Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Basement Tapes: Definitive Run

A very interesting article, as told as a conversation between Joe Casey & Matt Fraction. I'm not sure who Matt Fraction is, but I do know Joe Casey (as I am sure do many of the readers of this blog). But still a very interesting conversation on comics today. This quoted bit is by Matt Fraction. It is well worth the read.

The Basement Tapes: Definitive Run

"From January of 1981 through February of '82, Frank Miller wrote and drew what's widely considered the definitive run of 'Daredevil.' In September of '82, he and Chris Claremont kicked out the 'Wolverine' miniseries, which is probably as definitive a run as that character has come close to having. Then, in July of '83 through August of '84, 'Ronin' came out-- at which point Frank both reinvented himself and caught his breath-- until early 1986, when he and David Mazzucchelli brought out 'Born Again' which I'd argue supplanted his earlier run as the definitive Daredevil book.

"So, as Daredevil #228 hit the stands, so did the first issue of 'The Dark Knight Returns.' Two months after that ended, 'Elektra: Assassin' began over at Epic, and at some point in there his Daredevil GN 'Love & War' also hit, both painted by the always-astonishing Bill Sienkiewicz. Then, as 'Elektra' was wrapping up, 'Batman: Year One' was starting and if there's been a Batman story more definitive and permanently iconic than 'Dark Knight,' it was 'Year One.' Think about it, the phrase 'Year One' has become industry shorthand, you know?

"So-- depending on how you look at it, that's easily five masterworks in six years, several of which are still held as the best those characters and/or books have been. Even today, this period of Miller's creative life is as inspired as it is inspirational-- whatever deal with whatever devil he made came to fruition and the guy was just on fire.

"I was pretty young during all that-- by 'Year One,' 'Frank Miller' was kind of a license to print money (maybe not Miller's license, but DC's, certainly) and, y'know, killer runs. Even 'Rolling Stone' did a story on Miller, mid-'Dark Night,' where he was giggling about the Reaganomic nightmare he'd cooked up for the caped crusader, and giggling even harder about how worried Marvel seemed over Daredevil being out of costume for six months...

"...My point, longwinded though it may be, is that this era of Miller's work was important and you knew it while it was happening.

"Is there anything or anyone comparable today? Not 'Who's the new Frank Miller,' but rather, can there be a new Frank Miller? I don't feel like creators are allowed to define themselves and their runs quite like they used to be... does that make sense? You know what I'm talking about?"