Entertainment Visual Arts 300 Comic Book Review Share PINTEREST Email Print 300 #1. Copyright Dark Horse Comics Visual Arts Comic Books Collecting Characters Marvel Comics DC Comics Anime & Manga By Aaron Albert Aaron Albert, a collector of and an expert on comic books, has studied, taught, and written about the comic book genre for more than 20 years. our editorial process Aaron Albert Updated March 10, 2017 Writer: Frank Miller Artist: Frank Miller (Illustrator); Lynn Varley (Colorist) Content: 300 is a 16+ rated book. Introduction 300 is a piece of historical fiction, based on a story passed down to us by the Father of History, Herodotus, a Greek historian who first brought the world the story of 300 Spartans that stood against an empire. A young Frank Miller, now comic book icon, was first exposed to this story through a film about the Spartans and their desperate stand against the king of Persia, Xerxes. The result is a fantastical story told through stunning visuals painstakingly drawn by Frank Miller and painted by colorist Lynn Varley. The Story 300 tells the story of three hundred Spartan warriors, the bodyguard of the Spartan King Leonidas, who together with simple peasant warriors stand against the armada of King Xerxes of Persia. The 300 warriors and the rest of the small Greek army meet Xerxes in Thermopylae, translated as the “Hot Gates,” a narrow path near the coast where hot springs abounded. King Xerxes offers the Spartans to surrender and pay supplication to him as well as the rest of Greece, and he will leave them alone. King Leonidas’ answer is to kill the messengers, a blasphemous act that was unheard of in those days. Time and time again, Xerxes offers a peaceful resolution, but the proud and barbaric Spartans will have none of it, bowing to no man but their own king. The resulting battle is one that has been told throughout the ages, as this small band of men held off a mighty army through tactics, determination, training, and sheer willpower. What resulted, historically, was a major moral victory for Greece, but at the cost of these brave warriors. Review Frank Miller is a man of passion. So much though that he left DC to pursue other avenues when he thought he was being censored. It is well known that this story is one that is near and dear to his heart, as Miller is a lover of history. These passions really come out in the telling of these doomed warriors of Sparta. Much of the comic is done in huge oversized panels, twice the size of normal reproduction work. According to Diana Schutz, the editor of 300, the reason was, “…a story that epic needs a huge canvas.” The result is many striking visuals that help portray the battle with emotional tones of defiance, rage, strength, and honor. Miller does take liberties with the history, however. 300 is more of a dramatic reimagining of the historical battle, rather than a word for word retelling. Many aspects are not truly there, such as the fact that there were thousands of Greek soldiers at the battle as well, and that all we know of Ephialtes was that he betrayed his people for the reward, not also for revenge. The deformity of Ephialtes is also Miller's addition. There is also a bit of romanticizing of the Spartans here. Some might think the story has been boiled down to a simplistic fable of brave freedom fighters and glosses over the historical reality of Spartan society. Conclusion 300 is a great comic book story. The visuals here are some of Miller’s best, made even better by the painting done by Lynn Varley. The story is rich and made even better by the fact that it's based on a true one. The savagery and dedication of the Spartan warriors is truly shown here as they lay down their lives for their country, their honor, and for glory. If you like Frank Miller’s work, do yourself a favor and check out this comic.