Silver Screen, Gold Disc

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I saw a preview for the movie 300 not too long ago. Being a history major, with a concentration on ancient, with an affinity for the Greeks of the time, I was naturally intrigued. And so, I looked into the background and making of the movie.

And lo, 300, the movie, is an adaptation of Frank Miller’s five part graphic novel of the same title. Frank Miller’s 300 (the graphic novel) received acclaim and awards, including three Eisner awards in 1999, the year after publish. And no doubt, Miller’s (Sin City) gritty, dark style will play heavily on the movie, bringing the gritty and dark story an interesting depth.

But from where did Miller pull inspiration for his graphic novel? From the ancient historians? Nope. As a young child, Miller watched a 1962 Rudolph Mate film entitled The 300 Spartans which sparked desire to create his graphic novel.

At this point, all signs point to the original works of Herodotus and others who recorded the deeds of those 300 Spartans millennia ago as the influense for The 300 Spartans. But who knows, Mate may ahve other influences for his telling of the Battle at Thermopylae.

Will there be further adaptation of this story? Have no doubts about it. There is already an adaptation underway for a Playstation Portable title in the near future. 300: March for Glory seems to be an action/brawler promising lots of blood and guts. Which, I suppose, is an element of what happened at Thermopylae…

Some might say, “When are we going to get some original material?” when looking at the lengthy chain of adaptations and licenses such as the one following behind those 300 Spartans. Others might note that as one of the more stirring battles in ancient history, if not of all time, and it is a story that can and should be told over and over. Still others fear deeply what each new iteration of the tale might do to break the memory of this epic moment in history.

These are but a few of the issues facing creative media when making new series/graphic novels/etc. To license, or not to license. And it is the question that supplies the subject of this week’s issue of The Escapist, “Silver Screen, Gold Disc.” Inside you’ll find our authors discussing some of the complexities, troubles and highlights of licensing and adapting materials from one media to another. Enjoy!


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