Comics College is a monthly feature where we provide an introductory guide to some of the comics medium’s most important auteurs and offer our best educated suggestions on how to become familiar with their body of work.
Strap yourself in for a long read, because this month we’re looking at the rather lengthy and considerable career of one of the most influential comics creators of the past 40 years, Mr. Frank Miller.
In recent years, we’ve seen a boatload of comic books and graphic novels make their way to the silver screen, from Big Two stalwarts like Spider-Man and Batman to independent titles like Scott Pilgrim and 30 Days Of Night. Amongst the various adaptations, though, some creators have emerged as magnets for Hollywood types — and one of those is Frank Miller.
You could see glimpses of Frank Miller on the screen going as far back as Tim Burton’s Batman and even in the more recent Daredevil, but he didn’t become a name to movie-going audiences until the smash hits 300 and Sin City, both based on his original work. But there’s more to Miller’s oeuvre than just those two seminal works, so we thought we’d point out some overlooked items in his catalog and posit what a film adaptation would look like.
Give Me Liberty – “From the creator of 300 & Sin City and the co-creator of Watchmen.” That’s how any promotion for this would start out, and the movie itself would show a burnt-out husk of a world with humanity pulling itself out from the wreckage. Fronted by the a freedom fighter named Martha Washington, it would cover her humble beginnings to her time in the second Civil War to her death as glimpsed in the recent coda story Miller & artist Dave Gibbons released. I’d love to see Children of Men‘s Alfonso Cuaron on this, and this could be a starring vehicle for Rosario Dawson.
Today marks the release of the second issue in writer Jen Van Meter and artist Javier Pulido’s four-issue Amazing Spider-Man Presents: Black Cat miniseries. I recently had occasion to email interview Van Meter about the project, the overall collaboration experience and transitions, as well as near-term Hopeless Savages (Oni) plans (plus heist genre recommendations and covert gardening tips). After you read the interview, please be sure to check out the seven-page preview that CBR posted last week.
Tim O’Shea: In prepping for this miniseries, did you go back and read past Black Cat appearances for background? Are there any writers in particular whose approach to the character appealed to you more than others?
Jen Van Meter: I spent the most time with the early Marv Wolfman material, honestly. I like to go back to the beginning whenever I’m asked to take on a character I don’t feel I know well. The things I loved about her, particularly in Amazing Spider-Man 195, were her fierce determination and her strength — the Femme Fatale stuff is there, but it’s really overshadowed by her toughness in his treatment of her. I looked at or revisited many other appearances and caught up on the most recent stuff, but I think I really relied on Wolfman the most to tell me who she is.