Before Ridley Scott would reinvent the sand and sandals epic with Gladiator, Frank Miller had already beat him to the punch in comics with the 300, an irony not lost given the recent success of the movie adaptation. Miller - one of the more important mainstream comic artists to influence the industry in both its creative and business practice - strays here from his crime comics roots and into new terrority as a historical dramatist.
The 300 is in-and-of-itself a remarkable story, based on the heroic stand of King Leonidas and his three hundred Spartan warriors at Thermopylae against the invading army of Xerxes' Persian army in 480 B.C. Hopelessly outnumbered, these Spartans - all but abandoned by the other Greek states - would prove to be a deciding factor in the Persian-Greco war. With this as his backdrop, Miller uses his creative license to create an energentic and highly entertaining account of one of history's great battles.
What really makes 300 a unique experience is Miller's decision to render it in full double-page spreads, creating what can only be described as a "widescreen" comic. This deluxe hardcover edition faithfully presents 300 as it was meant to be - with all the double-page spreads presented as single pages (in the original comic format, these spreads were creased down the middle). Throw in perhaps the best colors of Lynn Varley's career and 300 remains the most impressive visual entry in Miller's storied career as an artist.
Peter Aaron Rose is a writer, producer and technologist who lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Under the pseudonym "Peter Siegel", he recently authored Killing Demons, a graphic novel available from Engine Press and Platinum Studios.