Sin City

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Sin City
Cover of The Hard Goodbye showing Marv walking through the rain
First appearanceDark Horse Presents Fifth Anniversary Special (1991)
Created byFrank Miller
Publication information
PublisherDark Horse Comics
FormatsOriginal material for the series has been published as a strip in the comics anthology(s) Dark Horse Presents and a set of limited series, graphic novels, and one-shot comics.
Genre
Publication dateApril 1991 – 2000
Main character(s)Marv
John Hartigan
Gail
Dwight McCarthy
Nancy Callahan
The Roark Family
Wallace
Miho
Creative team
Writer(s)Frank Miller
Artist(s)Frank Miller
Creator(s)Frank Miller
Reprints
Collected editions
The Hard GoodbyeISBN 1-59307-293-7
A Dame to Kill ForISBN 1593072945
The Big Fat KillISBN 1593072953
That Yellow BastardISBN 1593072961
Family ValuesISBN 159307297X
Booze, Broads & BulletsISBN 1593072996
Hell and BackISBN 1593072988
 
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This article is about the series of comics by Frank Miller. For the film, see Sin City (film). For other uses, see Sin City (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with SimCity.
Sin City
Cover of The Hard Goodbye showing Marv walking through the rain
First appearanceDark Horse Presents Fifth Anniversary Special (1991)
Created byFrank Miller
Publication information
PublisherDark Horse Comics
FormatsOriginal material for the series has been published as a strip in the comics anthology(s) Dark Horse Presents and a set of limited series, graphic novels, and one-shot comics.
Genre
Publication dateApril 1991 – 2000
Main character(s)Marv
John Hartigan
Gail
Dwight McCarthy
Nancy Callahan
The Roark Family
Wallace
Miho
Creative team
Writer(s)Frank Miller
Artist(s)Frank Miller
Creator(s)Frank Miller
Reprints
Collected editions
The Hard GoodbyeISBN 1-59307-293-7
A Dame to Kill ForISBN 1593072945
The Big Fat KillISBN 1593072953
That Yellow BastardISBN 1593072961
Family ValuesISBN 159307297X
Booze, Broads & BulletsISBN 1593072996
Hell and BackISBN 1593072988

Sin City is the title for a series of neo-noir comics by Frank Miller. The first story originally appeared in "Dark Horse Presents Fifth Anniversary Special" (April, 1991), and continued in Dark Horse Presents #51–62 from May 1991 to June 1992, under the title of Sin City, serialized in thirteen parts. Several other stories of variable lengths have followed. The intertwining stories, with frequently recurring characters, take place in Basin City.

A movie adaptation of Sin City, co-directed by Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller, was released on April 1, 2005. A sequel was confirmed by Miller in 2011. Miller has stated that the film will be based primarily on Miller's original story A Dame to Kill For, and two new stories. However it will be an open storyline so that characters that appeared in the previous film could return.

Setting[edit]

Basin City, almost universally referred to by the nickname Sin City, is a fictional town in the American west. The climate is hot and arid, although Sacred Oaks is characterized as being heavily wooded. A major river runs through the city, which has an extensive waterfront. Usually twice a year, a major downpour comes, and the city is prone to heavy snowfall in the winter. In the comics, Basin City has a surreal, Pan-American feel. Desert lizards and palm trees are common, while tar pits, desert areas, mountain ranges and flat farmland make up the landscape around the city.

The Basin City Police are more or less along the lines of paramilitary or SWAT, as they have to deal with incredibly high crime rates among criminals and civilians alike, which is why they have access to what most would consider "heavy weaponry" and full body armor. Those who make up the force have been described as commonly being lazy, cowardly and/or corrupt. Only a handful of the cops are honest, though frequently the wealthy of the city bribe the corrupt members of the police into performing their duty (usually as a result of some crime being committed (or threatened) against a member of their family).

During the California Gold Rush, the Roark family "imported" a large number of attractive women to keep the miners happy, making a fortune and turning a struggling mining camp into a thriving, bustling city. Over the years, as the Roark family migrated into other areas of business and power, these women ended up forming the district of Old Town, the prostitute quarter of the city where they rule with absolute authority. In addition, the people charged with governing the city, most of them from the Roark line, remained in power for generations, running it as they saw fit.

As the various yarns progress, the audience gradually becomes familiar with key locations in and around Basin City.

Characters[edit]

Individuals[edit]

Organizations[edit]

Because a large majority of the residents of Basin City are criminals, there are several organizations and cartels central to the stories who are vying for monopoly over the various criminal enterprises in the city. Listed below are crime syndicates, gangs and other low-lifes who figure heavily in the Sin City mythos.

The Basin City Police Department
So deep does corruption and criminality run in Basin City that even their police officers qualify as a gang of paid thugs, turning a blind eye to the affairs of those too poor to pay them off. Few among them are considered incorruptible; even the honest officers are unable (or unwilling) to curtail the criminal actions of the dishonest ones. Notable characters in the series who are police include Detective John Hartigan, his partner Bob, Lieutenants Jack Rafferty and Mort, Commissioner Liebowitz, and Officers Manson and Bundy from Hell and Back.
The Roark family
A dynasty of corrupt landowners and politicians whose influence over Basin City has stretched as far back as the days of the Old West. Famous Roarks of this generation include a senator, a cardinal, an attorney general, and Roark Junior, 'That Yellow Bastard'.
The Girls of Old Town
Populating the region of Basin City known as Old Town is a group of women in the world's oldest profession, having made a truce with the cops to allow them to govern and police themselves. As of A Dame To Kill For, they were led by the twins, Goldie and Wendy.
Wallenquist Organization
A powerful crime syndicate led by Herr Wallenquist, a mysterious crime lord with a broad range of criminal enterprises to his name. Interestingly, though one of the city's two "normal" criminal organizations, the Wallenquist management seems to be the most peaceful and forgiving of the various leaders. It is unknown which crime rings do they hold.
The Magliozzi Crime Family
The undisputed heads of the local Cosa Nostra, the Magliozzi family seems to be the purest example of "true" Mafia lifestyle. While they appear in only one story, it is hinted that the Mafia influence in Basin City's underworld is a lot larger than just their family and that there are more families.

Other groups that have been seen or mentioned in the comics include:

Tong gangsters
Mentioned, but not seen as of A Dame To Kill For. Miho's life was saved by Dwight when he secretly protected her during a fight with several Tong gangsters in a dark alleyway.
White slavers
Mentioned, but not seen as of A Dame To Kill For. Led by a man named Manuel, whose brothers were also involved. Were "taken care of" by Dwight prior to the events of A Dame To Kill For.
Irish mercenaries
Seen during The Big Fat Kill, most of them are evidently former I.R.A. members, as implied by one of the mercenaries referring to his glee at blowing up a public house (British pubs were targeted by the I.R.A.). All are killed by Dwight and Miho.

Sin City yarns[edit]

These are the individual stories, usually referred to as "yarns," set in Frank Miller's Sin City universe. For more info see List of Sin City yarns.

Collected editions[edit]

The stories have been collected into trade paperbacks and hardcover "Library Editions". The hardcovers include two releases, which include Volume 1 (Books 1-4) and 2 (Books 5-7 and "The Art of"). Additionally, Dark Horse released an omnibus-style collection, Frank Miller's Big Damn Sin City, containing all seven books and "The Art of" in one oversized volume.

TPB[edit]

NameContentsISBN
The Hard GoodbyeEpisodes #1–13 of 13 from Dark Horse 5th Anniversary Special and Dark Horse Presents issues #51-62ISBN 1-59307-293-7
A Dame to Kill ForIssues #1–6 of 6ISBN 1-59307-294-5
The Big Fat KillIssues #1–5 of 5ISBN 1-59307-295-3
That Yellow BastardIssues #1–6 of 6ISBN 1-59307-296-1
Family Values128-page original graphic novelISBN 1-59307-297-X
Booze, Broads, & BulletsA number of one-shotsISBN 1-59307-298-8
Hell and BackIssues #1–9 of 9ISBN 1-59307-299-6

There is also a collection of art, The Art of Sin City.

Chronology[edit]

While The Hard Goodbye was the first story written, the first section of That Yellow Bastard is the first story chronologically. The Dwight-related stories fall in between these, with the short stories fleshing out the time between the main stories. Here is a rough chronology of the "Yarns":

The short stories Rats, The Customer is Always Right and Daddy's Little Girl do not contain any of the series' regular characters, are not connected to the other stories, or do not give an idea of when the stories occur. Silent Night takes place sometime before The Hard Goodbye during the winter, as Marv is still quite alive and seen lumbering through one of Basin City's rare snow-storms. Robert Rodriguez stated that The Customer is Always Right occurs in between "That Yellow Bastard" and "The Hard Goodbye" on the Sin City: Recut and Extended DVD Edition.

Hell and Back does not fit into any particular time period. Manute is seen, alive with his false eye, suggesting that the events take place between A Dame to Kill For and The Big Fat Kill however, it is established that Hell and Back takes place over several cool nights in September; The Big Fat Kill took place on a hot summer night during a thunderstorm. (Potential reconciliation: Hell and Back AND The Big Fat Kill take place before September 21st, if Miller is using any date before that as still, technically, "the summer".)

Awards[edit]

Sin City: The Big Fat Kill won the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award for Favorite Limited Series for 1996. Sin City: Family Values won the 1997 Eisner Awards.[citation needed]

Style[edit]

An example of Frank Miller's use of high contrasts in Sin City

Sin City is famous for its artwork, which draws heavily from film noir, including its use of shadow and stark backgrounds. Black and white are the sole colors most of the time with exception of red, yellow, blue, and pink in some stories. Partial color usage is designed to draw attention to a certain character in the story.

The writing style also draws heavily on detective and crime pulp fiction. Strange metaphors and similes are often used. This gives the narration a very "pulpy" feel.

Miller's Sin City work challenges some conventions of comic book form. The letters of onomatopoeic words like "blam" are often incorporated into scenes via lighting effects, or are suggested by the negative space between panels, or are created by the outline of the panels themselves. This is especially evident in early "yarns," such as The Hard Goodbye, although later installments of the series became less experimental.[8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "1993 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners". Hahnlibrary.net. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  2. ^ a b "1995 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners". Hahnlibrary.net. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  3. ^ "1996 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners". Hahnlibrary.net. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  4. ^ "1996 Harvey Award Nominees and Winners". Hahnlibrary.net. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  5. ^ "1998 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees". Hahnlibrary.net. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  6. ^ "1998 Harvey Award Nominees and Winners". Hahnlibrary.net. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  7. ^ "2008 Project Fanboy Award Winners". Projectfanboy.com. Retrieved 2010-10-05. 
  8. ^ Arnott, Luke (Fall 2008). "BLAM! The Literal Architecture of Sin City". The International Journal of Comic Art 10 (2): 380–401. 

External links[edit]