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As fans mock Frank Miller's 'Dark Knight III' cover, Kurt Busiek defends it

The debut of Frank Miller's cover for the minicomic accompanying Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1 was greeted Monday with a mixture of confusion and criticism, as many fans tried to figure out what happened to the legendary artist. "DC Lets Frank Miller Draw Superman's Penis For Dark Knight III," reads the headline on io9.com.

But as the jokes flew on social media, Astro City writer Kurt Busiek stepped up with an alternate view: that Miller, revered for his work on Daredevil, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, knows precisely what he's doing.

Posting the cover for DC Comics' Dark Knight Universe Presents: The Atom #1 -- yes, the one of the grimacing Man of Steel with pumpkin-sized fists and a penis clearly outlined in his shorts -- Busiek wrote on Twitter, "This shot of Superman says everything Frank Miller wants to establish about Superman in this world."

The writer followed that with a series of tweets that, together, forms a pretty convincing explanation of, and argument for, Miller's approach. Of course, that may not change your mind if you already hate this new take on Superman (and, judging from all of those Twitter and Facebook comments, odds are that you do):

 

This shot of Superman says everything Frank Miller wants to establish about Superman in this world. pic.twitter.com/XXJGbBtqsD

— Kurt Busiek (@KurtBusiek) October 5, 2015

People who like a sleek, realistically-rendered Superman—the Superman they’re used to—will hate it.

— Kurt Busiek (@KurtBusiek) October 5, 2015

But Miller’s not interested in presenting more of that Superman.

— Kurt Busiek (@KurtBusiek) October 5, 2015

He’s been talking for years about the crude power of superheroes, how they had more impact in the Golden Age when they were raw, unpolished.

— Kurt Busiek (@KurtBusiek) October 5, 2015

People will talk about how Frank’s not drawing it well, or not drawing it right, but that’s not what’s going on.

— Kurt Busiek (@KurtBusiek) October 5, 2015

Frank’s drawing it the way he wants the idea of this raw, crude, powerful idea to come across, not the way Neal or Curt or anyone else drew.

— Kurt Busiek (@KurtBusiek) October 5, 2015

He’s powerful, ugly, Eastwood-mad, with Kirby fists and a noticeable dick. This isn’t by mistake, it’s not lack of control.

— Kurt Busiek (@KurtBusiek) October 5, 2015

It’s cartooning, it’s Frank presenting an idea of Superman that isn’t sleek and pretty.

— Kurt Busiek (@KurtBusiek) October 5, 2015

I expect a lot of people are going to hate it. I’m not saying you should like it.

— Kurt Busiek (@KurtBusiek) October 5, 2015

I’m saying it’s not the result of someone “losing it.” It’s the result of Frank wanting to say something different, that you don’t like.

— Kurt Busiek (@KurtBusiek) October 5, 2015

It’s not failure. It’s successfully saying something that you didn’t want him to say. But he wanted to, so he did.

— Kurt Busiek (@KurtBusiek) October 5, 2015

Again, doesn’t mean you should like it. Lots of art, lots of opinions about it, that’s fine. But it’s on purpose, not lazy, not an attempt..

— Kurt Busiek (@KurtBusiek) October 5, 2015

…to draw like Neal and failing. This is specific, it’s what he’s trying to say.

— Kurt Busiek (@KurtBusiek) October 5, 2015

Written by Miller and Brian Azzarello, and illustrated by Andy Kubert and Klaus Janson, Dark Knight III: The Master Race debuts Nov. 25. Each issue will include a minicomic that focuses on a different character in the world of the Dark Knight, drawn by various artists. Miller himself will pencil Dark Knight Universe Presents: The Atom #1.

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