How today I came accross two gigantic truths about Frank Miller, one by an artist and another one by a colourist.

Although I value Frank Miller’s outstanding contribution to American comics and all the classic works his legacy has given us, I am not an unconditional fan of his. Some weeks ago I was wondering which books by him I actually have and this list turned out:

Batman: Year one (DC Comics); Batman: El regreso del
señor de la noche (Ediciones Zinco); Wolverine (Marvel Comics);
Daredevil: Condenados, Daredevil: Elektra, Daredevil: Born again
(Cómics Forum); Daredevil: Man without fear (Marvel Comics); Daredevil.
Visionaries: Frank Miller vol.1 (Marvel Comics); Elektra lives again
(Marvel Comics); Elektra: Assassin (Cómics Forum); Give me liberty
(Norma Editorial); Martha Washington goes to war (Norma Editorial);

300 (Dark Horse);

plus nine Sin City titles (Dark Horse and Norma Editorial).

Also, I don’t know what I’d make of it today, but back in the day I didn’t like issues 1 through 3 of Ronin. That’s about it,
I don’t think I’ve read much more than that.

As the list shows, I haven’t followed him for quite some time now, so I can’t say about DK2 or DKIII. Hell, I’ll probably never read those, as I’ve never read any Before Watchmen (I’m not comparing, remember: I haven’t read them). Nonetheless, as far as the part of his work I know is concerned, I reckon Michel Fiffe absolutely nails it when he says:

“Miller built his technical skill via Neal Adams & Gil Kane. Like Kirby, he nailed the basics and went from there: Moebius/Kojima (RONIN), Pratt (DKR), Muñoz (Sin City), Kurtzman (300), Feininger & Watterson (DK2).”

It’s sad that so many readers don’t know who Kojima or Muñoz are, that’s some basic comics culture you really should get ahold of no matter where you come from. It’s a big world, Charlie Brown, and there’s more to it than the U.S.A.

So. Apparently Miller doesn’t draw as well as he used to and some people have been making fun of it, which, again is sad and something your mom should have taught you about, especially if age and/or health have anything to do with it. Anyhows, Fiffe reblogs the absolutely astounding recolouring
of recent Miller art, by James Harvey, who does an awesome work along the lines of “Frank Miller’s recent work is good, but DC have no idea what to do with it” and in turn quotes his friend Julian Dassai, whose theory you just have to embrace:

“[Miller’s] work is dynamic and, in some cases, verging on abstract. Trying to color his stuff with representational lighting and rendering is pointless, whereas a flat, graphic approach (or just leaving it in b&w) allows the energy to jump off the page”.

Looking at the delivered ‘evidence’ I could’t agree more. I mean, I hadn’t seen those covers before, for Heaven’s sake, what on Earth is that? 90′s Image colouring? DC completely fucked it up. Editor’s contribution here? An utter level of artistic ignorance. Which is pathetic given the fact that comic-books are supposed to be an art industry.

As I said, I don’t think I’ll ever read DKIII. However, if recoloured the right way, as Harvey’s phenomenal approach shows, I just might give it a chance.

Give the man the job. He’s damn well earned it.

(…) Pacific was one of the very first Independent publishers, creating an amazing line of high quality titles between 1980-1984. During their brief span of publishing they not only highlighted the works of legendary creators such as Jack Kirby, Al Williamson, John Bolton, and Richard Corben, but they also had the wisdom to introduce us to a plethora of new creators, such as Dave Stevens and Arthur Suydam. (…) Captain Victory, featuring the first appearance of an entirely new universe by Jack Kirby (…)

Chuck Rozanski, Mile High Comics

Para os estadounidenses (e não só) Kirby é deus, Europa (e não só) reverencia Moebius e o Japão não se entende sem Tezuka. Porém… na nossa época é Hayao Miyazaki o artista gráfico que maior seguimento, incondicional devoção e unânime aplauso convoca em todo o mundo, e especificamente nesses três grandes mercados do cómic?

Today’s reading. I’ve had this single #7 issue for years and have always wondered if the 1997 series, which only lasted up to the 18th installment from what I see at, was worth going back to. The first chapter has turned out to be a positive answer to that question. Good “The Twilight Zone”/“The X-Files” (depending on your age) story.

Besides, John Paul Leon, who drew the first nine issues, is great. He also did most of the covers in the half and a year run before cancellation, they are awesome.

There are several takes on the Challengers of the Unknown, which originally date back to the fifties, as created by Jack Schiff and Jack Kirby. I haven’t read any of those yet, and neither of the 1991 (Loeb/Sale) or 2004 (Chaykin) series.

This is beautiful. As in a sparklingly dialogued, wisely character-constructed, apparently simple looking, masterfully drawn comic book. As in, this is so much deeper and full of life than it may look at first glance.

As in a little fucking masterpiece.

I actually downloaded and printed this shit
[Update: now I own a legit copy of the published
paperback -see cover above], and that’s something so alien for me to do. I must’ve done that twice or thrice in my whole life. Last time I’d begun to do it, Marvel read my mind and released an absolutely perfect (and unexpensive) trade paperback of Jack Kirby’s Devil Dinosaur, saving me the trouble of actually having to finish the job -God bless the editorial team behind that decision. But The short con didn’t seem to be released as a book anywhere I could also buy. However I wanted, needed to keep this story, because unintentionally it stands so much for what I wholeheartedly believe comics are about. Because, no matter how you approach it, it is the perfect definition of what a graphic novel is, as far as I, as a comic book writer myself, am concerned.

I insist a lot about ignoring length or intellectual appearance when it comes to the term graphic novel. Not long ago we had an outstanding example of another extremely short novel in the form of drama / slice of life, in Dakota McFadzean‘s Buzzy, while The short con falls in the comedy / adventure (in fact, buddy cop) genre. But both, the introspective vs the hilarious one, the quiet one vs the frantic and funny, have all the necessary elements required to build a strong, very well thought narrative, with a solid use of its own tempo and featuring evolving characters that tell us a lot about who we are -and who we can become. I cannot thank the authors enough for putting The short con out and sharing it with the world.

I will be re-reading this, I know for sure. And try to learn a thing or two, if I’m able, in the process.

Não me conto em absoluto entre os que querem apagar Stan Lee da história dos cómics. Porém lembro quando defender o legado de Kirby parecia tema tabú no mainstream USA. Frank Miller, cuja ideologia hoje me causa estupor, e mais outros poucos, tiveram a valentia de manter a memória do mestre acessa.

Hoje em dia hai mais conciência sobre a questão (não só de Kirby, senom dos direitos autorais em geral) mas naquela época de eclipse a pequena editorial que precisamente levava este nome botou-lhe coragem, num contexto provavelmente muito menos propício.


Steve Duin: “The back story on Stan Lee vs. Jack Kirby”

Impressionante crónica do ponto de vista humano. Não há branco e negro. Pintar Lee de simples demoníaco corporativista e retirar-lhe todo o crédito do seu papel seminal na história da BD por a cámbio celebrar Kirby como sobradamente este último merece é indigno, próprio de desenhadores com esse tic miserável de só perceberem os guionistas quer como moléstia quer como trampolim. E isto acontece, dou-vos fé.

A realidade frequentemente é mais complexa quando se trata de relação entre humanos.

Dá muita pena toda a história de oportunidades perdidas e esse epílogo tão triste no funeral de Kirby.