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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 May 2016
I bought this item after having seen the film adaptation (which I thoroughly enjoyed), and I think it's a terrific graphic novel. It depicts the story of the Battle of Thermopylae (480BC), between a few hundred Spartans - led by King Leonidas - and the mighty Persian army, commanded by King Xerxes. The style is hyperbolic - yet glorious! It's a highly violent adventure, in which a few highly trained warriors (fighting for the freedom of Greece) take on a gigantic army of poorly trained slaves (as well as the Persian elite forces, known as 'the Immortals'). While the Spartans lost this battle, they ensure that the foundations are laid for the ultimate winning of the war ...

Frank Miller tells this story brilliantly, and the artwork by Lynn Varley is excellent (with each illustration spread over a double page). This was originally published as a 5 issue comic book mini-series in 1998. It's here presented as a single graphic novel, in hardback. It's unfortunate that you don't get any sort of introduction, nor any concept art. But it is a wonderful book - intended for adults. If you enjoyed the film, you'll probably like this graphic novel.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 March 2014
I purchased this book for my husband as a gift. My husband loves the film 300. We normally watch it at least once a month. I think that visually 300 is beautiful and the story is a very simple but detailed story about King Leonidas and his 300 spartans. This book is very much like a comic book in terms of layout and illustrations. The illustrations, I feel are very detailed and more detailed than your average comic book. The closest I've seen in comics in terms of illustration is in The Walking Dead, but even that I feel is not as detailed as this book is. The big is a bit bigger than A4, more long than it is tall, and it is pretty much exactly as the film goes. There are certain scenes in the film that are exactly as they are in this book. If you love 300, its a different little thing to have. If you love comics this would go well in a comic collection. I wouldn't recommend having it within easy reach of young children - my 6 year old opened the book and closed it pretty quickly! It is very graphic, but so is the film!
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on 27 November 2006
This is one powerhouse of a graphic novel! Miller has taken the battle of Thermopylae and added his own unique take on this infamous event. Bodly drawn, superbly coloured and very graphic in its depiction of violence both on and off the battlefield, 300 needs to be read to be believed. This is a very brutal take on the battle and the novel itself takes no prisoners.Miller knows this and runs riot,adorning the book with superb creations such as Ephialtes,his depiction of the God like Xerxes and his own take on the vaunted Immortals. He also adds some further imagination to the tale by introducing some creatures of myth. Please don't construe this as a blow by blow historical account of the battle, it should not be treated this way. Miller is instead telling us of heroism, courage, steadfast devotion and the brutalities of battle,using a real historical event as his canvas for doing so. I cannot speak highy enough of this novel, and with a motion picture of the movie due out next year I predict many more will discover this fascinating tale where few fought against many.
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on 23 March 2007
Sir

I think the fact that you have not read the novel destroys all credibility of your opinion.

Frank Miller's work is about as far from 'Hollywoodised' as you can get in terms of graphic novels being made into films. Robert Rodriguez had to quit the Director's Guild in order to keep Sin City true to the novel.

Nothing was 'adapted', the story is biased to Miller's point of view, that is his right as the author. Nowhere is it claimed that it is completely historically accurate - there are historical readings recommended on the final page, but of course, you didn't even get past the first.

The art work is beautiful and some of the famous quotes are accurate according to Herodotus. All Miller has done is blur the line between fantasy and reality, which surely is the point of a graphic novel and a film - it is not a documentary, nor is it a historical account, it is a story. It may be biased, giving a distorted view of the truth after the fashion of western historians labelling other cultures as savages and barbarians, but this doesn't detract from the fact that it is well illustrated and well told.

It is necessary to remind yourself that this is a work of fantasy, though i believe Frank Miller does the Spartans a disservice in his portrayal of them, and especially of Leonidas (in reality it was because, not in spite of the oracle that he went to war). The portrayal of the Persians is fantastical, but fits in with Herodotus' legendary accounts of dog-headed men and monsters and is justified in that the story is told from the point of view of the Greeks.
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on 14 July 2012
Though I'm a Frank Miller fan, back in 2006 I somehow hadn't heard of his book "300" so I went to see Zack Snyder's film first - and it completely blew me away. Maybe because I hadn't read Miller's book or seen anything about the film beforehand, but the film was shot in such a highly stylised way and the story was so utterly engrossing, that I couldn't get it out of my head and is probably one of my favourite films ever. Needless to say once I found out it was based on Miller's book I sought it out and devoured it in one sitting. Years later I sat down with it again one rainy Saturday morning and after re-reading it I decided to set down my thoughts to encourage anyone out there reading this review who hasn't read this book to go out and read it now.

The story is set in 480 BCE and is about King Leonidas of Sparta and 300 of his personal guard standing up to a massive Persian army many thousands strong led by the self-proclaimed god-king Xerxes. What looks like a massacre based on figures alone, changes when Leonidas chooses a narrow coastal passageway called the Hot Gates as the place he and his men will make their last stand. They will die but not without taking a fair chunk out of Xerxes' force, causing his army to stumble in their mission to dominate the civilised world, and inspire others to oppose and eventually defeat Xerxes.

The story is ripe for drama and Miller milks it for all its worth, setting up each of the five chapters perfectly so that not a single panel is wasted. The dialogue is so memorable a lot of it was lifted straight from the book into the film: "This is blasphemy! This is madness!" - "This is SPARTA!", "Spartan! Come back with your shield - or on it", "Spartans. Ready your breakfast and eat hearty - for tonight we dine in Hell!" and so on. There are so many excellent passages like when the Spartans meet up with the Arcadians or Leonidas' confrontation with Xerxes that the words will ring through your mind long after you've read it (in my case years later).

Then there's the art. If, like me, you were blown away by the visuals in the film, it's only because so many of the iconic scenes were taken straight from the book and Miller's imagination. Every page is a master-class in comics artistry from the night battle with the Immortals, to the dance of the Oracle, to the bottomless pit in Sparta, to Xerxes' character design, and the Spartans' iconic red cloaks, bronze shields and helmets. The book is printed on A4 pages with many panels taking up an entire page. Miller doesn't waste a single inch of space, filling it up with detail and action while his partner Lynn Varley elevates it with her colours to produce some of the most gorgeous art Miller has ever crafted in his career.

"300" is an incredible accomplishment of art and storytelling and is one of the many reasons why Frank Miller is so revered in the literary world. It's as exhilarating to read on the page as it is to see on the screen and the art is to die for. I recommend this whole-heartedly to anyone who enjoys to read but especially to comics fans who've not picked this up yet. This is an amazing book, this is a work of art, THIS IS MILLER (at his finest)!
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The legendary Battle of Thermopylae is one of the greatest battles in history, but somehow it seems like an odd choice for a comic book.

But Frank Miller, who was enamoured of the story even as a kid, brought it to vibrant life in the sprawling graphic novel "300," which is all about what caused the battle, and how it ended. With a tightly wound plot and colourful, striking artwork, this is perhaps the most impressive dramatization of this battle... except for the movie based on this book.

A Persian messenger arrives, telling King Leonidas that the god-king Xerxes wants the Spartans to bow to him. Leonidas' response: shove the Persians into a pit. But before he can go to war, he must consult the corrupt priesthood of Ephors and their beautiful Oracle. She predicts that Sparta will fall and the gods forbid war at the approach of the Carneaian festival -- courtesy of a hefty bribe from the Persians.

So Leonidas takes out three hundred of his best men, along with their nervy Arcadian allies, and begin trouncing the Persians. But they are being sabotaged, when he sadly tells hunchbacked outcast Ephialtes that he cannot be a part of the Spartan army because he cannot lift his shield high enough. So the embittered Ephialtes reveals their plan to Xerxes, as Leonides prepares the 300 for their final stand -- a battle that lasted days, and left only one alive.

Not a lot of comic books tackle ancient Grecian culture, and even fewer could bring it to life. But Frank Miller's enthusiasm for the Thermopylae story is what makes it come to life -- he crafts a taut, sparely-written storyline, sprinkled with ethereal moments and some grotesque bad guys.

Miller's art is reminiscent of the "Sin City" series, with grotesque old wrecks, muscular men and the occasional seminaked woman. Even more so, he shows graphic battle scenes, full of shattered bloodied bodies and severed limbs, and even adds in some great variety by introducing Xerxes' Immortals, which are silver-masked uberwarriors. Creepy.

But Miller doesn't neglect the storyline. He explores the maneuvers and problems in detail, and even adds both hatred and pathos for Ephialtes. And when they aren't fighting, he explores the way the soldiers lived and thought -- teasing, telling stories, making fun of the Athenians, and even on their injuries ("It's just an eye. The gods saw fit to grace me with a spare").

And Leonides is one of Miller's greatest characters. He's a tough, potentially vicious king who (as Miller shows us) killed a giant wolf as a kid, but he's also honorable, impressive, and even shows kindness to Ephialtes (who, by Spartan law, should be dead). And Miller gives personality to various other characters, including a clumsy young soldier, the arrogant Xerxes (who has the nastiest body piercings), and the only

Spartan to survive.

"300" is an epic story, full of graphic batles and larger than life characters. This battle may be an unlikely choice for a comic book, but it's also one of the most memorable.
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on 27 April 2007
If you're still wanting more after reading Frank Millers' 300, I can highly recommend Steven Pressfields 'Gates of Fire' which tells the same tale but in far more detail. I've just read it and was thoroughly gripped through all 525 pages. Many of the characters are the same and it gives an in depth window into the Spartan way of life and events leading up to the battle of the 300 at Thermopylae. It's certainly one of the best novels I've read.
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on 29 November 2007
The movie is much more intense and complete, but it is still interesting to compare this book to the movie. I only notice one scene in the book that is not in the film, while the film adds a subplot about the queen getting political while the 300 are already in the field. The film also expands upon many scenes that only appear briefly in the book, like the stuff about babies being rejected by Spartan standards. There is less nudity in the book than the film, while the battle scenes are much more entertaining and more artful as they appear in the movie.

This book and movie are NOT hardly family-friendly fare for kids to see at all, that's why the film is R rated, and the book is for grown-ups.

Frank Miller is now a new reigning king of comic book success beyond the comics industry, and I like this 300 story much better than Miller's SIN CITY work. For me, SIN CITY was all about cruel violence for its own sake, as entertainment, but 300 serves a much better purpose, showing tons of violence, but basing it all around actual history. Despite the heightened, fictionalized polishes, the basic story of 300 teaches the reader/viewer the main points of this historical event, and the reader/viewer can then be intrigued enough to learn how this book and film of 300 differs, or is accurate, compared to the actual history.

300 is my favorite work by Frank Miller! Also, if you missed reading Tino Georgiou's masterpiece--The Fates, go and read it.
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on 11 April 2001
Everybody knows that if you want a tough, manly comic book, you should turn to Frank Miller. Frank specializes in violent, testosterone-driven morality plays that make you want to run right out and hurt people. After years of hard-hitting crime stories, Frank turned his attention to what is possibly the ruggedest, manliest story in history: the battle of Thermopylae. In 480 B.C. King Leonidas of Sparta led 300 men to defend Greece from the vast Persian army. "But," as the book's back cover says, "these warriors are more than men... they are SPARTANS."
You only think you've seen bad-asses before. The Spartans set whole new standards for bad-assery. The story's all about 300 mostly naked, sweaty Greek men, but you don't for a second imagine that they're gay. In fact, you don't think of them as sexual at all -they're purely devoted to killing, and they're very good at it. Even if you begin this book unsympathetic to their brutal culture, by the end you'll be cheering for them.
Frank did a great job writing and drawing this story, and Lynn Varley did a great job adding the colors. The extra-wide pages allow for huge, sweeping shots and incredible battle scenes. The book has high production values all around - you'll want to leave it sitting out because it's just so damn pretty.
Great artwork. Lots of memorable lines. And bone-crunching, overwhelming violence like you've never seen before. Five out of five
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on 1 April 2007
To Mr Bolton...

Returned it unread did you? Perhaps you could explain how you where able to come up with such a strong (and totally wrong) opinion of this novel without actually reading it.

To anyone considering buying this GN...

Don't listen to the above individual as he is obviously not reliable at all, this is a fantastic novel, and whilst exaggerated from historical information, is still close enough to reality to allow the suitable links to be made. It is brilliantly drawn and painted by the author and illustrator. But be warned whilst a very strong GN it is also quite short at only 88 pages but what an 88 pages, not as good as Sin City but is totally different and so, for all graphic novel fans, is still a must read.

Thoroughly Recommended
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