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Sin City - an overview (1 Viewer)

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Silent Bill

“Frank Miller’s Sin City” – A Complete Literary Overview by
Joe Parker

“Frank Miller’s Sin City” is a Graphic Novel in every sense of the word. It is an epic tale told with words and pictures, panels and “thought bubbles”. Told over a period of thirteen months and ten years later to reappear in a giant 208-page hard cover omnibus. The work is often referred to as Frank Miller’s opus and perhaps the genre’s opus.

Plot Summery And Overview
“Sin City” is the story of Marv, a down-on-his luck, not too bright tough guy who after one night of unbridled passion with the woman of his dreams, he finds himself in a world of trouble. When he wakes up to discover that the woman he met last night was laying dead beside him and the Sin City police knocking on his door blaming him for the crime, he begins his bloody war against the city’s underworld in order to avenge the death of the woman he hardly knew, starting from the lowliest street thug to the kingpin of Sin City himself. In this gritty tale of violence, passion, mid-night monologues and sexy girls in sexier dresses we find a style of story telling that has never been done in the medium of comic books before. The story telling aspects actually borrow from the cinematic genre of Film Noir using cinematic tools such as deep thought out monologues by the hero, a chivalries anti-hero who battles his own demons night after night, sexy dames and dangours Fem Fetal’s and of course, black and white.
Film Noir, originally French film genre meaning Dark Movie, which proliferated mainly in the forty’s and fifties of American cinema that had many of Hollywood’s legends of era playing roles in such a type of movie (Humphrey Bogart to name one). The concept of “Sin City” was a breakthrough of sorts, not that cinematic tools of story telling have never been borrowed by a comic book before, but taking a specific genre to tale a very well played out and visually impressive tale, that has never been done before, or at least, never been done right.

Frank Miller, Artist, Writer
Frank Miller is a critically acclaimed writer and a heavy weight in his industry. The man bursts onto the field at the age of twenty-two in a revamped version of a trite spandex wearing blind superhero, Daredevil. Shocking everyone with a new, more mature style of story telling involving self-hatred and drug abuse. His perhaps most influential piece of work was the four issue futuristic retelling of Batman. “Batman: Dark Knight Returns” exploded onto the scene in 1986 in it, Miller tells the story of the broken old man who was once Batman who comes out of retirement in order to restore order to his now fascist broken city of Gotham. The story perhaps might not have had the impact it had on the industry if it weren’t for the heavy media converge it received and it’s darker more mature take on the mythic character of Batman. After have winning numours awards for his story telling in other people’s universe’s he wanted something to call his own, and he wanted complete artistic freedom over it. Shying away from the big companies such as “Marvel” and “DC”, he turned to the up-and-coming independent comic book company “Dark Horse” who gave him an eight-page spotlight in their monthly publication “Dark Horse Presents” every month for thirteen issues from 1992 to 1993.

Review And Final Thoughts
If I said that this is the most hard-boiled, unsentimental, brutal, and shocking graphic novel I've ever read it would not be a lie. The black and white illustrations give that extra hard edge to the already hard story. Sin City is not just a comic book and to reserve it only for consumption within that market is narrow minded and trite. Our main character in this story has neither the time nor the capacity for subtlety, why should he? He has a job to do; the only woman he has ever loved is dead by the hand of those more resourceful and physically adept. He must find and sanction her killer before those who seek to accuse and destroy him do so. Sin City transcends comics and takes the reader on an elsewhere voyage through the human spirit. You must approach Sin City differently then you would a normal comic book since it if fact takes a different approach entirely. Forget all that you knew about comics and look at the art. It bursts off the page in glorious black and white. Miller's use of light and shadow and the cinematic nature of his composition is the most remarkable thing I have seen in the medium. The best way I can describe the illustrations in this series is to say it looks like a storyboard Orson Wells would have put together for "Touch of Evil." All in all it’s an extremely impressive piece of work and I hold it in some of the highest regards I can.
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