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 (1986), Batman: Year One, Sin City, and 300 (1998).
Frank Miller was born on Sunday, January 27, 1957 (age 63 years; as in 2020) in Olney, Maryland, as ‘Frank O’Neill Miller.’ He grew up in Montpelier, Vermont. He did his schooling from U-32 Middle & High School, Vermont. After he moved to New York City to pursue a career in comic-making, he was given informal lessons by Neal Adams (American comic book artist).
Height (approx.): 6′ 1″
Hair Color: White
Eye Color: Brown
Family & Ethnicity
Parents & Siblings
Frank Miller belongs to an Irish Catholic family. CBR His father was an electrician and carpenter, and his mother was a nurse. He was born as the fifth of the seven children of his parents.
Wife & Relationships
He got married to colorist Lynn Varley in 1986, and the couple filed for a divorce in 2005.
He was once dating the Shakespearean scholar and actress Kimberly Halliburton Cox.
After moving to New York City, he sent his works to Neal Adams who at first criticized his work, but later, helped him. Adams recommended Miller to Western Publishing’s Gold Key Comics imprint, where his first published work appeared. Most of his early work was tentatively credited; a few of them 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). His first confirmed credit came in June 1978 in Wyatt Gwyon’s six-page ‘Deliver Me From D-Day,’ inked by Danny Bulanadi in ‘Weird War Tales.’
DC & Marvel Comics
After Miller left Western Publishing, he joined DC Comics, where, at first, he was insulted by the Director of DC, Joe Orlando. Later, he contacted American cartoonist Vinnie Coletta who acknowledged Frank’s talent and gave him the job of making a one-page war-comic book. His early works on DC Comics appeared in ‘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 a seventeen-page story titled ‘The Master Assassin of Mars, Part 3’ in John Carter, Warlord of Mars (1978) as a penciler.
He settled as a regular fill-in and cover artist at Marvel. Out of all his works at Marvel, one was to draw ‘Peter Parker’ from ‘The Spectacular Spider-Man,’ which was used in Daredevil (1979). When Miller started working at Marvel, the sales of the Daredevil were very poor, and Gene Colan (American comic book artist who was working on Daredevil) left the comic. Frank worked as a penciler in Daredevil, written by Roger McKenzie, and inked by Klaus Janson. After working in Daredevil, he became one of Marvel’s rising stars. However, the sales of Daredevil did not improve, and Marvel decided to abandon the sale of the comics. Unhappy with McKenzie’s writing, even Frank decided to quit Daredevil, but Danny O’Neil (who had arrived as the new editor of Marvel) saw potential in Frank, and made Frank the writer of Daredevil, moving McKenzie to another comic. With Frank as a writer and penciler of Daredevil, the sales of the comics rose, and his works (as a writer) in 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), further rose him to fame.
In 1981, he created ‘Elektra,’ which was featured in Daredevil as Daredevil’s love interest, and later became one of the most popular Marvel superheroes. He also created a solo comic series for Elektra, which became popular.
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 written and illustrated many comics for Marvel, 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
Due to some issues with DC Comics, he refused to work for them and joined the Dark Horse Comics, an independent publisher. His first work in the Dark Horse Comics was Hard Boiled (1990).
Through Dark Horse Comics, he released 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 film debut as a screenwriter with ‘RoboCop 2’ in 1990; his work was considered unfilmable, and the script for the film was heavily edited. The original script written by him was adapted by Stevan Grant in the comic book ‘Frank Miller’s RoboCop.’
Miller made his directorial debut with the film ‘Sin City’ (2005), which was co-directed by Robert Rodriguez. The film earned a Palme d’Or nomination and a Czech Lion nomination and won the Austin Film Critics Award.
He became 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 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
- Scream Awards for The Comic-Con Icon Award – 2006
- DC Comics named him as one of the honorees in the company’s 50th-anniversary publication – Fifty Who Made DC Great in 1985
- Inkpot Awards in 1981
- 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 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
- 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
- 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)
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 2019, Miller filed a lawsuit against his ex-wife, Lynn Varley, who had earlier worked with Frank in many comics, for allegedly stealing valuable rough sketches of his work and trying to sell them under the table. NYPost
- In 2012, former executive coordinator of Miller, Joanna Gallardo-Mills, filed a suit against Miller in Manhattan for discrimination and ‘mental anguish,’ stating that Miller’s former girlfriend, Kimberly Cox, made it difficult to work for Gallardo in Miller’s workspace by creating a hostile environment.
- Miller published a graphic novel, ‘Holy Terror,’ in July 2011 in which a hero fights Al-Queda, a transnational extremist Salafist militant organization. During the promotions of 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 statements created a huge controversy. On the other hand, the novel itself faced criticism from critics who called it appalling, offensive, and vindictive.
- In 2011, he posted remarks against Occupy Wall Street Movement, a protest movement against economic inequality that began in Zuccotti Park, located in New York City’s Wall Street financial district. Miller 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 controversial statements drew criticism from various sections of society. In an interview in 2018, he clarified that he wasn’t thinking clearly, at the time he made the statement. The Guardian
- His comics have been center of outrage many times; ‘Holy Horror’ is often termed as Anti-Islamic, and Sin City is termed as misogynistic and homophobic.
- Comic Book: Spirit by Will Eisner
- Cartoonist(s): Will Eisner, Neal Adams, Jim Steranko
- Novel(s): Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett
- When he was fourteen years old, he came across the comic book ‘Spirit’ by Will Eisner. He was amazed by the graphics of the comic and decided to become a comic artist.
- 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 1995. In 1999, the comic became an animated series on Fox Kids channel. During this period, Miller became one of the founding members of Dark Horse’s comic imprint ‘Legend,’ under which many of Miller’s Sin City works were released.
- After working in RoboCop (film series), Miller decided that film wasn’t his cup of tea. One day, he met the filmmaker Robert Rodriguez who showed Miller a short film based on Miller’s Sin City titled ‘The Customer is Always Right.’ After watching the short film, Miller was impressed and decided to step into filmmaking again and co-directed the feature film ‘Sin City’ (2005), which won praise from the audience and critics.
- Simon & Schuster, a publishing company published Miller and Tom Wheeler’s (author) 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 the lead roles.