The sixth of the Sin City graphic novels — Booze, Broads, & Bullets — is the only anthology in the series. It collects a number of short stories set in the Sin City universe, which Frank Miller wrote and drew for a number of Dark Horse special-edition comics. These are comics with titles such as “A Decade of Dark Horse,” “Lost,” “Lonely & Lethal,” and the aptly named “Sex And Violence.” That last title alone should serve as a content warning, on the off chance that you’ve never read a Sin City book before.
The stories within this volume are a mixed-bag in terms of length and content, with some so short that summarizing them is impossible as just telling what the story is about IS the story. There are also a number of stories that require some previous exposure to earlier Sin City yarns. By way of a for instance, the opening story – “Just Another Saturday Night” – details just what Marv (the protagonist of Volume 1: The Hard Goodbye) was up to during the events of Volume 4: That Yellow Bastard. A later tale, “Blue Eyes,” takes place concurrently with some of the events of Volume 2: A Dame To Kill For. This is par for the course for the series, which has always had a tightly-woven and heavily interlocked continuity.
Despite this attention to detail and my general fondness for nods like this, my favorite stories in this volume are the ones that stand on their own merits. “Silent Night,” a story centering upon Marv’s efforts to save a kidnapped girl at Christmas, stands out for several reasons. First, it is one of the few Sin City stories to have an unambiguously happy ending. Second, apart from one word balloon in the middle, the story is completely without text. This showcases not only Miller’s talent as an artist (every page of this story is poster-worthy!) but it also proves his talent as a visual storyteller.
This artistic talent is also showcased in stories like “Blue Eyes,” “Daddy’s Little Girl,” and “The Dame Wore Red,” where Miller further experiments with his neo-noir style by contrasting it against one dominant color, just as he did with the yellow-skinned Junior in That Yellow Bastard. It’s a stunning effect, which only serves to make the beautiful blue-eyed and blue-dress wearing Delia or the red-dress wearing dame Dwight McCarthy finds himself struggling to save stand out all the more in the stark world of Sin City.
Say what you will about Frank Miller as a creator but the man knows what he likes and he’s nothing if not honest. Only an honest man could come up with a title like Booze, Broads, & Bullets. As far as titles go it is alliterative, a brief summary of the book’s contents, and it’s a fair reflection of Frank Miller’s oeuvre – high action Film Noir, leggy dames, and strong men who don’t use words like oeuvre. Well, except for the erudite and loquacious goons Mr. Klump and Mr. Shlubb, of course.
Sin City, vol. 6: Booze, Broads, & Bullets
by Frank Miller
Dark Horse, 2005
Publisher Age Rating: 16