“Frank Miller’s Big Damn Sin City” is just what the doctor ordered, if he has a decidedly dark side. “Take one volume of Sin City and repeat until you have completed the omnibus.” Big Damn Sin City collects Frank Miller and Lynn Varley‘s seven stories: The Hard Goodbye, A Dame to Kill For, The Big Fat Kill, The Yello Bastard, Family Values, Booze, Broads, & Bullets, and Hell and Back. That totals 1,344 pages. All in time for the much anticipated Sin City sequel, “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” set for August 22, 2014.
The collection begins with “The Hard Goodbye.” We have all the beautiful silhouettes of sex. The big palooka can’t believe his good luck to be with such a gorgeous dame. But, during the night, his lover dies. It seems obvious that the big guy killed her but, no, it wasn’t him. Suddenly, as he’s trying to get his head together, he hears the sirens of the crooked cops of Sin City. There’s only one option: Tear the hell out of there and take out as many cops as possible along the way. And so begins our journey into Sin City.
We find Marv, this two-time loser with a mug only a mother could love. He was never meant to be a hero. Neither were all the other larger-than-life losers in this epic masterpiece. All of these palookas find themselves at a crossroads, a big fat chance at redemption, and all these brutes go for it. Marv will avenge Goldie, the best friend he ever made. Hartigan will protect a young girl even if it means trading in his own life. Dwight will take on the whole underworld to defend a community of sex workers he’s come to bond with like family. And so we go. If you’ve had a chance to see the original “Sin City” movie, then you know that’s the line up in that flick.
If Frank Miller had not become a master storyteller, I can imagine him having no trouble sliding into a nice lowlife role as a trusted bodyguard at a strip joint. All the girls would trust him with their lives, not to mention their gorgeous bodies. But the Frank Miller we are concerned with is the real deal, someone who can take you down twisted scary alleyways and never falter. In lesser hands, some of the hard stuff would turn creepy and lose its pulpy luster. Miller’s vision is nothing less than a delicate balance between art, life, and death.
It takes a real human touch to go down the paths that Miller takes. For all the sex and violence that takes places within these pages, not a page of it feels false. There’s an elegant brutality at work, even more than that. Taken in as one cascading panorama of ragged and jagged finely articulated streaks of black, these compositions are as dynamic as any art form. They are a treasured landmark in comics and I doubt anyone would dispute that. To be able to dive into it all, page after page, is to see it from quite a privileged vantage point. Gone are the days when these comics were installments in “Dark Horse Presents.” Now, you can take them in as a whole and sort of get inside Miller’s head akin to what happens when you sit down and read a collection of comic strips by Milton Caniff. With Miller, he’s learned from Caniff and pushes things even further along.
I highly recommend this collection. You can’t go wrong. Also, a beautiful new edition of “A Dame to Kill For” has just been released. And to sweeten the deal, Dark Horse is returning to print the hard-to-find “Frank Miller: The Art of Sin City.”
Amid all the hoopla of upcoming movies, let your eyes settle and, once they do, just over the horizon, you’ll see a dame and a palooka. That’s what you don’t want to miss, the next Sin City movie, “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.” Visit the official film website here. And for more details, visit our friends at Dark Horse Comics right here.