Friday, July 25, 2008

Sin City

Remember a while ago when I said I'd read the Frank Miller comics those popular movies were based on? Yeah, well I did it. Sin City's not quite a continuous storyline, but a bunch of interconnected tales that can be pretty easily pieced together through well-placed evidence into something resembling a coherent universe. It's been collected in seven volumes, six of which are fairly meaty yarns and the other being a collection of smaller ones of various length. One of the things I really liked from the movie and which carries through into the comics, which should happen since the film was an extremely close adaptation, is the clever writing. It's a good mix of Film Noir and more contemporary style, and the dialogue is always pitch-perfect without ever having to be vulgar. Plot twists are pretty common, and they're rarely surprising, but they do enough to keep it fresh while the various hard-nosed protagonists beat the crap out of everybody they meet.

A couple of problems I did have were with the art and depiction of women. You can see from his other work that Miller knows how to draw and create good compositions, but that ability isn't always expressed here. The black and white, with splashes of color being integrated more as it goes on, is an interesting look, and makes creating some unique and very creative scenes possible. But it looks like Miller might have rushed a lot through certain parts, because the drawings themselves are often quite messy and it can be difficult to tell what's going on when people are getting killed. It just works sometimes a lot better than others. With women, I'm not complaining about the fact that nearly every female character is a stripper or prostitute and that they're all heavily sexualized and drawn like they're naked even when they aren't. Sin City is a bad place and none of the male characters are great role models either. And while he goes out of his way to draw naked women, Miller doesn't shy away from drawing naked men either. What bothers me is how boring the women are. They all look the same, with the same face and perfect body, unless their purpose is to be old and fat, and rarely have a personality as interesting as the male characters, whether they're heroes or villains. Sin City's an interesting and innovative comic, but it didn't amaze me, although I can't say how much of that is from already knowing half of the bigger stories from the movie.

No comments: