Sin City is the mirror of America

Quite a few years ago I decided that I didn’t have to agree with every aspect of art to enjoy it. At the time I was thinking about the lyrics of the death metal band Slayer. I will never forget seeing them live and being blown away. Yet every time I read their lyrics I wondered why they chose those words..

To me this was a valuable lesson in aesthetics. There is art in many things. So many of us see only artfulness in the pretty and gorgeous. In a way this is much easier. Enjoying that which makes us happy is simpler than that which makes us disgusted. Intellectual concepts come in weird packages.

Frank Miller, the creator of the original Sin City graphic novels and codirector of the new movie, is my favorite illustrator of the comic world. His formal style of drawing is as expressive as any painter through out time. His quality isn’t so odd in the fine art world but a jewel in the pop culture pages of comic books.

I have many of the Sin City series of graphic novels. I even have several comic books he did the covers for. His Dark Knight Bat Man is quintessential. So after seeing the live action recreation of the Sin City graphic novels I am disgust at what it showed me.

Is this because I am older than when I found the graphic novels and sat down with them to read not getting up until I was done? Am I more sensitive to the death so often depicted in Frank Miller’s illustrations? Have I seen more violence with my own eyes? Yes and No.

Now I really find a great value in looking in the mirror of America that Frank Miller holds up for us all. This reflection was also created by other great literary and film noir creators. My country was founded on lies, theft, greed, and death. Why shouldn’t our art show us this horror? How could generations hundreds of years later not be sadistically intertwined and enthralled by this gore?

There really is nothing so strange as being repelled and attracted to the images that fly by so beautifully in Sin City the movie. I’m grateful that Frank Miller made it. Now I understand a bit more how a country like the United States could have ended up like it has.

4 thoughts on “Sin City is the mirror of America”

  1. I haven’t seen Sin City yet, but I want to do so, since I was a big fan of Frank Miller’s work on the DareDevil comic series (early 80s). In fact, I think his work helped keep that series alive, and if I’m not mistaken I think it was the making of Frank Miller, too. The cinematic silent action sequences, the innovative layout and paneling, and the masterful draftsmanship all made his work stand out as beautiful even to a 12-year old comic book geek. I felt like his later graphic novels were too dark and violent, so I’m not surprised that the movie is that way, too. Nonetheless, after the travesty of the Daredevil movie, I wanted to see if Miller’s vision could be redeemed. Thanks for the encouragement.

  2. Justin –
    I liked Sin City… and I hated it. I enjoyed the speed, the look, the cars. I hated the violence, the gore… I’m not sure if my review says, “Go see it” or “Save your money.”

    Kill Bill is not nearly as violent as Sin City in my opinion. Tho’ KB does have it’s gory moments. My animal brain loves this stuff (up until Texas Chainsaw Massacre then I barf). But my thoughtful/mindfully brain is disgusted by it.

    I am truly torn. Ewww. Nice pun/imagery…

Comments are closed.