The Biggest Superhero Films That Didn't Happen, Part 2
Comic Books, Film
“It was like trying to stop a force of nature. He was a sponge. The last time he came, he’d gotten a six-page assignment, and I went over what he’d done wrong, how he could make it better. He said, ‘You’re saying I have to draw it over again.’ I said, ‘Well, yeah.’ He said, ‘OK, but the problem is, I turned it in, and they accepted it.’ I said, ‘In that case, don’t draw it over again; I think you just started your career.’”
— Neal Adams, discussing a young Frank Miller, who repeatedly stopped by his New York City studio for critiques. It’s from Sean Howe’s Wired profile of Miller, probably the best of a handful published ahead of the premiere of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.
It’s certainly the most unflinching, touching upon the effect of 9/11 on the artist and his work — “I think many people didn’t get over it, that it will continue to affect their lives forever,” Lynn Varley, his longtime colorist and former wife, says. “And I think Frank is one of those people.” — the failure of The Spirit, the response to Holy Terror, the disappearance of All Star Batman & Robin, his tirade against the Occupy movement, and speculation about his health.
Ahead of the August premiere of Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s movie sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Dark Horse has announced it will debut a massive omnibus hardcover collecting the artist’s entire landmark crime saga.
In addition, the publisher will bring Frank Miller: The Art of Sin City back into print in trade paperback format, and re-release the hardcover edition 1993’s A Dame to Kill For. All three are scheduled to arrive on June 25.
Frank Miller’s Big Damn Sin City brings together Miller and Lynn Varley’s seven hardboiled tales — The Hard Goodbye, A Dame to Kill For, The Big Fat Kill, The Yellow Bastard, Family Values, Booze, Broads & Bullets and Hell and Back — in one 1,344-page volume that Dark Horse contends is “suitable for home defense.”
The omnibus will be accompanied by the softcover edition of the long-out-of-print Frank Miller: The Art of Sin City, featuring an introduction by critic R.C. Harvey, and the 212-page A Dame to Kill For, in hardcover for the first time in years. See the covers and solicitation text for all three books below.
UPDATE (Jan. 3): Dark Horse has notified us that Frank Miller’s Big Damn Sin City will retail for $100. The price originally listed was incorrect.
Warner Bros.’ announcement of a “Batman vs. Superman” sequel to Man of Steel at Comic-Con International triggered a 161 percent surge in digital sales of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns in July, setting a record for a full-priced DC Entertainment digital title, Variety reports.
The publisher previously mentioned “a huge jump in month-over-month [digital] sales” of Frank Miller’s pioneering 1986 work, but didn’t offer more than that. Like most publishers, DC doesn’t reveal actual sales figures for either print or digital.
The influential four-issue miniseries brings an aging Batman out of retirement a decade after the death of Jason Todd to save Gotham from sinking deeper into decay and lawlessness. With the help of a new, female Robin, Carrie Kelly, the Dark Knight ends the threat of the mutant gangs that have overrun the city and confronts two of his greatest enemies. But then he must face his former ally Superman in a battle that only one will survive.
Although Man of Steel director Zack Snyder was quick to caution at Comic-Con that the sequel wouldn’t be an adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, actor Harry Lennix read dialogue from the book — “I want you to remember, Clark, in all the years to come, in all your most private moments, I want you to remember my hand at your throat” — and Miller was reportedly set to meet with the filmmaker.
Perhaps the most disturbing scene in Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again (also known as DK2; Miller and Varley 2001-2002) is where Batman attacks the corporate leaders of the United States government, giving the word “terrorism” a new meaning. The Anarcho-terrorist superhero’s assault is directed against “the real monsters” (page 53, panel 1), the corrupt powers-that-be that rule behind a virtual president….In “late capitalism”, the virtual transactions of financial speculators determine the entire economy of countries, the “democratic” political system of their governments and, of course, the real life of their citizens. We should ask ourselves if the world we inhabit now is so different from the virtual United States ruled by the computer-generated president Miller imagined.
—The Comics Grid’s Pepo Pérez wonders if Frank Miller and Lynn Varley’s The Dark Knight Strikes Again was prophetic (in a way Miller himself probably wouldn’t approve of today). Personally, I think it’s a stretch to compare the real America to Batman’s America. I mean, one has a glossy, shiny surface built on human suffering, as citizens participate in a sham democracy treated like a sporting event by blathering talking-head news-media figures, while corporations engaged in criminal conspiracies for which they suffer no lasting legal consequences loot the world with impunity behind the scenes. The other has Batman in it.
It started with a dare. Here at Robot 6 a week ago, I posted about how comics legend Frank Miller has been posting comments at the blog of neoconservative pundit Victor Davis Hanson. This inspired a comment by James B. Elkins II that casted skepticism on my bonafides as a Miller fan. Since Miller is in fact my all-time favorite comics creator, I responded by daring any and all comers to challenge me to defend what is, to many readers, Miller’s most indefensible work: The Dark Knight Strikes Again, Miller and colorist Lynn Varley’s sequel to their seminal revisionist-superhero classic The Dark Knight Returns. I’ve always loved that book, but I’d never written about it at length. Well, David Brothers of The 4th Letter went ahead and took the dare and laid the challenge at my feet.
The result? I wrote a review of The Dark Knight Strikes Again for The Savage Critic(s), another one of my blog-homes away from blog-home. The piece, part of series of posts I’m doing on my all-time favorite comics, places Miller & Varley’s much-maligned, much-misunderstood comic in the context of similarly bright and brash works by cartoonist Ben Jones, comedians Tim and Eric, the “glo-fi” subgenre of indie rock, and more. Do check it out–then swing by The 4th Letter for David Brothers’s own two-part review of the book, which tackles it from a very different yet equally positive angle.