"300" Graphic Novel Talkback (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Comic Book Culture' started by wonderfly, Mar 10, 2007.

  1. wonderfly

    wonderfly Shaking things up a bit
    Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 22, 2002
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    In honor of the new movie which just came out today, I believe it's PAST TIME for a talkback for this classic Frank Miller comic!



    Written by Frank Miller
    Artwork by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley

    The Story:

    The armies of Persia--a vast horde greater than any the world has ever known--are poised to crush Greece, an island of reason and freedom in a sea of madness and tyranny. Standing between Greece and this tidal wave of destruction are a tiny detachment of but three hundred warriors. Frank Miller's epic retelling of history's supreme moment of battlefield valor is finally collected in a glorious hardcover volume in its intended format-- each two-page spread from the original comics is presented as a single undivided page.

    Comments? What are your thoughts?
  2. RedKing52

    RedKing52 Fullmetal Shinigami

    Feb 19, 2007
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    I loved it. Absolutely loved it. Wow. Favorite line was Leonidas accepting to meet with Xerxes while standing admist the bloodied, still-dying Persian soldiers.

    "There's no reason we can't be civil."

    :p :D :evil:
  3. Max Mercury

    Max Mercury Member

    Sep 20, 2005
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    Take every story cliche you can possibly think of and throw it together and you get this movie. My friends and I called practically every plot twist.

    But, it was extremely entertaining, especially if you like battles and gore. Money well spent.
  4. Wonder Woman

    Wonder Woman Well-Known Member

    Jan 7, 2002
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    I picked this up shortly after seeing the movie and I really enjoyed this. I find alot of the complaints about the movie pretty ridiculous, especially after reading the book. There were a few more extremes in the book that weren't present in the movie. As usual I found the book really enjoyable and well done. I wonder what happened to Frank Miller who wrote stuff like this instead of what he's giving us now in All Star Batman & Robin. I thought the art was wonderful and the stoey had an old-fashioned quality to it. I really enjoyed it and how it was presented in that widescreen style. I can see why this book will never be reprinted as a trade. I don't think they'd ever be able to. Did anyone else read this either before or after the movie came out?
  5. Ed Liu

    Ed Liu Frog of Thunder
    Staff Member Moderator Reporter

    Sep 6, 2001
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    I finally got to read this GN right before seeing the movie on Sunday, and I'm not really quite sure what I feel about it. On the plus side, it's certainly got a lot of visual style and verve. The extra-wide layouts really pay off in a lot of places, and give the book a truly distinct look. My wife also pointed out that Miller's style for this book ended up looking something like the kind of art you'll see on Greek vases or other painted artwork, which gave a neat little visual hook to the culture it's borrowed from.

    On the minus side, it ends up reading exactly like stereotypical Frank Miller. There is little difference between the dialogue of King Leonidas and any number of Sin City denizens (or, for that matter, a lot of the tough guys in Dark Knight Returns and even Daredevil). Miller has stated that seeing The 300 Spartans as a boy really made an impression on him, and frankly 300 feels like the kind of book a teenager just into the throes of puberty would write about the battle at Thermopylae. Its presentation of the history and the culture that set up the story is aggressively simple-minded, boiling down to little more than "Spartans are COOL; and by COOL, I mean TOTALLY SWEET!!!!" To its credit it seems to want to have more of a moral than the average Sin City tale, but to get there it has to willfully ignore a whole lot of the historical record, which kind of undermines the purpose of having the moral in the first place. Pitting the battle as free soldiers vs. slaves is kind of a silly thing to use as your theme when the reality was that the Spartans kept plenty of slaves and some Persian soldiers could easily be better paid and better treated than their Greek counterparts. However, that aggressive simple-mindedness I mentioned of the book is really what keeps me from getting too deeply upset at any of this.

    I think 300 is a beautiful but totally vapid work, and one of the first steps of Miller's slide into unaware self-parody. The HC also ends up feeling a bit slight, considering its $30 price tag. It's a REALLY fast read for that kind of money.

    EDIT: The best summary I can think of for my feelings about the book came to me last night: 300 is the Battle of Thermopylae presented through the lens of superhero comic book sensibilities (just like Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story was Bruce Lee's biography presented as a chop-socky kung-fu action flick). Spartans have to be Very Good, Persians have to be Very Bad, and everything else is simplified or ignored to support that binary opposite. Attempting to hang moral or metaphorical meanings of any complexity on the story will make the whole thing come falling down because the story really isn't meant to support it.

    -- Ed

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