It has been said that Frank Miller has produced some of the best movies never seen on the big screen, which, up until 2005's Sin City, was as true a sentiment as could be said of a living artist. Known for bringing a cinematic eye to the world of comics, the acclaimed writer/artist has made a name for himself by reinventing the craft under the tutelage of comic veteran Neil Adams, while adding in his love of Akira Kurosawa and the sequential storytelling of another comic legend, Will Eisner. Fate eventually brought Miller to Hollywood, though his trip was a long and arduous one.
Born on January 27, 1957, in Olney, MD, the artist spent most of his youth in Vermont pouring through film and crime fiction before making his way to New York City, eventually landing a drawing gig on a Twilight Zone comic from the publisher Gold Key in 1977. After a few stints here and there with other books from more renowned companies, Miller eventually landed a penciling position on Daredevil with writer Roger Mackenzie and long-time collaborator/inker Klaus Jensen. Swiftly taking over the writing duties as well, Miller enjoyed a long run on the series, establishing himself as not only a visionary artist but a sharp writer who wasn't afraid of controversial storylines or scared of creating and then killing off such an immensely popular character as Elektra, who would later headline her own film after co-starring in the 2003 Daredevil film that took most of its inspiration from Miller's infamous storylines.
1986 brought with it two comic series that would forever change the art form and the way that outside audiences would acknowledge comics in general; the two books were Alan Moore's Watchmen and Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Revamping Batman as a grizzled old man, Miller's book took the character into far more mature territory, resulting in a change in not only the way that future artists and writers would approach the character, but Hollywood as well. It's no secret that Tim Burton's Batman film owes a great deal of debt to The Dark Knight, at times ripping its dark tone and visuals directly from the comic page. With that, Miller's influence on Tinsel Town had begun, though no one would have expected him to take the plunge straight into the writing chair, as he did in 1990 with Robocop 2 and later in 1993 with Robocop 3.
Though treated and compensated extremely well, comic's poster boy didn't find himself gelling with the writer's often-maligned role in moviemaking and eventually made his way back to comics, this time with a vengeance, resulting in his character-owned ode to film noir, Sin City. Published by Dark Horse Comics in an anthology format, Miller's tale of sex, booze, and extreme violence once again ignited his fan base and allowed its creator to experiment with a pure black-and-white canvas, thus giving him full control over his work in a way that his screenplays never allowed. That success resulted in 12 years of Sin City material that pushed the boundaries of his storytelling and led to numerous Harvey and Eisner awards, the highest honor in the comic field. In 1999, another one of his creations was adapted into an animated TV series, Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, though through little involvement of his own.
Miller returned to the Dark Knight with the DK2 comic series, which was created and published during the tragic events of 9/11 and echoed much of his state of mind at that time. Little did he know that his future in film work was right around the corner, and this time, his baby Sin City would be the target. By the time Robert Rodriguez came calling with the wild notion of directly adapting the series into a feature film, the artist was more than reluctant, but after seeing tests that the maverick Austin, TX, director put together and another shoot that resulted in the opening scene of the film, Miller was hooked and the rest was history. He was given a director's credit on the successful film and was soon spearheading the adaptation of his mentor Will Eisner's property, The Spirit. The 2008 film, starring Samuel L. Jackson and newcomer Gabriel Macht was a critical and commercial failure.