GK’s Under the Influence: When Bad Things Happen to Good People


This week I thought we could take a look at something I often ponder, Does creativity have a time limit?

Now of course that is a very general statement but I will focus this on one man in particular Frank Miller as he is one who in my opinion has written some of the very best and very worst stories ever inked.
I’m not going to recap fully his important titles as you will most likely know by now so it would be somewhat condescending but needless to say what he did in the 80’s with titles such as Daredevil, Dark Knight Returns and Wolverine both as an artist and writer changed the medium forever.

Marrying up noirish sensibilities with characters begging to have them, he is often credited with bringing grit back into the Batman franchise, which is somewhat true though to say that ignores the work of Dennis O’Neil who I feel is more responsible for making the Batman titles have some bite again.
Either way he is the definitive Daredevil guy which isn’t an easy task given the sheer breadth and depth in quality that some writers since have shown, but never quite surpassed the measuring stick that is Millers run.

He even had great success outside of the big two, with Sin City and 300, two titles which very much cemented him as a Hollywood friendly comic writer.

But somewhere after the new millennium there has been a noticeable dip in quality of a lot of his work, If I had to speculate I would say that perhaps being attached to film projects as well as being a comic creator has made him spread himself too thin.

True he was a co-director on Sin City which was a particularly great movie but then the counter argument to that would be it was heavily based on his previous work from the 90’s and also had co-direction from Tarantino and Rodriquez who are two of greatest directors of all time in terms of critical praise.

In contrast to Sin City, The Spirit which was fully directed by Miller didn’t fare well at all in spite of The Spirit being one of comic books great untapped properties and the film having a fantastic ensemble cast and sepia toned visuals similar to Sin City.

Then outside of his Hollywood dealings he made his long awaited return to Batman in 2005, with the All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder miniseries.
Which was generally derided as well given to dodgy dialogue and extremes in character, to the point of parody of his earlier works.

He was then due to release a follow up Holy Terror, Batman! in which Batman and Robin would hunt Bin Laden and fight Al Qaeda , Now Miller has never shied away from his political beliefs which are very much on display in earlier works such as The Dark Knight Returns however this went down about as well as you could imagine and the project was nixed.
Leading him to move the project to his Legendary comic imprint, with the character of Batman now someone else made for the comic this however didn’t help to take the sour taste out of your mouth much.

Regardless the legacy he has from earlier years will ensure he will always be seen as one of the greats and Sin City: A Dame To Kill For looks to be very much in the mold of the first film but I think if Miller brought out another comic book project I would certainly think twice before buying it.

As per usual I am interested in your say, Does creativity ever peak or is it continuous throughout ones life time?

The writer of this piece was: GARYavGary Kane aka (GK)
Article: Where are They Now (Prev: Under The Influence)
GK tweets from @Kanoclassic

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