MegaCon Panel Recap: Frank Miller on Dark Knight Returns, The Spirit, & More

A Frank Miller convention appearance is like an eclipse — it only happens every once in a blue moon, and eludes many, but those who follow closely will watch with starry eyes and awe. As expected, it was a full house for his Q&A at MegaCon 2016 Day 3, and fans were lined up almost out of the room to get the chance step up to the mic and ask a question.

One of the first questions asked was concerning his classic The Dark Knight Returns, and why he decided to age Bruce Wayne into an “old man” rather than keeping with his usual early-to-mid 30s standard. A straightforward Miller responded by saying that when he was given the opportunity to write DKR, he was only 29, and something about Batman being the same age as him made him uncomfortable, so he simply just made him 55 instead. The audience chuckled.

Frank Miller at NYCC. Photo: Anthony Toto/Pop-Break
Frank Miller at NYCC. Photo: Anthony Toto/Pop-Break

Miller tended to give short, direct, but slightly deceiving answers to questions, which likely polarized the crowd. When someone asked a long-winded complex question about the details of the political messages in The Spirit, he simply replied: “I never intended for The Spirit to have any political messages.” Those in attendance likely familiar with both the work referenced, as well as Miller’s history of controversial political opinions started murmuring to one another. It was obvious that many believed his answer to be untrue.

Another big focus of the Q&A was Miller’s transition into children’s work with his 1995 comic The Big Guy and Rusty The Robot. Miller stated that he his continuously surprised that people often think of his work and “dark and gritty,” and that he never thought of Big Guy and Rusty as the dramatic turn of events that people often cite it as. He added supplementarily that he would not rule doing more children’s comics in the future.

Oddly, but not surprisingly, and presumably much to Miller’s opposition, there were several question about some of the extremely negative reception much of Miller’s recent work has received. On the subject of the critical ravishing of 2008’s The Spirit, which was Miller’s solo directorial debut, he said the initial backlash it received made him feel bad, but then he decided that he didn’t care. On the subject of this year’s critically demolished Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – which Miller was not directly associated with, but which borrowed heavily from his Dark Knight Returns arc – he stated quite simply, “I was rooting for Batman.”

Dylan Brandsema is a staff writer for Pop-Break specializing in film and television. When he isn’t writing reviews or spending too much analyzing the medium, he’s writing and directing his own independent films as well as drinking way too much soda. Currently at full-time film major at Full Sail University, Dylan eats, sleeps, and breathes everything related to the cinema. You can follow him on Twitter @SneakyOstrich69.