abit. Althought their fight was abit short and wimpy. I found it fitting for Wolverine to take his own cause of action against the main antagonist of the war Nitro, because over the years this is what he does best. But again because it was a war I felt thigns would've been dealt with on a more grand scale, rather than just sending in one member. The introduction of Damage Control and MGH didn't bring much to the story and how camp is their logo? The introduction of Namor changed the pace entirely and for the better. After intially refusing to take aside the capture of his sisters killer gave him a cause. This was a good touch because it gave Namor more of a personal reason to interrigate Nitro rather than Wolverine's pure bloodlust revenge. Of course who can forget the Atlantian sleeper agents earlier in the arc, I believe this can be used in future storys down the line and not just in 'events'. This brings me to the end with #47. Did Guggenheim go to far in letting Wolverine kill Walter Declun in cold blood? Or was it just for supplying Nitro with MGH which played apart in starting Civil War. Again I felt #48 'Casualties of War' didn't bring much to the story.It was abit repetative of what we've seen down the years, yes we know Logan is a tortured individual and telling us this with flashbacks to the war didn't improve an already told story. This story arc included great art by Humbuerto Ramos which added greatly to the story telling and pace. His interpretation of Wolverine in the classice blue and yellow costume is one of the best for years. Add to that his rendition of Sentry and Namor, a sultry Atlantian sleeper agent who looked great in both human and Atlantian form and an all adamantium Wolverine made for some great visuals.

 

So now for the main Civial War 7 issue story arc. I've always liked Millar as a writer he can tie together emotion, humour and action to create a well concieved plot. I liked the introduction alot because I hate reality TV and to see it at its worst in a super hero setting made it enjoyable. Then after that it was all action, intrigue and double plots that left us guessing. #1 produced one of the most chilling scenes in SHIELD history when they turned against theier very own Captain America, but he really raised the roof when he escaped the helicarrier. One problem I had with #1 was when The Watcher turned up it just seemed abit comedic. Swiflty onto #2 which contains possible the biggest reveal last panel in Marvel and comics history. The unmaksing of Spider-man to the world. The best bit about this was how all the other characters watched this moment, Sue Storm hoping nothing goes wrong, Logan acting angry kinda like an older brother and then of course JJJ fainting. Next we had the 1st battle between the two waring sides and McNiven pencils are just beautiful. Just look at the 3rd punch Iron Man throws at Cap. Then things get very cool in only the way Marvel could do it, with the return of Thor. The fight continues in #4 with things gettign even more brutal, the death of Goliath and the hands of a montorous Thor clone added much weight to why pro-registration is wrong. The fact Stark and Reed Richards would go to such farcial lenghts makes them seem creepy and power hungry. This ultimately leads to Sue Storm choosing anti-registraion in a very touching letter to Reed. Once again the issue ended with a classic reveal The Thunderbolts are back. Civil War really became knoen for its final page reveal and they really are a major part in story telling in comics and Millar took full advantage. #5 and the return of The Punsiher equals head shots galore. Saving Spider-man he obviously didn't see him as know good vigilante this time. How undiscrete was Tigra's use of her mobile phone,traitorous wench. Thanks to McNiven thought see did look amazing so maybe we can let her off. Was it just me or did Sue Storm look the sexiest shes looked for years? And Daredevil being the first hero in the Negative Zone prison made it two Daredevils in prison at the same time. Through out the 7 issues I enjoyed the inclusion of the Yoiung Avengers to the story. Great to see further action with Punisher aswell sometimes he can written abit one dimensional but not in Civial War. Although it did slightly creep up when he randomly shot Plunderer and Goldbug and could the moment he refused to fight Cap become more pivotal down the line. The refusal of Namor to get initially get invovled lin a scene packed with sexual chemistry between himself and Sue. (links to Wolverine story arc). Then we come to #7 which is just one big battle, I did find some of the dialogue in some of the fights abit to light hearted. Cap's desicion just to end the fight was shown as a hard one to make but maybe the right one. He believes in what he wants and how to get it. Not like Iron man who seems very narrow minded. Then the final pages are a series of integral revela shots. Spider-man back in black, Hank Pym man of the year with Black Panther choosing his side. That seems abit weak to me Panther choosing the side that has just won, what a glory boy. Sue and Reed reunited and possible most important of all as Cap is taken to the Negative Zone, Punisher picks up his mask in a very touching silent moment. In conclusion Civil War is a masterpiece, well written by Mark Millar and with just excellent pencils by Steve McNiven. Great battle scenes and class renditions of characters having themlooking better than ever. It was also great scripts by writers on the books that ran alongside Civil War and much applause must go to editor Tom Brevoort who held on the pieces together so this could be a succesful event. I would've liked to have seen the effects of Civil War ripple through the Marvel universe for at least a year but with two more events on the way it may not be the case. So now the end is near, we face the final curtain, we've loved, we've laughed, we've cried but Marvel did it thier way.

 

Civil War = 9/10

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