The Complete Sin City Saga – Part 4

***Warning: there will be spoilers contained herein for the Sin City series. I’m trying to keep them to a bare minimum but it’s almost impossible to do with talking about the entire saga. And bear in mind this all began 22 years ago, so it’s not like we haven’t had ample time. Nonetheless you’ve been warned.

There are spoilers here for some of the shorter stories that have been adapted to film. Tread lightly, just in case.***

With the major yarns covered in our last three installments of this series, this last part focuses on the various short stories Miller produced in-between them. Those yarns happened in various places and other issues such as Sin City 1/2, Lost, Lonely & Lethal, and The Babe Wore Red and Other Stories (among other places) initially, and were collected in Booze, Broads, & Bullets in proper chronological order. Many characters are given the focus here that Miller could not provide in the bigger yarns, and there are gaps in those yarns that are also filled in, and that starts on Just Another Saturday Night

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Just Another Saturday Night
First published in Sin City #1/2 and later in Just Another Saturday Night, this is where we see what happened with Marv when Hartigan meets up with Nancy after years of incarceration in That Yellow Bastard. Distraught that his crush on Nancy now has no hope of being requited, Marv leaves Kadie’s Pecos and encounters a group of prep kids torturing winos. Marv attacks and chases them to the Projects, where his old neighbors (unseen) help Marv take them down. As we see throughout the yarn, Marv had no recollection of any of this.

Just Another Saturday Night is interesting in that we get an idea of Marv’s background – a kid from the Projects who left there only because his mother did. Aside from that, it’s another small taste of the badasserey that is Marv, and we’re left glad he’s one of the good guys before we move on to the next short story:

Fat Man and Little Boy
Originally published in Lost, Lonely, & Lethal, we have a three-page tale starring the everyone’s favorite brilliant fools, Douglas Klump and Burt Shlubb. Klump spends the yarn trying to convince Shlubb not to take the boots off of a corpse. Shlubb does so anyway to find the body is booby-trapped as part of a test the two have failed.

Fat Man and Little Boy is one of the wordier yarns simply because of who is featured. On display is the idiocy disguised as intelligence. This is also probably the most comedic yarn in the canon.

The Customer Is Always Right
Initially published in The Babe Wore Red and Other Stories, many may recognize this as the very beginning of the first Sin City film and was also the concept footage that Robert Rodriguez used to convince Frank Miller that his creation could be adapted to the big screen.

The story itself, add far as canon goes, features no one we have seen before and is merely an example of how desperate and despondent this town is. A man (“The Salesman,” actually The Colonel from To Hell And Back) and woman (“The Customer“) meet on a high-rise terrace where, ultimately, the man kills the woman as she had hired him to do.

The story is given some context in Miller’s commentary of the Sin City Recut & Extended DVD: The Customer had an affair with one of the mob and broke it off. Her jilted lover vows to kill her in the worst way possible, and the woman hires The Colonel to beat him to it based on their prior relationship. The story was seemingly a throwaway, but now has much more significance given this retroactive continuity.

Silent Night
Released in a self-contained issue on November 1995, Silent Night is almost just that. The yarn is nearly silent as Marv meets up with a woman selling a little girl for Marv’s pleasure. Marv kills the henchmen and the woman and rescues the little girl to bring her home, telling her as such in the only line of dialogue in the yarn.

Once again, we see Marv’s violent side serving the desires of justice. What we also see here of note is the one and only time Marv kills a woman, something he is staunchly against.

And Behind Door Number Three…
Another yarn published in The Babe Wore Red and Other Stories, And Behind Door Number Three… shows Gail and the girls of Old Town dispensing their own brand of justice as they lure the Cowboy (suspected of mutilating some of the Old Town girls) into a trap for Miho to finish him off and ensure he never does so again.

This short story exists not to spotlight deadly little Miho, but also accents the relationship of Gail and Dwight after The Big Fat Kill. Upon careful examination, the reader can see Gail wearing Dwight’s necklace as a sign off her devotion to him.

Sin_City_DeliaBlue Eyes
Taken from Lost, Lonely, & Lethal, Blue Eyes is our first (chronological) introduction to Delia. She is approached by Jim, an ex who sees her as a way out as he is being pursued by someone trying to kill him. Jim convinces Delia to go back to his place for one last fling, but is surprised and killed by Delia herself. It is revealed that this was Delia’s final test in order to become a hit-woman. The man pursuing Jim was The Colonel, who gives Delia her first proper assignment. Add I her test involved killing the only man she ever truly loved, Delia takes on the nickname “Blue Eyes” – the pet name Jim used for her.

This is a rather significant story on the canon, as we see the origin of Delia becoming a killer. There are several cameos peppered throughout this yarn, as we see appearances from Miho, Agammemnon, Manute, and even Marv, who provides some comic relief of finishing Jim’s drink after he leaves Kadie’s. The story seems to take place during A Dame To Kill For, as Gail and Shelly also appear in more than just a cameo as Gail is debriefing Shelly on what to tell Sin City’s finest about Dwight during that story.

Rats
The final yarn to appear in Lost, Lonely, & Lethal is one of the stranger tales of Sin City. An old war criminal prepares a meal of rats (no, seriously) cooking in his oven. As he’s cooking, he is rambling to himself about his heinous deeds as a Nazi in World War II. A man known only add “The Janitor” breaks in and kills the war criminal by stuffing his head into the oven – just like the Nazi did to do many “rats” all those years ago.

There is no other tie to any other character or story in Sin City. Rats seems to exist only for Miller to be able to make some sort of statement – much like our next tale which is probably one of the most disturbing in Sin City…

Daddy’s Little Girl
Daddy’s Little Girl was first printed in A Decade of Dark Horse #1 on July 1996 and again a year later in Tales to Offend #1 (which is rather fitting). The story centers around Johnny and Amy, a middle-aged man and much younger girl in love, but their relationship is hindered by (seemingly) her father. Johnny confronts Amy’s “Daddy” to ask for her hand in marriage. When “Daddy” refuses, Johnny pulls a gun to kill him. Johnny shoots, but “Daddy” reveals the gun is loaded with blanks. “Daddy” reveals Johnny was set up and strangles Johnny to become aroused so he can be with Amy, his “Little Girl.”

Thankfully, this story also has no other ties to the rest of the canon. Miller could very well have been simply pushing boundaries in an era where comics were outlandish but somewhat homogenized at the same time.

Wrong Turn
Sex & Violence seems to be a showcase for Delia, as there are two separate but interconnected yarns here featuring her. Delia is found unconscious on the road by a man named Phil. Delia comes to and, rather than going to the hospital, wants Phil to take her to the Tar Pits, where they become intimate. Delia discovers Phil lied about not being married, and chokes him out as Delia starts calling him “Eddie,” thinking he has lied about much more. Phil explains that he is just a car salesman, and Delia realizes she has the wrong man, as “Eddie” was supposed to be driving a similar car. Delia kills Phil anyway and meets with The Colonel and Gordo at the Pits. They inspect the trunk of Phil’s car to find not the cache of diamonds Edddie had (violating an exclusivity agreement with Wallenquist), but instead Phil’s dead wife, whom Phil had murdered. They dump both bodies and the car in the Pits as Delia leaves to catch a train…

Wrong Track
Just after Wrong Turn, we see Eddie on a train where is approached buy Delia. Eddie contemplates the flat tire he had when he is approached by Delia. Delia hits on him, has a fling with him, then snaps his neck and throws him from the train.

Both of these stories, again, are a showcase for Delia – who apparently can’t help but bang every guy she has to kill (a fact The Colonel bemoans at the end of this yarn). We also see here the organizational hierarchy of Wallenquist, The Colonel, Gordo and Delia – foreshadowing what would come in To Hell and Back.

sin_city_-_the_babe_wore_red_00The Babe Wore Red
The Babe Wore Red was initially serialized in Previews Magazine before being reprinted as the title story in The Babe Wore Red and Other Stories. It initially features Dwight as he discovers the hanging body of his friend, Fargo. Also present is Mr. Shlubb, whom Dwight knocks out before discovering “The Babe” in Fargo’s shower. Klump attempts to kill the two with various sniper shots as they escape. As they lead Klump and Shlubb to The Farm, “The Babe” reveals herself to be a prostitute named Mary. Dwight knows she’s lying, particularly during another confrontation with Klump and Shlub when she insists Dwight shoot them in the leg instead of a more fatal shot. The two go their separate ways and Dwight receives two packages. The first is from Fargo and contains evidence that Fargo was the fall guy for a drug-running operation. He also receives a package from Mary revealing the truth – that she was Nun who had momentarily flirted with temptation before returning to a life of God.

The Babe Wore Red takes place during The Hard Goodbye, as Dwight mentions a “friend on death row” for what he did at The Farm. The story is interesting as it was one of the first to explore the possibilities of using Previews as a means of delivery content rather than strictly promotion.

At this point, all of the print stories in Sin City have been covered, but Miller isn’t done yet. In the new film Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (opening today), Miller has written two brand new stories exclusive to the film. Thanks to the magic of Wikipedia, we have some synopses to speculate with as to what we can expect in the new film.

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(NOTE: Both synopses are taken from the Wikipedia page for the film.)

The Long Bad Night
Johnny, a cocky gambler, disguises a darker mission to destroy the biggest villain in Sin City, Senator Roark at his own game. He learns he beat the wrong man at poker and events take a turn for the worse, when the Senator has him brutally beaten. Now scarred and lustful for revenge, his mission gets somewhat sidetracked, when he meets a young stripper named Marcy.

Thankfully, this does not to be the same Johnny that’s victimized in Daddy’s Little Girl. Rather, this looks to be a new character invoking the wrath of Senator Roark, much like Hartigan did in That Yellow Bastard.

Nancy’s Last Dance
This new yarn also had obvious ties to That Yellow Bastard, as we’re apparently to see what became on Nancy after Hartigan saved her from Roark. The theme of revenge – the dominant one running throughout all of Sin City – is definitely present, add not even Nancy is safe from its pull. It’ll be interesting to see how Jessica Alba transforms a seminal character on the canon as she goes in a much different direction.

And that concludes Panels On Pages’ look at the epic that influenced so many creators and lives again on film, starting today. Be sure to check out the Big Damn Sin City hardcover to relive all of Frank Miller’s yarns and relive the noir classic. Thanks for reading.

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Michael Melchor has covered pop culture in all its forms for several publications and websites, including BackStage Pass magazine, 411Mania.com, and Examiner.com. He's been an avid comics reader since Barry Allen was first put on trial for the death of Professor Zoom. He's also been an avid wrestling fan since Dusty Rhodes beat Harley Race for the NWA World Championship. He now brings his fandom of comics, music, and wrestling to PanelsOnPages.com.

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