Jan 22, 2008

[Comics] 300

300 ComicWhile shopping for Christmas gifts last December I opted to get my brother a graphic novel - specifically V for Vendetta. While I was doing that, I couldn't help but pick up a copy of 300 for myself as well, and definitely don't regret that purchase for one bit.

300 is Frank Miller's amazing interpretation of the tale of the Battle of Thermopylae where 300 Spartans held out as long as they could against the advance of the Persian Army. It was made into a very popular movie last year so my hopes were pretty high that this would be pretty entertaining too.

It was much more than that.

First and foremost, 300 is a masterpiece of art, really. If you've ever seen any of Frank Miller's other works and have come anywhere near appreciating his unique brand of stylizing pieces, then you'll truly enjoy this book, originally a 5-comic book series. Many people compare it to his landmark work, Sin City except this time around all the panels are fully colored in as opposed to the primarily black and white style with stark color accents of his prior work.

The story is a classic one and quite engaging for the average reader. Just try to remember that at the end of the day this is still a comic book and it isn't meant as a graphic representation of a historical text. It was designed for entertainment and I'm more than willing to forgive the occasional inaccuracy or slip here or there.

One that that I really came to appreciate was the unusual format of the compilation, making each page larger than most standard comic books. It certainly makes the images a lot more breathtaking and in hindsight I have to admit that the people behind the movie did their best to remain as accurate as possible. The comic has many key scenes that really stand out and the movie pretty much captured most if not all of these tableaus with stunning detail, which just goes to show how powerful the original work was visually. There was little need to really tweak anything for the movie since things pretty much worked out well enough in the comic.

Of course given the greater emphasis on art, the entire comic series comes off as rather short and I can't imagine buying the individual issues at newsstand prices. It makes a heck of a lot more sense to get them together and of course it's a tad cheaper too, I imagine, considering the much larger format.

This is a definite must-have for any comic book library, something that is definitely to be cherished and admired accordingly.

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