Book Review: “300″ by Frank Miller


Title: 300

Author: Frank Miller (Story & Drawings) & Lynn Varley (Coloring)

Hardcover: 88 pages

Publisher: Dark Horse (

Publication: 1999

Language: English

ISBN: 978-1569714027

Dimensions: 12.9 x 9.9 x 0.6 inches

Price: $30 US

This is a comic book, namely a book full of hand-drawn cartoons with few words or short sentences on each page. I read it last weekend and found it very offending to the Persians. This is not my personal impression but a truth. On the back of the book, Frank Miller himself summarizes it as following:

“The army of Persia - a force so vast it shakes the earth with its march - is poised to crush Greece, an island of reason and freedom in a sea of mysticism and tyranny. Standing between Greece and this tidal wave of destruction is a tiny detachment of just three hundred warriors. But these warriors are more than men… they are Spartans.”

Although it is said that “300” is a fictional cartoon book but I believe Frank Miller does not have such illusion. He has tried very hard to portrait his book as a history work when he recommends the following books as “Recommended Readings”:

The Hot Gates by William Golding,

The Histories by Herodotus,

Thermopylae: The Battle for the West by Ernle Bradford,

The Western Way of War by Victor Davis Hanson.

This book purposefully degrades Persians and flies in the face of historical facts. It purposefully demeans Persians in general and their King Xerxes in particular unjstly. Although “300″ book has small fonts for its general text but it uses one of the largest fonts in the book in red color for writing “Persians!” as a caption of a group of soldiers with evil faces. If the discriminating views of this book were brought to light when it was published in 1999 then probably Hollywood would not dare to make ‘The 300’ movie based on this book.

Frank Miller has created many other comic books which have been turned into movies including Batman and Spiderman. However, they have been all fictionally and none has been targeting real people, not to mention Persians, one of the oldest civilized nations.

It is very interesting to learn why Frank Miller has written such a Persian demeaning book? Here is the reason as mentioned in the Time Magazine article of March 12, 2007 called “The Art of War” by Lev Grossman:

{In 1962 a boy named Frank Miller went to the movies with his parents. The movie was Rudolph Maté’s The 300 Spartans. Miller was 5. “It had a deep, deep effect on me,” Miller says. “I actually snuck across the theater in order to confer with my dad and make sure the heroes really were dying. I stopped thinking of heroes as being the people who got medals at the end or the key to the city and started thinking of them more as the people who did the right thing and damn the consequences.” When Miller grew up, he created a comic book about the Battle of Thermopylae called simply “300″.}

Not only Frank Miller but also many people especially youth get their history lessons from movies and novels, accept them as facts and then act upon them!

But the sad fact is that even well-educated westerners do not realize the historical inaccuracies in this book especially the way it has portrayed Persians. To prove my point, I quote the most thoughtful review I could find about 300 book on Amazon here:

{He’s taken one of the most glorious stories in human history and dumbed it down BELOW the level of the most moronic Saturday morning cartoon you can find on the tube.

‘Historical accuracy’ isn’t the issue in this particular case. Hollywood screenwriters fashion entire careers around doing violence to history. ART is the issue, which is why I get REALLY pissed off with giddy amateur reviewers breathlessly proclaiming ‘300’ as “One of the great graphic novels of our time”.

If ever there was a story that cried out for richness of detail and vivid coloration, it’s this one. Instead, we get paint-roller draftsmanship, a color palette lifted from a highway road-kill, and dialog that’s about as eloquent as two Neanderthals grunting at each other. (Which is understandable, since that’s obviously Miller’s target audience.)

Some reviewers have recommended Stephen Pressman’s ‘Gates of Fire’ as an antidote to ‘300’. Their intentions are good, but they forget that we’re dealing with semi-literate hardship cases who get their history lessons from comic books.
If you would like to see what a REAL graphic novel looks like, check out any of the Alan Moore/Eddie Campbell collaborations.}

Review by: Ali Talebinejad
April 6, 2007

6 Responses to “Book Review: “300″ by Frank Miller”

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  5. Shirin Science Center Weblog وبلاگ_موسسه_علمی_شیرین » Blog Archive » How MIT PSA can counter the negativity of “300” Movie? Says:

    […] Review of Frank Miller’s “300” comic book […]

  6. Shirin Science Center Weblog وبلاگ_موسسه_علمی_شیرین » Blog Archive » Says:

    […] Review of Frank Miller’s “300” comic book […]

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