I know Sin City is fictional, but so are Gotham City and Metropolis, both of which are obviously New York City (one of the DC writers, I forget who, once said Gotham City is New York by night while Metropolis is New York by day).

So, is Sin City based on anything, or is it just totally fictional?

  • Its funny you mentioned that particular quote about Gotham and Metropolis considering it was said by Frank Miller, creator of Sin City. However, Neal Adams said that Gotham is based on the 1940s mob culture Chicago.
    – Suraj
    Apr 25, 2014 at 0:24

2 Answers 2


"Basin City" is set in an unspecified, fictional city in the American west according to various sources.

Though he has never said it's based on a particular city, given Frank Miller's love of noir (Hollywood influence) and the genesis of the comic during the "gritty" 1990s while he was living in Los Angeles, it's likely that Los Angeles was the model. Los Angeles is partially a basin city. The comic later establishes Sin City's waterfront as being very large, almost coastal in size.

The movie version of Sin City (2005) includes an establishing shot with a US287 highway sign. US287 is an actual north-south highway running from Montana to Texas through such cities as Denver and Fort Worth. It's possible Sin City is based a bit on Denver's night cityscape, at least its commercial district, but I tend to think the sign is a mislead, the way the Simpsons plays around with the location of Springfield.

(Update @NapoleonWilson: Good note about the La Brea tar pits)

Trivia/possible influence:

Las Vegas is America's proverbial "sin city" and is located in the west, but there's also the collective "Cities of Plain" from the Book of Genesis, especially Sodom and Gomorrah. Some biblical researchers place Sodom and Gomorrah on either side of the so-called waterfront of the Dead Sea, and one researcher believed they were drowned in the sea -- implying again a city or cities in a basin. Sodom and Gomorrah are also "full of tar pits" according to excavations. The question is, was Frank Miller aware of these particular details when he created the comic, or is it the happy coincidence of drawing on a popular term?





  • +0 for now. Welcome to the site! There's some awesome info in this site, but could you include links to the sources you're referring to (and then I'll happily upvote :)) Apr 24, 2014 at 9:24
  • 1
    And not to forget the park where Dwight has the shootout with the mercenaries, that reminded at least me very much of the La Brea Tar Pits.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Apr 24, 2014 at 10:54
  • @AndrewMartin I'm not sure where you're missing any sources in particular here.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Apr 24, 2014 at 10:55
  • @NapoleonWilson ""Basin City" is set in an unspecified, fictional city in the American west according to various sources." - Who? Apr 24, 2014 at 11:02
  • @AndrewMartin Ah I see, maybe I just ignored that for the rest of the rather good (and uncommented downvote unworthy) answer.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Apr 24, 2014 at 11:04

Problem: the highway sign shown in the film clearly bears an Interstate--not National Route--shield. I-287 loops around Northern New Jersey. I'm not sure if this is a careless error on the part of the filmmakers, some obscure in-joke, or a deliberate attempt to make the viewer give up on trying to place the fictional setting in a specific location (such as Metropolis in Babe: Pig in the City).

  • Can you include a picture? That would be helpful in your answer.
    – John
    Jan 18, 2017 at 21:43

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