The Sin City movies deserve praise for their daring visuals, but they’ve got nothing on the original comics. Between 1991 and 2000, legendary (and endlessly controversial) writer and artist Frank Miller cranked out more than 1,000 pages of hard-boiled neo-noir under the Sin City banner. The plots weren’t groundbreaking — they all centered around tough guys and slinky dames getting caught up in deadly schemes and brutal fisticuffs. But one thing was inarguable: The artwork was beautiful.
Miller played with extreme contrasts and vivid textures in a way that had rarely been attempted in the medium (though he owed a heavy debt to the pioneering quasi-noir of Will Eisner’s The Spirit comics of the 1940s), creating visuals as experimental as they were unforgettable. With Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (co-directed by Miller and Robert Rodriguez) hitting theaters this weekend, we revisited the entire Sin City corpus and picked out the series’$2 25 most incredible panels (in no particular order). Spark up a cigarette, put on your trench coat, and get ready for black-and-white action!