Frank Miller made the trek from Montpelier, Vermont, to Manhattan with a stack of sample comics pages folded under his arm. But it was 1976, and his pages told the tales of trench coat-clad gunmen, not spandex-clad superheroes. "Dump the tommy guns and pick up capes and cowls, or you'll never work in this burg," he was told by the big publishers. So Miller put tights on his detectives and played the game by their rules -- sort of. Daredevil was a crime comic, says Miller. It just took place in the Marvel Universe.
It was on Daredevil that Miller gained notoriety. He not only saved the blind hero from certain cancellation, but also created a whole new breed of comics hero. Within months the bottom-rung series skyrocketed to the top of the charts, running neck and neck with top-selling Marvel series The Uncanny X-Men.
The fan following Miller developed on Daredevil gave him the clout to negotiate Ronin, the first comics project from a major publisher to offer complete creative autonomy.
Miller's next big project was a revamp of Batman. The ages-old hero had had the stuffing kicked out of him by years of neglect, but Miller brought the spark back in the best-selling 1986 series Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. Ten years later, the collection of the series still consistently places among the monthly best-sellers. Miller's work on the character is credited as having inspired the blockbuster motion picture Batman: The Movie.
In 1990 Miller decided the time was right to launch his all-out, straight-ahead crime comic. The Dark Horse Presents Fifth Anniversary Special introduced the world to Sin City and a big ugly guy called Marv. The readers responded enthusiastically to Miller's tough-as-leather noir drama, creating an instant sellout.
In the mid-90s, Miller worked on a number of projects, including the Martha Washington epic with Dave Gibbons and The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot with Geoff Darrow. Miller gained additional ground with his multi-award-winning 300 series from Dark Horse, as history's most glorious and under-reported battle was brought to full-blooded life in 1998.
Frank Miller long ago became a giant in the genre and his work consistently receives the highest praise from his industry peers. Through the '90s and into Y2K, he retains primary residence within Sin City, with Sin City: Hell and Back marking his latest foray into the town without pity. "What can I say?" said Miller. "It's a dirty, rotten town, and I aim to keep it that way."