Monday, December 12, 2011

Review: Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson Vol. 3


Collects Daredevil Nos. 185-191, 219, Daredevil: Love & War and What If? No. 28 (cover dates August, 1981- December, 1986)

Writer: Frank Miller

Artists: Klaus Janson, Frank Miller, John Buscema and Bill Sienkewicz

Forget that right-wing Hollywood sell out that calls himself Frank Miller in 2011, and journey with me to the past. A past where a young, hungry artist helps push the medium to the limits, challenging the now defunct Comics Code Authority. A past where this creator, who earned fame, fortune and notoriety, went on to fight for the rights of his fellow creators to try and help them get a fairer share of the pie. Fortunately, I can separate the art from the artist, and was still able to enjoy this book.

Horrible gradient shading.

This is the first time that I've read Miller's legendary run on the title, and it has aged well. Everyone that I know that read these issues off of the stands ranks them among their all-time favorite comic books. While I wouldn't go that far, these are damn fine reads. I am not a huge Frank Miller fan, and I prefer his writing to his artwork. He turns over the lion's share of the artwork over to Klaus Janson during this run, sticking to roughs and layouts. This might bother some people but not me.

Miller's love of film noir/ pulp crime becomes apparent but begins to wear on you. Again, I realize that he was playing this song 30 years ago, and it has since been copped by every writer that has come down the pike since then. Crime comics have become a dime a dozen in the last few years, and I suspect that most of them owe a huge debt to this title. Frank Miller was one of the pioneers of the dark and gritty crap that would overtake my beloved Silver Age flavor in superhero comic books, and the shock-waves from this are still being felt today. I absolve the pioneers of any trend in entertainment, because they had an original vision that was later strip-mined and rendered impotent by their followers. Miller turned this into a hard-boiled crime comic, filled with gray areas and questionable motives for the hero. It was the later generation of comic book creators that seem to have missed the point of what he was going for. 

Artwork by Bill Sienkewicz from the Love & War Original Graphic Novel.

The OCD zone- I think that this book gave me a rash, with it's terrible 2001 gradient shades. Daredevil looks orange rather than red, because primary colors are stupid. Most Marvel Comics from a decade ago use softer colors, lots of pastels and other muted tones, and I hate them. This hack job recoloring has not aged well, and I yearn for the Masterworks to reach this run.

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