CM Podcast 267 – Ronin (1983 comic) Part 2 of 2

This is it – the final installment of our Dystopia Futures run on comics. This does not mean that we won’t talk about Dystopian Futures in… the future, but it mean next week will not be a Dystopian Future theme.

We are continuing were we left off last week – we are concluding our discussion of Frank Miller’s Ronin six issue prestige format miniseries that was published by DC from 1983 – 1984.

This is the cover of the trade we read.

*** MAJOR SPOILERS THIS WEEK***

Ronin is set in the near future and has a massive twist at the end of the comic that you don’t see coming (we debate it’s validity) but we want to warn everyone up front – if you do not want the comic’s ending spoiled, stop listening when we tell you in the podcast. You can listen to everything else but stop listening and go read the comic.

Reflecting back on Ronin, Frank Miller was in an experimental mood when creating this comic. He tires several different art styles (cross-hatching, negative space) and we also pushes the limits of dialogue and censorship with the way some of the characters speak. It was ground breaking, especially for a DC comic, at the time and still holds up today.

Jim

CM Podcast 267 – Ronin (1983 comic) Part 2 of 2 Comics Misremembered Podcast

CM Podcast 266 – Ronin (1983 comic) Part 1 (of 2)

We are at the final comic we will be covering for the #DystopianFutures theme and it is Frank Miller’s Ronin. This podcast is so epic that we had to split into two! We will be posting part one today and follow up with part two next week.

Ronin was published by DC in 1983. DC’s Editor in Chief, Jenette Kahn lured Frank Miller away from Marvel to publish this original story as part of DC’s Prestige format comics – all glossy pages, 48 pages per issue and no ads. DC offered more creative control and Miller wanted to do a more mature comic so he agrees to write and draw the six issue miniseries.

This was one of the many great things Jenette Kahn did to modernize DC and make the comic content more contemporary. One of the other great changes she made was to hire graphic illustrator, Milton Glaser (who passed away today) to design one of the greatest comic company logos of all time. It is known as the DC Bullet and here it is:

There is a funny story behind why DC cannot use this logo anymore and I am sure we will talk about it in a future podcast.

Miller was experimenting with different art styles in this series so that first 3 issues feature plenty of cross-hatching. If you are not familiar with that style, it is a technique used ti create tonal or shading effects by drawing closely spaced parallel lines. The first issue of the miniseries features cross-hatching on the cover:

Cross-hatching is very time intensive so this style is used in the first 3 issues and abandoned for more of a traditional comic style in the last 3 issues.

Jon and I talked about Frank Miller’s Eastern influences in the podcast. I mentioned a scene in the comic that is straight out of Akira Kurosawa’s Yojimbo. Here is a trailer for that movie:

The story from Yojimbo has been remade several times. One of the most recent remakes was 1996 Last Man Standing (whose name I forgot in the podcast). This movie stars Bruce Willis as the “body guard ronin who just blew into town”. Here is the trailer from that movie:

We covered some history, some influences and we start to talk about the comic in this podcast.

We will be spoiling plot points from the comic in next week’s podcast so we recommend reading it this week and coming back to listen and discuss it with us.

See you in seven for part two,

Jim

CM Podcast 267 – Ronin (1983 comic) Part 2 of 2 Comics Misremembered Podcast