IGN did some interviews with Frank Miller, as well as his poor choice of a publisher, Dan DiDio, about their plans to do follow-ups to the former’s Sin City series and also 1983’s Ronin, and the news about their new indie Frank Miller Presents publishing outfit tells the following:
Any new comics company faces great pressure and expectation that comes with trying to make a dent in a business dominated by two major players. But when the title of the company is Frank Miller Presents, well, the expectations are just a tad bit higher.
The new venture bears the name of one of comics’ most celebrated storytellers. Miller is renowned for revitalizing Daredevil and Batman in the 1980’s, as well as for indie comics classics like 300 and Give Me Liberty (with artist Dave Gibbons). Together with former DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio, who has now signed on as the publisher of FMP, Miller aims to launch a company that empowers and inspires artists and writers to push the medium to new limits.
“The goal here is to create a vehicle for the readers, run by the talent, that will explore the potentialities of our beloved story and art form,” Miller tells IGN.
This honestly sounds little different than what Bill Jemas surely wants everybody to believe when he co-founded AWA with Axel Alonso, and besides, something tells me neither Miller nor DiDio want to publish anything even remotely similar to the former’s 2011 graphic novel, Holy Terror, which Miller’s all but disowned after just several years, and all for the sake of getting back into the good graces of the far-left, for all the good it did him after a UK convention disinvited him at the demand of an Islamist. It may not be so shocking he’d boomerang, but it’s still made me lose a lot more respect for Miller than I wished to.
That said, look who Miller’s hired to illustrated one of his new Sin City projects:
For the first new Sin City stories in more than twenty years, Miller is writing a special one-shot illustrated by legendary Italian artist Milo Manara. That book is called Sin City in Color, because it will detour from the noir series’ usual black-and-white format for a full-color printing.
How about that, he’s tasked the artist whom Marvel threw under the bus for the sake of SJWs who hated Manara’s cover for a Spider-Woman series that didn’t last long, left no impact, and no SJWs seemed to lament its eventual cancellation. It may be impressive on the surface that Miller’s willing to do business with Manara. But DiDio, lest we forget, still casts an unpleasant shadow over the proceedings, and, he seems to have turned out an entry of his own for this new publisher in the role of a writer:
Joining the new Ronin series on shelves in November will be the company’s first brand new title, Ancient Enemies. The series, also a bi-monthly $7.99 book, is created and designed by DiDio and artist Danilo Beyruth. It centers on an ancient war between alien civilizations that have made their way to Earth. The final conflict ends up being the spark for the birth of new super-powered beings.
I don’t know how many pages this book will have to justify its cover price, but I do know somebody with a mindset like DiDio’s doesn’t deserve a buyer ship any more than he did when he was still publisher at DC, and even wrote at least a few series which were more like self-indulgent vanity projects that nobody seemed to put much value on. Not even Sideways, which got cancelled pretty fast. But this sure is funny how he’s changing his tune for this indie venture to something different than what he emphasized when he was DC’s publisher:
“Even though it’s a big high concept, what we’re really focused on is the individual characters that rise from the stories themselves,” DiDio says. “And that’s the fun part of it because what we were able to do is a contemporary take on the rise and the advent of superheroes and the superhero world with a much more contemporary tone and understanding of the events of today and how they might play out in the course of these stories.”
[…] DiDio stresses he’s less concerned with building a universe than with just creating a comic that hooks new readers. “The way the story’s being told is pretty similar to the way Darwyn Cooke told New Frontier where you’re telling this long arching story and the characters that are introduced [in that story] are the ones that take us through the story.”
At this point in the conversation, DiDio notes the advantage his new gig has over his old one. “When you look at DC and Marvel, I mean you have characters that are 70, 80 years old, and you’re trying to contemporize them and tell modern-day stories with them, even though their origins come from a different time period. With [Frank Miller Presents] we’re creating characters for today in a story that relates to people and situations that are current.”
Gee, that sure is evasive coming from somebody whose repulsive idea of how to tell “modern” stories was to soil the backgrounds with jarring violence, sexual assault, and other disturbingly crude, dark elements. And who once said he believed superheroes shouldn’t lead happy lives. And, whose former staff once employed a member who said they market to 45-year-olds. Something tells me that’s exactly what he intends to continue in the context of an independent publisher now, and let’s consider Miller practically built a whole career in that vein, based on what Sin City is like, in example, ditto the Dark Knight Returns.
The main problem with DiDio’s past approach, of course, is that his flawed belief in how to tell a story was that it’s got to be “realistic”, in ways that turned out to be selective – that is, not in terms of character drama, but rather, in terms of violent content. So why should we expect any different from him this time? Towards the end, while discussing NFTs, he even put in:
“You don’t have to buy the NFTs. Just read the book because we built the story first. Spice DAO saw the designs and the story and they built their ideas for the NFTs around that, not the other way around” he says, adding that he views NFTs as almost a modern-day version of DVD extras. “The NFTs are just a way to license these characters out and reach out to new markets. The main goal is to write books, create books and build something that is really a fabulous reading experience, and I think that’s really important for comics right now.”
If his previous writing efforts were shunned by the audience, and he didn’t put convincing emphasis on merit before, there’s no reason to assume he’d go about this any differently now. In fact, if they’re interested in selling NFTs as a springboard into more mediums, that brings to mind once again how Jemas is approaching things with his AWA venture, and it wouldn’t be surprising if DiDio and Miller are hoping to develop projects that’d appeal to Hollywood by extension, despite any suggestions made to the contrary. Which’ll just prove a point that a lot of modern comics are really being prepared with the goal of seeking movie/TV adaptations, not serious homegrown audiences.
The biggest problem with DiDio, however, is surely that he remains unrepentant over his poor conduct as an editor/publisher for DC in the past 2 decades, and it’s unlikely he’ll turn out quality entertainment under his own writing pen. That’s why any arguments he posits about quality ring hollow, because he never offered any during the time he ran DC into the ground. A terrible shame Miller had to partner with him. Don’t be surprised if there’s superhero genre fans out there who remember the harm DiDio caused, and would be rightly discouraged from buying FMP’s products as a result, no matter what they think of Miller.
Originally published here.