Some years ago, I bought Frank Miller’s Sin City, vol. 1: The Hard Goodbye (though it was actually then titled simply Sin City; I’ll give the subtitled name so as not to be more confusing than I need to be), but I never read it, because I don’t actually like sordid, bleak stuff. Then I saw the Sin City movie, which was amazingly superbly excellent, and thought, “Dude! I should totally read that comic book!”

So I did. Interestingly, the comic book is practically a storyboard for the movie — it’s almost panel-for-shot identical; and since I liked the nearly-identical movie, it follows that I liked the book, too. (Although, to be fair, not as much as the movie: The movie is a lot more stylistically interesting than the book, even though they’re so similar — there are a number of comic books that look like this, but no movies that look like that.) The key is, the book really isn’t sordid and bleak. Oh, sure, the setting is sordid, and a lot of the characters are in sordid circumstances; but fundamentally, this is the story of a tragic hero engaging in a heroic quest. It happens that the hero is a psychopathic killer, and the quest is less than totally noble, but still: Tragic and heroic, not sordid and bleak.

After I finished that up, I then read straight through the rest (Amazon sells them as a discounted set): Sin City, vol. 2: A Dame to Kill For; Sin City, vol. 3: The Big Fat Kill; Sin City, vol. 4: That Yellow Bastard; Sin City, vol. 5: Family Values; Sin City, vol. 6: Booze, Broads, and Bullets; Sin City, vol. 7: Hell and Back . If you’ve watched the movie, you’ll already have guessed that a few more of these (volumes three and four) were also part of the movie; either way, you’ll find that they’re all similar in tone and style, so if you like one, you’ll probably like the others.

Good stuff, and highly recommended to any graphic novel fan. The movie comes even more highly recommended to anyone who doesn’t mind stylized violence.


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