Jeph Jacques's comics discussion forums

Fun Stuff => ENJOY => Topic started by: Theta9 on 02 Sep 2019, 16:54

Title: Garth Ennis and Frank Miller (Comics)
Post by: Theta9 on 02 Sep 2019, 16:54
(ported from The Boys (,34448.0.html) topic)
Ennis always struck me as an edge-lord teenager valuing gore and spectacle over substance in the same vein as Millar.

I disagree. I love the plots of Preacher and The Boys, and Battlefields was a good war comic series. Also, while Ennis only writes, Miller is an illustrator who also fancies himself a writer; Sin City is a good example of the sort of "gore and spectacle" you refer to.
To his credit though, he did give us Ronin and The Dark Knight Returns.
Title: Re: Garth Ennis and Frank Miller (Comics)
Post by: Castlerook on 02 Sep 2019, 18:47
I'll be the first to say that I'm not fond of Garth Ennis' contempt for the superhero genre, that being said when he has written Superman, he has done so with the utmost respect for the character and what he represents. Indeed, he has love for Spider-man and Wonder Woman too, perhaps because those three heroes represent being better people for the sake of being better. There's no edgy backstory - even Spider-man's background is just that he made a mistake which cost him dearly, but ultimately chooses to live up to the ideal his uncle tried to impress on them.

But Garth Ennis is a writer who uses his work to unload what he has to say about society or how much he hates the superhero genre. And to be fair, he's not that good a that genre (seriously, The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe raises so many red flags I'm amazed it got through publishing). But if you let him write something he enjoys (namely war stories), it comes through. He understands the hell people went through and can carry it well. And I think it might be better to leave what I have to say about him on a positive note.

Frank Miller...well he brought Batman back to his roots as a dark hero, it's just a shame that he did it so well, its become stuck on "Batman-is-an-asshole". That said, he pretty much recreated Daredevil into his modern incarnation, introducing all the elements that we associate with the character today. And that's really all the positive things I can say about Frank Miller. His writing ability went crashing downhill since the late 90s, probably even earlier and post 2001, well, it's easy to imagine Miller at his desk like this (

So I'll end this on a positive note - Daredevil: Born Again, is probably one of, if not the best stories that Frank Miller even penned. Seriously, go read it. Daredevil season 3 doesn't hold a candle to it.
Title: Re: Garth Ennis and Frank Miller (Comics)
Post by: sitnspin on 03 Sep 2019, 00:41
I said Millar, not Miller, as in Mark Millar. Although I do have a particularly unfavourable opinion of Frank Miller, as well, and his blatant misogyny and promotion of toxic masculinity.

I am not saying Ennis doesn't have substance, I am saying that his incessant need for over-the-top edge lord grotesquery over shadows it. Much of his work would be greatly served by dialing it back a few notches. His reliance on shock value undermines his other strengths.
Title: Re: Garth Ennis and Frank Miller (Comics)
Post by: Castlerook on 03 Sep 2019, 03:50

And I very much agree with you about Ennis. He's a writer that I find has a very frustrating quality to his work. Whatever he might think about a subject, he's going to scream in your ear, rather than a more subtle approach that makes you think about it and some time later you go "oh!".

With regards to Mark Millar, much of what I said can be taken from what I said about Frank Millar. He relies on shock deaths, to the point where if someone dies in a Mark Millar story, well, its not a shock anymore. Kick-Ass devolved into a more sickening parody of itself and most of his work outside of the Fantastic Four is shocking for the sake of being shocking.

Both Ennis and Millar are willing to insult their readers, which has meant that I dropped them both several years ago. Well that and the fact they're both terrible writers, but mainly because they're complete and utter assholes.
Title: Re: Garth Ennis and Frank Miller (Comics)
Post by: Thrillho on 03 Sep 2019, 14:55
I've not read any of Ennis' work, but I get the sense that its subversion is the kind I often dislike in superheroes - the super-dark, undermining of childhood innocence type stuff.

Miller I have read extensively, and I can tell you that while his good work shines like a beacon among comic history, he has an overwhelmingly unbalanced bibliography consisting of basically a handful of really good series and then a whole lot of shit/stuff that has dated badly (a lot of his weekly runs as a younger writer, for example, in the latter case).

Millar on the other hand, might be even worse, simply because he's 1. younger and 2. people don't seem to know what an asshole he is as much.

And I guess it's because Frank Miller seems to not know what the fuss is about and is just a relic from a previous era, a blunt, inefficient tool not made for the modern industry. He is your Grandpa. He will keep saying racist shit, so stop asking him questions.

Millar, on the other hand, seems to have a story concept of 'trigger the libs' written at the top of his notepad, underlined in red, before he starts any plot synopsis.

Hey, you like cannibals? Incest? Every single character being the worst person on Earth, including a xenophobic Captain America? Protagonists so hateful and disgusting that they commit a rape off-panel that is never addressed? Would you like these stories to then get adapted into movies somehow? Do you want every single ounce of joy or happiness in comic books to be crushed under the big, throbbing boot of toxic masculinity? Oooh! Shades of grey!

I will say Millar has one book which I like a lot, though, which is Superman: Red Son. But Elseworlds stuff is kinda cheating the system a little.

Fuck that guy.
Title: Re: Garth Ennis and Frank Miller (Comics)
Post by: Theta9 on 03 Sep 2019, 17:24
But Garth Ennis is a writer who uses his work to unload what he has to say about society....
Isn't that kind of what writers do?

Sure The Boys and Preacher are over the top, but I enjoyed the stories. And while I do enjoy traditional superhero stories, I don't have any particular reverence for the genre, and I thought The Boys an interesting exploration of what superpowered people might do if they didn't think anybody would tell them boo. Then again, maybe I just have no taste.   :-\

The name Mark Millar is unknown to me, so I figured it was a mistyping of Miller.
Title: Re: Garth Ennis and Frank Miller (Comics)
Post by: Castlerook on 03 Sep 2019, 17:45
But Garth Ennis is a writer who uses his work to unload what he has to say about society....
Isn't that kind of what writers do?

Yes, but a good writer is able to do it in a subtle manner and can do so in such a way that you need to think about it. The best ones are ones where the realisation hits you like a bolt from the blue.

Garth Ennis is not a good writer. Garth Ennis screams his views in such a way that I'm quite sure that a screaming chimp smearing their own faeces on a wall would pause and tell him to calm down.

He has nothing but contempt and hatred for the readers of his work, oftentimes insulting them. And that contempt for the medium he writes in bleeds through with every word he writes. Its rather telling that the last award he won was in 1999. And sure, some of his work might have won acclaim, but its also a degree of bile fascination. He doesn't write great stories, he spews vitriol and that's what draws people to him.

As for Mark Millar, he just doesn't understand the characters he writes. One key story a lot of people point to about Millar's inability to understand character is in Ultimate Marvel and an infamous line from Captain America - bear in mind that Ultimate Captain America was a racist, sexist and xenophobic man from the 1940s - in the middle of a tirade, points to the A on his mask and says "Do you think this letter on my head stands for France?". Stereotypes about the French aside, whatever might have been said about the French military, the Allies had nothing but respect for the French Resistance and their actions during the war. And Millar can't get that. He has written Ultimate Steve Rogers as a dickhead/asshole and has gone out of his way to insult one of America's oldest allies. But the point is that Millar doesn't do research, he just doesn't care for it and he doesn't care who might be insulted.