You are on page 1of 106

PUBLISHER

MlltE BICBARDSON

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

NEIL

BANKERSON

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

DAVID SCROGGY

VICE PRESIDENT & CONTROLLER ANDT KARABATSOS

GENERAL COUNSEL

MARK ANDERSON

slories you wanl lo lelL I have olten wondered what

a war comic would be like iI you and Lynn Varley were involved. Now 1 know. 300 lS a war comic, bul a war comic unlike any ever seen. 300 breaks the rules, because no one does war comics loday. 300 is nol the slalus quo, because never belore has a slory like this been done

in this medium.

300 shakes Ihings up.

Imagine

using a double-page spread to showc<'lse a slory Ihis gr<'lnd in sC<'lle, r<'llher Ih<'ln using il as an excuse lor pinups 01 gun-toling, big-bre<'lsled women in impos­ sible poses, Mosl of <'IIL 300 shows a 101 01 guts because, as I said, Ihis is uncharled terrilory. No comic h<'ls ever come togelher quile like this belore. Over Ihe course 01 three wonderful double-page

spreads you seI a lone, �We march� are the words that are repeated over <'Ind over. Three hundred

men march lor honor and glory, and instantly I am among them. When Stelios stumbles and is chas­ lised, 1 feel his weariness and pain. As the 300 lis­ ten to the epic 01 Leonidas, I smen the campIire and hear DHios' voice in my mind, The great baltle we know is coming is loresh<'ldowed in the tale ol the young man who will be king, and a chili runs down

my spine. Then, a recoUeclion 01 a pivotal moment in hislory as seen lirsthand:

"This is blasphemy! This is madness!� "This is Sparta."

Thank you both.

This is comics!

!oe Hollon Wilmington. OH The first thing 300 brings to my mind is the ver­ salility 01 your storytelling. In <'I year's time you have taken your readers Ihrough the slreets 01 Basin City, Uown us in a spaceship to save Ihe world, and now we find ourselves prep<'lring lor a hatne belween ancienl Sparta and Persia. Nol many comics prolessionals cover such broad topics in Iheir enlire C<'lreers. And Ihrough <'Illthe many set­ tings 01 your slories the thing you do consistently that separ<'lles you horn your many contemporaries is to make your readers feel the emotions 01 YOUl characters, In 300 # l lhis emotion came when King Leonid<'ls W<'lS shown walking <'Imong his sleep­ ing troops. "Ready 10 die, he muses. They think Ihey know what that means.� Then Ihal page ends with a description ol their opponents, Ihe �anny. vast beyond irnogining. re<'ldy to devour liny Greece -to snu!! out Ihe world's one hope lor reason <'Indjus­ tice.H A small <'Irmy 01300 Spartans ag<'linst the unimaginable might 01 300.000 Pelsians -iI seems hopeless. It seems not even worlhy 01 attention. Butl know they are characters !rom a Frank Milier comic, and they won't go down without <'I light! I can't wail for issue #2,

Michael Hendricks Kingsville. TX There <'Ire so many skilllul achievements in 300 #1. I hardly know where 10 begin. The dirn pallor 01 the sky al Ihe very beginning gives way 10 the iIIu­ minanl brilliance of <'I new d<'lwn adorning the Spartans' crossing 01 a hilI. The hunched poslure 01 Leonidas as he approaches the "punishmenC 01 Ihe fallen soldier, resembling the lowered gaze 01 the

r<'lvenous wolf in the next scene, heightens Ihe power 01 the king's menacing gaze. Only the sol­ dier's blade rellects light in Ihe darkness 01 the C<'lmp. The dehris surrounding the thrashing 01 the trapped wolf depicts Ihis violent <'Iction much more perlectly than any sound eIlecis. Young Leonidas

returning horne. his he<'ld turned <'Iside not in sur­ prise but in expeciation (the exact S<'lme way he greeted the woll). elevates his stature 10 that of lrue mylh: <'I god among mort<'lls. The Persi<'ln riders behind Ihe messenger bear the s<'lme colors <'IS the sky <'Iround them, as if Ihey were ghostly apparitions

<'Irriving out 01 nothingness.

The vivid contr<'lst

belween the simple dress ol the Spartans and the

el<'lborate dothing 01 the Pelsians expertly leveals the prolound differences between these two seci­ elies: one harsh, Ihe other avaricious. The final shol

  • 01 the Persians being lo!ced inlo the deep pit holds

an 01 the leverish energy 01 live animation The employment of words and images Ihrough­

out is very sparse, your cr<'llt becoming doser to that

  • 01 a poet rather than <'I mere "director.H BI<'Ick is

used he<'lvily (no surprise there!L making Lynn's job exceedingly dillicult in places, yet she makes it look ef!ortless, accomplishing more with several colors th<'ln most could accomplish with dozens. This book may receive crilicism. I c<'ln only hope ils critics will recognize what it does belore ripping it: it t<'lkes an

ancient story and makes il relevanl today. by using techniques worthy 01 study by artists and lans alike, Or, in olher words: you <'Ind Lynn still kill the chickenl

.lad on anolber lublecl enlirely

..

_

Bruce Garretl Edmonton, Alberla, Canada I have been re<'lding and enjoying Sin City since The Big Fot Kill. <'Ind your letters column has given me lood lor thoughl. Although 1 <'Igree with most 01

yOU! viewpoints, there are some things I've thought <'Iboul that 1 would like you to consider. First 01 alL it is true that there <'Ire no r<'ltings systems or cover advisories in the publishing world But a most likely reason is that most kids haven't been reading lilerature lor the l<'Ist lew decades -<'It least not since electronic media have been around. Oh, sure, they'll re<'ld il Ws a homework assignment. but Iha!'s il. Why read <'I book when you c<'ln watch the TV adaptation? Now. imagine if kids h<'ld been devouring literature Ihe S<'lme way they now devour McRoadkill, Spice Girl pap, <'Ind superhero comics. I would bet my lelt nut that a ratings system 01 some

kind would have been sl<'lpped down by now.

I'm

sure the pro-censor Iorces would want to prevent the possibility 01 a 12-year-old boy gelling morally cor­ rupted by the l<'ltest lackie Collins lucklest. As a result, a!l Douglas Coupland novels <'Ind the latest issue 01 Spin would have PG-13 slapped all over their covers.

As lor cover advisories in comics, I h<'lve no use lor them now. On the other hand, if DC didn't use

the �Suggested lor Mature ReadersH advisory on a!l

  • 01 its Vertigo books. do you think they would even

d<'lre publish comic books like Preocher or The Invisibles? The same guys who <'Ire weil known to

the public at large 101 publishing all-ages laie like Looney runes, Superman, and Flash? 1 doubt it, and I'm personally thanklul they did, You should

00, too. Alter all, it was -matule- OC books such as Sondman and Hel/blazer that introdueed rne to types 01 cornie books other than the superhero sluglests. lf I hadn't lead these books and discov. ered what was possible with the comie book as an art form, I probably wouldn't even have bothered with independent books like Sin City. No,I'd still be readin!] nothin!] more Ihan the lalest X-crement There likely are othel people like me who owe theb acquhed tastes 101 independent comie books to OC's ·Suggested lor Mature Readers· Verligo line.

l aglee with your stance that the Comics Code

Authority should be taken to the lake in a sack with

a heavy rock. However,l read somewhere recently that large retaH chains, such as Wal·Mari,Saleway, and 7-11, will seil only Code·approved books. No biQ deal if you're an urbanite, since there are plenty 01 comics stores 10 choose horn. But lor those Iiv. ing in Wanker, Missouri, or Bumblefuck, Saskatchewan, the local Safeway or 7-11 is the only place in lown where one can buy comie books. If

you were Marvel or OC, would you not want to seil

��i�� C t�:�� ���:l e tu ��I��;:: a g�:'�::s�:�::. 1 :�� i : e h:��! :�:�:���� r �:��:�e u :�:�:��a S rts

chains and their distributars have to wake up and

to drop the Code, and the Bi!] Two wili likely lol!ow sui!. This may 00 an undertaking 01 a decidedly uphill nature, since these stores are notorious 101 selling censored versions 01 CDs (Nirvano's In Utero comes to mind) and banning magazines Iike Playboy. Powelful relailers ale just as bad as paliti-

eians when iI comes 10 censorship. Sy the way, how da non-Code comic-book publishers like Dark Horse malket their cornic books to people Uving in Wrinkletit, Arkansas, 01 other little one-horse towns where there are no comics stores?

To ml, DC'. "ildvisoriu" are jWlI plaln .Uly, sinn Ihey work so Itard duignlng Ibeir coven 10 malle il obvlow whal bn'l 101' kick, Do yoa Ihink yoa'd even noUce il lhal diamond-poinl.type apol­ ogy were mbslng? lad, oh, Ih.1 d.mn Comics Code. You Iry so.piag it oal, yoa Iry scrabbing U oal . •• Word

is, .ewuland dislrib.lon .nd Ihose clo

.....

1 Wal.

Mm h.ve pal Ihe �eeze on comics publiJben,

inelading Dark Horse. Tb.ir Uming wel 900d, 101' Ihem al le•• I: wilh Ihe direcl markel in disan.y,

losiag

ne..

sland saln c:oaid mean Ihe death 01

many a litle. Llave us say Ihe Ihags won.

Bat Y01l won't be seeing thai caacerow slamp on .ny 01 my boolu.

Thank. 10 all 101' wrlllng,

See yoa

.e..

wae.

_Frank Miller

:t=->

Ne X t

iss u e :

L-rONIDAS HAS BARE!.Y STRAPPED UP "'15 SM.JDAt..S WH(;N THe C(7t1Nt'lt I:":. tJPON HIN'I, VOICE.S HLlSHED'
L-rONIDAS HAS
BARE!.Y STRAPPED
UP "'15 SM.JDAt..S
WH(;N THe C(7t1Nt'lt
I:":. tJPON HIN'I,
VOICE.S HLlSHED'

WOMAN. A

�fNE. Wf�e=

Ta HIM,

ONVi A

ItflMORY

NOW.

If YOll're 11Icky elloll",h 10 meel wlth sacc_ I.D the comics lield, other 100n who'd IUte

If YOll're 11Icky elloll",h 10 meel wlth sacc_ I.D the comics lield, other 100n who'd IUte 10 show Ihelr works

  • 10 your readenhlp olten ask lor Y0Ul' poltUc elldona·

menl, Sllice we're a preHy deadliDe·plaped b_ch.

Ibis can be a 101 10 ask,

111 lael, 1I Cim be a real pein

in the butt, I, 01 conne, am lar 100 seU·enaeln", end pollte a py 10 oven lhink 01 maIdn",I�1 kbld 01 irapo.llloll on my coUea!J1los , •.

Complelely. YOU bei Bul it's not jusl one cleator who's involved. Frank

Miller immersed himseU in research and combined his modern view wilh ancient mOlivations to grip leadeis with bold layouts, confidenl strokes, convincing script­ ing. and powerlul slorylelling. And horn colol pholo­ copies plovided ifs dear Ihat Lynn Varley knows

jusl whllilo do 10 take Miller's work 10 an even mOle dynamiclevel

100 Kuberl

300 is comics slory1elling at its best. should be kepl in prinl permanently.

This one

Dovel. NI

You've reached a higher leveL anolher plaleau

wilh 300. The efforl you pul into reseoarch, back­ grounds. and relerence is apparenl. The storytelling is

deal, elfeclive, and dramalic. The pacing and flow workwell. However, your most oulslanding accomplishment.

WlIlter Simonson

SufIern, NY One ol lhe Ihings I love most aboul Flank's work is his abilily 10 leinvent hirnsell horn time 10 time.

From Doredevil to Rooio 10Dork Knight to Sin City, he's

IllIveled a long dislance through fOUl titles. And yel

10

me, is Ihe immediacy 01 action you wele able 10 cre­

each 01 those comics replesenls Flank's gili lor creat­

ale.

Like a combal artist drawing the scenes as Ihey

occur.

It allows me. Ihe reader, 10 be a witness along­

ing a uniquely realized world wilhin Ihe !rame 01 his

sideyou.

slories. It doosn't huri Ihat Frllnk is one ol lhe besl

But it's the combination 01 your use 01 black and color where your achievement really shines. The color enhances lexture and depth wilhoul overpower­ ing. You and Lynn did good

visual slorylelleIs plesenlly working in comics, eilhel And, usulllly, where Frank goes, 11 lot 01 olhels lend to lollow Which is why I can'l wail lor 300 10 slarl coming out

Adam and Andy loved i\. 100.

Maggie Thompson Comics Buyer's Guide Iola,WI When the announcemenl came thaI a film was being made about the sinking 01 Titanic, a common

reaclion was a mocking rejecHon 01 the idea thai Ihe public would lake 10 Ihe Plojecl. "Hey, we know haw it's going 10 end!" said mllny. "Who'll pay 10 see a movie llboul something so depressingT'

Who, indeed?

The point. 01 course, is thlll what's imporlanl about a work ol llri is how it's pul logelher: How com­ pelling is the creator's vision? How weil doos the cre·

II10r know the subject? D oos Ihe crealor heve anylhing 1111111 10 say? ls Ihe wOlk 01 art involving? Doos il grip Ihe viewer and reluse to lei go until the work is com­ plele? 11 it's done right. lIudiences will respond and tell their friends.

Answering the above in sequence, reglliding

Frank Miller's wOlk on 300, as seen in photocopies 01 #1-4 (01 510Ial): Very. Tholoughly. Vou bet. You bei You bei

Or, paraphr<lsing Goolhe, "Whal was Ihe clealor

Irying 10 do? How well did the crealor succeed? WIIS il worlh doing?"

Answering hirn (bul only in pari; answering in full would take a bunch 01 pages): Tell a riveling anecdote horn hislory so as 10 move a modern audience.

The tale 01 Ihe 300 SplIltllns is 11 story dose 10 Frank's heart. one thlll he's wllnled to tell for a long time. And I Ihink Ihe slory 01 Leonidas and his boys is 11 hell oilln advenlure thlll deserves Ihe ripping story­ telling Frllnk'sgiven it. I musl add Ihllt Lynn Vllrley's painling adds a wonderlul dimension 10 Flllnk's work. When I inililllly saw some 01 Ihe pages !rom 300, Ihey were blllck-lInd­ while laxes. And, IIS Sin City hlls demonsllllled, Frank's wOlk in black-and-white is so powerlul lhall wondered 11 HUle il lhe book would aclually beneli! horn color or il lhe color would somehow soften 01 dilute the imagery, Of course, I should have had mOle lailh in Lynn, but. hey, J'm only human! Now Ihal J've

seen the first issue in color, I can't wait to see the resll The painling has Slrengthened a wondedul evocation 01 IIn ancienl time lind place, mixed logelhel IIS il must be lor modern sensibililies.

But I must conless thai J think my Illvorile part 01 the whole exe.cise has been my anlicipalion ol lhe issues IIctulllly coming out. Over the lasl lew monlhs, J've spoken 10 a lew Iriends 01 mine in the relail end 01 comics, as weil as 10 Ihe occasional comics Illn. And most 01 them had no idea who Leonidlls was, who Ihe 300 wele, 01 whllt the story 01 Thermopylae was aboul. So, while thele WIIS interesl, lind ellen expectalion, in Frank's new ploject. because il WIIS Flllnk, there was only a sort 01 dulled comprehension Ihat Ihis was goin9 to be some sort 01 historical comic, ralher than Ihe latesl exciling intercompany crossovel between

the PurpiePanty-Waist .'Ind Zipperman

humor and Ihe bloodshed that he deploys so wel\. I

I

think 300's going to blow the blain boxes off the

can'l imagine anyone who was enthralled by Dork

but. as he seems 10 do wilh each succeeding piece,

shoulders of a 101 01 re.'lders who won't be at all ready

101 whal Ihey're going 10 lind when they open up the cover olthelirSl issue,

Knighl or Sin City being dis.'lppointed. And we al1 know Frank has .'l way wilh dr.'lwing,

I

think Frank's reinvenled hirnself again.

And I

Ihink it would be awfully cool if his reinvenlion revital­ ized an entire genre Ihat's virtually disappeared horn

he's evolved inlo new areas yel again wilh 300, The stark chiaroscuro of Sin City has rnerged with the sen·

comics!

sitive line 01 Ronin 10 produce an ellect which is bolh

lelfSmith

graphically stunning .'Ind entirely appropri.'lte to Ihe subject matter.

Carloon Books

 

The hislorical delail .'Ind setting are completely

Columbus, OH

convincing, and seldom h.'lve 1 seen rese.'lrch so weil

Thanks lor letling me see the first two install­ menls of 300. They're l.'Intaslic! A little Frank Miller. a Httle Lynn Varley. and 300 violent. desperate men, armed only with steel and bone against impossible

assimilate<! and interpreled. As wilh Ihe story, Fr.'lnk seems complelely in conllol 01 his materi.'ll Al lhis writing, I've seen very little 01 Lynn's color­ ing, but lhal little le.'lves me no doubt that her conhi­ bution will be as slunning as her finishes on Dark

odds � wh.'lt more could you ask lor ?

 

Knight: the sense 01 pl.'lce and atmosphere here jumps

 

This is why I re.'ld comics! Pacing. light

.'I

lromlhe pages.

 

I can't conclude wilhoul menlioning th.'lt the com­

sense 01 purpose. and the peilect rele<'lSe 01 informa­

bination 01 Frank's bold drawing and Lynn's evocative

tion 10 Ihe re.'lder . something rale in .'Iny medium. And it's obvious you did your research. Everything flom the S.'lnd.'lls .'Ind haitstyles to the intrigue of the local politics m.'lkes it .'Ill credible. Bul Ihe shot that rea11y put me into Ihe story was an overhe.'ld view 01 Ihe soldiers marching through Ihe rough, wild gl.'lSS. II is dear thaI you have walked the stone- and grass-cov­ eled hills of Sparta youlself and seen what the soldiers would have seen.' On top 01 alilhis, you're doing all double-page spleads?! You go, boy. Use your c.'lnv.'ls! As 1 said, this is why 1 lead comics, And these

palette puts me in mind 01 Ihe work of Ihe laie Flank Bellamy, whose lull·color work inspired many a budo ding English comics altist. me induded. Curiously enough, he once worked on .'I character c.'llled "Heros TheSparlan" who, conlusingly enough, was a Roman soldier based in ple·Christian Britain, 1 know Ihat Frank Miller is as likely to have plagia­ rized Frank Bellamy's firsl name as he is his work, and he'U know thai I only mean il .'ls Ihe highesl compli­ ment to say 300 gives me Ihe s.'lme kind 01 thril11hat Ihe olher Frank's did, way back when.

days, Ihere .'Ire predous lew reasons why anyone should. You, Frank, are one 01 the re.'lsons 1 still do,

MimiCanoll

Night Flight

liIlThompson

 

Sah Lake City, UT

 

Chic.'lgo,IL

As you know,l've never been much of a kiss·ass,

responded wilh greal enthusiasm. To my knowledge,

Thank you for sending me Ihe advance copies 01 Frank Miller's lorlhcoming project. 300! It was more than wonderful.

so J'm sure you'lI lolgive me iI my praise is a litlle unpolishe<!, Regarding 300, S.'Ih Lake City h.'ls

I

Ihoroughly enjoyed being transported 10 Ihe

momenlS th.'ll may h.'lve led up 10 the Graco-Persian W.'II. I've alw.'lYS enjoyed liction b<'lSed on historical evenls, whether il be in book or film, .'Ind I'm gl.'ld 10 see it in my favorite medium. It's hearlening to see someone craft a laie in comics wilh such an unexpecl­

ed subje<:t matter (I C.'ln't wail until EricShanower lin­ ishes his tale of the Trojan War, eitherl). Comics

as 1 write Ihis at least two universily professors and one high school leacher e.'lgerly awail Ihe release 01 300, and wilh the same e.'lger elation plan on subje<:l­ ing Iheir sludenls 10 I!. Did you evel think your work might be #mandatory" re.'lding lor Ihe overwOlked stu­

denl? Next time you're inSah Lake, expecl an invila­ lion10 leclure,100.

With Ihe 300 project. you've ploven you can deliv­

should be used to tell .'ll1 manner of stories! Projacts

er Ihe violence, inhumanily, and crime 01 cenluries ago

like Ihese remind us what a limitless medium we work

The stark .'Ind graphic storytelling expertly con­

to today's young minds.

It brings a smile to my face

inl We just have to make use of il!

jusl thinking about it. Our regular Nighl Flight crowd greedily awails 300.'lS weiL so don't Ihink you've jusl

reached .'Icademic minds wilh Ihis, either.

At times, as

veys Ihe powerlul emotions 01 the ancient drama

I looked at the men march, r wanled !o burst into

but what else would you expect from Flank Miller? When he lackles a subje<:!. il lackles you back! I'm anxiously awaiting the reSI 01 the slory so I can re.'ld il wilhout intelluplion!

Monty Python's "Lumberjack" song. These tmly were manly men doing manly Ihings, I guass I'm having too much fun, bul I would be disappointed il youl wOlk

If Ihis is the beginning ol a new series 01 historical dramas from Frank Miller, 1'11 be along lor the ride on Ihe limeline!

Oave Gibbons

SI. Albans, Engl.'lnd We allimow Frank has a way wilh a story, but usually a crime or fantasy one. So 10 lind hirn apply­ ing his skills 10 andenl history comes completely from leftlield

Whal 1 lind amazing is how il all seems so fresh:

aUlhenlic in every respecl as lar as r can tell, but wilh a11 the immediacy and rawness of a modern war slory. The unexpected lurns and juxlaposilions Ihat charac­ terize Frank's work are a11 here, as well .'ls the black

weranot lun.

All we usua11y hear abou! this period in lime is the

Spall.'lns' altempt 10 conquer Troy, as oullined in Homer's Wod. It's nice to have anothar story wilhoul a Troj.'ln Horse or Ihal Helen chick.

Varley's colors bring both a vibrancy and texture

to Ihis his!orical time period. Her colors are a comple­ menl lo your slyle,

Th.'lnks lor the lun, Frank!

Bob Schreck OniPress PortJand,OR What a joy it is 10 be alive and so privileged as 10 be allowed 10 enjoy your l.'llest eUor!. months

belore its release on the racks. Speaking as your lor­ mer m<'llkeling direcloL edilor, and YOUf currenl occa­ sionalolher publisher, [have never been more

 

BUY THESE COMICS!

e

Fox From Sorojel'o,

impressed wilh your maslerlul grasp 01 Ihe medium. This work is by lar Ihe most dangeraus. lake-no-pris· oners, lull.thlOttle stick 01 dynamile I"ve ever had the

by loe Kubert. Dark Horse Comics lock Kirhy's Orion of the New Gods.

pleasure 01 reading. As youl lan. J couldn't have asked 101 a better series 10 sink my teelh into. Thank you

by Waller Simonson,

DC Comics

Bone. by leff Smith, Cartoon Books

Scory Go dmother,

What"s really annoying about Ihis is Ihal you continue 10 make it look easier every lime you sei sai!. From the script and visual pacing 10 the bmsh

by jill Thompson, Sirius Comics The Dome: Ground Zero,

shokes and incredible, thoughllul colors. 300 is an exquisite ballet 01 masler!u! Slorytelling. 11 you can carry on Ihe malch. J know Ihal I. and hOldes 01 olh­

by Dave Gibbons, DC Comics Oni Double Feature, ediled by BobSchleck, OniPress

Hellboy.

 

ers, will lall inlo rank and lollow you two wherever youl IOUf leel lake uso

 

by Mike Mignola. Dark HorseComics

I guess whal I"m Irying 10 say is: 'You two lolally rip!"

Buy Comics Buyer's Guide! Maggie Thompson. editOi

Mike Mignola

And buy them al:

 

Porlland.OR

Night Flight Comics

Naked guys wilh big spears and big red capes

S<'Ilt Lake City, ur

They aren'l superhemes re<'llly.

They aren't jumping

MimiCarroll, manager

over buildings or smashing planets or shooting beams out 01 theil heads. So Icu. al leasl, IheY'le jusl marching, bul there is more drama and power in those guys jusl walking around Ihan in any number ol today's "superhero" comics. I k.now Ihele <'Ire a 101 01 dillelenl inlluences al work here. but behind them a11 is Kirhy, naked <'IS aSpartan. chompin' on a cigaI.

turning a big hon crank. That's <'I good thing I

belore its release on the racks. Speaking as your lor­ mer m<'llkeling direcloL edilor, and YOUf

Next issue :

... and IIlhere'. enytblng wone tban beggl.ng fellow profe,.lona" 10 wrile niee tblnp abont yonr work,
...
and IIlhere'. enytblng wone tban beggl.ng
fellow profe,.lona" 10 wrile niee tblnp abont yonr
work, tbet wonld beve to be ntnninv nakedly (Ju/d
pro (JUD reeommendeUollS lor thein ...
....�
-FN

IT'S A H E A D· O N COLLISION BETWEEN MIHO AND THE MOBI

99 B 1 HARV\ EYAWARD
99 B
1
HARV\
EYAWARD

W1NNER

FDR BEST 0 RI G INAL G RA PHICALBUM

STORY

&

ART

FRANK

MILLBR

COLOR

LOGO

DESIGN

STEVE MILLER

&

CYNTHIA JOHNSON

CHAPTER

THREE:

MarkJ. Kiewlak how much 01 a "team book" this will turn out to llike that you're

MarkJ.

Kiewlak

how much 01 a "team book" this will turn out to

llike that you're Hnding Ihe light balance

Nanlicoke, PA

No maller how many limes you prove me wrong. I will slill have a tendency to look al your work and, upon firsl glance. call it Uthin" in lerms 01 words on the page and Ihe amount 01 UstOlY� lold. Then I read those words - not one 01 them wasted nor used unnecessarily, more olten than nOI used instead lor the maximum possible effecl, such as the simple and slirring poetry 01 the repeated "We march" in the opening. Then I consider the amount 01 "SIOry" - how we are introduced 10 an army which lunctions as one - and how we see the consequences for young "Stumblios" and lor his captain when they disturb that perfect order - how we see the heart 01 the man who leads them, a heaTt forged in bal­

be. but the Spartan soldiers in the first lew pages are individualed enough for you to go that way. Your presentalion of Sparta's king, Leonidas, paints the portrait of a leader in bold but reveal­ ing strokes. My knowledge of ancienl Greek his- 10ry is spolly at best. but I can remember thai Sparta was Greece's most militant city-stale because of its huge slave population: Ihe Spartans had 10 be prepared to put down any home-grown insurrections. I hope you'!! go into that aspect 01 their cullure laler in the series.

between pietures and caplions in your work. In Ronin. and even in some 01 YOUl Sin City fealures, your plose has been sparse. And lull fronlai male nudily?! Gee, I can remember the lirsl lime

tle al such a young age against a merciless oppo­ nent. And, in a final bit 01 symmetry, we see a new opponent, no different that the old one. rise up - and Leonidas Ireat hirn just as he had Ihe earlier one, tuming his back on hirn in the final panel and preparing lor Ihe inevilable allack.

I saw lemale cleovoge in a comic book, in an old Joe Kubert Sgt. Rock story. Have you chosen ancient Greece for your slory, I wonder, because the classieal setting will make it easier lor you to shatter yet another comies taboo? I was delighted by the look ahead at this,

  • I wonder if Leonidas doesn'l welcome this

new challenge after so long - if perhaps he wished to prove himself in his old age as he did in his youth. to show himsell worthy 01 the God­ like worship he commands. I wonder il thai isn·t why he sought the least diplomatie solution and. knowing luU weil the consequences, treated the messenger from Persia with such brulalily and disdain.

your newest project. I will iollow it laithlully to its conclusion and will buy any sequels. (That iso unlil Leonidas teams up with Spider-Man. Then I'm oulta here!)

Yoa and me both.

Leoaldas only pi�ked

IIghts with enemles who stood 6Dme ldad 01

chan�e agalnst him.

  • I wonder aboul a whole lot 01 things in Ihis

Keith Haney

Alhens. TN

new-very-old story. Bul nOI you, Mr. Miller. Nor aboul lhe worthwhileness ol lhis latest story­ telling endeavor. You keep on doing what you're

This series will probably rank up there with the best work of your career. I have been a history

doing . and we'U all be beller off for il.

lanatie since grade school, and while my knowl­

Dan H. Eiler Newton Falls. OH Although I think 01 you as the king 01 chiaroscuro, I'm happy to see you back doing art­ work lor a color pToject (and please lell Lynn Varley she's been greatly missed). 01 course, Ihis sampie marks jusl Ihe beginning of your project, so Ws diffieuil lo lell exactly what you're aiming 10 accomplish and impossible to tell whether these first, crealive steps are Ihe right ones. but YOUl Slarl is auspicious. Your pacing is dynamic and draws Ihe reader in. I don'l know

edge 01 ancient Greece is mostly general and scanty, I have long known aboul thal famous stand-off at Thermopylae. My first exposure 10 il was an old movie, the litle 01 whieh I have never known. relelling il in the usua!. grand, distorted Hollywood fashion so common to the movies. I later learned about the general historic details of the ballie in my sophomore year in high schooJ. Then, I saw one brief little aside on the firsl page of the last part of your own Big Fot Kill. But r would never have even guessed that you would make it into a lu!!-fledged miniseries. Bul having lead Ihrough the preview twiee, I'm glad thai you did.

I would like to present my sincere compli­

ments to Lynn Varley. If Ms. Schutz's claim that Ihe Xeroxes provided [as Ihe preview] da not do Ms. Varley's fine work jusliee, Ihan I am expect­ ing some greal lhings with the linished copy. In

sibility !rom Ihe creator, who must use the luU resources 01 his sentiment, knowledge. and skills

  • 10 establish drama while holding, as much as

possible, to the trulh 01 events.

Yet Iruth is usually malleable, depending on

an erll

01 computer arl lind separalions, Ms.

the quality of research and invesligalion.

Vllrley is a stllndoul on Ihe basis 01 her reliance on Ihe old·llIshioned melhod of coloring alone. But, horn Ihe firsl scenes of Ihe Spllrlan army marching at dawn. her colors prove to be. as always. Ihe perfect complemenl lo your art. 01 your art. I will say no more Ihan Ihat il is your

Therelore, if Mel Gibson makes errors about the lile 01 Sir Willillm Wallllce in Broveheort, we will lorgive if the nllrrlltive is adept. If Lew Wallace ludged on delails 01 ancienl Rome, do we Cllre. il we are sufficiently engaged by the exploils 01 Ben-Hur? Similllrly, historieal novelisls horn Mary Renault to Gary lennings can be absolved

usual high standard 01 such aesthetic and slory­ lelling malters. Any other complimenls on Ihis

Of Ihe one thing thllil buy any comie lor -the

01

blame iI occasionally there is an anachronism

point would simply be superfluous on my part.

or a gaffe in hisloricity. Thus, whllt you lire doing while leading up 10

presenlalion. However. if Ihe figures somelimes

slory -I can sum up in Ihree little

words: I love

Thermopyllle -10 Ihe mythology ol those days 01

it! I'm sure a lew lolks are goi"g 10 be shocked

heroie resistance - matters more in terms 01 drll­

over the severe sets 01 punishmenls lor doing anything thai disrupts Ihe dignity and discipline ol lhe Spartan army. but l can't say I was one 01 them. Spllrta. alter 1111. was an absolute despot­ ism (which is rellUy Ihe natural slale 01 most 01 Ihe world's govemmenls). where obedience is an understood way 01 lile. Any devilllion from Ihis in such places is not tolerllted. The story 01 King Leonidlls' initiation was 11 niee touch. as WIIS Ihe king's reaction to it:

wChildren. Such noise. Get your sleep.w I guess

matic elements than verisimilitude. With 300, you have marshaled the best 01 your skills while muling the lesser. The lesser are, 01 course, cerlain parliculars 01 wriling and 01 visual

seem more still than those in lack Katz's First Kingdom. or the lllngullge sullers horn mllnnerism or structural inelegance, we lorgive in light 01 your ability to paint in broad. cinematie shokes the processes and degrees 01 events lind actions. You've parlicularly mastered the technique

alter you hear the same story 11 hundred limes,

riding to Sparla. I'd have laughed in his face.

SpartII. the military bool camp 01 the

had provoked the Persians. he hlld so much 01

  • 01 panel placement, moving smaller boxes within

you get bored in a hurry. But the really lunqy pllrt was the flashblIck 10 the arrival ol lhe Persian messenger. 11 I had lived in that time and place. met this guy. and heard why he was

Peloponnesian peninsula, submitting to the

larger, panorllmic rectangles; using stalic pic­ tures better than ever in making a convincing show 01 camera movement. Especially ellective were the loreshortened lllyouts horn high angles; I'm nol sure if you were using high shots lor the· matie or purely lormal purposes, but they worked. And, of course. the analomy has come a

authorily 01 some pompous jackllss in distant

long way horn even

The Dark Knighl Returns.

Persia? What Xerxes was trying to do by sending Ihis mission (other than gel rid 01 a lew incompe­

You're approaching the level 01 prime Ditko­ the Dilko 01 the Warren stories back in the sixties,

lent soldiers in his arrny) is beyond me. The pride of King Leonidas was, alielIsi. the equal ol

especially. Like Dilko, you apparently leamed in the !rench warfare 01 comics, not the e1assrooms

Ihe Persian prince. and such men do not give IIn

  • 01 arl schools.

You developed certain abilities.

inch on such matters. But the most poignllnt part 01 this segment was the quiel reflections of Leonidas hirnsei!. Ihinking of the men thai he is aboul 10 send to their graves and the new beast he must face. Despite Ihe lact that he Ihoughl he

his cily's chllrllcter thai he Iiterally could not do anything else and call hirnself a mlln. It was either submit to the Persians wilhout a light or take them on and damn the odds. As Leonidas pointed out to Ihe messenger. they did have a reputlltion to mllintain.

while replicating mistakes and misconceptions. Dilko IIdmilted to his own shortcomings IIS an artist but Dilko WIIS, like Kirby, a supreme comic·book artist. Whal one would lind ghastly in Delacroix, one would accepl within the vocllb· ulary 01 graphic stories. Historieal liction is Hke algebra, where the unknown lactors remain unknown. There's no WIlY to sum up to 11 whole, perlect rational num­ ber. 11 there is 11 sum, it is irrational- a series of fractions dancing into infinily, the haclions 01 splintered historieal perspeclive. Happily, you've tackled somelhing dillerent lrom your hard-boiled

The movie, caUed f'bfl 300 SJMrlIUU,

was

Sin malerial. You've gone beyond post-modern.

releued ia 1962. I saw it wh.a I was Ova - ud

mean·streets huckslerism. Your thoughls ale

bave hea eatranc:ed with the Hot

r sbace,

Whlle 11'1 kind 0' a chmlry old show, lI's IUrprts. lag)y accuzale - ud It sure bupired Ibb kld.

rieher these days, horn the evidence of 300. You've colored the time 01 Leonidas and Xerxes with Ihe palois and response and attilude 01 a

Tony Dllley

sharp ex-New Yorker. while painling in the rich colors 01 spectllcle. You've put skin and museIe

Chicago,IL

and bone behind Ihe battered shields and

Historical liction demands a special respon-

greaves 01 your walliors. There is nol much

depth here - but there is enough pageantry, like the best 01 DeMille. In short. another example 01 Millerian resis­ tance against the Persian hordes 01 comiedom's mediocrity.

Matt Halsey Edison, NJ It isn't too olten thai one !inds historieal comies, let alone comics about events that took

place 2500 years ago.

As I read 300 # I, r found

myself engrossed in Ihe story. Leonidas seems very distraughl; I took il lhat he's probably mulling over his smalliorce's prospecl against the massive army. He seems to be looking back with regret al the end 01 the issue, locusing on the day he received the Persian messenger and declined the Persians' oller. Issue #2 continues the story ellectively. We learn about Leonidas, how the Persians bribed the Ephors to give Leonidas false adviee, know­ ing that Greeks were bound to lollow the priesls' words as law. The color preview 01 issue #2 was Idr more beautilul thdn issue # 1; not thai Frank's line art is bad, but Varley's colors add enlire dimensions 10 Ihe story. It's so great to see them working together. 300 is truly the type of project that is deselVing ollheir collaboralion

ChrisAdams

Meriden, CT

Ancient Greece, huh?

Hardly the hrst place

that springs to mind as a setting for a comic-book story. Bul it's a wonderlul place to tell a good

story.

You cerlainly appear 10 be doing Ihat. A

small group 01 soldiers marching off into Ihe lace 01 certain doom 10 delend their homeland against a mammolh invasion lorce - how could you not want to read more? Especially when il looks like this. The art was stellar, as usual. The two-page splash lormat seems to add to the grandeur of the story. 1 look forward to some epic ballie scenes. The black-and-while 01 the preview issue didn't delract in Ihe slightest. You're one of the lew arlisls whom llike as much, il nol more. in black-and-white. llhink the Spdrlans' grim march 10 war looked damn fine without color. l'll have to wait until May to see il color adds 60S much as I think it will.

By now you know. It doe•. 11 dOß•. -Frank Miller Next issue :
By now you know.
It doe•.
11 dOß•.
-Frank Miller
Next issue :
depth here - but there is eno u g h pageantry, like the best 01 DeMille.

AfTERNOON

NO

MOVEMfNT �ROM

"THE PERsrA/'I

CAMP

WE ,sETOlJR

SlIle'OS

DOWN

AND

PtlU, O/JR lI�t,ttWT.s

OFF AND .:5f

..1AKE

AWAY

Ol-IR SWrAT. WE BrND OUR W"uNDS" AND PilT THE �/N# r.sNIAlt; n?UCN�.s TO THE MORNrN6:.s

WO"K.

.,nlicip"'ling Ihe nexlissue. P.S. I leelly enjoyed Ihe 10leshedowing ol lhings 10

come wllh Ihe slory 01 Leomdes end Ihe woll gelhng

II"Pped In the n.,now p"'ss. Ihrough Ihose -hot geles:

I guess Ihe woll couldn'l lil

Gleg Spyridis BOIhel!. WA I wes, .,baut Ihe same time you did Dark Knight. en avid comics reader. Time and mOle demandinq com· milmenls lorced me 10 cul back prelty heevily over the lasl sever.,1 years. Ihough. One 01 those commilments, which IS hali lhe driving lorce 01 this leiter. was lollow­ Ing my plolession M a stunt comb.,t.,nl .,nd malli.,1 hll�­ tortan. Essenlilllly, people pay me to Cle.,te. perlorm, .,nd consuh on fighls lind wars hom various peliods in hislory. My speci.,lties .,re prelty edeclle. induding ""Is and lectics hom dozens 01 periods and pl.,ces 1111 ovel Ihe world. bul.,1 its heart is Ihe Ilncien!. clMSicll1

story short, [ cen simply say I em pleesed. Very ple.,sed. As ., malter ol lect, I em ecsllllic. It m.,y be 100 e.,rly 101 me 10 know il you eie going 10 keep lrue 10 hislory. lind

il may be 100 early 101 me 10 lell il you ale going 10

pomp .,nd lIuH YOUI way pasl one ol lhe mosl conllo­ versie] (refeninq 10 Sperlen m.,nnelisms and Iifeslyles) and importanl wars in G,eek history; il is nOI 100 early 10' me 10 say you ere doing ., damned fine job so lar The .,,1 is I.,bulous .,nd is beaulih:r.lIy undelsleted when depiclinq some ol lhe mOle adull especls ol ihaI lile The wlitinq is subtle. grippinq, and immensely powetfuL

And. besl 01 all, Ihe SIOry is essentielly inl.,ctl In dosing, l would like 10 sey thenk you 101 a qreal comic and 101 bringing whal I feel to be one of the greal­ esl ballies in hislory 10 Ihe public's eye. I would also beq .,nd ple.,d Ihel you don'l give .,nyone Ihe riqhls 10 Ihe movie version unhl I c.,n do il 01 el le.,sl be., lXIII 01 il. Heh. And, Ilnally,l le.,ve you wilh wh." hM .,Iw.,ys been my lavortle .,lleqed -quole-hom Ihe w.,r. and a

Greek Age. Wha!'s more, spocilically l locus on Ihe person.,l and melee eomb.lil 01 Athens and
Greek Age. Wha!'s more, spocilically l locus on Ihe
person.,l and melee eomb.lil 01 Athens and Sparta hom
100 10 300 B.C.
BUI I digless. I w.,s seying how I don'l read much In
Ihe way 01 comics anymore. The re.,son I lell you Ihis
IS so you can understllnd how surplised I wes when e
Iriend and fellow stunt combelent came 10 me and lold
philosophy I Iry 10 live my ileI on: "The Persi.,n arlows
."e so numerous Ih.,1 Ihey lillihe sky .,nd block oul Ihe
sun? thai is qood; we sh.,Uqel 10 lighl in Ihe sh.,de:
V.ak, I'ya alw.ys l_cl Ihal quole,
The"'. nolbmv
lik. puttlnv 10llelher • Kripl wUk all Ik, bHI UnH
wrillea lor you _ by hbtory,
me ebauI 300.
"Ifs the b.,IIle al Thermopyl.,e: he said.
"Leonides end .,11: Inslently. [ began bomb.lirding him
wilh queslions: "Who's doing i11" -Are Ihey going 10
wimp oul on the Spartansr ·Please lell me Ihey elen'l
going 10 bulcher ill" He couldn'I answel any 01 Ihem:
Scoll SI. Piene
Peabody. MA
Your ess .,qe. like wine
..
jusl like lriggin' wine.
no one seemed 10 know much abaul il. The only inlol­
II.w. Now you'n 1101 111. blDthiall'
melion he h.,d - and il did milke me leel quile e bit
bellel _ WM Ih." Flenk Millei was.,1 Ihe helm. I
calmed down enough 10 si! beck end w.,it. Bec.,use.
_ Frank MUI.r
you see, in addition to being a hisloli.,n and combalenl.
I am also e Spartan: Ihe son 01 e miqlant hom
Arhengellos. a small village on the Soulhern border 01
Ihe teqion. I was r.,ised hearing slolies 01 Leonidas,
my helilage. and Ihe coulege .,1 th.,1 P.,sS. My blood
still pounds el Ihe Ihouqhl ol lhel ballie. I wenled 10
see Ihe story done rl9hl. oll wenled 10 see il done nol
al .,lI.
Next issue:
So now [ sil wilh Ihe firsl issue 10 the side 01 me at my
desk. [ heve le.,d il lwice jusl 10 be sure I didn't miss
enythinq. And. while il is 100 lele 10 make Ihis lonq

PUBLISHER

JUKE RICBARDSOM

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

NEIL

BANKEBSON

PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

DAVID SCBOGGY

VICE PRESIDENT (. CONTROLLER

ANDY KARA8ATSOS

GENERAL COUNSEL

MARK ANDEBSON