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Quote of the Day | Frank Miller doesn’t hate Superman

dark knight returns

“The Dark Knight series is all from Batman’s point of view. But if you look at Dark Knight 2, you’ll see a Superman who’s much calmer than the one in the first Dark Knight. Batman and Superman are dead opposites. I love Superman. Do I love Batman more? They’re not people. They’re only lines on paper.”

Frank Miller, in a Q&A with Playboy, on whether there’s any truth to the belief that he hates Superman
(via The Comics Reporter)

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19 Comments

“They’re not people. They’re only lines on paper”

That’s a political way out of a question. Fine, which heroic concept do you prefer….Superman or Batman?

I think he answered the question fully and set the record straight. Does it really matter which one is more a fan of?

“They’re not people. They’re only lines on paper”

Lots of comics fans need to realize this.

“They’re not people. They’re only lines on paper.”

Easy to say about a character owned by a corporation. Would he admit the same lack of emotional investment in his own Sin City characters? If so, why hasn’t he opened the franchise up to other creators?

I also recall him gushing about how honoured he was to be working on the Spirit movie as he’d always “loved” the character.

His answer is too simplistic for my tastes.

Maybe you need to face the truth, and accept that creators often don’t revere the characters the same way fans do–and that it’s foolish and shortsighted to expect or demand they do.

Only lines on paper? Frank Miller needs to turn in his writers card!!! I love some of the characters I create more than real people.

The way Miller writes these days, they might as well be ‘just lines on paper’

He fumbled. He was probably trying to sound like a professional distancing himself from the popular image of the comic book nerd that’s too emotionally invested in fictional characters. I guess he wasn’t ready for that question and didn’t think it through.

Interesting that this quote was for an interview with Playboy. Will he convince their audience that it’s not porn–just pigment on paper?

@ Bob

I don’t expect any writer to revere any character.

However, if that writer agrees to write an established character, be it comic, film, or novel I expect that writer to RESPECT the audience and the source material. I would expect that from a ghost writer like Ace Atkins when he’s taking on Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone novels (which he does) to the diverse numbers of writers who take on the characters in Star Trek and Star Wars novels. If the writer hates the characters or looks down on the audience reading them then he should look for another job than continue trying to “fix” the character to fit his needs. And I’m not referring to a writer “tweaking” a character – I’m referring to significant alterations that result in a character being completely unrecognisable.

That’s not too much, or unreasonable to expect.

I never thought he hated Superman.

But he clearly hates Batman now.

>> I would expect that from a ghost writer like Ace Atkins when he’s taking on Robert B. Parker’s Jesse Stone novels (which he does)>>

Actually, Atkins writes the Spenser novels.

The Jesse Stones have been by Michael Brandman and Reed Farrell Coleman.

kdb

@ Kurt

OMG – Kurt, you’re “that guy…”

My mistake. It’s because Tom Selleck’s Night Passage and Ace Atkin’s Lost Ones novel were sitting right in front of me. Sometimes I get confused. But the point remains the same.

Imagine caring whether or not a grown man liked Superman or not.

He may not hate Superman, but based just on DKSA, he doesn’t get him either.

Those are some weird expectations that you have there Dastardly. Neither Miller nor any writer is obligated to abide by your personal desires.

Actually some of the greatest takes on character originate from people that change things immensely, and/or don’t have much affection for a character. So what? A concept is a concept is a concept. If itis workable who gives a damn about fanboys? Thank goodness most serious writers don’t, otherwise we wouldn’t have creations like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, The Authority, Superman – Red Son, Punisher MAX, Invincible, and Planetary,; because goodness forbid someone did something out of the established with characters, concepts and ideas.

Which is irrelevant in this matter. He didn’t say he doesn’t love the character of Batman. And he does love Superman. Read the entire quote. He mentioned that he is not going into a contest of preferences over fictional characters. Which is his right to do so. Also, not liking fanboys and girls doesn’t mean he doesn’t like intelligent comic-book readers.

As for his altered Batman: you may not like him, but most fans certainly do, and even people that don’t follow the character or even comics. His work on Batman has been characterised as one of the best in mainstream american comics. So he must have done something right.

And because he loves his creations, even more than Superman and Batman, and since they are his personal expression, he has every right to not want anyone else to touch them, unless he is somehow deemed worthy by the man himself.

But hey, if a writer can be that good so as to follow on Miller’s finest work with the same quality: then he/she should really just create something of their own.

So can we leave the guy be. These attempts to put him down because “his writing sucks”/”he is anti-whatever”/”he is losing it”/”I didn’t like The Dark Knight”/etc, is getting really tiring. If you don’t like his work don’t read/listen/watch it, and don’t follow him. Getting all awkwardly bitter about a guy you don’t know and whose greatest slight is bad writing or controversial thoughts is such a sad case of intellectual bullying.

I wouldn’t really care what Frank Miller thought if it wasn’t for the fact that nearly every creator at DC since 1986 has looked at The Dark Knight Returns as the only way in which to portray the relationship between Batman and Superman, that they cannot ever be friends, that Batman is an antisocial lunatic without a trace of humor, that Superman is a naive, unquestioning, guileless boyscout who is easily maipulated by corrupt politicians, and that Batman is smart enough to beat God Himself if he really wants to.

But, then again, I cannot really lay all that at Miller’s feet. He wrote a story that was firmly set in a possible future / alternate reality, showing what COULD happen to Batman and Superman. The problems began when everyone else at DC decided they absolutely had to apply Miller’s takes on Batman and Superman to the present day, mainstream versions of the characters in their ongoing monthly adventures.

@ Drithien.

You are making the huge mistake of assuming I don’t like Miller, or his take on Batman. In no way or form have I stated that. In fact Miller is one of my favourite writers. No where in my comments have I put him down – stop putting words in my mouth. And you are certainly trying to stretch a point trying to make out I’m some maniacal fanboy!

In addition, the examples you have used make no sense as none of them are established characters with over 40 years of history. The Authority, Invincible, Planetary, Punisher are all examples of a writer adhering to established characteristics and abiding by them. Ennis in particular is held in high esteem for his Punisher run for capturing and adhering to the characteritstics of the Punisher. Superman Red Son is an Elseworld’s tale in a similar mold to LOEG.

What I take issue with is his statement that these “characters” are just lines on paper. They’re not. They’re established characters that should be treated with a modicum of respect. They each have their core characteristics that should be taken into account when a writer uses them. My point was that a writer should not take on a character they dislike or have disdain for if they are unable to detach themselves from that feeling to be able to portray them accurately. I don’t just expect Miller to follow this approach.

Ennis obviously took this into account when he wrote the Punisher- that’s why it’s so good.

I don’t think anyone has to respect anything if they don’t want to.

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