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21 March, 2007

300 by Frank Miller

300 is a historically-inspired comic book by Frank Miller. The comic loosely depicts the Battle of Thermopylae & the events leading up to it from the perspective of Leonidas I, king of Sparta. 300 was particularly inspired by the 1962 film The 300 Spartans.

Miller's art style for this project was similar to his Sin City work. 300 was initially published as a monthly five-issue comic book series by Dark Horse Comics, the first issue published in May 1998. The issues were titled Honor, Duty, Glory, Combat and Victory.

The series won three Eisner Awards in 1999:
  • Best Limited Series
  • Best Writer/Artist for Frank Miller
  • Best Colorist for Lynn Varley

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The work was collected as a hardcover graphic novel in 1999.The work inspired a movie, which is running to packed houses all over the world. http://300themovie.warnerbros/

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Plot of 300
A group of Persian messengers arrive at Sparta, demanding Sparta's submission to King Xerxes. Outraged and offended at their behavior, King Leonidas kicks the messengers into a pit and resolves to fight the Persians. Leonidas gathers 300 of his best soldiers to fight the Persians. As they march north, they are joined by a group of Arcadians and other Greeks. Arriving at the narrow cliffs of Thermopylae (or "Hot Gates"), in sight of the Persian army, they build a wall to halt the Persians' advance. Ephialtes, a hunchbacked Spartan, approaches Leonidas, requesting to redeem his father's name in battle, and warning him about a secret goat path that the Persians could use to surround them. Leonidas turns him away as his inability to properly hold the shield would create a weak spot in the phalanx.

The Spartans fight off numerous waves of Persian attackers, including their elite group of the Immortals, using the phalanx formation and hand to hand combat. The 300 defend their position for a number of days and suffer few losses. Xerxes, impressed, approaches Leonidas directly and promises him wealth and power in exchange for his surrender. The Spartan king declines, saying that he will instead make the "God King" bleed. Shortly thereafter, an embittered Ephialtes reveals the goat path to Xerxes, and is promised a lucrative and powerful position in the Persian Empire.

Meanwhile, the Greeks realize that Ephialtes has betrayed them, and the Arcadians decide to retreat in the face of certain death. The Spartans refuse to follow. Leonidas orders only one man, Dilios, to retreat and use his rhetorical gifts to tell the story of the 300 to the Spartan people, ensuring that they be remembered. Dilios reluctantly leaves with the Arcadians. At Sparta, Queen Gorgo appears in front of the council, to persuade the Spartan council to send reinforcements to Leonidas, the Council unites against Persia.

At Thermopylae, the 300 are surrounded by the Persian troops. Xerxes' spokesman demands their surrender, saying that Leonidas may keep his title as King of Sparta and become warlord of all Greece, answering only to Xerxes. In defiance, Leonidas throws his spear at Xerxes, and cuts his cheek, thus delivering on his promise to "make the 'God King' bleed." Xerxes signals for his archers to fire. The remaining Spartans are killed in the hail of arrows, with Leonidas dying last. Dilios eventually returns to Sparta and inspires the council with the bravery of the 300. Dilios concludes that the Persian army, who defeated a mere 300 Spartans only after great difficulty, must now be terrified to face 10,000 Spartans and 30,000 Greeks from the other city-states. The roused Greek host heads off to fight the Persian army, beginning the Battle of Plataea.

1 comment:

Delon said...

Awesome stuff!!! Been waiting for this one. Thanks