Sin City: Hard-Boiled Meets a Big Bag of Methamphetamine


First off, I want to apologize for being the idiot who waits until the last minute to post everything.  I have actually been writing these posts throughout the term, but I have been too lazy to register for the site.  Next, within the small amount of time that I’ve been registered, I can’t even express in words my astonishment with the quality of the blog posts that I have read so far (astonishing and very intimidating).  Now, with all that said, I shall try to contribute my own blog posts starting with my review of Sin City (as a whole).


My first exposure to Sin City was through the 2005 movie adaptation (if you haven’t seen it, give your head a big shake and get on it). What I really liked about Sin City wasn’t the gratuitous violence (which there is tons of) or smoking hot Jessica Alba (not enough of that though), but rather it’s the gritty film noir style. I didn’t know it then, but Sin City had awoken in me a love of hard-boiled detective fiction: I would realize this upon taking English 399 (detective fiction — honestly a great class if you’re even slightly interested in detective fiction as a genre).  When I read Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest I began to understand what I found so enticing about Sin City. Red Harvest follows a nameless detective (known simply as the continental op) working for a national private eye agency, who goes to ‘Personville’ to do some snooping around for a fairly prominent citizen.  Now without giving the whole thing away, I can’t say who does what.  But what I can say is that there is a reason ‘Personville’ and ‘Poisonville’ sound phonetically similar with the right accent: the continental op has a whole lot of corruption and murder on his hands (and in a hurry).  Basically, Sin City was hard-boiled detective fiction, but hopped up on meth with taste for blood and a hard-on for chaos.


Sin City was able to take all the action and battering ram pace that was so thrilling in Red Harvest, but then send it down the gutter, exploring the sickening depths of Basin City.  Miller does a commendable job of creating absolutely despicable villain characters like Senator Roark’s son (that Yellow Bastard), while building a morally righteous and overall good-guy character like detective Hartigan.  Personally, I find Marv’s quest for vengeance the most enthralling story out of all of Miller’s Sin City works.  But it’s not just the storylines reminiscent of hard-boiled detective fiction that I enjoyed, the art is fairly interesting as well.  While not the most spectacular drawing I have ever seen, it certainly is captivating.  Since it is in only black and white, Miller is forced to be creative in the way he draws emphasis to certain things.  I also like his use of text in relation to art: like we’ve talked about much earlier in the semester, words are essentially drawings and Miller uses them as such; not only to convey sounds but to contrast actions (this particular panel is in The Hard Goodbye).

Marv and Gladius

All in all, though extremely vulgar and borderline offensive in some areas, Sin City captures the hard-boiled detective sort of  feel that was made popular in the early 1930s, and injects it with adrenaline, gives it a couple shots of whiskey and hands it a fully loaded handgun.  I highly recommend it.



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