The Graphic Novel Comes of Age

Category: 300 News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: July 26, 2006 | Publication: HSX | Author: Jeff Hartke
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Hollywood is becoming enamored of the graphic novel, and for all the right reasons. From a creative perspective, these works offer the freedom that comes from working independently. After all, it's a personal medium - often with just one creative talent doing both the writing and art, though sometimes the art and writing are separate. It's tough to imagine a project as quirky and individual as American Splendor making its way through the Studio development process.

Batman Begins owes a debt to Frank Miller
Seen from a business perspective, a graphic novel is a concept that has fought its way through the development process to completion, and then been proven in the marketplace. It translates readily to film, both in terms of concept and in execution. Although technical professionals may disapprove of the analogy, a graphic novel is rather like a movie's storyboard.

Best of all, there is an existing audience that a marketing staff can build on. This is a tremendous advantage when seeking funding from producers, who can be as risk-averse as any in business. An active fan base that can be motivated to act as advocates for a project is a powerful reason to see it get made.

But with great power comes great responsibility. Tapping into the fan base is not a one-way street, a lesson that Hollywood has learned, sometimes at great cost. There are certain expectations that must be met before fans will commit to support a project. Films that met this criteria includes the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Batman Begins. A good example of one that did not is The Hulk, which was a good enough movie on its own merits, but which failed to satisfy the fans.

Zack Snyder, the director of 300 (300) said that the Studio system’s attitude towards the graphic novel has matured. "Hollywood no longer looks at fixing the graphic novel. Now it just wants to film the graphic novel."

The world is full of aspiring filmmakers who are looking for some way to realize their vision and gain an inroad into the business. The smart ones should consider writing a graphic novel rather than shooting 16mm. Believe it or not, that's what Rosario Dawson (RDAWS) is doing. She's got a comic she's written called "OCT: Occult Crimes TaskForce" starring herself in the role of crime-fighter Sylvia Ortiz.

Burning Questions

Does Frank Miller have what it takes to be a successful director?

No one doubts his ability to translate imagination into stylish, breath-taking visuals, so the technical aspects should be fine. But does he have the “soft skills” needed to manage, encourage and direct actors? He did earn a director’s credit for Sin City, but that project also had Robert Rodriquez (RRODR) and Quentin Tarantino (QTARA) – one heckuva pair of training wheels.

Will 300 be historically accurate?

No, according to Frank Miller. "I only do fiction" said the artist in response to a question. Audiences should not be surprised to learn later that Spartans did not go into battle wearing little more than a cape, or that rhinoceroses were not used as weapons of war.

What’s the story with Sin City 2?

Rosario Dawson (RDAWS) said that the start date for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (SINC2) was delayed by Angelina Jolie’s (AJOLI) pregnancy, though Jolie has not yet been officially cast. Dawson and author Frank Miller were carefully vague about any details, so it looks like we’ll have to wait and see.