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Personal History

Frank Miller (born January 27, 1957, in Olney, Maryland) is an American writer, artist, and film director best known for his film noir style comic-book stories. He is acclaimed as one of the most influential and popular creators in comics today.

Professional History

Early career

Raised in Montpelier, Vermont, Miller was a comics fan from an early age. Setting out to become an artist, he published his first work in The Twilight Zone for Gold Key Comics in 1978. More penciling work followed for anthology titles from DC Comics and his first work at Marvel Comics in John Carter: Warlord of Mars, #18.

At Marvel, Miller settled in as a regular fill-in and cover artist, working on a variety of titles. A pivotal fill-in job was on Spectacular Spider-Man issues 27 and 28. These stories featured Daredevil as a supporting character, who at the time was considered a B-list superhero with a poorly selling title. However, Miller saw something in the character he liked and asked editor in chief Jim Shooter if he could take over Daredevil's regular title. Shooter agreed, and Miller became the new penciller on the title.

Daredevil and the early 1980s

Miller's first issue of Daredevil was #158, which was the last part of an ongoing story written by Roger McKenzie. Although mainly conforming to traditional comic-book styles, Miller infused this first issue with his own film noir style, which proved to be a success. After this issue Miller became one of Marvel's fastest rising stars and also started plotting stories with McKenzie. His artwork was highly detailed but still noirish as his run progressed. Learning from Neal Adams, Miller would sit for hours sketching the roofs and streets of New York in an attempt to give his Daredevil art an authentic feel not commonly seen in superhero comics at the time.

Beginning with issue 168 in 1981, Miller took over the writing duties as well, with Klaus Janson providing inks. This issue saw the first appearance of Elektra, a character who would become incredibly popular in her own right. Meanwhile, Miller had made Daredevil so successful that it went from a bimonthly to a monthly title with issue 171.

Over the months, Miller gradually infused the stories with darker themes and stories heavily influenced by Japanese manga. Some stories failed to pass the Comics Code Authority censor in their original forms. This trend peaked in issue 181 when the assassin Bullseye killed Elektra. Although deaths of supporting characters were commonplace in comics at the time, the death of a major character like Elektra was not. Miller made it clear in the next few issues that he intended Elektra to remain dead; nonetheless, he resurrected her later.

Miller finished his Daredevil run with issue 191. In his time he had transformed a secondary Marvel character into one of the most popular and best-selling characters, while Miller himself had become the industry's hottest creator and was in high demand.

Also during this time, Miller and writer Chris Claremont produced a four-part Wolverine miniseries, spun off from the popular X-Men title. Miller used this solo appearance to expand on Wolverine's character and to feature his manga-influenced art more explicitly. The series was a critical success and further cemented Miller's place as a major talent. Miller found time to draw a short Batman Christmas story for a DC Comics Christmas special. He would become closely associated with this character as well as with Daredevil.

Miller rounded out his stint at Marvel with The Elektra Saga, a four-part miniseries largely consisting of material previously published in his Daredevil run. He moved to DC Comics and produced Ronin (his first creator-owned title) and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, which would revitalize one of DC's stars.

Work History


See Also

Links and References


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