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October 11, 2002

Frank Miller

Friedrich --

I know I'm 15 years late arriving at this particular party, but: have you ever looked at the graphic novels of the artist/writer Frank Miller? He's probably best-known for "The Dark Knight Returns," an operatic Batman epic that was the visual basis for Tim Burton's "Batman" and is often said to be one of the best of all superhero graphic novels.

I tried "Dark Knight" years ago and wasn't much taken with it. But the other day I read an installment of his "Sin City" series, and flipped for it. (By the way, does one "read" or "look at" a graphic novel? I wonder if it's best to say one "goes through" such a mixed-media thing?)

The story was passable romantic-downbeat urban noir, but the visuals were beyond fabulous: lurid, and trippy-intense. And the pyrotechnics! The entire book is done in black and white (no in-between values at all), but the variety of effects he gets -- from the individual frames, as well as the page-compositions and sequencing -- is amazing. A breath-taking high-wire act; I was giggling and gasping all the way through.

Sweet Dreams: Frank Miller, Poussin, "The Matrix"

Despite the fact that I'd recently seen a wonderful museum show of French drawings from the 1500s and 1600s (mucho Poussin, who I adore), and despite the fact that the same day I read "Sin City," The Wife and I re-watched "The Matrix" (which we adore) -- despite competing with these two powerful visual experiences, Frank Miller's visuals dominated my dreams. That night, I dreamt in Frank Miller.



posted by Michael at October 11, 2002


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