300 by Frank Miller is an example of epic. 300 Spartans face thousands of Persians. But beyond that, the storytelling and the art are both equally epic. The narration, told in collective first person captions, uses repetition of words and syntax—at times too much repetition—to create this effect.
“Cold. Hungry. Far from Home. Defenseless. Defenseless. The scrawny stick he’d sharpened—it was nothing. A joke. A child’s toy masquerading as a proper spear. He was defenseless. He was prey.”
Yep. We get it. Defenseless.
If you haven’t seen the film version of 300, you’re in luck. Read the graphic novel first. Leonidas, the king of the Spartans, and the defenseless boy in the above quotation, must lead his army against the army of Persia to save Greece. He is a ruthless leader, willing to kill his captains at any signs of disobedience, willing to leave Sparta with few words to his wife, willing to watch a man jump to his death without remorse. But such is the attitude of a Spartan soldier. They are beaten and abused as part of their training as soldiers. They are the best soldiers. Soldiers. The best soldiers. The best. (See? I can write like Frank Miller too.)
All joking aside, 300 is spectacular. The art accomplishes so much, especially because the book is uniquely shaped to suit it. Each page is about the size of a landscaped piece of printer paper. This largeness makes the book a bit unwieldy to hold and read, but the impact of such expansive illustrations absolutely matches the nature of the narrative. Epic. (Okay, enough of that word.)
Miller also authored Sin City. Maybe I can get to the first volume before these 30 days are up.