Writer: Frank Miller
Artist: Frank Miller
Colorist: Lynn Varley
Publisher: Dark Horse Books/Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: 23/07/2010(UK & US)
MSRP: £8.99(UK) $14.99(USA)
You may have heard this story in history class or referenced elsewhere, more likely you have seen the movie of the same name. For those who unaware 300 charts the story of The Battle of Thermopylae from the perspective of King Leonidas of Sparta who lead a small number of soldiers (lets say around 300) in battle against an army of over 300000.
While the events of 300 have historical evidence, I suspect that there has been a lot of artistic licence applied here. However Spartan soldiers have a reputation in history, and Millers writing is easily believable as fact. Miller gives life to these men who are long dead and makes you actually feel for there hardships and political nonsense that Leonidas had to deal with.
The art of 300 is absolutely epic, with several sections that would not look out of place in an art museum or official documentation of the story. Although Frank Miller is a brilliant artist in his own right, the credit needs to go to Lynn Varley as it is her colouring( I’m British, I spell colour with a U) that breathes life and emotion into it.
The combination of the script and art makes for a truly emotional story. Even the most heartless person would find it hard not to feel some some sort of a emotion for these men. If you want to delve a little deeper into the history of the 300, Miller was kind enough to included a couple of suggestions for recommended reading.
Sadly, it’s not perfect although this is more of a complaint about the reader, which I found to be a little unreliable and inflexible compared to the comixology reader that powers the Marvel and DC Comics apps. There is no guided read mode or zoom function which I have come to expect. While 300 will react when you turn the iPad, it really only works when you hold the iPad horizontally which keeps the aspect of the original comic.
At his best, Frank Miller can be a master of the description. He can make you feel that you are actually there watching the events as they unfold. So much so that most of the movie was just a frame for frame copy of the book. 300 is certainly a good story and I prefer reading about it in this form rather than an “accurate” historical book. Unfortunately there was little momentum on this release, the movie is long out, and there hasn’t been much press coverage if any and I can’t imagine people just searching for 300 or Frank Miller on iTunes on a whim. Also some may see the price as off putting as £8.99/$14.99 seems a lot for a digital version of a comic when a hard-copy can be found cheaper elsewhere, which is a same as this deserves to be read by as many people as possible.