Tag Archives: frank miller

20 YEARS AGO: 1991


Primal Scream – Screamadelica

My Bloody Valentine – Loveless

Blur – Leisure

Nirvana – Nevermind

Pixies – Trompe Le Monde


Terminator 2: Judgment Day (dir. James Cameron)

Silence Of The Lambs (dir. Jonathan Demme)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (dir. Michael Pressman)

Barton Fink (dir. Joel Coen/Ethan Coen)

Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (dir. Peter Hewitt)


- “The Hard Goodbye”, Frank Miller’s first Sin City story, begins its serialization in Dark Horse Presents #51.

X-Force #1 by Rob Liefeld & Fabian Nicieza sells 4 million copies, making it one of biggest-selling comics of all time.

Bone by Jeff Smith begins.

- X-Men #1 by Chris Claremont & Jim Lee sells 8.1 million copies, making it the biggest-selling single issue from an American publisher, a record it still holds.

Sandman #19 by Neil Gaiman & Charles Vess becomes the first comic to win a World Fantasy Award; it remains the only comic to do so, as the rules for the award were changed soon after to disallow a comic from winning again.


Twin Peaks airs its final episode on June 10, 1991.

- Greg

30 YEARS AGO: 1981


New Order – Movement

Depeche Mode – Speak & Spell

The Replacements – Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash

Echo & The Bunnymen – Heaven Up Here

The Cure – Faith


Raiders of the Lost Ark (dir. Steven Spielberg)

Mad Max 2 a.k.a The Road Warrior (dir. George Miller)

The Evil Dead (dir. Sam Raimi)

Superman II (dir. Richard Lester/Richard Donner)

Escape From New York (dir. John Carpenter)


- Frank Miller takes over writing & art duties on Daredevil #168, which also introduces the character Elektra.

- Los Bros. Hernandez self-publish Love & Rockets #1.

Uncanny X-Men #141/142 feature the fan-favorite “Days Of Future Past” story arc by Chris Claremont & John Byrne.

Weirdo (edited by R. Crumb) debuts.

Nexus #1 by Mike Baron & Steve Rude is published by Capital Comics, an early salvo in the independent/creator-owned comics boom of the 1980s.

70 Aspects Of Batman: 19


From Wikipedia:

Boleslav Felix Robert “Bill” Sienkiewicz [pronounced sin-KEV-itch][2] (born May 3, 1958,[1][3]) is an Eisner Award-winning American artist best known for his comic book work, primarily for Marvel ComicsThe New Mutants and Elektra: Assassin. Sienkiewicz often utilizes oil painting, collage, mimeograph and other forms generally uncommon in comic books. Sienkiewicz broke into the comics business at age 19[5] with an art style heavily influenced by Neal Adams’ work.

In addition to his work in comics, Sienkiewicz has also worked in numerous other media. In 1995, he illustrated the Martin I. Green biography of Jimi Hendrix, Voodoo Child: The Illustrated Legend of Jimi Hendrix. The following year he provided the artwork for the Bruce Cockburn album The Charity of Night, and went on to provide album covers for RZA‘s Bobby Digital in Stereo (1998) and EPMD‘s Business as Usual (1990).

Sienkiewicz hasn’t done a huge amount of Batman work, unfortunately. He did contribute some interior pages to Batman #400, an anniversary issue that featured various artists:

He also wrote and drew a story for the original Batman:Black & White miniseries. In the last decade or so, Bill has drawn various covers for the Dark Knight (most recently for the Batman: Widening Gyre miniseries written by Kevin Smith), and has inked random issues here or there.

He also painted the below cover for a movie adaptation that didn’t deserve his talent:

And drew some sketches based on a movie that was worth his talents:

Bill Sienkiewicz: one of the most original, influential artists that comics has ever known.


20 YEARS AGO: 1990



HOME ALONE (d. Chris Columbus)

WILD AT HEART (d. David Lynch)


GOODFELLAS (d. Martin Scorcese)








SPIDER-MAN #1 by Todd McFarlane

GIVE ME LIBERTY by Frank Miller & Dave Gibbons

Cable debuts in the pages of NEW MUTANTS #87.

Frank Einstein A.K.A. Madman debuts in CREATURES OF THE ID #1.

AKIRA by Katsuhiro Otomo concludes after eight years in the pages of Young Magazine.


DC launches new Earth One line of graphic novels

Speaking of Batman…

So DC’s giving the whole new reader-friendly line of comics another shot. This time it’s called Earth One. Can it succeed where All Star only partly failed (All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, I’m looking at you). Well, I don’t know either way, but find out more here!


70 Aspects Of Batman: 12



From Wikipedia:

David Mazzucchelli (born September 21, 1960) is an American comic book artist and illustrator. His early work was in superhero comics for Marvel Comics and DC Comics, although he later embarked on a series of acclaimed alternative comics projects.

Mazzucchelli received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and started working in comics in the early 1980s. He started at Marvel Comics where, after a few various issues, he became the regular artist on Daredevil. He developed his skills working with writer Denny O’Neil and culminated his work on this title with the popular and critically acclaimed Daredevil: Born Again story arc, written by Frank Miller (now collected in graphic novel form). Mazzucchelli began as a traditional superhero artist but over the span of his time on Daredevil, his work gained in confidence and employed expressionist techniques.


Mazzucchelli’s first Batwork was featured in World’s Finest #302 from 1984. This page showcases his earlier art style which, as mentioned above, is much more in keeping with the superhero comic look of the time. After completing Daredevil: Born Again, Mazzucchelli’s style had developed from that displayed above into the dynamic minimalism that would come to characterize his work from then on, as seen in Batman: Year One.






Written by Frank Miller and serialized in Batman #404-407, Batman: Year One chronicled the first 365 days of Bruce Wayne’s war on crime, as well as the future Commissioner Gordan’s struggle with corruption in the ranks of the Gotham City Police Department. Year One became an instant classic, thanks in large part to David Mazzucchelli’s sophisticated artwork. Its seen as a seminal Batman story, both in its own right and as a precursor to Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, and was a huge influence on the film Batman Begins.








Year One would also be the last time Mazzucchelli would draw Batman and his universe, apart from the two Who’s Who entries below:



And, aside from a story in Marvel Fanfare #40, that was pretty much the extent of Mazzucchelli’s mainstream career; in 1991, he began his creator-owned Rubber Blanket and from then on his work could be found sporadically in publications like Zero Zero and The New Yorker. This month his graphic novel Asterios Polyp was published, and has been garnering rave reviews.

Oh, here’s the almost-obligatory Black And White statue….




P.S. More Mazzucchelli here.

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70 Aspects Of Batman: 1


So here’s a new feature: 70 Aspects Of Batman.

As you may not know, this year marks the 70th Anniversary of creation of Batman, The Dark Knight, The Caped etc. Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27, cover-dated May 1939. To celebrate one of my favorite fictional character’s anniversaries, I’ve decided to share with you, the loyal Noising Machine reader, 70 different artistic interpretations of this guy throughout the rest of this year. These will include both entries on accepted Batman greats (Neal Adams, Frank Miller), relatively unsung heroes (Norm Breyfogle, Graham Nolan) and great artists who may have only drawn Batman once, but I like ‘em so here they are (Katsuhiro Otomo). There definitely will not be any of the likes of Jim Lee, Michael Turner or Ed Benes though, so you can rest easy. Anyway, for this inaugural edition of 70 AOB, what better place to start then at the very beginning, with Batman’s “creator”…



(Bob Kane pictured right)

Now here’s the thing about Bob Kane: HE WAS AN ASSHOLE. For decades, he had a contract with DC Comics that allowed him to have his name on any and every Batman story they published, regardless of who actually wrote and drew them. He also downplayed and/or outright ignored crediting contributions made by such creators as Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson to the Batman mythos. Basically, he created Batman to cash in on the success of Superman, who DC had premiered a year earlier.


As writer Bill Finger recalled: “[Kane] had an idea for a character called ‘Batman’, and he’d like me to see the drawings. I went over to Kane’s, and he had drawn a character who looked very much like Superman with kind of … reddish tights, I believe, with boots … no gloves, no gauntlets … with a small domino mask, swinging on a rope. He had two stiff wings that were sticking out, looking like bat wings. And under it was a big sign … BATMAN.”

Finger took this initial design and suggested modifications, substituting a cowl for the mask, adding a cape and gloves and instigating the color scheme change to gray and blue. He also came up with the name of Batman’s alter-ego, Bruce Wayne, by taking the last names of Scottish patriot Robert Bruce and Revolutionary War general “Mad” Anthony Wayne and combining them. He also wrote the script for Batman’s initial appearance in Detective #27.


If this seems more like a Bill Finger post than a Bob Kane post, that’s because Bill Finger seems like a better human being to me. If there was any justice, the byline that’s still found in Batman comics today would read “Batman created by Bob Kane & Bill Finger” instead of “Batman Created by That Butthole Bob Kane”.  Kane was all too happy to take the attention and accolades during Batman’s initial success in the 40s, his 60s resurgence thanks to the Adam West TV show and the hoopla surronding the Batman feature films of the late 20th Century. He died in 1998.


Still, I think one can and must judge work on its own merit and not by whether its creator was an asshole, as hard as that may be. Thus, while Bob Kane was a gloryhound who trampelled over others to get undeserved credit, he still did commit the first rendition of Batman to paper. And in his own stiff way, he lent the early Batman stories a sense of atmosphere that could be described as gothic or proto-noir. Like this:


That’s a good, evocative picture. But yeah, for the most part most of the stuff you like about Batman probably came about in spite of Bob Kane, not because of him. And in real-life, I bet Batman wouldn’t even like him that much.


“Master Race” by Bernie Krigstein


Bernie Krigstein is an unknown figure, even to most comic art devotees. I’ve been reading comics and books about comic history for most of my life, and sadly have only the most cursory knowledge of the man’s work. Most of what I do know comes from mentions made by Frank Miller acknowledging the mammoth influence Krigstein had on him. He was only in comics for less than a decade but during that time, and especially during his tenure with E.C. Comics, he experimented with a style based in gritty noir that was decades ahead of its time in how comics could be created, in its subject matter and pacing.

Even though his time at E.C. led to his most acclaimed work, he was still under the strict confines of his editors, who routinely changed his artwork and wouldn’t let his stories go over eight pages. The only time Krigstein was allowed to do a story exactly as he envisioned it was in the pages of “Impact”, a short-lived anthology title mostly made up of twist-ending shockers. Tucked away at the very back of the first issue of “Impact!” was “Master Race”, which, admittedly, could also be classified as a twist-ending shocker, with a major difference: It dealt explicitly with The Holocaust, something that was barely seen in mainstream media at the time, let alone in a comic book.

Taken from Wikipedia:

“When EC published “Master Race” in 1955, there was little in the mass media about the murder by the Nazis of millions of Jews, Gypsies, political oppositionists and homosexuals. The images of crowded gas chambers, mountains of corpses piled like cordwood, and smoke from the burning bodies continuously spewing out of tall chimneys had not yet established themselves in the public consciousness. The material was there, however. You just had to look for it. Margaret Bourke-White‘s Life magazine photograph of almost-dead staring faces behind barbed wire — shot at the evacuation of a concentration camp) at the end of World War II — was sometimes reprinted. This now-familiar photo is echoed in page four, panel five of “Master Race,” as well as in Art Spiegelman‘s 1972 version of Maus (in his book Breakdowns). Five Chimneys: The Story of Auschwitz, a harrowing account by Olga Lenyel, a death camp survivor, was published in 1947. Eugen Kogon’s Theory and Practice of Hell, detailing the horrible workings of the German death camps, was published in 1950. The facts began to surface about the incredible numbers murdered and the cold-blooded, single-minded efficiency with which it was done. Many Americans began to discuss the unspeakable crimes of the Holocaust, but most just found it all too hard to believe. Krigstein’s “Master Race” was therefore an exceptional undertaking. As their contribution to the anti-German propaganda effort, wartime movies and comic books had shown concentration camps and Nazi brutality. But never had they shown the death camps (as distinct from concentration camps) and the unique atrocities such as “medical” experimentation on living people… Krigstein’s piece didn’t spare the sensibility and complacency of the postwar reader. On page four, panel seven, ordinary citizens cover their noses with handkerchiefs against “the stinking odor of human flesh burning in the ovens… men’s… women’s… children’s…” Book burnings, mass live burials, a quiet clinical scene of an operation on a human guinea pig — “Master Race” starkly depicts the madness of the Nazi period in Germany as well as the burning vengeance inspired by these unspeakable crimes.”

It’s really a shame that Krigstein wasn’t given more control over his work, because if “Master Race” is anything to go by, the results would have been absolutely phenomenal. I’m excited to read the art book of his work published by Fantagraphics, in conjuction with a volume of his selected comics work. As for “Master Race”:

“Master Race” (Impact, No. 1, March/April 1955)


The History of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Comics Part I: Mirage Studios (1984-1995)

The TMNT were conceived in 1983 as a tongue-in-cheek joke, primarily as a parody of three comic series that were very popular in the early 1980s. The whole teenage aspect comes from DC Comics’ Teen Titans. The mutant part came from Marvel Comics’ X-Men and the ninja part came courtesy of Marvel’s Daredevil. The turtles part came out of thin air. So basically these two losers, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird were having a very difficult time breaking into the comics industry and it’s easy to see why – their style was really unconventional at a time when there wasn’t a whole lot of variety in comics, let alone alternative publishers to turn to.

Page 1 of TMNT #1 by Kevin Eastman & Peter Laird (1984)

Eastman & Laird created the TMNT and self-published a 3000 copy run of their new comic, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in 1984. This comic introduced each of the turtles, plus Splinter, Shredder, and the Foot Clan. On a whim, they typed up a press release to announce the comic, which was picked up by the Associated Press for some reason, greatly increasing awareness of the comic. ANYWAY, it was a huge hit in spite of the fact that it was black and white and only available in comic shops (which were not as widespread as they are today). The comic was unique not only because it was black and white but because they filled the white spaces with very detailed and I might say gritty greytones. This became a hallmark of Mirage Studios comics.

So, what started on a whim as a joke became a hit, even though it was for the most part a really big rip-off of Frank Miller’s work on Daredevil. Splinter gets his name from Daredevil’s mentor, Stick. The Foot Clan received their name from Daredevil’s nemesis, The Hand (Clan). They even tied in the TMNT’s origin to Daredevil’s, implying that the same chemical spill that transformed Matt Murdock also mutated the Turtles.

Now it was all a big hit and life had to go on, which it did in 1985 with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #2, which introduced April O’Neil, Baxter Stockman, and the Mousers. This issue was also a hit so it all continued, with Eastman and Laird happily toiling away at their comics. They started to do the comic full-time and by 1986 had released several issues, introducing Fugitoid, Casey Jones, the Triceratons, and sharing crossovers with Cerebus and Usagi Yojimbo. Eastman and Laird jumped at any chance to do TMNT short stories, as well, which appeared in anthology titles or as back-up stories in other indie comics.

Eastman & Laird continue the series
TMNT #6 art by Eastman/Laird TMNT #10 art by Eastman/Laird

In 1985, Palladium Books became the first TMNT licensees, producing a series of RPG books starring the Turtles featuring brand new character art, and sometimes new stories, by Eastman and Laird. Then Playmates Toys came along in 1987 to arrange a toy deal, followed by a deal with Murakami Wolf Swenson to produce a cartoon, followed by a deal with Archie Comics to publish a mainstream, kiddie TMNT comic, then a video game license with Konami and finally the movie license with Golden Harvest and New Line. Eastman and Laird became more involved with making business decisions than with producing comics.

To keep up with all of the licensing requirements, Mirage Studios slowly became a REAL studio, hiring several artists to draw comics, design toys, and create art for shit like TMNT napkins and party favors. The artists typically focused on designing new toy characters. If a character went into production, it could be worth $30,000 – $60,000 for that artist. In their spare time, they worked on the comics, which were now sometimes written but usually just overseen by Eastman and Laird. With some exceptions, the quality of the comics was typically maintained. Unlike mainstream comics, new issues came out when they were good and ready, not held to any schedules. Some of them were of incredibly high quality and oozed the sort of enthusiasm that can only come from independent publications.

Mirage Studios artists take over
TMNT #17 art by Eric Talbot TMNT #28 art by Jim Lawson TMNT #29 art by A.C. Farley

At some point it seems that most of the Mirage Studios artists didn’t feel like drawing comics and many underground cartoonists were given turns to produce issues, including people like Richard Corben, Mark Martin, Matt Howarth and Rick Veitch. These comics were typically very good and usually had better stories than issues written by Mirage Studios staff members. In 1992, perhaps because the TMNT empire was starting to wind down, Eastman and Laird decided to work on the series again. They wrote and illustrated issue #50 and then wrote the next 12 issues with Mirage Studios veteran Jim Lawson handling the art. They continued to publish specials and one-shots by independent artists.

Underground creators to the fore
TMNT #35 art by Michael Zulli TMNT #18 pencils by Mark Bode TMNT #23 art by Rick Veitch

In 1993, the series was “cancelled”, though only to give way to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Volume 2, which was NOW IN COLOR. This series was written and illustrated by Jim Lawson and features an admittedly aimless and slow plot that ends rather ambiguously. In 1995, Volume 2 was cancelled and Mirage Studios ceased the publication of comics. This was caused by a few factors: 1) the collapse of the TMNT empire 2) the huge comics industry market crash of the 1990s and 3) a flood that ravaged the Mirage Studios offices and printing facility. ‘Twas the end of an era.

Eastman & Laird return plus Volume 2
TMNT #50 art by Eastman/Laird TMNT #49 pencils by Jim Lawson TMNT Vol.2 #4 art by Jim Lawson

Mirage Studios TMNT Publications Guide:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1-62 (1984-1995)
Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1-7 (1987-1989)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (second series) #1-13 (1993-1995)

Turtle Soup #1-4 (1991-1992)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Flaming Carrot Crossover #1-4
Casey Jones: North By Downeast #1-2

Raphael (1985)
Michaelangelo (1985)
Donatello (1986)
Leonardo (1986)
Turtle Soup (1987)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie (1990)
Green-Grey Sponge-Suit Sushi Turtles: The Parody (1990)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Challenges (1991)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Times Pipeline (1992)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Haunted Pizza (1992)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Maltese Turtle (1993)
Casey Jones & Raphael (1994) <aborted mini-series, later published in full by Image Comics>
The Savage Dragon/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1993)
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/The Savage Dragon (1995)


Flaming Carrot art by Jim Lawson Sushi Turtles art by Mark Martin TMNT #33 art by Richard Corben


related posts:

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the spirit: movie poster

the spirit movie poster

i think i hate this. is this sin city part 2? go to hell, frank miller!

not excited for this, but i’m just judging by the poster and nothing else, so… we’ll see. i guess it could end up being a good film? the spirit site

i AM kind of excited for these, though:
hellboy 2

the dark knight

image stolen from slashfilm.com