Lynn Varley

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Lynn Varley
BornUnited States
Notable works
The Dark Knight Returns
AwardsEisner Award, 1999
Harvey Award, 1999
Comics Buyer's Guide Award, 1986, 1999, 2000

Lynn Varley is an American colorist, notable for her collaborations with her former husband, comic book writer/artist Frank Miller, whom she divorced in 2005.[1]


Lynn Varley debuted on Batman Annual # 8 (1982) written by Mike W. Barr and penciled by her then partner Trevor Von Eeden.[2]

Varley provided the coloring for Miller's Ronin (1984), an experimental six-issue series from DC Comics that proved that comics in unusual formats could be commercially successful, and The Dark Knight Returns (1986), a four issue mini-series that went on to become an outstanding commercial and critical success.[3] In a special edition, Miller notes that Varley was also the one who helped create the futuristic slang that Carrie Kelly and other characters use.

Subsequently, Varley colored other Miller books, including The Dark Knight Strikes Again, 300, Elektra Lives Again, Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot (with Geoff Darrow), as well as a number of covers for the Lone Wolf and Cub series. She also colored the backgrounds for the 300 movie (2007), produced by Miller.


Varley has received recognition in the comics industry, particularly in 1999, when she won the Harvey Award, the Eisner Award,[4] and the Comics Buyer's Guide Awards for Favorite Colorist. (She also won the CBG award in 1986 and 2000.)

Style and technique[edit]

Varley’s coloring technique was greatly influenced by the introduction of software programs such as Adobe Photoshop.  In the early 2000s, when Varley and her ex-husband Frank Miller released Dark Knight Strikes Again, Varley’s coloring included vibrant and nearly psychedelic coloring styles, vastly different from her duller tones used in Dark Knight Returns. Some critics argued that Varley’s inexperience with the new technology negatively affected her work and that she was better off using a real brush.  However, as comics have continued to feature more vibrant color schemes, Varley’s earlier work has also been heralded by some as ahead of its time.[5]


  1. ^ "Icon: Frank Miller Archived 2012-05-02 at the Wayback Machine",, by Johnny Davis, 27 April 2012, originally published in the February 2009 issue of British GQ, p. 2 Archived 2013-06-28 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Ramon Gil (14 August 2016). "Trevor Von Eeden speaks out on 40 years in the industry". Comics Creator News.
  3. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 219. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. It is arguably the best Batman story of all time. Written and drawn by Frank Miller (with inspired inking by Klaus Janson and beautiful watercolors by Lynn Varley), Batman: The Dark Knight revolutionized the entire genre of the super hero.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  4. ^ 1999 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees Winners at the Comic Book Award Alamanc
  5. ^ Rich Johnston. "Frank Miller's Dark Knight Strikes Again, Published Without Lynn Varley's Colours". Retrieved 2019-03-25.


External links[edit]