Having fallen under the gritty, mesmerizing spell of the Sin City motion picture, I was very interested in exploring the original graphic novels from which the movie was drawn. The Hard Goodbye is by far the most impressive sequence in the movie, so it was a real treat to be able to sit down and go through the original story and artwork. This is especially the case since the film brings the story to life almost frame by frame. In a sense, if you've seen the movie, you've seen the graphic novel – yet there is more depth and atmosphere on these pages than any movie can reproduce. Marv is just a fantastic character, a big, ugly lug of a guy who grew up hard and never experienced anything real in his interaction with his fellow human beings – not until the night he met Goldie, a beautiful woman who was kind to him and made him feel truly alive for the first time in his life. When Marv wakes up to find Goldie dead and the cops closing in on him in what is obviously a frame-up, he basically devotes his life to finding Goldie's killer and making him pay – long and hard. We watch as he beats up and kills his way to the truth, on a pathway that takes him to the highest echelons of Sin City society and power. Marv's a funny guy, in his own way, and you can't help but root him on with all your might. This book, like every Sin City offering, is very dark and full of violence. Miller has a very distinctive artistic style that fits his subject and his film noir-ish genre perfectly – although I must admit that I sometimes have a hard time really seeing what I'm looking at in certain frames. A lot of people can write excellent stories, and quite a few can produce unique, stunning drawings, but it's rare indeed to find a man who has mastered both arts and combined them in such a magical way. The book is filled with stereotypical characters who defy their stereotypes, unabashedly bold, striking black and white artwork, and a dark, noir-ish atmosphere that completely draws you in not only to the story but also to the city itself. Sin City is about much more than "booze, broads and guns," and The Hard Goodbye is a remarkable achievement in an underappreciated genre.
"Sin City: The Hard Goodbye" really is that good! It deserves every bit of hype and fame it gets. Its a freaking work of art! Its that good. The black and white drawings seem to come alive, almost jumping out of the page at you. There is almost a sort of electricity in every page, almost burning my fingers with so much energy bursting out of Frank Miller's work. Every drawing is fascinating and amazingly stylish. There isn't a bad page in the whole graphic novel, not one detail missing, everything screams care and love by the artist. The story is classic noir with an anti-hero taking revenge for the death of his lover. Marv is a compelling and even complex character. He is not a good guy, he's even a bit crazy. A crazy and violent homicidal maniac. He has no place in the world and has never felt anything but alone. When a beautiful woman offers him her love and care even if just for one night, Marv finally sees what he is supposed to do, what his purpose in Sin City is. To avenge the death of the only person who ever showed kindness to him. He goes on a rampage, "going up the food chain" until every last one responsible for her death pays. The plot is touching in a twisted sort of way. It is also incredibly sick. The amount of raw violence and depravity showed here is off the charts. This is a disturbing but strangely absorbing and enthralling read. The writing is also perfect with Marv's noir inner voice narrating this sinister and macabre tale. There are amazingly cool quotes in every page where you can almost hear Marv in your head. Another magnificent triumph is Sin City itself. The seedy, run-down, corrupt city comes alive with striking detail. The drawings transport you there and make the sleazy nature of the city come alive. Sin City is as much the star of the graphic novel as Marv... or the villain. The villain in Sin City is horrific and shocking and also completely fascinating and totally unforgettable. He's simply one of the most vile and unique characters I have ever encountered. The story is divided in chapters as it was originally published back in the day. Its sense of pace is stunning. There is never a dull moment. The ending is completely satisfying with total resolution and you just get a sense of closure. This tale started the whole "Sin City" phenomenon and when you read it you can understand why. Its rare in any medium to find a work which is of such high quality that it can be called a masterpiece. "The Hard Goodbye" is such a work. Truly superb. A masterpiece. I cannot wait to go back!
With a name like "The Hard Goodbye," it isn't surprising that the first volume of the Sin City series is pure, gritty noir. After practically reinventing the superhero comic, Frank Miller created a series that can definitely be called his opus -- gritty, dark, sexy and heady. Think of it as "The Big Sleep" meets "Kill Bill."
"The night is hot as hell. Everything sticks." With those words, tough, scarred Marv encounters and beds a beautiful, alluring "goddess" named Goldie. No sooner have they made love than she is found dead beside him, and unsurprisingly the police believe that Marv is the killer. Case closed? Not really.
Being blamed for the murder of the woman he loved, Marv devotes himself to finding who killed her and framed him. He rampages through the depths of Sin City, unearthing the twisted power structure that holds it up -- and in his homicidal quest, destroying his hidden enemies for the murder of Goldie... and in the process, dooming himself.
The noir atmosphere starts from the first panel -- toughguyspeak, a silhouette and a beautiful woman. That dark, dirty feel sets the mood for the book, and in fact for the entire series. Imagine one of those old Humphrey Bogart noir movies, with the smoky atmosphere and black-and-white film... but darker, more violent, openly sexual, and often gruesome in tone.
Miller's drawing style is all in black and white, and in "Hard Goodbye" the style is simple, but effective. He uses stark swashes of dark and light to illustrate the characters' faces and bodies, never overburdening the reader with too many unnecessary details. Although later volumes have more visual detail, Miller strips it down here to the bare bones, and it fits the spare narrative beautifully.
"Sin City" itself is a seedy underbelly, full of crime, revenge and corruption; Marv isn't the guy who's going to clean it up, a la Dashiell Hammett, but the guy who will get revenge, no matter what the consequences are. The characters are just as dark: a corrupted Cardinal, psychopathic cannibal Kevin, and moderately crooked cops. Lots of death ensues.
Frank Miller's "Sin City: The Hard Goodbye" is a hard book to read. However, the Chander-by-way-of-Tarantino comic book is an electrifying read, dark and bloody and vivid.
The first of the sin city novels and possibly the most entertaining due mostly to Marv the main character. what a quality bloke, hard as they come but still seems like he could be your mate. he likes nice coats and 50's cars. the story is simple revenge but the its anything other than predictable. the art is amazing, really strong contrast and hard lines which really sets the tone of the novel. great humour and damn scary characters. Kevin is wrong. Miller has one hell of a twisted mind. its great. buy this book. then buy all the other sin city novels.
In a note in the back of "The Hard Goodbye," Frank Miller explains that this one got away from him. What was supposed to be a 48-page crime thriller turned into a 200-page graphic novel, all because Marv, the story's brutal misanthropic protagonist, started bossing Miller around. If you have seen "Sin City" the movie where Mickey Rourke steals the film as Marv, then you can understand Miller's explanation. You will understand it even more when you read the graphic novel, the first volume in the Miller's comic noir saga. For me Frank Miller began the road that ends in "Sin City" with "Daredevil" #164, which retold the hero's origin. There is a series of panels in which Daredevil is chasing down the Fixer, the man who arranged the fight that Battling Murdock refused to throw. In each frame Daredevil gets closer to his quarry and cutting across the panels is a line representing the Fixer's heart beat, which goes from blind panic to full cardiac arrest before flatlining. It was at that point that I knew Miller was starting to think of what he could do with art in a comic book. After his work on "Daredevil" there was "Ronin" and "The Dark Knight Returns," and eventually Miller gets to Marv. There is no doubt that Marv is the walking path of destruction that dominates this narrative. He is extremely violent, deeply disturbed, and whatever medication he is taking is just not doing the job. Still, he is a sympathetic figure because pretty much everybody he is maiming and killing are the real scum of the earth and he is on a mission to avenge the death of Goldie, the beautiful blonde who gave him a toss in the hay. He falls asleep in bed with her, having one of those moments of true happiness that never bodes well, and wakes up with her dead and the cops on their way. Marv is being set up, but that is incidental in his mind to the fact somebody killed Goldie, so somebody has to pay along with everybody else who stands in his way. The grand irony here is Marv and his interior monologues are the voice of sanity by the time he finds the killer. The characters and the dialogue are easy to characterize as Mickey Spillane types on steroids. Then there is Miller's artwork as he explores what can done with just black and white on a page. The result is wildly experimental and sometimes you can a sense of how rough Miller's ideas are by the time he finishes a page. The first page of the story is more black than white, with Goldie's lips, the outline of her hair, the white skin exposed by the strapless gown and gloves etched out in seductive folds sets the tone for the artwork. The second page is the opposite with more white than black and offers a more conventional view of Marv and Goldie, and already you like the first page better. The third page offers a synthesis of the first two and it is like Miller is laying out the new ground rules. There are figures reduced to silhouettes except for hair or teeth (or bandages), and others reduced to white images against a field of black. Then we get to Marv standing in the rain in Chapter 8 and looking at the statue of Cardinal Roarke, at which point Miller is trying something completely different from the rest of the book. I have no doubt that if Miller was to do "The Hard Goodbye" today that there would be significant changes in the artwork that would provide a refinement of the raw energy displayed here. There are times when the justification for the artwork seems to clearly be that it is different from the pages Miller has just drawn as opposed to be the best way of illustrating that part of the narrative. But this is the first story in an ongoing series, so allowances can be made if Miller really did decide to do a page a certainly way for no other reason than he had not done one that way yet. After all, it is not like he was coming up with 200 different pages of artwork and by the time you get to Chapter 8, which I think is artistically far and away the best of the entire graphic novel, it is equally clear Miller knows exactly what he is doing and all of the pieces are falling into place. The joy of watching the art evolve in this story makes up for the rough patches. These stories were originally published in issues #51-62 of the Dark Horse comic book series "Dark Horses Presents" and in the "Dark Horse Presents Fifth Anniversary Special." This second edition has come out with the rest of the extant "Sin City" collection in term to be gobbled up by fans of the movie version and those who come from the theater to the graphic novel will probably be surprised how faithful Robert Rodriguez was to Frank Miller's story and vision. Then again, that was the whole point of doing the film the way it was done.