“Put my clarinet beneath your bed till I get back in town…”, Tom Waits, ‘Tango Till They’re Sore’
I’m a couple of hours from now, I’ll have some time in hand and I’ll reread Hell & Back, a Sin City love story. Specifically I’ll want to read Wallace’s trip that happens around chapter 6 (chapter 7?) because I believe very strong that this is the very culmination of a project that Frank Miller earlier in his Sin City series. Not in the original series of Sin City yarns, those very first episodes that were published in Dark Horse Presents. But a project begun in Family Values, a project about independence, and about freedom.
The freedom here isn’t necessarily the usual kind of freedom we imagine from this period in comics history. Very shortly after Miller penned those very first Sin Cities, the episodes that would eventually be collected into the sleek, luscious volume, the Hard Goodbye, top tier Marvel artists would break out on their own to establish Image Comics. Titles like Spawn, WildC.A.T.s, Youngblood and later on Witchblade and the Darkness would leverage significant commercial success. It seemed just as we were beginning to see the first generation of internet millionaires (“I remember when a million was a million”, Tom Waits croons out on his triple disc album Orphans), we would also begin to see comics millionaires. That was the very first time the idea seemed a plausible one, an achievable one.
But the dream of that quickly died.