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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling and unforgettable tale of knight errantry
Anyone who has seen and enjoyed the recent Frank Miller/Robert Rodriguez film SIN CITY should definitely explore the graphic novels upon which the film is based. THE HARD GOODBYE was the first of Miller's series of novels, and the one upon which the Marv sequence in the film is based. As Miller tells it in interviews, he had been toying with the idea of creating some...
Published on April 20, 2005 by Robert Moore

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1.0 out of 5 stars Flat Black
I like the shallow male characters and the dark sides that they exhibit. The female characters come across as cold and unemotional (maybe that is on purpose) and detached.
I also like the story lines and the development of the story BUT the pen and ink line drawings leave me totally uninvolved in the visual consumption of the story. Everything is flat, leaving little...
Published 2 months ago by John C Collins


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brief glimpse of Heaven before falling back into Hell. (Even thugs get lonley), July 13, 2005
This review is from: The Hard Goodbye (Sin City) (Paperback)
I wouldn't want to meet a guy like Marv in a dark alley or well-lit room for that matter. However his story, the first in this series, has a very special place in my heart. This is not your average noir story of sex, blood, and vengeance; a great deal lies beneath the surface.

Marv is a thug with a body of rock, nerves of steel, and a heart of gold. He spends his days boozing, brawling, and "taking care" of anyone who dares harm or even insult his friends. After breaking the jaw of yet another twerp who got in his way, Marv is suddenly approached by a gorgeous woman who takes him up to a room for a long night of passionate sex. Marv is in shock. He can't believe that a woman like Goldie could see anything in an ugly thug like him. The next morning, she is dead by his side. Marv swears to avenge her death, no matter the cost. As his investigation progresses it comes to light that Goldie was only using him as bodyguard. Marv doesn't care. That fateful night, Marv felt more alive than he ever had in his entire life. For the first time, he felt wanted, desired, perhaps even loved. When he woke up, all of those feelings were suddenly taken away from him.

If you grew up with the opposite sex not giving you the time of day then you might know what it's like to all of a sudden find out that someone is into you. You feel shocked with disbelief and dizzy with anticipation. It totally knocks you sideways. If you remember that, chances are you also remember what it feels like when that scenario comes to an abrupt end.

This is what has happened to our man Marv and to make matters worse, he has been framed for it. Despite all this, he feels rejuvenated now that he has a mission, an obligation, and a purpose. Those responsible for the death of Goldie will pay and pay dearly.

I'm a fan of Miller's work, and film noir as well. However, there is more to this story than just being a crime drama or a revenge story. It's a sad tale about a dangerous and dysfunctional, yet lonely man who got a brief taste of happiness before it was cruelly taken away from him. Now, he's on a mission, a mission that will surely kill him. He knows this, and he doesn't care.

When you finish the story and go to the fridge for a cold one, grab another for Marv too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comic noir, March 15, 2005
This review is from: The Hard Goodbye (Sin City) (Paperback)
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.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best graphic novels ever, January 9, 2005
This review is from: Sin City (Paperback)
What can I say that hasn't already been said. Yes, it is violent and yes, Marv, the main character probably isn't your friendly everyday neighbor. But who cares? This is a comic book. It has a truely amazing storyline, the most wonderful graphic art I've ever witnessed in black and white. Superb!!!

If you like this one, check out Frank Miller's "Daredevil, The Man without Fear" and "Batman, the Dark Knight Returns".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love the book - not great for Kindle, March 16, 2014
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Great story and legendary comic art. Love it, but a poor choice for my Kindle paperwhite, as I have to enlarge every page and move it around to see the details. Buy the graphic novel instead.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant combinations of violence, mystery, love and more, January 29, 2005
This review is from: Sin City (Paperback)
This one of the best written graphic novels, which would not come s a suprise to anyone who has read any other works of Frank Miller. This story is one you can read over and over again. Nothing beats the character Marv. For all fans of Frank Miller, or Daredevil, Watchmen, the Punisher, the League of Extrodinary Gentlemen (the comic) or just graphic novels in general I recommend. Though if you have low tolerance for nudity or violence or swearing in any form, I would not suggest this comic, but fo everyone else...have an awesome time. Also, a major motion picture is being made of 3 different stories of the 7 series Sin City comics (one of them being this one).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, June 25, 2000
By 
Jamie "Jamie" (FLORENCE, KY, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sin City (Paperback)
If you read 'comic books' then Sin City is a must. It is a cut above the average comic book in art and story-telling. You owe yourself to check it out. Please don't let the black and white turn you off, it adds to the mood of the story.
If you don't read 'comic books' you should still read Sin City. It is an adult natured book and if you are a fan of film noir it is a great example of that genre. Get this book, read it, and you will be amazed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Noir Unbound, April 8, 2005
By 
Bryan (San Diego, CA, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Hard Goodbye (Sin City) (Paperback)
Frank Miller's writting and illustrations completely envelope you. If you loved the movie or even liked the movie, definitely pick up this book, you won't regret it.

The contents of this book were originally published in Dark Horse Presents in little 6 to 7 page installments back in 1991. What's nice about this edition is that you get to read it all in one sitting which is the way to read any Sin City yarn. Enjoy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad..., April 8, 2005
This review is from: The Hard Goodbye (Sin City) (Paperback)
I did the opposite of what everyone says I should do. I watched the movie first, then I dedicated myself to the books. I bought "The Hard Goodbye" yesterday and read it. I was pretty impressed with it. It was a good introduction to the Sin City books and definitely sets the stage for what's to come. Think I'll see what "A Dame To Kill For" has to offer...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, disturbing, and completely spellbinding, December 18, 2005
This review is from: The Hard Goodbye (Sin City) (Paperback)
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marv introduces you to the comic noir of Miller's "Sin City", August 23, 2005
By 
Amazon Customer (The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sin City: Hard Goodbye (Paperback)
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. Artistically Miller goes more for refinement than massive experimentation in future books, but in terms of the character of Marv and the gritty narrative, "The Hard Goodbye" is not only the first "Sin City" tale, it is still the best.

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.
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The Hard Goodbye (Sin City)
The Hard Goodbye (Sin City) by Frank Miller (Paperback - 2005)
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