is the title for a series of stories by Frank Miller
, told in comic book
form in a film noir
Listed below are the major and minor characters.
- Marv, a tough, violent, big bruiser of a man, who has an uncanny athleticism along with a lot of power, spends his time on the streets doing odd jobs for various people. He suffers from a mental condition that causes him to "get confused", which is believed to involve short-term memory loss and possibly hallucination. Lucille, his parole officer, supplies him with medication to control these effects of his condition, though he doesn't seem to be supplied anything that would curb his violent nature. His personal code of honor dictates the repayment of debts and a sort of chivalry towards women. He is a classic example of a noir anti-hero; creator Frank Miller describes Marv as "Conan in a trench coat". Portrayed by Mickey Rourke in the film adaptation.
- Dwight McCarthy, a private eye who, recently bestowed with a new surgically-reconstructed face, is deeply in debt to the women of Old Town and will go to great lengths to help them out. He is often compared with the character Philip Marlowe. Portrayed by Clive Owen in the film adaptation.
- Det. John Hartigan, a good-hearted 60-year-old ex-con/ex-cop who, ironically enough, has a heart condition. He was one of the few honest cops in Sin City. Forced to retire early because of heart problems, on his last night on the job he saved Nancy Callahan from being raped and murdered by Roark Junior when she was 11, only to be framed and imprisoned for the crime himself. He has a distinguishing scar on his forehead. Portrayed by Bruce Willis in the film adaptation.
- Wallace, a fit, long haired artist turned vigilante hero who saves Esther, and seems to be the most good natured person in Sin City. He is, however, a former Navy SEAL with the Medal of Honor. Next to Marv, Miho, and Kevin, he is one of the deadlier people in Sin City, though he prefers to avoid fighting whenever possible.
- Goldie and Wendy, the twin prostitutes who are currently in charge of Old Town. Whilst little is revealed about Goldie initially, and indeed the resemblance between the two is so uncanny that even Marv is fooled upon first meeting Wendy, he surmises that Goldie must have been 'the nice one' after taking several beatings from Wendy, (who had thought him responsible for her sister's murder at the beginning of The Hard Goodbye.) However, once Wendy comes to understand Marv's motives and intentions for his quest, and the lengths he will go to see them through, she softens to him a little, even seeming to empathize with his plight. Portrayed by Jaime King in the film adaptation.
- Nancy Callahan, an angelic stripper and exotic dancer who was saved by Det. John Hartigan when she was 11 years old (roughly 12 years before The Hard Goodbye). A good friend to Marv, who often doubles as her protector. Portrayed by Jessica Alba (as an adult) and Makenzie Vega (as an 11 year old girl) in the film adaptation.
- Gail, a prostitute, dominatrix and one of the authority figures of Old Town, second only to the Twins. Standing 6 feet tall and wearing an outfit made of a combination of leather, fishnet stockings and metal studs, (and occasionally bondage masks,) she has a love/hate relationship with Dwight McCarthy. Indeed, the reason Dwight is still alive at all is 'that one fiery night when she was mine' and the unrequitable love she feels for him. Portrayed by Rosario Dawson in the film adaptation.
- Miho, a highly skilled, rollerskate-savvy assassin who trains and protects the women of Old Town. Among her arsenal are twin katana samurai swords, throwing stars in the shape of a swastika (or, more accurately, a Manji), and a Mongolian longbow. Popular belief maintains she is not a prostitute. Has never spoken in the comics or film. Portrayed by Devon Aoki in the film adaptation.
- Esther, a depressed, lonely, suicidal actress whom Wallace saves from drowning in Hell and Back, and whose kidnap sets him on a one-man mission to rescue her.
- Kevin, sociopath who resides at "The Farm", kills women, and cannibalizes their remains. The leftovers go to his pet wolf. He is sheltered by Cardinal Roark. Marv kills him, after an exhausting exchange of blows, by chopping off his limbs then letting his wolf eat parts of him, and finally, beheading him. Kevin is an agile, fast and skilled martial artist. Portrayed by Elijah Wood in the film adaptation.
- Cardinal Patrick Henry Roark, a Catholic Cardinal, is brother to Senator Roark. Roark occasionally uses Kevin as his personal assassin, and even joins him in his cannibalistic rituals. He's killed by Marv in an unspecified (but incredibly gruesome) way. Portrayed by Rutger Hauer in the film adaptation.
- Manute, a huge African American man, typically dressed as a valet, who is very gentlemanly and polite in all situations, even while committing homicide, who served Ava Lord and is later recruited by the Colonel and Wallenquist. He is also nigh indestructible, having been crucified (by Miho), shot repeatedly (by Dwight), beat up numerous times (by Marv and Wallace), and relieved of an eye (again, by Marv). Manute is finally gunned down by Old Town hookers during 'The Big Fat Kill'. In the deleted scenes, he was shown to have escaped from the assault by the Old Town girls with Schutz and another thug, only to be sliced down the middle by Miho in an alley way. Portrayed by Michael Clarke Duncan in the film adaptation.
- Wallenquist aka the Kraut, the mysterious and powerful leader of the Sin City mob. His goal is merely to achieve power and profit, regardless of what underhanded methods can lead him to that goal. Unlike the other antagonists, however, he is somewhat an honorable person, as he sees revenge as an unnecessary extravagance and will often take losses, (such as his enforcers' defeat in The Big Fat Kill and Hell and Back, even the death of Bruno in Family Values,) with a fair amount of dignity. He also proves to be one of the few men able to resist Ava Lord's wiles.
- Det. Jack "Iron Jack" Rafferty, a.k.a. Jackie-Boy is Shellie's abusive former boyfriend. Miho kills him and his four buddies after they threaten Becky with a gun. His spirit later haunts Dwight's imagination, and his murder is what precipitates 'the big fat kill' of the title. Despite his blatant alcoholism and abusive behavior towards women, Rafferty is a well-respected hero cop, having ascended to the ranks of Lieutenant. He was given the moniker "Iron Jack" by the newspapers. Portrayed by Benicio del Toro in the film adaptation.
- Roark Junior, aka That Yellow Bastard, was the son of Senator Roark. He was handsome, young, and rich; he was also a sadistic child molester and serial killer who raped and murdered pre-pubescent girls, a pastime that was covered up by his father and the Basin City police. In That Yellow Bastard, Hartigan shoots off Junior's left ear, right hand and genitals while rescuing an 11-year-old Nancy Callahan, and Sen. Roark pays millions in physical rehabilitation treatments to rebuild him. Due to these treatments, however, his body cannot process waste properly, resulting in his skin turning bright yellow and making him smell like rotting meat. He finally meets his well-deserved death when Hartigan castrates him again (this time with his bare hands), and proceeds to pound his head to a pulp. Portrayed by Nick Stahl in the film adaptation.
- Senator Roark, a very corrupt politician with huge political and financial power; he has the influence to eliminate whomever he chooses. He beat his own wife to death with a baseball bat, leaving his fingerprints all over it, and blackmailed someone else into confessing. His son is Roark Junior. He hushes up Junior's crimes by threatening to kill Hartigan's family if he doesn't confess to the murders Junior committed. The Senator's brother is Cardinal Roark. Portrayed by Powers Boothe in the film adaptation.
- The Colonel aka The Salesman, also goes by The Man and The Ladykiller. A shadowy, poetic freelance assassin who performs a lot of jobs for the Ladies, the Cops and the Mafia. Enforcer for Wallenquist. Trains and co-ordinates assassins, as well as being one himself at some point. He runs an organ harvesting ring as well as other ventures in organized crime. His operations are eventually shut down by the Basin City Police in a sting operation and he is captured and shot by Commissioner Liebowitz after mouthing off to him. It is assumed he kills Becky at the end of the movie adaptation. Once thought to be two separate characters, they are one and the same, as Miller himself has stated in the "BLAM!" section of the short story collection "Sex & Violence", on page 29; confirming he is the same person in the film continuity cannot be done until the casting of the two sequels is made apparent. Portrayed by Josh Hartnett in the film adaptation.
- Ava Lord, the dame to kill for. An ex-lover of Dwight McCarthy who manipulates men through her good looks and her supposed innocence. An expert liar, she is considered a goddess by Manute and a manipulative bitch by Dwight, who eventually kills her. She represents the classic femme fatale, acting as a foil to Dwight's typically hard-boiled but cool-headed anti-hero. It is rumored that she will be portrayed by Rachel Weisz in the upcoming cinematic sequel.
- Delia aka "Blue Eyes", a trained assassin hired by The Colonel. She uses the powers of seduction to lead unsuspecting men to their deaths and considers her co-worker Mariah to be "sloppy". She usually has sex with her victims before killing them. She herself is killed by Wallace, despite begging for her life.
- Mariah, a trained assassin in league with Delia, although apparently less skilled. She, too, uses the powers of seduction, but can also fight with a bo (staff). She works for Wallenquist. Her nose was broken by Wallace, and she managed to escape from Liebowitz's assault on the factory. Has a penchant for leopard print clothing.
- Maxine, a psychopharmacologist who works alongside Delia. She administers a strong hallucinogen into Wallace's system, and later gives him the antidote at gunpoint. Dies for her troubles. She was also involved in Esther's attempted brainwashing.
- Becky, a young Old Town prostitute who is instrumental in getting Jackie Boy killed by Miho. She also works for the Colonel as a spy, mainly because she didn't want her mother to discover that she was a prostitute, partly because he offered her a considerable sum of money and a new life. Killed during The Big Fat Kill. In the epilogue of the movie adaptation, in a scene that is not part of the comics, it is implied she is killed by the Salesman while leaving the hospital. Portrayed by Alexis Bledel in the film adaptation.
- Lucille, Marv's lesbian female friend/parole officer and Hartigan's lawyer. Preyed on by Kevin and afterwards gunned down by police to cover up Cardinal Roark's proclivities with Kevin. Portrayed by Carla Gugino in the film adaptation.
- Marv's Mother, who lives in the Housing Projects of Basin City, where Marv was born and raised. Having gone blind at an unspecified age, her hearing has improved to compensate. She keeps Marv's childhood room spotless, and seems to be unaware of some of his darker nocturnal habits. Portrayed by Lucina Paquet in the film adaptation.
- Kadie, a middle-aged, overweight transsexual that owns the eponymous bar where Nancy and Shellie work. She gives Marv drinks for free because he has killed a number of people for her. Although she has never been seen, she is often mistaken for Josie, an equally plump barmaid who serves drinks there along with Shellie. Next to Nancy and Shellie, she is the one who is most tolerant of Marv; when he assaults the bouncer during The Hard Goodbye for denying him entrance, she makes excuses for him: 'He's new here, Marv. He didn't know.' Portrayed by Evelyn Hurley in the film adaptation.
- Weevil is a local informant and a regular at Kadie's. He has hair reminiscent of Logan alias 'Wolverine' from the X-Men comics. Portrayed by Tommy Nix in the film adaptation.
- Shellie, a barmaid at Kadie's. She is Dwight McCarthy's occasional girlfriend. On the night that John Hartigan found the fully grown Nancy at Kadie's bar, she took a drunk and depressed Dwight back to her place out of pity. She was annoyed with him for not calling her for months during A Dame To Kill For. By The Big Fat Kill, they appear to have reconciled. At times, she isn't too bright, especially towards drunken, sorrow-filled men. Portrayed by Brittany Murphy in the film adaptation.
- Stan, hitman who tries to bring Marv in. After taking a shot in the belly and the groin, he surrenders the identity of his benefactor, only to be killed and robbed of his 'damn fine coat'. Portrayed by Jason Douglas in the film adaptation.
- Padre, a priest who is the final link in the chain of people who attempted to put a hit out on Marv. He reveals that it was on the orders of Cardinal Roark, at which Marv initially scoffs. The Priest instructs him to investigate the Roark farm, and to ask himself if Goldie was worth dying for. Marv puts three bullets in his face, reiterating that she was "worth dying for. Worth killing for. Worth going to Hell for." Portrayed by series creator Frank Miller in the film adaptation.
- 'The Painted Cop', a police captain with tribal tattoos on his face, who arrives at the farm with a squad of armed police to kill or capture Marv. When Lucille subdued Marv and attempted to surrender him so that he wouldn't get anyone else killed, she was shot for her trouble by the Painted Cop. After Marv wiped out the entire squad in vengeance and faced off against the ammo-less Painted Cop, it is assumed, if not virtually explicit, that Marv interrogates him (he talked after Marv showed him 'all those pieces of himself',) then murders him with a hatchet and takes possession of his 'damn fine coat'. Portrayed by Ryan Rutledge in the film adaptation.
- Corporal Rivera, a hapless perimeter guard at the Cardinal's mission. Has his neck snapped by Marv. Portrayed by Jesse De Luna in the film adaptation.
- 'Juicer', the prison warden in charge of Marv's execution. Portrayed by David H. Hickey in the film adaptation.
- Joey, a businessman going through an awkward marriage and resentful of people he believes are holding him back. He is also the subject of a private investigation job handed to Dwight. After he has his fun and provided plenty of photographable evidence, he is beaten by Dwight after threatening his mistress with a gun.
- Sally, an Old Town girl and Joey's mistress, who tries to kill her to cover-up his infidelity. Luckily Dwight, who was photographing him, smashes through a window and saves her.
- Agamemnon, is a sort-of friend to Dwight, who gives Dwight photography jobs related to private investigation and lets him use his darkroom. Gets Dwight out of jams in exchange for food. Often seen wearing a 'Kiss Me, I'm Greek' shirt. Most of his sentences end with, "I tell ya, I could write a book..."
- Damien Lord, Ava's rich husband whom she left Dwight for. Whilst it is never clear how he came to be a millionaire, it is assumed it is extra-legal. The primary victim of Ava's schemes, and seems to be rather aware of her pathological nature.
- Bob, Hartigan’s partner in That Yellow Bastard. Betrays him and later regrets it. Becomes more professional during A Dame to Kill For, and has a new partner,Mort. He and Mort are the detectives that start looking for Dwight when Ava Lord blames him for being in her house. Later they search and interrogate people who are related with Dwight. Right after when He and Mort discover Dwight's whereabouts, Mort is encouraged by Ava Lord to go to Old Town and kill Dwight, but Bob insists him not to go there because of the danger. Bob is shot through the head by his partner in the car just when he is about to turn Mort in. Portrayed by Michael Madsen in the film adaptation.
- Mort, partners with Bob during A Dame to Kill For and an honest detective. Seduced and corrupted by Ava Lord, and eventually takes Bob's, and his own, life. Portrayed by Ron Hayden in the film adaptation.
- Molly, an Old Town girl who is also seemingly a doctor. She saved Dwight's life, at Gail's insistence, when he was shot almost to death by Ava Lord.
- Kelley, Sandy and Denise, a group of Old Town girls who were victims of a group of white slavers led by a man named Manuel. Though their fate was never revealed, Dwight presumably made sure their imprisoners were dealt with accordingly.
- 'Cowboy', a macho customer of Wendy's who has a penchant for 'carving up' women with a large hunting knife. Needless to say, he gets what's coming to him, courtesy of Miho.
- The Customer, a beautiful young woman and one of the many targets of the Salesman. Seemingly hired the Salesman to kill her, although he never found out whom or what she was running from. Portrayed by Marley Shelton in the film adaptation.
- Fat Man and Little Boy, a pair of low-rent hit men with "delusions of eloquence" who use pretentious, pseudo-poetic words (sprinkled with malapropisms) in daily conversation to mask the fact that they're both incredibly stupid and bad at their chosen occupation. Real names are Burt Schlubb (Fat Man) and Douglas Klump (Little Boy). Both have been bested in unarmed combat by John Hartigan (twice in That Yellow Bastard) and Dwight McCarthy (The Babe Wore Red) and 'Fat Man' has been menaced by Marv (as a cameo in Silent Night). Their nicknames are references to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II. Portrayed by Nick Offerman and Rick Gomez in the film adaptation.
- Mary, the babe (who) wore red, who gets herself caught in a middle of a botched drug exchange and was then made a target of Fat Man and Little Boy, until Dwight saved her. Afterward, she becomes a nun. Rumored to play by singer/songwritter Morgan Lovelace.
- Kimberly, the little girl Marv saves in Silent Night. Held captive and was most likely going to be sold for sex, until Marv saved her at her mother's behest.
- Jackie Boy's 'Troops', who go with him on his ill-fated night-out. All are just as drunk as Jack and think nothing of egging him on, no matter how much trouble it will cause. They are the first to be dispatched by Miho when Jack does 'the dumbest thing in (his) whole life'. Portrayed by Ethan Maniquis, Ken Thomas, Chris Warner and Iman Nazemzadeh in the film adaptation.
- Murphy, Irish mercenary. Killed by Dwight McCarthy. Portrayed by Arie Verveen in the film adaptation.
- Maeve, female Irish mercenary. Killed by Dwight McCarthy. Portrayed by Helen Kirk in the film adaptation.
- Dallas, Old Town girl and Miho's driver. Gunned down by mercenaries. In the movie she is played by Patricia Vonne, Robert Rodriguez's sister and the same actress who plays Zorro Girl, an Old Town girl who dresses in a similar fashion to Zorro.
- Ronnie, Uzi-carrying Irish mercernary. Kills Dallas and in return has his head sliced in half by one of Miho's throwing stars. Portrayed by Jason McDonald in the film adaptation.
- Brian, Irish mercenary, as well as a demolitions expert and enthusiast. Was going to deliver Jackie Boy's head, when Miho sneaked up behind him and stabbed him. Portrayed by Tommy Flanagan in the film adaptation.
- Stuka, a wisecracking--and extremely durable--henchman of Manute's who has a swastika tattooed on his forehead. Miho shoots him twice with arrows in The Big Fat Kill (the second arrow goes through the back of his head, and pierces right through the swastika in his forehead in the movie; in the book the second arrow goes through his neck.) . Portrayed by Nicky Katt in the film adaptation.
- Schutz, another of Manute's henchmen. He dies in 'the big fat kill'. Portrayed by Clark Middleton in the film adaptation.
- Davis, Works for Wallenquist and specializes in torturing people. Is particularly skillful at inflicting pain with the use of his hands, without the necessity of any tools. He is killed in 'the big fat kill'. His role as torturer is filled in the film by Manute, and none of the other gang members are identified as Davis.
- Lenny and Benny, twins who acted as hired muscle for Junior before his disfigurement by Hartigan. They are dispatched by Hartigan with ease. Portrayed by Scott Teeters in the film adaptation.
- Eileen, John Hartigan's wife. She only appears once, at the hospital, pleading with him to tell her that Senator Roark's cover-up isn't true. She leaves, presumably gets divorced in the interim, and by the time of Hartigan's release eight years later, she has remarried and had two children. Portrayed by Babs George in the film adaptation.
- One of Hartigan's lawyers, referred to in the film as 'Skinny Dude'. His overall view of the case is far from optimistic. Portrayed by Marco Perella in the film adaptation.
- Liebowitz, Commissioner of the Basin City Police Department. Brutally beats Hartigan upon his arrival in prison, and later is a puppet for The Colonel in Hell and Back. After his family is threatened, Liebowitz finally kills The Colonel. Portrayed by Jude Ciccolella in the film adaptation. His name may be a reference to the novel a Canticle for Liebowitz .
- Tammy, an Old Town 'nurse' who Liebowitz uses to taunt and torture Hartigan. Portrayed by Lisa Marie Newmyer in the film adaptation.
- Claire, Lucille's girlfriend who is first mentioned in The Hard Goodbye; she is not seen until That Yellow Bastard, however, and even then only fleetingly. She is a psychiatrist who provides Marv, via Lucille, with the pills he takes to control his 'condition'. According to Marv, she tried to analyze him once, but 'got too scared'.
- Johnny, a middle-aged man who falls in love with a sweet girl named Amy, and in order to finally be with her, he must kill her controlling father. Unfortunately, he falls victim to Amy and "Daddy's" sick sexual role-playing.
- Amy and Daddy; Amy seduces Johnny and convinces him to kill her "father", so that they can be happy together. Johnny is lured into Amy's sick trap, as "Daddy" is really her lover, and Amy's victims are used to get a rise out of "Daddy".
- Jim, a deep-thinking man, former lover of Delia whom she kills as part of her initiation by the Colonel.
- The War Criminal, an emanciated, insane Nazi war criminal who survives on dog food and rats he kills in his oven. Participated in the Holocaust.
- The Janitor, the name given to the mercenary featured in Rats, where he kills the war criminal in the same manner he kills rats for food.
- Phil, used car salesman. A victim of mistaken identity by Delia, although he does have one guilty secret...
- Gordo, The Colonel’s muscle. Works alongside Delia to try and set-up Wallace's death. Very dumb, and speaks and thinks in third-person. Was killed by Wallace after he mortally shot Captain.
- Eddie, Delia's real target. Catches up to him on a train and kills him... after having sex with him, of course.
- Peggy, a single mother who hangs out in bars tempting men into buying her drinks, as she is an alcoholic and is frequently denied more drinks. A valuable source of info to Dwight in Family Values.
- Otto, the bartender of the diner in which Peggy hangs out.
- Bruno, a politician on Wallenquist's payroll. His murder at the hands of the Mafia, and the collateral damage that ensued, set Dwight on a mission to find his murderer.
- Vito, a Mafia mobster who kills Bruno and (accidentally) Carmen in Family Values. Forced to shoot his brother Lucca. Drives Dwight and Miho to the home of his uncle, Don Giacco Magliozzi.
- Spinelli, short Mafia muscle. Wears a hooded coat similar to a slicker. The first of Vito's thugs to be killed by Miho.
- Lucca, Vitto's brother and one of Magliozzi's hitmen.
- Vinnie, Mafia muscle. Incredibly racially bigoted, especially towards Japanese.
- Don Giacco Magliozzi, Leader of the local Mafia, residing in Sacred Oaks. Enemies with Wallenquist. Killed by Daisy at the conclusion of Family Values.
- Carmen, Old Town girl with a traumatising past; lesbian lover of Daisy. Unintentionally gunned down in the Magliozzi hit on Bruno.
- Daisy, Carmen's lesbian lover. Avenges her death by killing the remaining Magliozzi family members.
- Doctor Fredric, a doctor in league with the Colonel. Kidnaps and overpowers Esther under the Colonel's orders after incapacitating Wallace with narcotics in Hell and Back. Mariah kills him and his companion, Orrin, to make sure that Wallace doesn't extract any valuable information from him.
- Orrin, Doctor Fredric's assistant and lover. Shoots and incapacitates Wallace with a strong tranquilliser whilst he and Fredric abduct Esther. Mariah kills him before killing Doctor Fredric.
- Manson and Bundy, two corrupt police officers, named after Charles Manson and Ted Bundy. They pick on a drugged Wallace, who in turn beats them and two other cops up with relative ease once he managed to flush the tranquilliser from his system. It would seem Manson is a post-operative female-to-male transexual, as he claims he hasn't been a woman in nine years; consequently he takes any suggestion that he is not masculine, deliberate or otherwise, very personally. Bundy, whilst seeing Manson's over-the-top brutality as 'harsh', does nothing to control his partner. They and the two other cops were shot and killed by Captain when he rescues a hallucinating Wallace from a frame-up master-minded by the Colonel's subordinate
- Captain, a loyal war buddy of Wallace's. Aids him in saving Esther, first by supplying him with his 'heap', then by helping a hallucinating Wallace to snap out of his drugged state to catch up with Delia and Maxine, giving his life in the process during a gun battle with Gordo. Is apparently bisexual.
- Jerry, Captain's lover and a fellow war veteran. Good with missiles, but Wallace considers him a bad choice for missions requiring stealth. Agrees to help Wallace rescue Esther after Wallace assured him the Captain hasn't died in vain.
- Josh, Liebowitz's son. He is lured away from his high school by Mariah, who under orders from the Colonel breaks his arm, which is the cause for Liebowitz's rejection of his corruption. Has a younger teenage sister, Hannah.