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by Frank Miller (Author), Lynn Varley (Author)
The armies of Persia—a vast horde greater than any the world has ever known—are poised to crush Greece, an island of reason and freedom in a sea of madness and tyranny. Standing between Greece and this tidal wave of destruction are a tiny detachment of but three hundred warriors. Frank Miller's epic retelling of history's supreme moment of battlefield valor is finally collected in its intended format—each two-page spread from the original comics is presented as a single undivided page.
Hardcover: 88 pages
Publisher: Dark Horse
An emperor amasses an army of hundreds of thousands, drawn from two continents, to invade a third continent and conquer a tiny, divided nation. Only a few hundred warriors stand against them. Yet the tiny nation is saved. It sounds like the plot of a preposterous fantasy novel. It is historical fact. In 481-480 B.C., King Xerxes of Persia raised forces in Asia and Africa and invaded Greece with an army so huge that it "drank rivers dry." Then they entered the mountain pass of Thermopylae and encountered 300 determined soldiers from Sparta....
Writer-artist Frank Miller and colorist Lynn Varley retell the battle of Thermopylae in the exciting and moving graphic novel 300. They focus on King Leonidas, the young foot soldier Stelios, and the storyteller Dilios to highlight the Spartans' awe-inspiring toughness and valor. Miller and Varley's art is terrific, as always; the combat scenes are especially powerful. And Miller's writing is his best in years.
As a collection of the original comics, 300 is much better read in one sitting than reading the individual comics on a monthly schedule. This book first achieved phenomenal success after its release as a single graphic novel simply because after one issue you become so restless you just have to read the next one. The art is breathtaking, the writing appropriate, and the coloring by Liz Varley is brilliantly done.
Morally disconcerting as the butchery depicted by Frank Miller is, there really is something stirring about his re-telling of the Themopylae story. Clearly both the story of courageous sacrifice and his rendering of it touch deep responsive chords. Miller's artwork is superb, impressionistic and subtle at times, hard-lined and deliberately brutal at others. The observant eye can discover visual tricks--drawn connotations, as it were--that enhance the story. Just one marvelous example: at one point, Leonidas consults the ephors, corrupt priests of the "old gods" who demand gold for their advice. The ephors keep young maidens as oracles, and the clear implication is that they sexually abuse them. In painting the maiden oracle, Miller has scattered fingerprints across her body--actual ones, from the looks of them--which are so skillfully worked into the overall composition that one doesn't immediately see them for what they are. Brilliant!
Each page is the size of two comic book pages, so although the book is only 88 pages, the amount of story and detail in each page will take you twice as long to soak in. It's an amazing idea which I'm surprised other artists haven't utilized. The five-part series is collected into a beautiful, 88-page hardcover volume, with each two-page spread from the comic presented as it was originally intended - as a single undivided page, greatly enhancing the graphic and narrative power of this immortal tale of heroic sacrifice.
Rest assured that the titles and pictures of all the items up are accurate. Each book was photographed individually...the picture you're seeing is of the ACTUAL ITEM!