So we published a podcast this week and this guy Szpirs made some bold statements about Frank Miller’s triumphant graphic novel 300. This loudmouth know-it-all was saying like, it was never a comic book, it’s like a novel with pictures.
Go home, Szpirs. You are wrong. Learn the truth about 300.
300 was published by Dark Horse Comics as a 5-issue monthly miniseries, each issue being a complete chapter. It broke certain conventions – it’s pages were all double page spreads; basically using two comic book pages as a single canvas for layouts. This led to a printing innovation that must’ve confused this Szpirs guy. When the issues were collected into a hardcover edition, they used pages that were twice as wide as a standard comics page…basically publishing each double-page spread on a single sheet with the binding on the left, instead of in the middle. This resulted in 300‘s distinct shape – the volume is wider and longer than most trade paperbacks or hardcovers. The monthly issues won three Eisner Awards, or the Nerd Oscars as they’re called (no one calls them that…). 300 brought Frank the Eisner for Best Writer/Artist, Best Colourist for Lynn Varley, and Best Limited Series.
Although 300 makes extensive use of caption boxes for text and employed striking and well-placed sound-effects, it certainly used traditional speech/thought bubbles and generally behaves like a comic book: left to right, up to down.
So…yeah, 300 is a comic book and a comic book movie….and it was hugely successful just shy of a decade before Deadpool came out. Now, Deadpool certainly made more money. It’s budget was exponentially lower and its’ returns were higher..and, more importantly, Deadpool is a superhero movie – a genre more closely associated with comic books than historical fiction.
So…when I credited Deadpool as the first rated ‘R’ comic book movie to be successful, I know I was wrong…but was I basically right? Justify or humble me in the comments.