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Comics You Should Own flashback – 300

The movie 300 is coming out this weekend, and I thought that some people who haven’t read the comic might wonder what all the fuss is about. So I thought I’d repost the very first Comics You Should Own (now with pictures!), from way back in February 2005. The good old days! It’s an impressive comic, and I’m looking forward to the movie. So read on!

300 by Frank Miller.

Dark Horse, 5 issues, cover dated May-September 1998.

300 has been collected in a beautiful “wide-screen” hardcover, so it’s not too hard to find. It’s a perfect book to give to a non-comic book fan, since it’s a graphic retelling of the Spartan defense at Thermopylae in 480 B.C. and has nothing to do with any other comic book. It’s also one of Miller’s most exciting works. If The Dark Knight Returns is his magnum opus, this ranks right behind it (I’ve never read Sin City, by the way).

The story is pretty straightforward, and Miller outlines it well in issue #1. The Persian king Xerxes wants to take over the world. He sends a messenger to Sparta telling them he wants a token gesture of submission. The Spartan king Leonidas kills the messenger and prepares for war. Leonidas plans to stop the Persian advance at a narrow pass through the mountains, a pass bordered on the other side by the sea. The Persian numbers will not be a factor because of the little space, and Spartans will kill them easily. As most people should know but don’t (don’t get me started on public education in America), the Spartans held the pass with only 300 soldiers and drove off the Persians, with the cost of their own lives. It was enough to preserve Greek independence (or, more accurately, the independence of many Greek city-states) and usher in the Golden Age of Athens later in the century. The defense of Thermopylae, along with the Battle of Salamis, where Xerxes’ navy was decisively beaten, are two of the most important events in Western history.

Miller’s telling of the story is boldly done. His art has evolved since his early days on Daredevil, and even since Dark Knight. In this book, he has turned the pages into a grand palette for his bold vision, with double-paged spreads that look even better in the collected edition (I don’t own it, but I’ve looked at it). Miller puts a great deal of power into each page, and it shows. This is mythic storytelling to match the mythic subject matter. We see the young king kill a wolf in a flashback story told by an old man to emphasize Leonidas’ initiation into Spartan society. The legend of the king is only enhanced with his treatment of the Persian ambassador.

The Spartans march north to meet the Persians, and Miller again uses his art to convey to magnificence of the army. Leonidas is part of the army, yet still above it as its commander, and his strength and leadership are present throughout the book. He is a man ahead of his time and of his time, as shown clearly by his treatment of a crippled and deformed soldier, Ephialtes. This young man tells the king about a path around the gates that can be used by the Persians to outflank the Spartans. He is belittled by the captain of the army, but Leonidas knows that this information can be useful and asks Ephialtes more about it. He admires the young man, who has worked hard to become a soldier despite what Spartan society (and, to a certain degree, today’s society) thinks about a less-than-perfect physical specimen being somehow less than human. Although Leonidas shows remarkable compassion for the soldier, in the end, he points out that as a consequence of his deformity, Ephialtes cannot join the Spartan phalanx, since he cannot hold up his shield. The phalanx is what makes the Spartans so formidable, and it cannot have anyone out of place. In despair, Ephialtes throws himself off a cliff. Leonidas does not mourn him.

This is a short episode in the book, and soon, the battle begins. Miller shines in drawing the bloody confrontation, as the faceless Persians in their “fancy” armor (the Greeks fight almost naked) swarm like flies over the hill, while the Spartans stand in their phalanx, ready for battle. Miller contrasts the brave Spartans, who are free soldiers, with the cowardly Persians, who beg for mercy the instant things don’t go their way. It’s an interesting theme of Miller’s work, one which I will return to. After the initial stages of the battle, Leonidas goes out to parley with Xerxes. Here Miller again shows the contrast between the two sides. Leonidas, as we have seen, is part of his army, fighting alongside his men, remembering all their names. Xerxes, who is drawn more like an African than an Asian, is carried to the battle on a huge throne carried by dozens of Persian slaves. He is all pierced more than a punk rocker and bedecked in a golden robe. I don’t know if Xerxes was actually as effeminate as Miller makes him seem, but he’s trying to make a point, and he makes it magnificently. Leonidas, of course, rejects all of Xerxes’ offers to back down, and nothing comes of the meeting. Xerxes then throws his elite shock troops, the Immortals, into battle. The carnage is again lovingly rendered. Leonidas allows himself a glimmer of hope.

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We know, however, that he’s doomed, and so we see Ephialtes, who has survived his plunge off the cliff, abasing himself before Xerxes and telling him about the path around the gate. (Xerxes has a great line here – he tells Ephialtes, whose deformity causes him pain, that “cruel Leonidas demanded that you stand. I only require that you kneel.”) When it is discovered that the Persians are surrounding them, the other Greeks want to retreat. Leonidas, in typical Spartan fashion, tells them that Spartans don’t retreat, and they prepare for the final assault. Xerxes gives them one last chance, but they opt for glory. The one Spartan who leaves (Leonidas orders him) tells the story as an inspiration for the Greeks a year later, when Xerxes was finally defeated and driven from Greece, ensuring the rise of the West.

It’s a well told story, and the major facts are correct, although I don’t know how much of it is fictional. It’s interesting to see most of Miller’s favorite themes throughout the book and how he incorporates them. The major theme is that of duty and honor and freedom. Of course, the Spartans at this time weren’t really any more free than most people in the world – even the Athenians, with their democracy, had a severe limitation on those who could vote. But it’s the freedom of the Spartans that makes them such good soldiers – Miller continuously contrasts them to the slaves of Persia, who break at the first sign of trouble. They have no duty to a cause or honor, so therefore they have nothing to fight for. It’s not terribly subtle, nor is it completely axiomatic that those who fight for a cause will fight better than those who do not (the French Foreign Legion being a modern example of mercenaries fighting well), but it is an important theme in Miller’s works and begs the question of what he’s trying to say about the modern world. There’s also the question of whether the Persian army was really that bad – it’s true they lost at Marathon in 490 B.C. and at Salamis and Plataea in 480-479 B.C., but Darius (Xerxes’ father) and Xerxes himself conquered quite a large empire in the sixth and fifth centuries, and surely it couldn’t have just been because of their numbers? It’s also true that plenty of Greeks fought on the side of the Persians. Real life, as usual, is a lot messier than fiction. Miller conveniently ignores those facts because they don’t fit with his message.

Other common themes of Miller’s work are here – a sort of fascism, the feminization of weakness, the masculinization of females, and homoeroticism. King Leonidas is a good king, but that doesn’t mean he’s not an absolute ruler. As usual with many comic book writers, Miller seems to have a predilection toward benevolent dictatorships. Writers don’t seem to like democracy because too often people don’t vote the way they think is right. Leonidas is the ideal king – strong but fair, fighting with his men, refusing to turn back, honoring duty and courage above all else. Miller’s interest in a fascist kind of state isn’t as obvious here as it is in some of his other work (which is why I’m only mentioning it briefly), but it’s still there.

Miller also exhibits a strange kind of thinking toward weakness and females. He tends to make weakness a feminine characteristic, even as he makes his women more masculine. As noted above, Xerxes is very feminine compared to Leonidas, and Xerxes wouldn’t dream of entering the battle. Ephialtes is weak as well, and what he wants in return for helping Xerxes – the usual, money, women, and a uniform – are subtly scorned by Miller because obviously Ephialtes didn’t earn them. Ephialtes is the only Spartan who betrays the king, and it’s somewhat disturbing that he’s also the only Greek who’s not a perfect physical specimen. Perhaps in the context of the book it makes sense, but as history tells us, plenty of Greeks were willing to sell out, and I’ll bet none of them were deformed. It says a lot about Miller that Ephialtes caves in so easily, especially since we see that he has tried all his life to live up to the Spartan ideal. This feminine weakness is obvious in other Miller works, most notably in Dark Knight. The Joker, who has always had an aura of androgyny, is extremely so in Miller’s story, and he’s weak (he kills people by poisoning instead of “fixing them with his hands” like manly man Batman). Of course, the Joker is very feminized quite often, such as in Mike Barr and Alan Davis’ brief Detective Comics run and in Grant Morrison’s Arkham Asylum, but I’m not ready to delve into that here.

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Another theme briefly explored in 300 is the masculinity of women. The only women to appear in the book are the oracle who advises Leonidas against going to war (because the priests who control her have been bribed by the Persians) and the queen. The queen, especially, embodies the true Spartan ideal of duty and honor, telling Leonidas the standard line about returning with his shield or on it and hiding her tears from him, because, again, weakness is a feminine attribute, and his females must be strong, which is a masculine attribute. Miller has never written females particularly well (Martha Washington being an exception), with his women being either a stand-in for a male character (Carrie Kelley in Dark Knight, who was prepubescent anyway – and don’t get me started on Selina Kyle’s cameo in that book) or created simply to be killed (Elektra). Even if you like those characters (and I do), he does try to “turn them male” by not really allowing them to be women. Carrie Kelley isn’t really a girl, she’s Robin, and Miller made her female just to jolt Batman fans. Elektra renounces her feminine side when her father is killed, and “becomes male” by training to be a ninja. I don’t want Elektra to settle down with Matt Murdock – that’s not what I mean when I say she rejects her feminine side. I’m saying that she becomes what Miller thinks is a good character by studying what he thinks of as masculine things – again, honor and duty (to her dead father).

This is strange, since there’s a strong theme of homoeroticism throughout 300 and throughout Miller’s works. Obviously, it’s tough to avoid it when you’re writing about ancient Greece, since they were big on that, but I still very much doubt that the king would meet the Persian ambassador wearing just a cloak around his shoulders and everything else hanging out. I could be wrong, and Miller has written that he did a lot of research for the book, but it seemed strange to me. The Greeks also march across terrain and do some fighting in all their glory. Miller seems to revel in drawing naked men. This ties into the brotherhood of the army and how there’s a blatant hatred of the ostentatious femininity of Xerxes and the Persians. It’s not new in Miller’s work (nor in many comic books, where the two main protagonists – mostly men – are more interested in each other than women), but it’s prevalent here because of the subject matter. It’s not necessarily homophobic, but I wonder how Miller would respond if called on it.

300 is a strong book that offers a worldview of both the ancient world and an idealized modern world. The art is gorgeous and the story hums along to its triumphant conclusion. The hardcover is $30, which is a pretty good bargain. It will be interesting to see how the movie stands up, because the book itself is pretty spectacular.


Actually, there is a moment of outright homphobia in 300, as Leonidas insults the Athenians as weak “boy-lovers,” unlike manly-man Sparta.

But Miller’s chosen his subjkect well here, and his usual themes actually work brilliantly with a story that wholeheartedly commits to a (selective, as you note) version of the Spartan worldview. It’s a gorgeous piece of work, all in all.

I actually did get to see 300 as a sneak preview the week before it hit theaters. The movie was spectacular. I didn’t know that it was based off of a comic. Now after reading about the comic the movie is based solely on the art and renderings from the comic. The graphics and storyline were amazingly maintained and flowed very easily from one part to the next. This is definatly a movie that any one should go see.

Although not written to be taken literally, there is much more historical accuracies (in 300) than inaccuracies. The major historical flaw being that this battle was a two front combined effort with the Athenian navy who thanks to brilliant military cunning and some luck of weather destroyed the Persian navy. The numbers of Persians vs. Greeks is also a debatable point with most consensus on the 300 Spartans plus roughly 700 Arcadians or mixed Greek forces against 80,000 Persians. The moral character and code of honor of King Leonidas by all accounts is very accurate, Xerxes not so much, mainly because history is written by the winners. This period in history can teach us valuable modern day lessons and a reminder of how much sacrifice is needed to secure and create free societies.

Yawn… The images are poor, almost grotesque. The subject matter is primitive and juvenile. Lust for violence and evil? There is never a reward in that.

I like the complaimt “It’s not pretty, so it’s bad.”

“Picasso! Feh! If he was any good, he’d draw cute little puppies chasing moonbeams! His stuff is poor, and Guernica is almost grotesque!”

Good pick, though. Although I think you have to figure in that Miller is approaching the book from a Spartan mindset, not a 20th century American one, which explains weakness as a feminine trait and the appreciation for the naked male form. It’s history-rewritten-as-myth, certainly. (Not a damn thing wrong wit’ that, By the By.) But it’s rewritten Spartan myth, so it exemplifies cultural values that aren’t OUT cultural values. A lot of ancient Greek thinkin’ seems downright immoral (*IS* downright immoral maybe? I dunno.) to us moderns.

I don’t have much of an objection to not liking the art because it’s not pretty – that’s a subjective thing completely. I’m not quite sure what was meant by the subject matter being “primitive and juvenile.” This is an actual historical event, and it played out in the way the book shows – Miller took some liberties, sure, but the Persians did invade, and the Greeks did resist and die for their trouble. I’m certainly not pro-war, but resisting invasion from a foreign power seems like one of the few good reasons to go to war.

You’re right, Mark, but Miller of course doesn’t create in a vacuum. It’s interesting to speculate on how much of the cultural stuff is his own thoughts happening to coincide with what we know about Sparta. Perhaps he even chose the project because of that?


March 8, 2007 at 3:45 pm

UM.. this movie seems to look very sweet and i cant wait to see it in the theaters. It being from a comment seems cool too.

Rather not say

March 8, 2007 at 3:46 pm

This is another subliminal brainwash movie to get you ready for another war. See what the real Greeks think about this bigoted spin on their history:


“By ancient Persia, they refer to modern Iran — whose soldiers are portrayed as bloodthirsty, underdeveloped zombies,” he wrote. “They are stroking racist instincts in Europe and America.”

Fred Devillers

March 8, 2007 at 3:46 pm

Interesting comic and interesting article. Just a remark about the French foreign legion. If I remember well, the French foreign legion accepts strangers, but then they become French. They are no mercenaries. For example there was a lot of German after the world war two. I don’t know if that idea of “you sign and France forgets your crimes” is still true nowadays.

As my English is approximative, here is the orignal version:
Comic intéressant et article intéressant. Juste une remarque à propos de la légion étrangère Française. Si je me souviens bien, la légion accepte les étrangers, mais du coup ils deviennent alors Français. Ils ne sont pas mercenaires. Par exemple il y avait beaucoup d’Allemands après la seconde guerre mondiale. Je ne sais pas si cette idée du “tu signes et la France oublie tes crimes” est toujours en vigueur aujourd’hui.

There is some concern about the inaccurate historical facts regarding the Persians. They were not immoral, scary and disgusting looking. They were not evil, nor did they want to rule the world. The Persian kings were considered very benevolent and loving, very noble and dignified. Their kingdom was very large and its purpose was unity and not tyranny. There are stories of the magnificience of seeing all the various cultures in the Persian Empire gather together in the Capital, much diversity and an increasing about of cultural and ideological exchange. Persia became a melting-pot, much like USA today.

Many inaccuracies should not have been exploited. It is true, for example, that many greeks fought on the Persian side. It should also be recognized that the Persians did not feel like they were fighting for nothing or that they were “slaves that would run”, many are described and fighting for “King and country” and to expand this wonderful cultural exchange within the Persian Empire. There were many benefits of living in the Persian empire, such as investments in local infastructure made by the King as well as things like trade and mail courier services. If you were a week country, it was like joining an alliance were you would get the combined protection of many forces and armies.

It is also true that the Greeks were far from having what we usually label as Democracies, so it is false to label this as a conflict between Democaracy-and-Tyranny. Not to mention another major issue: from the Judeo-Christian point of view, the Persians were actually God-believing peoples who most were Zoroastrians and followed the teachings of Zoroaster or Zarathustra about one true God and the battle with evil. It was these Zoroastrians and these Persians that were responsible for making it possible for the Jews to return to their Holy Land. And the Persians were the ones who rebuilt the Temple of the Jews and protected them from enemies. The Judeo-Christian point of view is actually in favor of the Persians. Talking about the winner rewriting history!

I was just writing a bit about this last night. Miller takes his liberties, but you have to remember what the book is ultimately about: The Spartans are Badass.

Miller sets them up as the ideal men. Never say die, kill ’til you’re killed, so tough they go into battle wearing loinclothes. Once you’ve got your ideals, you need to set something against it, and that’s Xerxes: Luxurious and extravagant, he’s the gold-wreathed God King while Leonidas marches with his troops.

It’s historically inspired, not historically accurate; Miller’s more interested in the myth and legend than detail.

While I can understand wanting to put a pro or anti-US stance on the book, it was written pre-Iraq, pre-9/11, pre-W.Bush. I haven’t seen the movie, so I don’t know if it’s embraced a political angle, but more than likely it was inspired by nothing more than the fact that Sin City made a lot of money.

Nick, what are you smoking man… stop trying to rewrite history. Lemme ask you one question… if the Persians didn’t want to rule the world, what the heck were they doing in Greece with an army that could drink rivers dry?

You know something… the sad part is, people like you will talk about Nazi Germany in the same way a thousand years from now; how misunderstood they were, and how they were just trying to unify Europe, and how progressive they were… Oh, wait… people like you are saying that now!


As for Miller… supposedly he was heavily inspired by the original film, “The 300 Spartans”. Has anyone seen that?

This is an interesting and considered analysis of the book. I’ve never read the comic, but interestingly, the presence (real or alleged) of themes I’m strongly averse to (violence, patriotism, misogyny, etc.) makes me more curious about it. I’m much more likely to read an examination of honor and duty than simply a portrayal of them, which was what I expected based on the movie previews. Hopefully the subtlety and thoughtfulness found in this blog is present in the comic and movie.

The movie certainly has helped raise awareness of the comic–I consider myself a big comics fan but didn’t know about 300 until recently. Hopefully Dark Horse can run with this.

By the way (and not to derail the conversation!), though I likely share some of your concerns, for the record, I learned this in public school.

I don’t think there’s any reason to go calling people Nazi sympathizers, because the analogy is false anyway (and we’re all friends here!). The Persians were an empire, true, but the Nazis were an exception to the rule when it comes to empires, as most historical empires grew simply through a desire for economic dominance in a world prior to ours, where economic domination is achieved through less messy means. The Persians weren’t out to extinguish the Greeks based on race; they just wanted to conquer them and bring them into a pretty loose confederation of peoples all pledging their allegiance to the Persian emperor. Like a lot of empires.

Nick makes some good points, as Darius (Xerxes’ father) is widely considered one of the more enlightened rulers of the ancient world. He even gets portrayed somewhat well in the Bible, which is remarkable. So Nick is right in that regard, but that’s not really the point. Miller isn’t concerned with historical nuance. All he cares about is that the Persians DID invade Greece and the Greeks DID fight back – no one can argue that. Around this he builds a story that he wants to tell, ignoring what doesn’t work for him. Kind of like anyone else telling a story.

Interesting article from the Greek perspective. I’m not quite sure what they’re pissed off about, considering the Greeks today STILL can’t stand the Turks (who could be stand-ins for the Persians) and this comic is pretty anti-Persian and pro-Greek. But that’s that.

As for the point about the French Foreign Legion, Fred, you might know more about it than I do. I read up on their history and I know you “become” French when you sign up, but it’s still a mercenary force. That’s the whole point of it. If I sign up, I’m not signing up because I want to be French, it’s because I want to get paid to go to exotic places, meet exotic people, and kill them (as the old slogan goes).

The many personalities of Brian Cronin.

This is an interesting and considered analysis of the book. I’ve never read the comic, but interestingly, the presence (real or alleged) of themes I’m strongly averse to (violence, patriotism, misogyny, etc.) makes me more curious about it. I’m much more likely to read an examination of honor and duty than simply a portrayal of them, which was what I expected based on the movie previews. Hopefully the subtlety and thoughtfulness found in this blog is present in the comic and movie.

The movie certainly has helped raise awareness of the comic–I consider myself a big comics fan but didn’t know about 300 until recently. Hopefully Dark Horse can run with this.

By the way (and not to derail the conversation!), though I likely share some of your concerns, for the record, I learned this in public school.

Sorry, Dan, I was going to respond to you, too!

The comic is anything but subtle, sorry. But it’s still an interesting examination of the themes. And that’s why it’s a Comic You Should Own – not because it’s necessarily the greatest thing ever (although it’s a good adventure book), but because it sparks interesting and serious discussions about the themes that Miller brings up.

I think I’ll watch all the 300 related programming on the History Channel and read the graphic novel during the commercial breaks.

That’s a really nice analysis, Greg. So you’ve got this kind of thing plus your Seven Soldiers stuff, but Joe Rice still complains about your reviews lacking substance? I don’t get it.

The mythical Spartans of the past depicted here are similar to the Klingons of the space-age mythology. Both the Spartans and Klingons are admired for their total dedication to machismo especially in the face of war even when fighting against great odds. This movie is for people who are entertained by glorified storytelling on an epic scale with heroes and heroines who look a whole lot better than Klingons. Everybody else should just stick to reading history books.

Actually, there is a moment of outright homphobia in 300, as Leonidas insults the Athenians as weak “boy-lovers,” unlike manly-man Sparta.


That’s not homophobic at all. the Athenians “love” boys-the Spartans “love” men.

And I have to strongly disagree with the idea that Miller writes “masculine women”.Women can’t be ninjas without sacrificing their femininity? What does being female mean to you exactly?
Elektra had no sense of honor or duty. She just lashed out at the world that lashed out at her when her father was killed.

Joe Rice complains about Burgas’s taste in comics, which is rather broader than his own. Often he is outright disinterested in “major” books praised by other blogs, for reasons that usually go unexplained but seem to reflect personal taste. I have not observed Joe Rice to actually complain about Burgas’s reviews.

(To be honest, on most technical merits, Burgas’s writing is right now much better than Joe Rice’s. Joe is improving, though, so I look forward to seeing a literary blog kung fu knife battle between them in upcoming months.)

I definitely don’t see it as only a complaint about taste. Joe’s written columns on here asking reviewers to not just tell what they like and why it appeals to them personally, but to tell what artistic standards a book meets to make it “good” and worth reading. That’s a compplaint about the review itself, not just taste.

It is truly moronic of the people who thought the Zoroastrians were “bad guys” and “Iranians” wre good guys. The top people in Hollywood are true liberal idiots and rewrite history and make good guys into bad guys and vice versa,as they please.

The barbarian Muslim Arab hordes invaded Persia and slaughtered Zoroastrians at the point of the Islamic sword.

Zoroastrians were the good guys and faced the world’s first Islamic zealots.

If they even think Ahmedinejad and his ilk are good guys wait until they get bombed by the first Hizbollah suicide-bomber.


Actually, there is a moment of outright homphobia in 300, as Leonidas insults the Athenians as weak “boy-lovers,” unlike manly-man Sparta.
That’s not homophobic at all. the Athenians “love” boys-the Spartans “love” men.

It’s totally homophobic. Maybe you could pretend, if we didn’t live in 21st century America, that it’s just a dig against Athens with no anti-gay sentiments. But nowhere in “300” do the filmmakers (or Miller) suggest that the Spartan men have a sexual or romantic love for each other, so they’re saying that as a way to belittle same-sex attraction. Miller wrote that line in the context of our current society, a society that incorrectly links gay male sexuality with pedophilia. Given all the other signifiers in the tale (and yes I’ve seen the film, in a sneak preview) — especially (as Greg points out so well) the bizarre feminization of Xerxes — it adds up, in my mind, to a distasteful and, frankly, oh so tired world view. Frank Miller has some serious issues with his bizarre and false dichotomies between masculine and feminine behavior.

(Having said that, it’s still possible to read the Spartan warriors’ relationships as depicted here as a seething with homoeroticism. Indeed, “300” might become an even bigger fetish flick among the agressively macho, S&M-oriented gay male subculture than “Fight Club.”)

I think I might be the only person in this thread who’s actually familiar with Herodotus – while I have not read Miller’s 300 the points made by Burgas in the column show that Miller appears to have done a relatively faithful retelling of the classical version of the story of Thermopylae.

While Ephialtes was not classically envisioned as being deformed, his rejection on those grounds is certainly in character for the Spartans (who, you might remember, regularly left deformed babies to die of exposure) – Miller is actually providing a motive for Ephialtes’ actions, rather than simply viewing him as an early treacherous archetype.

Neither the Persians nor the Spartans lived in societies which would be particularly appealing to modern people; but the heroism and dedication of those who defended valiantly and died for their cause should be respected.

Before throwing around homophobia talk, it’s important to consider the difference between modern homosexuality and the way it was practiced in ancient Greece:


More importantly, homosexuality doesn’t have to be feminine, and it certainly wasn’t feminine in Sparta.

Oh yeah. Greg’s a history major, huh. I keep forgetting.

I wasn’t trying to come down on anybody in particular, just thought the ancient v. modern factor should be considered in this debate. And I thought Greg’s history was pretty decent. :)

I’m prepared to give Miller the benefit of the doubt as far as the “boy-lovers” line goes: I’m not aware of anything else in his body of work being particularly homophobic. He even wrote a tough gay couple in [i]Hell and Back[/i] who pull Wallace’s ass out of the fire a couple times.

The line may be badly phrased, or based on a misunderstanding of Spartan and/or Athenian society, but I think it’s a leap to conclude it’s rooted in any sort of anti-gay sentiment.

“Before throwing around homophobia talk, it’s important to consider the difference between modern homosexuality and the way it was practiced in ancient Greece … More importantly, homosexuality doesn’t have to be feminine, and it certainly wasn’t feminine in Sparta.”

My point (though perhaps not clearly expressed) was specifically that the expression of some elements of same-sex sexual affection in ancient Greece is superfluous. Rather, I’m lamenting the inclusion of a clearly anti-gay statement in “300” given today’s context. Miller et al. aren’t producing a historical treatise; they’re giving us a fictionalized account of an actual centuries-old event. And the Athenians about whom they make that dismissive comment aren’t even characters in the film. It’s completely gratuitous, and it’s going to be heard and interpreted by today’s audiences, not by ancient Greeks who might have a different perspective on pedophilia.

Of course homosexuality and femininity aren’t the same thing. But this story never presents any sort of homosexuality between Spartan men at all, only a dig at age-inappropriate sexual contact between men and boys. To my mind, that further proves a very limited ideology at work, one that doesn’t hold any respect for homosexuality.

Isn’t part of the comic/film’s point that the Spartans are ideologically limited? While Miller may have glossed over the Spartans’ own homosexuality, he does include their practice of discarding weak and defective children at birth.

I remember an interview with Miller in which he stated his fascination with the paradox that often the rougher, meaner elements of a society (e.g. the Spartans) are called on to defend the more enlightened elements (e.g. the Athenians).

It’s possible the line was included to show how the Spartans just weren’t nice guys or even good guys in the purest sense, although I agree the line could also be gratuitous and likely misinterpreted by people who don’t see the paradox.


March 9, 2007 at 2:36 pm

“I remember an interview with Miller in which he stated his fascination with the paradox that often the rougher, meaner elements of a society (e.g. the Spartans) are called on to defend the more enlightened elements (e.g. the Athenians). ”

They weren’t actually called on to defend them, Themistocles, the Athenian who masterminded Greece’s defence, bullied and taunted the Spartans into joining the battle.
Before this the Spartans had a policy of isolation.

Erm… you do realize a major reason that the Spartans were depicted wearing little in ancient Greek art (copied by Miller) was the lack of armor? “The Spartans were the most bad@$$/crazy warriors because they only wore their cloaks,” is how the thinking goes.

The two elements common to every review of 300 I’ve read are “homoeroticism” and “metaphor for the Iraq war.” Which probably says more about movie reviewers wishing they were literary critics (and failing badly for lack of knowledge and originality) than the film itself…

About Miller being homophobic or not: what about the portrayal of the Joker in Dark Knight Returns? Theatrically putting on lipstick, wondering if Robin is shaving yet… Sounds bizarrely stereotypical to me, though I haven’t read DKR in a very long time.

From some simple googling, DK2 (also haven’t read in a long time) presents the original Robin as having an unrequited love/obsession with Batman, driving him insane, and of course he’s the villain.

More here.

To me, the point of the story was to respect the sacrifice of those men who through duty and honor saved or represented the “free” people of the world.

Living in todays world, a message of complete commital to the ideals of honor and duty should be prevalent in more works.

As far as the homophobic stuff, I really don’t think it’s meant in that fashion. The line is probably just a bit of a liberty taken by Miller.

And about Xerxes and the Persian armies, I’m sure they weren’t as barbaric, or flashy as Miller has shown them, but I think he was using them as the antithesis of the Spartans, so you can give it a little leeway. I didn’t enjoy it as a work of history, but rather a stylization of historical events; the myth is the fun part!

a different Nick

March 10, 2007 at 5:14 am

Frank Miller set out to write a story…Thats it. Its loosely based on historical accounts of the real battle. Those people screeming about the historical innacuracies, the ignorance and error lies in YOU not Miller. If you want historical truth..find it in the history books, not a graphic novel that is written to show themes and ideas rather than fact. That is the point. True Miller melds fact and fiction but to do so in his work. The key words there….In his work.
People complaining about homophobic statements shoud also come to realize it was in his work and is only truly defined by him. People that criticize “hidden” themes are themselves seeing them first. Theyre probably the same people that screamed this was an allegory to the war in iraq withou understanding the context of the book. 1) it was written pre-war, pre-9/11 pre current terror in the east. If anything this book simply shows that there are plenty of people to cry out unfair find something to complain about when it really boils down that they just dont like the book. They latch onto something about the art or a homophobic comment and make a larger deal about it a if the the author is trying to impress his ideas on his audience. He writes his work and he has the right to do that. They are personal ideaas and he writes the themes he wants. He stylizes the myth to write a fun story about some great ideas strength, honor, freedom, real reasons for fighting and dying. the only thing that is accomplished by the ignorant a$$es that complain about those details is the loss of Millers true themes that would be more evident if people would spend more time discussing those than debating about what offended you personally. Get a grip, if your offended your loss on the story, let others make up their mind, you clearly have! thats the beauty of the written work. 300 is a book to own because it has ideas and themes that are timeless. If the current politics of the world may mirror or even have geographical similarities than its simply by coincidence…..stop making and issue out of it. If you want a historical account of Thermopolyae than read historical books and papers. If you want a stylized myth (which almost every myth changes with the telling) than read 300. take it for what it is …. a story about honor, duty, death, but more importantly a free life….stop bi!ching about manly man comments on a thread about whether the book should be read or not.

This battle wasnt about Democracy vs Tyranny is was basically about Revenge and a show of power. The Persian empire at the time was the big boys on the block a ancient Super Power with no equal.

Years before this battle the Greeks (Athenians to be percise) supported and even sent troops to help a rebellion in the outskirts of the persian empire, which resulted in the complete burning of a Persian city and temple.

This would have been like Cuba openingly helping terrorist destroy NYC today. A tiny country taking on a super power could not ignored.

This all happened before Xerxes even came to power. Infact xerxes father attempted another invasion (much smaller) Naval only and the greeks shockingly drove the persians off. His son wouldnt make the same mistake and left with the largest army naval and ground ever assembled at that point in history.

In the end Xeres burned athens to the ground, the same revenge his ancestors wanted, though it was bitter sweet, And less then 200 years late Alexander the Great would get revenge on a much larger scale for the greeks.

Is it just me, or are the Spartas in Miller’s 300 not remotely as white as the guys in the movie?

I’m sure nobody else has much of a care about that, though.


“I think I might be the only person in this thread who’s actually familiar with Herodotus – while I have not read Miller’s 300 the points made by Burgas in the column show that Miller appears to have done a relatively faithful retelling of the classical version of the story of Thermopylae.”

I too have read Herodotus, and completely agree with you Dave.

Remember that Herodotus set out to write a history, but also to create an epic similar to that of Homer. In the Iliad, Homer describes the soldier who criticizes Odysseus and wants to go home, as being ugly and maybe even crippled. Odysseus then beats him, which helps to rally the troops. Ephialtes character seems to go back to that idea in ancient Greek writing.

These reviews saying that the movie has a pro-war feel to it make me laugh. The movie followed the book, and the book was out well before the Iraq war and everything that is happening. I agree with whoever said the movie reviewers just want to sound like literary reviewers.

this was one of the most historicaly inaccurate movies i have ever seen. From the numbers of soldiers, to the armor they wore, lenodis being the solo king of sparta, the council deabating, it was completly historicaly inacurate, pathectic really.

“In the end Xeres burned athens to the ground, the same revenge his ancestors wanted, though it was bitter sweet, And less then 200 years late Alexander the Great would get revenge on a much larger scale for the greeks.”

Alexander used the burning of athens as an excuse to attack the persian empire. The real reasons behind the invasion were planned by his father Philip, and it was becasue his army needed money.

“this was one of the most historicaly inaccurate movies i have ever seen. From the numbers of soldiers, to the armor they wore, lenodis being the solo king of sparta, the council deabating, it was completly historicaly inacurate, pathectic really.”

No offense intended, but anyone going into this movie expecting a historically accurate account of the battle is a moron, and that, sir, is much more pathetic. Had this movie set out to present a historically accurate account, then you might be on to something, but I think anyone with two ounces of brain matter would realize going into the movie that it was by no means intended to be historically accurate.

it is quite true that it is pathetic to judge this movie based on its historical accuracy rather than kick-ass visual effects; however, people should consider that issues that may seem to us here in north america pretty normal, may seem very sensitive and insulting to other culture around the world. just imagine how you would feel if persians make a kick-ass movie with awesome visual effects -“loosly” based on WWII- on how nazi regime stood heroically againt the american barberic invadors … every culture and society has red lines that must be respected, in my opinion ofcourse…

To the person who mentioned greek art, naked men, and spartans being so crazy that they’d go into combat practically naked–

Greek art showed men doing things naked as both metaphor and eyecandy, not a realistic portrayal of what they were wearing.

Regarding homoeroticism– the remark should have been put into the context, in my opinion, of Spartan men idolising adult male relationships. But doing that probably would’ve given most male viewers the willies. The women and gay men in the audience will probably pick up all the subtle cues, though. (Many reviewers certainly did.)

It’s a shame that stuff has to be glossed over, though.

The only evidently sexual relationship Miller depicts in 300 is between Leonidas and his wife, of course, which also does itneresting thigns to the otherwise homoerotic subtext. We have to remember that, unlike today, the Greeks weren’t exclusively hetero- or homosexual.

As to some other comments int his thread, I’d say two things:

1) Even within Miller’s 300, I’m not sure how “free” a lifge in which every single adult male of the proper physical fitness is in an army, and the country is ruled by a king-slash-general implies or bespeaks freedom. Relative freedom, yes, but hardly American Constitutional values.

2) The idea that duty, honor, and total self-commitment are good things applies only when one feels dutiful and honor-bound to the right things,. After all, you don’t get much more “total self-commitment” than a suicide bomber, someone who’s committed so damn much of themselves to a notion of duty and honor to their god and their projected homeland that the self so committed becomes utterly expendable.

Closer to home, perhaps, the Provos and the Ulster militias in Northern Ireland thought of themselves as dutiful and honor-bound and totally committed to good and right and God and country too. A lot of good that did the Catholics executed in illict raids or the pensioners slain in the Remembrance Day bombing. Monsters have these things as well, albeit defined so differently as to make them monsters.

300 isn’t timeless, at any rate. Not when we consider, even within the story, what the Spartans are fighting for and what kind of society they must live in to fight for it so efficiently.

I don’t see why u go into so much detail about the movie Omar. Just enjoy it, and don’t be picky about tiny things that no-one really cares about. If you notice tiny details, it can often ruin the movie, thinking is for literature, not movies, why do u think america invented movies?

I enjoyed the movie from beginning to end.

To all the geeks who are digging to deep… This is a movie not a documentary on the History channel.

Miller’s art in the book is his style, look at Sin City and Dark Knight Returns and you will see.

I dig Miller’s writing, he is a great storyteller and always give his stories an edge not many people have.

If you don’t like the 300 storyline go back to reading your Spiderman comic.

Me I like to see different things come out of the comic book industry, it shows growth and creativity in this small media market. Plus it pulls the non comic book readers in, and they find a new world of reading material.

I find it sad to see so many close minded people in the comic book community, since comic books where my way of stepping out of the real world as a kid.

This is the most beautiful war movie I have ever seen.
My husband likes war movies and used to follow a lot of the comics pretty closely too. I am not really a fan of either, but I loved “300”.
I will definitely be buyinig the DVD when it comes out.

I don’t mind most of the innaccuracies mainly because the movie is not meant to be realistic in any sense, but I couldn’t stand the obsession with freedom. Really, the Spartans had an amazing number of slaves, they had a whole sort of secret service meant to stop slave plots. In this movie the Persians are depicted as slavers, while the Spartans are portrayed as pure honorable men who valued the freedom of all races, which is absolute total bull.

That and that they mentioned Greece as a country once. Although it probably wasn’t his intention (I really hope not)Miller has made a movie that can really be interpreted as pro-Iraq war propaganda. The brave well trained few fighting for freedom, vs. the godless Persian slavers, who want to force everyone into submission.

Fascinating stuff,fabulous book. Just a point about historical accuracy. How many contemporary sources do we have for Thermopylae, other than Herodotus, only a couple according to Wikipedia, we will probably never know exactly what happened or how it looked.
As for the Homophobic reference, It could be based on comments made about Spartans in the Ahthenian theatre at the time

Note to all: I haven’t seen the movie, and probably won’t. I own the comic in hardcover, and have for years. I think it’s a fine piece of work, as I said quite a ways upthread.

Part of why I think it’s a fine piece of work is because it raises the sorts of questions some of us are exploring here. It’s well and good to say,”It’s just a movie. I had fun,” but why exactly should anyone else care if you ahd fun at a movie or not?

we all know who care$ if we had “fun” at the movie.

we all know who care$ if we had “fun” at the movie.

No, they care abour how many people bought ticket$, not who had fun. Hence your scare quotes….I’m such a dork.

Some of you guys are real pussies “homoeroticism!?”
“Is it true to historical fact!?” “Millers art is ugly.”

Give me a break! PUSSIES!

You know what don’t buy the book it wasn’t written for you.

heriberto your right! these pussies are so smart the are missing the gat’damn point. its fucking entertainment-

talking about war and the current events- go to CNN and spread your prophecies

this is a rewritten/retold spartan story- like what the authors said-“we are turning history to myth, myth to reality” . nuff said

“Give me a break! PUSSIES!”
“these pussies are so smart the are missing the gat’damn point. its fucking entertainment-”

Wow, this pair are really elevating the level of discourse here at CSBG. How much longer till we all stalk the boards so we can post “FIRST!” ?

It reminds me of the movie Idiocracy, really, to wit —

Pvt. Joe Bowers: [Addressing Congress] There was a time when reading wasn’t just for fags. And neither was writing. People wrote books and movies. Movies with stories, that made you care about who’s ass it was and why it was farting. And I believe that time can come again!

I guess that movie’s future reall is here now. I shudder for the children.

I thought the movie, was basically a moving portrait, if you stopped it at any time it would of been picture perfect. most people who see this movie do not understand that the 300 were real men, that they did fight persians and take a huge chunk of them out. though, as was stated before, the number was not more than one hundred thousand, if it had been in the millions then that would of been almost 1/6 of the “known” earths total population, but it still makes a good story. oh, and a side note, the “invincibles” were payment soldiers from asia.

changing the history?

Here’s a relevant link regarding the supposed homophobia.

I just want to know what they realy want?
i think that we do not have permission to change the history.

Just saw the movie. Brilliant cinematography. Makes me want to get to the gym. LOL!

Quentin Montejo

March 16, 2007 at 12:23 am

Movies like these are meant to be enjoyed, it’s based on a comic (and based on history) for goodness sakes, it might as well want to be treated like fiction!

It’s not like more than half of the world cares if it historically accurate or what not, or people beginning to hate Persian descendents.

If you feel like it has a significant effect on audience behaviour and continue overanalyzing useless thoughts like that, then sucks to be you.

The Persians were pussy, and the Spartans were the most elite race ever to walk the earth

Can’t you people watch the movie for what it is? A piece of art? 300 is a real candy for the eyes, the sound track is amazing, and the story is well told. It well depics Miller’s art…and…in the end, why care so much that it is not accurate regarding history?

Who knows what really happened? History’s been written by those who won, and each one of those who lived to watch the real battle actually had his own truth.

I love history, but I know how to draw a line between a history and stories. As others said so well, it ain’t a History Channel program, nor a National Georgraphic article…

Enjoy the story for what it is : a jewel of imagination, inspiration, and a moving portrait.

fucking bad fuckinasss

I just saw it. I enjoyed it tremendously. I went in having read the comics years ago, so I knew not to expect historical accuracy, but I don’t need perfect history from a comic book any more than I need it from Shakespeare’s Macbeth or The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere. This is story-telling and myth-making, not history. There were giants and monsters and War Rhinoes, after all. And just how accurate should we expect Herodotus to be, anyway?

Things like the boy-lovers line and the freakazoid Persians and all the bellowing about freedom only annoyed to the extent that they show wussy writing. Kind of cowardly, really. It would take a writer of greater depth than Miller to present the Spartans as they were and still make them the heroes.

Gerald Butler is the new Brian Blessed.

Wow…that was quite the read going down through the replies.

1) About the armor – The spartans were depicted as wearing little to no armor, but what did you expect? plate armor did not show up until the 14th Century and many went to battle with little more then cloth, the german’s (i know thats not what they were called at the time) had similer war garb.

2) About the “subliminal messages” – To my knowledge Iranian people are not the same as persians, there has been a MAJOR culture change since then, it would be like Americans getting upset at a film dipicting native Americans as ruthless people.

3) History – Any true history buff can tell you that there is always three stories to any true occurance, the winners, the losers, and the people that were not involved. Its happening right now and it is IMPOSSIBLE to tell who is telling the whole truth without you actualy being there. Xerces was found as both a “great leader” and “ruthless conquerer” in history, just because one peice of history says one thing you cant cancel out the rest.

4) Boy-Love – im straight (just to tell you where my scew is comming from) and i thought of the line as pedofile love is bad, not homo love is bad, i can see how some would see it that way, but remember that spartan children were treated much differntly then athanian, they thought of their boys as something to prove trying to forge them into warriors, not coddeling them.

i enjoyed the movie very much, and deeply sorry if it offended anyone, but if your world can be turned up-side-down over a movie, do something with your life to make it right again.

The movie 300 is entertainment based loosely on a historic event. A very dramatic historic event. The writer was not creating a commentary on the modern world, he was using the most often used theme in writing – the good guys vs the bad guys. Since we don’t really know the truth about any of the participants in the Persian-Greek wars, we only know what a select Greek historians said about it, which can hardly have been the truth, the complaints that the movie 300 is “historically innaccurate” are kind of silly. Try to find out the “facts” about the campaign and you will get totally different “facts” from each commentator. The one detail that I think most historians do agree on is the motivation for Xerxes invasion of Greece, he wanted revenge for the Greek aid sent to the Greek colonies in Asia Minor which started a very serious revolt when his father was king (emperor? whatever the ruler of Persia was called).

I thought the movie was highly entertaining, at no time did I think it was a commentary on today’s world, at no time did I think the author had a “message” to get across.

Given the true nature of Spartan society, I thought the author did an awesome job in painting the Spartans as the “good” guys.

I immediately knew what the author meant from the line “those philosophers and boy lovers in Athens”, he meant that the Athenians were not militarists like the Spartans were, but that the Athenians were more interested in intellectual pursuits and the pursuit of pleasure than in becoming fighting machines like Spartan men. I think it is a really big leap to call that line “homophobic”. I certainly didn’t take it that way. Also, i think if anything the phrase “boy lover” would be a slam against pedophiles, so whoever made the comment about “homophobia” needs to get a grip.

I dont’ see why the author is being held so critically to a standard of being “historically” accurate. The movie 300 is enterainment. Pretty good enterainment too, I thoroughly enjoyed the harem scenes!

as anyone with a smattering of history will tell you the Persians were the good guys and the Spartans not bad, but pretty dumb.
So, what’s wrong with the Iraqis fighting the invaders from america just as the spartans did?

FIrst off, the spartans are the good guys, they are defending freedom. Saying that, you can’t connect the Iraqi insurgants with the spartans. Rather than accepting a free and peaceful Iraq, the insurgants promote violence, oppression and anarchy. A second note, the esteemed glorious death the Spartans desired is mocked through Iraq’s insurgant suicide bombings. Iraqi insurgants are NOT Spartans.

Cleon of Sparta

March 21, 2007 at 9:38 am

300 was an amazing work of art and nothing more. It was entertainment, capturing the myth and glory of ancient Greece. NOT a historically accurate vision of Greece. Those who complain about that really don’t get the point. I’m a HUGE ancient history buff, and have studied it for years. Those of you who say the Persians are the ancestor’s of Iraqi’s and Iranians are wrong. Historical evidence says that the people of modern day Iran and Iraq are related to the Sarmatian’s of the steppes. Persian’s and where Persia was supposed to be was in the Turkmenistan and Afghanistan areas. The battle between Spartans and Persians has nothing to do with today’s issues. Those of you who think that believe that humans are far more intelligent than they actually are. The majority want to see a sweet movie, and nothing more. NO ONE thought of the Persian’s being middle eastern, except those people who wanted to. The vast majority of those people being middle eastern. People should leave today’s issues seperate from the entertainment of watching a movie that depict’s a beautiful vision a ancient mythic Greece and THEIR struggle, not the MODERN struggle for whatever social political thinking you have….

Bisexuality runs through the whole of Greek history. In ancient as well as modern Greece, as long as a man marries, he’s allowed to do as he pleases when it comes to sex. When you meet gay Greeks, they all tell you they’re “bi”, and plan to marry and raise a family. There’s no word for ‘gay’ in Greek, and gay culture as such does not exist in Greece as it does in the US and most of Western Europe. Both ancient and modern Greeks despise effeminacy, and homophobia is alive and thrives in Greece.

The Frank Miller ‘graphic novel’ is a shallow and duplicitous entertainment, which bears only a shadow of resemblance to the momentous event it attempts to tell the story of.

Things like this are never meant to be historically accurate.

Whould you expect a story based on Odysseus or Hercules to be historically accurate? Because this is the same thing; it’s the re-telling of a myth. Just because this myth is a lot closer to its historical roots doesn’t make it any less of a legend; a what-should-have-been or a what-could-have-been rather than a what-really-happened.

More than 2 cents

April 5, 2007 at 9:40 am

I saw “300” in an IMAX theater, and it has strong, visceral imagery, and shows enough archetypes to make any Jungian very happy. I think the lead characters are flat and one dimensional, and not believable as historical figures, however. I don’t believe the average 20 yr. old male is likely to be frightened by an effeminate Xerxes -as Zack Snyder is quoted as stating as one of his intentions- but is more likely to get off on the slow-mo scenes of violence and “dawn of the dead” touches that Snyder has abundantly inserted into the film. There were no ghouls at Sparta or Thermopylae!

That said, actual Spartan society was more brutal and probably more horrific than anything shown in the film. Homosexuality was seen as a way to build strong bonds between men, and the Spartans believed it was one more element that helped to make for a very fierce warrior. Unlike the Athenians, Spartans left no monuments, wrote no plays or poetry, and despite a valiant battle at Thermopylae, it was the Athenians who finally defeated Xerxes in the naval battle at Salamis. While the violence in the film seems over the top, actual close-quarter battle must have been very violent, out of necessity. To Snyder’s credit, there are some anti-war elements in the film, as when he shows Leonidas’ and his soldiers’ reaction to the loss of their comrades.

Not surprisingly, “300” is doing very well in Greece. The Greeks love their long history with its many heroes and stunning accomplishments.

Wait, so now it’s homophobic to disapprove of pedophiles?

You are some sick people.

This is the best movie EVER!!!!!!

Evil, gay? All BS.

Yes, Xerxes was portrayed as effeminate. The 300 (along with 2700 other non-Spartan warriors) were the guys who saved Western Civilization and prevented the Persians from entering Europe. The Spartans were the best warriors of their time. Spartans knew that you fight better if you protect your lover fighting by your side and don’t want to look weak in front of him at the same time. If we had more warriors like the ancient Greeks, we would be GLORIOUS in the fight on terror.

Don’t the Islamic terrorists look effeminate anyway in their long robes? Same actually counts for the pope and Catholic clergy as well, who have been shamefully implicated in the greatest cover-up of child sexual abuse in the 20th century.

I loved the movie. Thank You!

you guys are all losers

i like 300 though

vrek almal van julle

The movie left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t know exactly what it was, but it just did.

The cinematography was good, but I wouldn’t prefer it.

i would like to ask everyone whos getting pissed tht tht 300 isnt historicly accurate

did u guys get pissed at the superman comics tht showed him helping in ww2? cus well tht isnt historicly accurate either but most ppl seem to be fine with it

I really don’t understand the whole controversy regarding the historical accuracy of “300”, it’s really starting to irritate me.

There are plenty of movies out there that take bits and pieces of history and apply them to different contexts, but nobody really picks apart WWII movies which are based off of a real event but the stories derived from the soldiers that fought in it.

The point is to tell a story that will resonate with the audience’s emotions, not to be literal retellings of the source material unless advertised as such. “300” was marketed as an action film “from the mind that brought you Sin City” not “A factual depiction of the Battle of Thermoplyae.”

I’ve scene it and I’ve enjoyed it because it is an excellent action film. Friends of mine seem to dislike it because it wasn’t on par with the likes of Gladiator in the depictions of it’s battles. I can see why people dislike the movie, but saying that you don’t like an apple because it doesn’t taste like an orange is just absurd.

I’m glad you’ve pointed out that Miller’s female characters are often very masculine. I’m not talking physically, not even visually (although, sometimes Miller will even draw his female characters as more masculine or put them in clothes that hide their femininity). I just finished reading Ronin and I have to say that Casey was rather masculine indeed. Right off the bat, as soon as you meet her, she’s wearing a uniform that seems to hide all her typical female physical characteristics. Futhermore, all through the series you see signs of Miller attributing to Casey, strong characteristics he (and many others) would attribute to men. What makes Miller’s characterization of women different than that of others is that in order to make his women strong… he tries to make men out of them.
(Personnaly, I consider strong female characters to be strong for different reasons than that of a strong male character.)
Hey Greg, is Ronin on this list?

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