Frank Miller is an American comic book writer, penciler, inker, novelist, film director, screenwriter, and producer. His work shows the influence of film noir and manga. He is famous for his comics and graphic novels like Ronin (1984), Daredevil: Born Again(1986), The Dark Knight Returns (18986), Batman: Year One, Sin City, and 300 (1998).
Frank Miller was born as ‘Frank O’Neill Miller’ on Sunday, January 27, 1957 (age 63 years; as in 2020) in Olney, Maryland, US. He was raised in Montpelier, Vermont. He did his schooling from U-32 Middle & High School, Vermont. He was given informal lessons by Neal Adams (American comic book artist) after he moved to New York to pursue his career in comics.
Height (approx.): 6′ 1″
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: White
Family & Ethnicity
Parents & Siblings
Frank Miller was born into an Irish Catholic family. His mother was a nurse, and his father was an electrician and carpenter. He has six siblings, out of which, four are elder than him and two are younger.
Relationships & Wife
He was married to the colorist Lynn Varley from 1986 to 2005.
He was once in a relationship with Kimberly Halliburton Cox who is a Shakespearean scholar and actress.
Frank Miller’s first published work appeared at Western Publishing’s Gold Key Comics imprint after he was recommended by the American comic writer Neal Adams, to whom Frank had sent his work samples. Most of his early works were tentatively credited; a few of his credited works are ‘Royal Feast’ in the licensed TV series comic book ‘The Twilight Zone’ (June 1978) by an unknown writer, and ‘Endless Cloud’ also by an unknown writer, in the following issue (July 1978). By June 1978, he had his confirmed credit in Wyatt Gwyon’s six-page ‘Deliver Me From D-Day,’ inked by Danny Bulanadi in ‘Weird War Tales.’
Marvel and DC Comics
After leaving Western Publishing, he went to DC Comics, where he was savaged by the Director of DC, Joe Orlando. Later, he went to the American cartoonist Vinnie Coletta who recognized Frank’s talent and gave him a one-page war-comic book job. His works appeared in the DC Comics, ‘Weird War Tales’ (1978), The Greatest Story Never Told (1978), and The Edge of History in Unknown Soldier (1978).
His first work for Marvel comics was as a penciler in a seventeen-page story titled ‘The Masthter Assassin of Mars, Part 3’ in John Carter, Warlord of Mars (1978).
At Marvel, he settled as a regular fill-in and cover artist. He did a lot of works there. One of his assignments was to draw ‘Peter Parker’ from ‘The Spectacular Spider-Man, which appeared in Daredevil (1979). The sales of the Daredevil were very poor, and Gene Colan (American comic book artist who was working on Daredevil) had left the comic. It was the time when Frank was given the responsibility as a penciler in Daredevil, written by Roger McKenzie and inked by Klaus Janson. After this, he became one of Marvel’s rising stars. However, the sales of Daredevil did not improve, and Marvel decided to cancel selling the comic. Unhappy with McKenzie’s writing, even Frank decided to quit the comic, but Danny O’Neil, who had arrived as the new editor of Marvel, saw potential in Frank, gave Daredevil to him and moved McKenzie to another comic. Frank came as a writer and penciler of Daredevil after which the sales of the comics increased.
He further rose to fame with the comics- Batman’s Wanted: Santa Claus – Dead or Alive (1980), two issues of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man- Annual (which featured Doctor Strange in 1980 and Punisher in 1981 issue), and Wolverine (1982). In 1981, he created ‘Elektra,’ which was featured in Daredevil, and later became one of the most popular Marvel superheroes; he also created a solo series for the character, which became very famous.
His first creator-owned title was in the comic ‘Ronin’ (1983-1984).
In 1986, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, a four-issue miniseries was released by DC comics.
He has worked in the DC Comics, Batman (1997-2007), The Dark Knight (1986-2019), Superman (1984), Superman and Batman: World’s Funnest (2000), Orian (2000). He has also written and illustrated many Marvel comics, such as John Carter, Warlord of Mars (1978), The Spiderman (1979-1981), Daredevil (1979-1993), Elektra (1982-1991), Power Man and Iron Fist (1981), The Fantastic Four (1982), Wolverine (2009), Incredible Hulk (1981), and Sensational She-Hulk (1993).
Dark Horse Comics
Later, he refused to work for DC comics (after a dispute) and shifted his base to the independent publisher Dark Horse Comics. Through Dark Horse Comics, he released- Hard Boiled (1990), Give Me Liberty (1990), Sin City (1991), RoboCop vs. The Terminator (1992), A Dame to Kill For (1994), The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot (1995), The Big Fat Kill (1996), Family Values (1997), Dark Horse Maverick: Happy Endings (2002).
He made his debut as a screenwriter with the film ‘RoboCop 2’ (1990). However, his work was heavily edited as many considered his comics to be unfilmable. The original script written by him was adapted by Stevan Grant in the comic book ‘Frank Miller’s RoboCop.’
He made his directorial debut with the film ‘Sin City’ (2005), co-directed by Robert Rodriguez. The film earned a Palme d’Or nomination, won the Austin Film Critics Award, and garnered a Czech Lion nomination.
He made his debut as a producer with the film 300 (2006).
Miller has directed, produced, and written for the films, The Spirit (2008), Batman: Year One (2011), Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (2012 & 2013), and Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (2014). He has also made cameo appearances in the films, RobCop 2 (1990), Jugular Wine: A Vampire Odyssey (1994), Daredevil (2003), Sin City (2005), The Spirit (2008), and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014).
Awards & Honors
- DC Comics named him as one of the honorees in the company’s 50th-anniversary publication, Fifty Who Made DC Great in 1985
- Scream Awards for The Comic-Con Icon Award – 2006
- Best Single Issue for Daredevil #227 “Apocalypse” (Marvel) in 1986
- Best Writer/Artist (single or team) – with David Mazzucchelli, for Daredevil: Born Again (Marvel) in 1986
- Best Single Issue for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1 “The Dark Knight Returns” (DC) in 1987
- Best Graphic Album for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (DC) in 1987
- Best Art Team – with Klaus Janson, and Lynn Varley for Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (DC) in 1987
- Best Writer/Artist for Elektra Lives Again, Sin City (Dark Horse), and 300 (Dark Horse) in 1991, 19993, and 1999, respectively
- Best Graphic Album: New for Elektra Lives Again (Marvel) in 1991
- Best Finite Series/Limited Series for Give Me Liberty (Dark Horse) in 1991, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (Dark Horse/Legend) in 1995, Sin City: The Big Fat Kill (Dark Horse/Legend) in 1996, 300 (Dark Horse) in 1999
- Best Graphic Album: Reprint for the 1993 Sin City (Dark Horse) and the 1998 Sin City: That Yellow Bastard (Dark Horse)
- Best Artist/Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team for 1993 for Sin City (Dark Horse)
- Best Short Story for 1995 Sin City: The Babe Wore Red and Other Stories (Dark Horse/Legend)
- Inducted in Eisner Awards Hall of Fame in 2015
- Best Continuing or Limited Series for 1996 Sin City (Dark Horse) and 1999 300 (Dark Horse)
- Best Graphic Album of Original Work for 1998 Sin City: Family Values (Dark Horse)
- Best Domestic Reprint Project for 1997 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, 10th Anniversary Edition (DC)
- Favorite Comicbook Penciler in 1983
- Favorite Comicbook Writer: US for Roll of Honour in 1987
- Favorite Comicbook Penciler in 1987
- Favorite Comic Album: US for the 1987 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (DC)
- Favorite Cover: US for the 1987 Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #1 (DC)
- Favorite Comic Album: US for the 1988 Daredevil: Love and War (DC)
- Favourite Black & White Comicbook for the 2000 Hell and Back (A Sin City Love Story) (Dark Horse)
- Favorite Comics Writer/Artist in 2002
- Favorite Comics-Related Book for the 2006 Eisner/Miller (Dark Horse)
- Favorite Comics Writer/Artist in 2012
UK Comic Art Award
- Best Original Graphic Novel/One-Shot for 1991 Elektra Lives Again (Epic Comics)
- Best Writer/Artist in 1992
- Best Writer/Artist in 1993
- Best Graphic Novel Collection for the 1993 Sin City
- Best Writer/Artist in 1994
- In 2012, Joanna Gallardo-Mills, who was working for Miller as an executive coordinator, filed a suit against Miller in Manhattan for discrimination and ‘mental anguish,’ citing that Miller’s former girlfriend, Kimberly Cox, created a hostile work environment for Gallardo in Miller’s workspace.
- In July 2011, he published a graphic novel titled ‘Holy Terror’ in which a hero fights Al-Queda, a transnational extremist Salafist militant organization. While promoting the novel, he remarked,
I was raised Catholic and I could tell you a lot about the Spanish Inquisition but the mysteries of the Catholic Church elude me. And I could tell you a lot about Al-Qaeda, but the mysteries of Islam elude me too.”
His sentences created a huge controversy. On the other hand, the novel itself faced a huge backlash for being appalling, offensive, and vindictive, as cited by critics.
- In 2011, he again became the center of controversy when he posted remarks against Occupy Wall Street Movement. He said,
a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists … Wake up, pond scum. America is at war against a ruthless enemy. Maybe, between bouts of self-pity and all the other tasty tidbits of narcissism you’ve been served up in your sheltered, comfy little worlds, you’ve heard terms like al-Qaida and Islamicism.”
His sentences generated a big controversy. In an interview in 2018, he clarified that he wasn’t thinking clearly, at the time he made the statement.
- His comics have often attracted controversies; Holy Horror was termed as Anti-Islamic, and Sin City was termed as misogynistic and homophobic.
- In 2019, he filed a lawsuit against his ex-wife (Lynn Varley), who had earlier worked with Frank, for allegedly swiping valuable rough sketches of his work and trying to sell them under the table.
- Cartoonist(s): Will Eisner, Neal Adams, Jim Steranko
- Comic Book: Spirit by Will Eisner
- Novel(s): Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett
- When he was fourteen years old, he discovered the comic book ‘Spirit’ by Will Eisner. He was deeply inspired by the comic and decided to become a cartoonist.
- Miller tried to write for films before but failed, and decided to never work on films again. However, one day, he met the filmmaker Robert Rodriguez who made a short film based on a story from Miller’s Sin City titled ‘The Customer is Always Right.’ After watching the short film, Miller was pleased and decided to co-direct the full-length film ‘Sin City’ (2005), which marked his directorial debut.
- In 1995, Miller and Geof Darrow (American comic book artist) collaborated on the comic book ‘Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot,’ which was published as a two-part miniseries by Dark Horse Comics. In 1999, the comic became an animated series on Fox Kids channel. During this period, Miller became one of the founding members of the comic imprint ‘Legend,’ under which many of Miller’s Sin City works were released, via Dark Horse Comics.
- Simon & Schuster’s publishing company published Miller’s and author Tom Wheeler‘s young-adult novel Cursed (2019), which was based on the story of ‘King Arthur’s’ legend from the point of view of the ‘Lady of the Lake.’ In 2020, the Netflix series of the same name was created by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler, which starred Devon Terrell and Katherine Langford in lead roles.