Frank Miller’s Speech to the 1994 Diamond Retailers’ Summit

[Full Audio Below]

I bought this the morning after the GEM Awards show. I knew it was a historic moment, and I’m so glad I not only bought it but somehow saved it in a box of comic book odds and ends.

In college, I was hopelessly addicted to comics. As is the case with most addictions, it doesn’t take long before you realize that the easiest and best way to fuel your addiction is by becoming a dealer. So around my junior/senior year of college, I decided to form a “Comic Book Co-Op”. I had some friends in college who shared my passion for comics and had the requisite monthly appetite. I got myself a Tax ID, a Diamond account, and began ordering books for myself & friends and passing along the 40-50% discount. It was pretty cool while it lasted, and I made a little money on the side selling exclusives, variants, and whatnot at a time when those things commanded a decent price in a hot collector’s market.

It also got me into retailer-only events, one of which was the annual Diamond Retailers Summit. In 1994, this was a huge affair. This was the year that Dark Horse Comics debuted its “Legends” imprint, which at the time, was a SuperGroup of comic imprints. Jim Shooter was also in attendance to promote his new “Defiant Comics” brand, after having just been ousted at one of the hottest publishers of the day, Valiant Comics. It was a crazy time to be in comics, underscored by the fact that the first great talent of my youth, Jack “King” Kirby had just passed away and it truly felt like an era had ended, and here, in this convention center, was the future of comics unfolding before us. So there was excitement tinged with melancholy.

So it was with tremendous anticipation that I looked forward to that year’s annual banquet, hosted by Steve Geppi, with none other than Frank Miller… yes, the Frank Miller giving the keynote speech.

It was classic Frank. To set the stage, at the table in front of him sat most of Marvel Comics’ senior editorial staff, and to the right of them sat DC Comics. Keep that in mind while you listen to one of the best, “angry men” in comics at the time (long before Alan Moore made it fashionable to be a comic book curmudgeon). It was also the first time I ever saw a crowd of people give a comic book creator a standing ovation.

For some odd reason, Diamond saw fit to sell tape copies of the night’s hijinx, and I was fortunate enough to have purchased a copy. I saved it in a box of comic odds & ends and recently saw fit to digitize it and post it for posterity. Enjoy!