Frank Miller: The Comics Journal Library Vol. 2; 2003
Edited by Milo George
This wonderfully over-sized tome contains rare and classic Frank Miller art, covers, and page layouts to illustrate six interviews and an essay. Gary Groth takes three of the interviews, and Kim Thompson has one. Its 130 lavish pages give you candid moments with Miller the artist at important phases in his career from 1981 to 2003.
The final interview explores Miller’s response to the attacks on the World Trade Center. His stark, simple images speak powerfully in his two-page contribution to 9-11: Artists Respond Vol. 1. Groth doesn’t seem to get the point right away, but excels at giving Miller an opportunity to speak his mind. What begins with an inquiry into an abandoned project about the life of Jesus of Nazareth turns to a discussion of comics as war-time propaganda. Miller expresses ideas which we now know became the book Holy Terror.
Miller and Groth discuss the two things you never want to talk about at a party: religion and politics. In other interviews in this book, they sometimes disagree. This makes for spirited discussions and an outstanding read.
Miller also talks about his anti-censorship work, characters he created or left his mark on, and the nuts and bolts of actually producing ground-breaking work. In one of our favorite anecdotes, he recalls how he and Lynn Varley collaborated with their printer to create a new process for handling the nearly all-black pages in Ronin. Here we get a sense of Miller as an inventor on the cutting edge of comic book art production.
The images below are not the complete interview, which spans twelve pages. But, they give you a taste of the art and ideas within. We love huge books, great conversations, and Frank Miller’s art. This book handsomely delivers all three.
This season’s Fantagraphics catalog arrived in the mail with the portrait of Kim Thompson, above. Kim passed away this summer, but not before he left a rich publishing legacy for us to enjoy.
Below you can see a comic about Kim’s history in the world of comic books, another portrait, and a couple of cartoons produced in his honor. They come from a Seattle publication sent to us by a friend just weeks before the Fantagraphics catalog arrived. If you want to go more in-depth, read the entire article online courtesy of The Stranger. Author Robert Boyd and several more comics artists give Kim a truly touching memorial. If you would like to sample some of our favorites from this publisher, just click Fantagraphics to roam through our online archive.