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Sin City Reading Order, Frank Miller’s crime noir classic

Frank Miller's Sin City Reading Order

After deciding to stop working for DC Comics, Frank Miller went to Dark Horse Comics with two projects, the miniseries Give Me Liberty (a Martha Washington story drawn by Dave Gibbons) and Hard Boiled (drawn by Geof Darrow). In 1991, he was then already established at Dark Horse and was naturally part of the line-up of artists who contributed to the one-shot Dark Horse Presents 5th Anniversary Special. In this book, Miller wrote and drew what would become one of his most iconic comics, Sin City.

This crime noir saga would then continue in Dark Horse Presents issues #51 to 62. This would be later collected in paperbacks under the title “The Hard Goodbye.” With this, Miller won three Eisner Wards—Best Penciller/Inker, Black & White Publication, Best Writer/Artist, and Best Graphic Album: Reprint (Modern Material).

Sin City was not the first crime story Frank Miller had written, his work on Daredevil attests to that, but this series was written, drawn, and lettered by him.

Taking place in Basin City (nicknamed “Sin City”), the multiple stories (or “yarns”) varied in length, but share recurring characters and are connected in other fashions. One common thread was the experimental black-and-white artwork, which employs high contrast and stark shadows to create an atmosphere inspired by the aesthetic of film noir which defied comic conventions.

Each story in “Sin City” focuses on a different character, frequently an anti-hero or someone caught up in the corrupt and violent society of the city. The dark and morally dubious stories explore themes of crime, corruption, redemption, and retribution. Among the series’ famous characters are Nancy Callahan, a stripper out for vengeance, Dwight McCarthy, a competent and resourceful former photographer turned private investigator, and Marv, a powerful but ethically ambiguous vigilante. Corrupt police officers, femme fatales, and different criminals are among the other recurring characters.

Sin City Reading Order

Sin City Chronological Reading Order

You can find multiple collections of Sin City books: trade paperbacks, simple hardcovers, library editions, and others. Before looking into that, let me say that the Sin City series is constructed in such a way that events don’t take place chronologically, so it’s OK to choose your own reading sequence—meaning that you can read the books in what order you want.

Nevertheless, some readers want to experience the stories in a linear fashion. So, here is a somewhat simplistic and not detailed chronological order of the books:

  • That Yellow Bastard
  • The Hard Goodbye
  • A Dame to Kill For
  • The Big Fat Kill
  • Family Values
  • Hell and Back
  • Booze, Broads, & Bullets (short stories taking place at different times between the other stories)

For more information about the chronological approach, I recommend you to consult the Sin City Database, but it’s better to be familiar with the stories before.

Sin City: The Collected Editions

Sin City: The Trade Paperbacks

Sin City: Library & Big Dam Editions

Before looking at the deluxe hardcover collection, here are two big editions for avid collectors:

Frank Miller’s Sin City Vol.1 The Hard Goodbye Deluxe Edition

Sin City: Deluxe Hardcover Edition

To celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Sin City, Dark Horse put out the fourth edition of the paperbacks, but also a new deluxe hardcover collection. The volumes include an exclusive never-before-published development art selected by Frank Miller, a portfolio, exclusive prints, and even more bonuses.

Last Updated on September 28, 2023.