Thursday, February 05, 2009

Frank Miller: Crazy Mofo or Craziest Mofo?

I'm going to say this right up front: I am not a fan of Frank Miller. I find that he has a very limited writing range, ie all women are whores and all men are either rugged and sexy and irriestible and tortured and so very badass or they are the villains and therefore they like to have sex with children or are gay and therefore wrong (I'm looking at you 300. Speaking of 300, only Frank Miller could take a culture that historically has ritualized rape of its women and basically encouraged all their warriors to form homosexual relationships with one another and stick them in leather manties and capes and proclaim it to be NOT GAY AT ALL. I think this may have been the start of his craziness).

I know there a lot of poeple who are huge fans of Frank Miller, and that's fine. I respect that. Even I can admit that he did some really innovative things with Sin City and that The Dark Knight Returns is one of the more revered stories in Batman cannon.
That being said, I think we can all agree that All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder is not some of Miller's best work. In fact, I think we can agree this is evidence that Miller has lost his whore loving mind.
Just to get it out of the way, Miller's insanity did give us possibly one of the greatest Batman lines and most often mocked lines in the history of comics:

And by mocked I mean even DC has gotten in on it:

With that out of the way, let's look at more of the more INSANE moments of ASBaRtBW (I'm way too lazy to keep typing out that title). It begins with Vicky Vale modeling what every woman wears in her spare time:

I don't know about the rest of you ladies, but I love just standing around in my sexy matching bra and underwear sets while wearing heels and posing in front of my floor to ceiling windows. Like you do.
Later on Vicky manages to dress herself to go out with Bruce Wayne, who is just so dreamy, and she is not disturbed at all by this revelation:
There are two things you should be concerned about here, Vicky: 1) your breasts are about to make a break for it; and 2) Bruce Wayne is stalking a twleve year old boy.

That's another thing about this comic: Miller seems to be under the impression that his readers suffer from short term memory loss and are therefore unable to remember Dick's age:

It's like Frank Miller is trying to tell us something...maybe about how old Grayson, Dick is...I just wish I could understand him better.

So Bats basically kidnaps this poor twelve year old and gets really, really creepy:

Bad touch, bad touch! Also, judging by the way his face is angled in this panel that reflection is pretty damn impossible. But I love Jim Lee's art so much that I don't really care.

Next we cut to Black Canary where we get the nuanced and insightful way Frank Miller writes femal characters.

So Black Canary beats up a bunch of guys, feeds one his wedding ring, and then robs them because she's a hero.

And then we cut to this:

Frank Miller has apparently lost all sense of time along with his mind. Fifteen hours ago from what? After Bats and Robin finally get to the Batcave? Fifteen hours ago from unspecified point in the future? So either this is a magical milk carton that can tell the future or Dick has been trapped in the batmobile long enough for his information to go to the missing person's office, have them distribute the information to the milk companies, have the milk company print his picture on the milk cartons, distribute the cartons to the store and have Supes run down to his corner market, pick it up, and put it in his fridge. So about six weeks have passed, and I guess Batman has just been taking poor Dick on a scenic tour in the Batmobile. What? Time does not work like that, Frank Miller.
So after approximately three years, Bats and Dick finally arrive at the Batcave, and Batman apparently craves validation from a twelve year old boy:

Frank Miller once claimed that he gave Batman his balls back (his pants may, in fact, be on fire), but judging by this, he not only took them away again, he turned Bats into your creepy uncle who gets progressively drunker and more pathetic at the holidyas and desperately tries to connect with you and be "cool, oh god tell me I'm cool and that you like me. Please, I've got nothing else."
Next we get to one of the absolutely INSANE moments of ASBaRtBW:

Yeah, Batman wanted to make a twleve year old boy eat rats. Oh, it gets even better! Apparently when he was but a wee insane Batlad, Bats up there voluntarily ate rats himself to prove to those other tragically orphaned vigilantes out there that there is no one, absolutely no one, as insane as him.

I have a quick aside to Frank Miller at this point: Is this seriously how you view Batman? As a giant crazy rat eating man who goes around kidnapping grief-stricken, just orhpaned children? Think about that for a bit and get back to me.

Head's up, people, because we are about to deal with a crapload of Frank Miller's issues with women. Behold his version of Wonder Woman:

So he takes the arguably best known femal superhero in the world, a member of DC's biggest tryptich, the strong warrior Amazon heroine Wonder Woman and turns her into a man hating bitch who, when confronted with some Superdickery like so:

Superdickery just used his artic breath to blow her into a wall because she was all "Kill Batman! Dude is crazy! He eats rats!" She has a point. So her response to this is not to retaliate with a sharp left jook to the jaw like I would had done, but with this:

That's right, girls, whenever a man abuses you and hits you, the appropraite response is to make out with him. Frank Miller is passing on a valuable lesson here: every woman just needs a good deep dicking to knock her into shape.

This is pretty much repeated with Black Canary later on. Black Canary may not have Wonder Woman levels of celebrity, she is one of DC's A list heroes, has been in multiple titles, shares one now with Green Arrow, and in general is pretty kick ass. So what does Frank Miller do? He makes her into a man hating bitch who force feeds men their wedding rings and makes out with Batman in the rain.

Your issues with women are showing, Frank Miller, and a comic book is not the place to work through them. Jesus.

Now back to Batman who is running around Gothem cackling like the rat eating lunatic he is.
Yes, this is much better than having him moving in the shadows and then silently striking. Thank god Frank Miller rectified that. Also "a hunter's night" will be repeated about 9,000 times throughout the rest of the issue.

So Batman beatus up some rapists, which I guess is supposed to make him likeable again and not at all INSANE.
Then we come to this panel:
Batman is irrationally excited about it raining. I'm assuming it's because he's going to go jump into some sweet puddles. Also, and I don't know about any of you out there, Batman has never struck me as the type to say "cool." Of course before this I would have said I never expected a young Bruce Wayne to go around eating rats for the hell of it either, so learn something new everyday.

And Frank Miller also decides to shove in a young fifteen year old Batgirl into here, and I cry a little on the inside.

So in ASBaRtBW Babs becomes Batgirl because Batman is just so very badass and dreamy he inspires all of these fifteen year old girls to don costumes and go fight hardened criminals at night. Like you do. This is, of course, before Babs learns Bats has manaical laughter to rival the Joker's (oh god, I still have to get to him) and goes around eating rats and kidnapping twelve year old tragically orphaned boys.

I'm not going to focus a lot on Babs here because there is Batgirl: Year One, which is far superior to this and in it Barbara is a real person with a personality, ambitions, and complex reasons for becoming Batgirl, most of which do not have to do with Bats. I am including this panel because Jim Lee's art continues to be amazing.

There's some crap with Jimmy Olsen and Vicki Vale (omg stupid) and I do not care, so let's skip ahead to the docks where Black Canary is beating up guys and taking their money, because she's a hero, and Frank Miller demonstrates his mastery over the English language.

Oh sweet zombie Jesus, what the hell, Frank Miller? I'm not sure if it's supposed to be Batman imitating the noise Jocko is making or if he really, truly is saying "blagg," but either way it is painfully stupid. I'm pretty sure that at some point Miller had a grasp of how to actually, you know, write, but that appears to have left with his sanity.

Next Batman sets some guys on fire. No, seriously.
I'm going to side with the thugs on this one and say burning alive is more painful than being punched in the face. Also, I'm pretty sure this goes against his "no killing" rule, but we have a lot more to cover, so let's keep moving.

He meets up with Black Canary and they make out, like you do, and then there is this exchange about his car:

This is totally Frank Miller whining about how everyone made fun of his awesome"Goddamn Batman" line, which was totally genius, what is wrong with us, can't we see how amazing Frank Miller is?

Bats gives Black Canary a ride back, where he was some pretty insane thoughts. Apparently she talks too much and then he decieds because of Thomas Jefferson and free speech he won't kick her out. Hey, don't look at me, I'm only commenting on this, not actually writing it.

Back at the Batcave Bats hauls out Jocko and gives him as a present to Dick, because this is the man who killed his parents. Dick responds thusly:

Batman is surprised by Dick's backtalk, because obvisouly he showed he cared for the boy by kidnapping him and trapping him in his crazy cave full of rats for the boy to feast upon.

Now we get to move on to the Joker, and I don't know if I can handle this. Deep breaths, Jayne. You're almost done.

So the next issue opens with this:

On the plus side, at least Frank Miller didn't turn the Joker gay to show what's "wrong" with him. On the other hand, OMG WHAT THE FUCK FRANK MILLER? This is a supposedly well educated woman who just had sex with a clown. Most people acknowledge that clowns are terrifying, so can you imagine sleeping with one? And she doesn't wonder why his make-up didn't come off? The thought of sex with a clown just made me throw up in my mouth a little. You're a sick bastard, Frank Miller.

So after he kills her (what a shocker), he opens to the door to greet his personal bodyguard. Remember they are in a hotel that presumably has other people in it. With that in mind we see this:

It is at this point that I am forced to admit that Frank Miller is so insane that he managed to come up with something that is twisted brilliance because at no point in my life would I have imagined a female Nazie with a buzzcut and swastikas over her boobs just hanging out in a hotel lobby. Only one so insane as to have no concept of reality could come up with this.

ASTBaRtBW is so DARK and GRIM that Frank Miller can do away completely with Batman's defining trait of no killing and have him do this to poor Jocko:

Poor Batman doesn't realize yet that this is how DC villians are made. Oh and there's this:

Because the rest of this series totally meets the standards of decency. Oh god, I hate Editor's Notes, especially when they are used in this retarded manner.

Next we have a lot of stuff with Hal Jordan and I am forced, once again, to give Frank Miller some credit because this

is sort of awesome in a dickish way. Batman offering Hal a glass of water in an all yellow room is such a dick move that I can't help but admire it. Fine, Frank Miller, you earn a "heh" out of me, mainly because I'm not a big fan of Hal Jordan, although I don't hate him as much as you seem to, as seen by him being taken down by a twelve year old boy and Batman has to perform an emergency tratechtomy on him with a pen (let's hope it's not yellow!).

The best part is that Bats is all surprsied that the grielf stricken, kidnapped boy he's kept locked up in a cave with rats is unstable enough to attack and almost kill someone, especially when Batman taught him how. Bats is retarded.

There's some stuff about Catwoman, which I'm not going to go into much detail about, because if you want to see her complicated relationship with Batman, and have her actually be a person and not a Frank Miller cardboard cutout, go pick up some trades of the Catwoman title. You won't be disappointed.

I will note that the first place Bruce and Selina had sex was here

Next to a river of raw sewage. Must have been so romantic.

Next we cut to Black Canary, who is still going around beating people and taking their money. Look, Frank Miller, I am all for exploring the gray area of trying to be hero and keep people safe but not being an out and out bad guy, and god knows I love anti-heroes, but what you have done here is none of these things. For example:

She just intentionally murdered a bunch of people. That's not a gray area, that is not an anti-hero that is murder. This is not being edgy; this is taking a well-established hero and turning her into a murdering bitch, who wants to recruit other women heroes to help her murder and steal because she doesn't want to develop mannish muscles (seriously), thus dragging down the awesome Birds of Prey all to fullfill your little fantasy world where women are whores. Once again, Frank Miller, a comic books is no place for you issues. Goddamn.

Deep breaths, Jayne, we're almost done.

Oh, there's this retarded, I mean XTREEM panel:

Jim Lee art aside, this is really, really, painfully stupid. God.

Moving on because I feel I've been doing this for as long as Batman and Robin were in the Batmobile, which is approximately elevenity years.

So Gordon's wife gets in an accident and Babs get caught by the police and confronted by her father thusly.

Hey, Frank Miller, since this is not the first comic novel you've ever written, I'm assuming you understand how layout works. By that I mean I shouldn't have to play Where's Waldo with your stupid narrative boxes to find the two people in this panel. Trust me when I say that you're writing is not nearly good enough to warrant such covering up of Jim Lee's art.

And finally ASBaRtBW Issue #10 ends with this:

With Jim calling some woman on the phone who we don't even know while having an internal monologue about crazy-ass Batman. That's some ending, Frank Miller. And by that I mean it really, really isn't.

So this monthly comic book puts out about three issues per years, but I can understand that because it takes time to work up the fine crazy that we've seen here. I mean, you don't just expect Frank Miller to turn Batman into a cruel, sadistic, tewleve year old boy kidnapping, rat eating lunatic overnight, do you? Let's not forget the time it took him to make Dick a little sociopath, either. And it took him longer to fully shape the complex character of man hating Wonder Woman, and even longer to take Black Canary and absolutely destory all her previous decades of characterization. Like fine wine, you have to age this crazy.

Say what you will about Miller's other work, ASBaRtBW is not even close to his best or even most coherent effort. His dialogue is awful, his pacing, as seen by Batman and Robin being in the Batmobile for about eight years, is non existent, and he has absolutely no clue as to the pacing of time within the comic itself. This remains one of DC's top selling titles, when it eventually comes out, mainly because it is so hilariously godawful that people buy it for the mocking value alone, not too mention the ongoing train wreck that is Frank Miller's insanity.

Since I've just about broken this blog with this sinfully long post, I shall pose the final question to you, dear reader: Is Frank Miller just a plain crazy mofo or the craziest mofo? Tell me what you think in the comments!


Bartholomew Percival Osgood said...

Certainly, he's a philandering philanthropist with a predisposition for perusing the private profiles of prepubescents...

...but he is the G-ddamn Batman.

Anonymous said...

All right. I agree on so many levels. Miller claiming that "The Goddamn Batman" comic is self-parody is ridiculous, especially since it took him twelve issues to 'admit' it. Sounds a lot like a cover up, if you ask me.

Oh, sidebar.... The shirtless Nazi with the swastika boobs is named Bruno, and has, in fact, been around in comics since Dark Knight Returns. yeah. Miller hasn't been sane for a while, but at least s/he was a minor character back then, and one of the only weird spots in an incredible graphic novel.

Regardless, DKR is probably one of the best Batman stories of all time. It seems that with age came insanity, but no one wants to tell the creator of DKR and Sin City that he's become too nutbars for comics. So, we get dreck like this, and the fanboys love it.

Darcy said...

Friends don't let friends read All Star Batman!

Liz said...

::pats his shoulder:: There's a good girl.

Anonymous said...

Wow babe! You totally nailed it! I don't think it'll ever be said enough, so your long posting is quite deserving and apt.

Like you I too love DKR and SinCity, and like you this Robin/JimLee thing cannot at all be waived in my mind by his previous outstanding-ness. This was total crap! Great art won't hide crap, as great actors can't save a crappy movie, and Miller, you made one crappy comic here.

The thing is, Dennis O'niel in a dvd special feature documentary had stated that Frank Miller doesn't likes super heroes. I never understood that before, but I see it now. Because in "DK Strikes Again" it was an elseworld. Robin was a fag, Supes was a jerk, wondy was a slut, Bats was a murderer, and on and on but it was totally acceptable since it was an unadulterated imaginary elseworlds as all elseworlds are.

So we would never suspect Frankie boy to be anti superheroe as Oniel claimed, since the guise of an elseworld would block that. Then in the original Dark Knight Returns, which wasn't at all an elseworld just the final Batman tale, we see superman a bit of an elitist for America. Kind of like "America, love it or leave it" type bully. But not so much so, it was just slightly hinted in Superman. I think Superman in DKR was still Superman.

So DKR had a slight hint, but not verifiable, and Strikes again had a strong display of anti superheroes but still not verifiable due to it being excused as an elseworld. But with the Robin/JimLee there is no longer anything to hide behind. It was normal continuity, We were to see Miller fully exposed on his take for the idea of a superhero, and he would have no excuse. And he proved Oniel right! Miller either doesn't really get the superhero idea or he just plain hates the concept and would rather have them act like bad asses.

Miller doesn't really understand the whole super hero notion, so he can't do guys like Robin and Captain America or Superman and Aquaman. What miller finds acceptable is The Punisher, Logan (Wolverine), Robocop, Clint Eastwood, Ghost Rider, etc.

He doesn't feel personally embarrassed with these 'cool' types, it's easier and comfortable. And it takes alot of balls and insight and whole mess of courage to wear what Superman is wearing, or what Aquaman is wearing, or what Captain America is wearing, etc. NOt just wear it, but to THINK of it. Miller doesn't have that outgoing courage, so he can't handle that kind of idea, and is terribly awkward around it, he just chews it out as SinCity version.

And unfortunately, even with his one saving grace for a superhero, he has totally lost the Batman. He can no longer do the Bat at all. Of course Batman is a rebel, the best of rebels. He's like Robin Hood and Zorro. But he's not rogue, he's not a black sheep moron. Of course Batman has attitude and slyness, but he's not a loose cannon or a hot head. Of course Batman is insane with will power, but he's not a delusional psycho path. Batman is by far an rebel with an attitude with insane will power, NOT a rogue hot-headed delusional psychopath. I guess Frank Miller could no longer see the lines.

Frankie boy is and always will be one of the best comic book creators, but he lost his touch at the last SinCity. He knew it too, because his last SinCity tale was not at all up to standard with the rest of them and that's why he ended it, he knew he ran out, he was empty.

So that was the 1st sign, the 2nd sign was when he did the elseworlds Strikes Again, and we clearly see his dementia and his lack of ability to draw in the comic book style. His previous ability of drawing that you see in Wolverine or Daredevil had disappeared. But STrikes Again was an elseworld so we can really say nothing. But finally, the 3rd sign was a dead give away. He accepted the contract for Rodriguez to make a movie of his SinCity comic.


Anonymous said...

...Unlike Alan Moore, Miller had sold out, and hypocritically too as Miller wrote an entire article badgering how the Image boys were sell outs. In the Wizard magazine no less! Then Frankie does the same exact thing he was criticizing the Image boys of doing! What a hypocrite!?
I know Alan Moore must make him feel so ashamed. The movie Rodriguiz made with Miller was one of the worst acted movies in the world and the most clumsiest adaptation of comic to cinema!! It was like some one who didn't understand what comics were literally pasting it onto a movie!

Anyhow, I lost respect for the hypocrite then and there, but he still went so far as to be arrogant and egoistical enough to do the Robin/jimLee crap! Think about it, due to his hollywood fame he was now in a position to do ANY comic book he wanted. ANY comic book. Did he select any of the most legendary Batman artist to draw his script? NO! He agreed to Jim Lee because Jim Lee being a big name was for his ego a popular enough big-shot to be worthy of doing a project with! There are so many Bat artist that are unsung that Miller could've showcased by doing an excellent Batman story with and he went for the ego stroking one.

Well, I'm getting to write a long one myself here so I should end it soon. The only thing that may save him now is that currently he is doing the scripts for Neal Adams (you know the guy who INVENTED the BATMAN?)who is doing a 6 graphic novel called "Oddessey". So it's not just Neal Adams pencils or art that Miller will be honored with, it really is Neal Adams himself who will be keeping a strict line on Frankie so that Frankie doesn't step out of line or act goofy and blind.

Miller may be scripting, but you KNOW Neal Adams will be in control of the whole thing, plot-wise, script-wise, everything. So miller's just a tool for Adams, and Miller knows it. Miller isn't changing the feild of science like Neal is nor did Miller revolutionize comic books like Neal did. I'm sure that frankie will be kept in his place and is appreciative for Neal giving him an opportunity to redeem himself.

Oh yes, and Frankie boy turned the Spirit into the SHADOW?! What the hell is that???

Anonymous said...

"I'm looking at you 300. Speaking of 300, only Frank Miller could take a culture that historically has ritualized rape of its women and basically encouraged all their warriors to form homosexual relationships with one another and stick them in leather manties and capes and proclaim it to be NOT GAY AT ALL. I think this may have been the start of his craziness"

Aw please. What the fuck are you talking about, you fucking cunt? Are you really stupid or your feministoid brain cannot let you understand History?

What Miller did on 300 wasn't perfect but wasn't blasphemy neither. If you don't know, as you really embarassed yourself with that quote, Graecia was the first place where women were not only equal to men, but had their special place on society. There was no rape rituals like you fucking said.

And for someone talking shit about Miller's view on gay characters and such, you were really a hypocrite. What's the matter with imposing gay relations? Not that it occured, it was just another exibit of your stupidity, but men at that time weren't affraid of showing love to another. There's a whole gap of difference between "gay", "homossexual" and "love".

You fucking cunt.