Welcome to the five hundred and thirty-first in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the first five hundred (I actually haven’t been able to update it in a while). This week, did Frank Miller want to make a creative personnel change in the middle of The Dark Knight Returns? Was Walter Simonson given approval of using Mister Fantastic and Invisible Woman in his Avengers run only to have that approval rescinded as soon as he began using them? And do we know of twenty-five “lucky” fans who tore a page out of Action Comics #1?
NOTE: The column is on three pages, a page for each legend. There’s a little “next” button on the top of the page and the bottom of the page to take you to the next page (and you can navigate between each page by just clicking on the little 1, 2 and 3 on the top and the bottom, as well).
COMIC LEGEND: Frank Miller didn’t want Klaus Janson inking him on Dark Knight Returns.
With the news coming out of San Diego Comic Con that Klaus Janson will be the inker on the third volume of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight trilogy over penciler Andy Kubert, I figured it was a good time to feature a legend about Janson and Dark Knight Returns that reader Dean Hacker sent in a few months back, when I mentioned that it was interesting that Janson, who had inked Frank Miller throughout Miller’s run on Daredevil and then eventually began doing finishes on Miller’s layouts and then finally full pencils and inks over Miller’s breakdowns, did NOT ink Miller on Miller’s last issue of his initial Daredevil run (Terry Austin did). Dean wrote that he had heard a legend that Miller did not like Janson’s inks over his pencils and that had tried to get him removed from inking him on Dark Knight Returns.
That is false, but I have a very good idea of what actual story about Dark Knight Returns that Dean is thinking of.
First off, Miller specifically asked for Janson for the project, so obviously he liked Janson’s inks over his pencils.
However, it is true that Miller eventually DID have a problem with Janson on the series, to the point where he actually DID ask for Janson to leave the book!
Here is Janson on the incident, soon after the series was published:
Frank and I had a complete falling out on Dark Knight. We’re not going to work together any more; the falling out was that extensive. Frank was not happy with the inking job that I did on the third book. By my own admission, it’s not the best job I’ve ever done, but it also wasn’t the worst thing I`ve ever done. He wanted me to quit. But I wouldn’t quit because I didn’t think that I had any reason to quit. My feeling was that I wouldn’t quit, but if somebody were to fire me I would accept that. In a nutshell, cooler heads prevailed and I inked the fourth book. Don’t get me wrong. I don`t want to sell what Frank was doing short. I think he did a great job on the writing. I think Lynn [Varley] did a tremendous job on the coloring. And Dark Knight was a very good project for me in the sense that it was, obviously, extremely lucrative. I don`t regret any of it. What I regret is that I wasn’t able to show perhaps more of what I’m capable of doing, that it was artistically restricted because it was a writer’s book rather than an artist’s work. Artistically, it wasn’t my most flashy work.
The third issue featured the famous Joker sequence…
I personally didn’t see anything off about that issue. I though it looked good, but obviously it is fair enough for Miller to have a different viewpoint on the topic.
Luckily, after nearly thirty years have passed, Miller has obviously gotten over it, which is awesome, as I’m pumped about having Janson on this new volume of Dark Knight.
Thanks to Daniel Best for the Janson quote! And thanks to Dean for the suggestion!
Check out some entertainment and sports legends from this week at Legends Revealed:
On the next page, did Walter Simonson leave Avengers because he was given permission to use two characters in the book and then had the permission pulled as soon as he actually used them?
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