Icons: Season 4, Episode 3
Fans of Frank Miller's Sin City have been for years bedazzled by the comics' bold, hard-boiled look and the gritty tales told within, but many folks are just now coming to see the mastery of Miller's work through the film version of the comic. Miller spent years working on Sin City independently, but creating comic books wasn't always so easy. Growing up in Vermont, Frank Miller started drawing comics at home at the age of six, using typing paper stapled together to make comic books following a fascination with Batman. Though he'd eventually become a comic book legend, when he traveled to New York to try to break into the comic industry, there were many hurdles he'd face before getting his first real job with a pencil. While working menial and sometimes dangerous jobs, Miller polished his skills under the tutelage of Neil Adams; after being told repeatedly that his work was terrible, Adams found him a job drawing Twilight Zone comics, and his career took off. After a slow start, Miller found himself drawing Spectacular Spider-Man, which eventually landed him a job drawing Daredevil for Marvel. In 1979, Miller became the principal artist for the series, eventually taking over writing duties as well and transforming the series. With the creation of Daredevil's love and enemy Elektra, Miller reinvented the series as his own. In 1983, Frank Miller left Marvel and created Ronin for DC Comics, which was regarded as strange at the time due to its sci-fi, anime-esque influence. Following Ronin, Miller agreed to work on a project that he'd been both anxious and hesitant about for a long time--Batman. However, instead of continuing along the path of the obvious, Miller opted to tell a different tale of Batman, one that set Batman past middle age instead of his eternal age of 29. The Dark Knight Returns was a solid hit and established Miller not merely as a comic book artist, but as an icon. Following the success of Dark Knight Returns, Miller decided it was time for a change of pace and moved out to California. While there, he found work writing the sequels to Robocop, but found himself dissatisfied with the Hollywood process. After firmly extracting himself from the film industry, Miller decided it was time to work on a project he truly loved--Sin City. After the publication of Sin City by Dark Horse Comics, Miller received many offers from filmmakers to do a film version of his masterpiece, but he always declined, fearing the disappointment of an adaptation that didn't live up to his expectations. It was not until Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi, Once Upon a Time in Mexico) approached the artist with an offer to create an amazingly faithful version of Sin City that Miller even considered allowing the project. However, once Miller laid his eyes on Rodriguez' demo that reproduced the graphic novel frame-by-frame, he was sold. Despite his reluctance to allow the film to be made at all, Frank Miller learned to trust the film industry again by working with the best.