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I'll stare the bastard in the face as he screams to God, and I'll laugh harder when he whimpers like a baby. And when his eyes go dead, the hell I send him to will seem like heaven after what I've done to him.
~ Marv

Marv is a main character and one of the main protagonists of the Sin City franchise by Frank Miller. He is a hulking 7' 9" tall, former convict, who frequents Kadie's.

He is violent and unstable, with a mental condition that causes hallucinations and paranoia, and he bears the scars of endless fighting. His dangerous tendencies are held in check only by medication and a strong sense of chivalry.

He is portrayed by infamous actor Mickey Rourke.


Probably the best description of Marv came from a monologue Dwight:

Most people think Marv is crazy, but I don't believe that. I'm no shrink and I'm not saying I've got Marv all figured out or anything, but "crazy" just doesn't explain him. Not to me. Sometimes I think he's retarded, a big, brutal kid who never learned the ground rules about how people are supposed to act around each other. But that doesn't have the right ring to it either. No, it's more like there's nothing wrong with Marv, nothing at all--except that he had the rotten luck of being born at the wrong time in history. He'd have been okay if he'd been born a couple of thousand years ago. He'd be right at home on some ancient battlefield, swinging an ax into somebody's face. Or in a Roman Arena, taking a sword to other gladiators like him. They'd have tossed him girls like Nancy, back then.


Raising Marv

Marv was born in The Projects and had a rough childhood. He was very protective of his doting mother, who eventually got sick forcing them to move to a better part of town. The Projects had already toughened him up, and left with it's residents as useful allies. In school his only friend was Chuck, a retarded kid who thought Marv was genius. He also got a .45 Springfield Armory M1911A1 pistol from a dead kid, and he named it Gladys after one of the sisters in school. Once he went to camp, but since then he hated nature and trees. Trees and the creepy sounds of nature were the only things that scared him.

Some time after that Marv joined the army and went to an unnamed war (heavily implied to be Vietnam) where he probably developed his scars. He also would later suffer from a 'condition' (that might have been Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). He took pills for it, which he got from Claire, shrink Lucille's girlfriend. He always had a respectful fear of his 'condition' fearing he would turn into 'what they always said I'd turn into. A psycho killer'. However he always trusted his instinctual "cold thing", a feeling like a snowball in his stomach, something above his perception that told him that something was wrong (for example, he felt it when he approached the Roark Farm)

Once he suggested Lucille to get a treatment to "cure" her lesbianism, but she punched him.

A Legend of Sin City

Marv later made a name for himself on the streets by just doing what he did best: killing. A good guy at heart, he never had a problem beating in a few faces if they needed it. He made friends in low places this way and more than a couple enemies. Kadieof Kadie's Saloon gave him free beers whenever he needed them after he beat up some men who threatened her. He was also known to Kadie's patrons as Nancy Callahan's guardian angel after some guy tried to get fresh with her and he took care of him; allowing the petite dancer complete and utter safety when she danced. She also helped him out when he needed it showing they had an understanding between them. Once he got himself rounded up and Lucille helped him as his parole officer.

Having no form of employment Marv still managed to get around. He went most places on foot, and stole the rest from other thugs. He also had a keen appreciation of trenchcoats, which he would take off his victims usually commenting 'That's one damn fine coat your wearing!'. He even asked one hitman, Stan, to remove the coat so he wouldn't bleed on it before interrogating him. (Similar to the way Dwight McCarthy complained about blood getting on the upholstery of a car he was stealing from some hitmen).

Silent Night

(Note: that Silent Night has not given a place in the timeline; it could had happened at a later time) In a cold winter night in Sin City (with snow replacing its iconic rain) Marv goes to a back alley sleaze joint, under the cover of being an ugly pervert wanting to partake in the ugly pleasures offered in this particular sleaze joint: pre-teen girls.

After getting inside he killed the roomful of bodyguards and the owner, rescuing the girl speaking the only line of dialog in the whole piece "Your momma's been asking after you Kimberly. Let's get you home." He then takes the girl home, once again presenting Marv's brand of justice in the depths of Sin City.

That Yellow Bastard and Just Another Saturday Night

On the night John Hartigan met back up with Nancy, Marv found himself on a highway overlooking The Projects, surrounded by dead young guys, unable to remember how he got there. He lights one of the dead guys' cigarettes and thinks back; since it is Saturday, he deduces he must have been at Kadie's watching Nancy dance.

Marv was rather depressed after seeing Nancy leave with Hartigan, as he'd always had an unrequited crush on her, so Josie gives him a bottle to drown his sorrow with. He gets drunk and steps outside, only to find some preppy college kids trying to burn drunks and winos to death. After one shoots him calling him "Bernini-boy" he immediately kills one of them and chases the rest to The Projects, where along the way he destroys a police patrol car and hijacks another vehicle. The boys are heading for Sacred Oaks but Marv stops them.

At the Projects, it is clear that they are being watched, but Marv uses hand signals to identify himself and instruct his former neighbors to attack the kids, and they do so by firing arrows at them and providing Marv with a knife. After questioning the last surviving kid about him being called 'Bernini boy': it was the name of the brand of coat he was wearing; he then slits his throat. This done, he muses, "And one fine coat it is. Somebody must've spent a fortune on it. I wonder who?" But he cannot seem to remember where he got the coat or gloves.

He later would reference this event during his conversation with Lucille.

A Dame To Kill For

Dwight met him in Club Pecos where he had a date with Ava Lord. As her time was over,Manute came to take her back to the mansion of Damien Lord, and Marv offered Dwight his help to put the guy out, to which Dwight denied. As Ava left, Marv commented that she is "a Dame to kill for".

After told by Ava that her husband tortures him, Dwight sought out Marv to help him take down Lord; he met him at Kadie's as Marv and Josie are in the middle of a squabble with some out-of-town punks. One of them pulls a gun on Marv, who knocks him flat. Dwight convinces Marv to help him storm Damien's estate. They drink together and watch Nancy Callahan dance.

Not friends in the strictest sense, Dwight got him drunk to get him riled up, something he felt 'sick about'. He then stormed the Lord Mansion with Marv running interference. Marv specifically went after Manute and beat his face into the pavement, eventually taking his eye.

After Dwight got double crossed by Ava Lord and shot him out of the window, Marv collected crippled Dwight under Ava's gunshots. Marv did not mind to get back Dwight's Mustang, but instead chose to steal Lord's Tucker.

Marv drove him to Old Town to get fixed up; on the way a biker cop tried to stop them for running, but Marv obliviously pushed him over the edge. Then a police chopper and squad cars were after them as they passed through Little Saigon, until making their way to the Old Town. The girls collected him and Marv went back to Kadie's. This would be their last encounter.

Blue Eyes

Marv was sitting on the bar admiring Nancy once more, when Jim was trying to hide from a mysterious man. When Delia came behind Jim, he spilled his alcohol, to Marv's worry. As the couple talked and hugged, Marv envied Jim, and then decided to finish the man's bottle himself.

Shortly after that Marv got mixed up with Goldie.

Nancy's Last Dance

Having witnessed Nancy's downward spiral, Marv steps in and volunteers to help her kill Roark. They are attacked by a motorcycle gang, who Marv kills, but he leaves their leader for Nancy to finish off. The pair mount an assault on Roark's compound, and Marv brutally slaughters Roark's bodyguards while Nancy picks off the guards with a crossbow. Marv is wounded, and Nancy continues on to confront Roark by herself.

The Hard Goodbye

Marv as a rule avoided Old Town. He had nothing against prostitutes but he knew that none of the women there would trust him the way he looked. So it must have come as a surprise when a beauty like Goldie came strolling into Kadie's looking like a million bucks and took him to bed with her. The first time in a long time that a woman had slept with him, Marv fell in love. Too bad when he woke up the next morning Goldie was dead and he didn't remember a thing.

The cops showed up alerting him to a set up, and he escaped, smashing a few cops up on the way. He swore revenge, swearing to Goldie that he would get the man who killed her and 'the hell I send him to will feel like heaven after what I've done to him'. He went to Lucille's to get bandaged up and for his pills. She tries to talk him down but he got riled up. He left for one final stop on his errands before his rampage, his mother's house to pick up Gladys. Then it was killing time. First Kadie's where he was picked up by some hit men. He killed them, tortured them first, and got another name. He worked his way up the food chain, killing and torturing, until someone fingered The Priest. The Priest names Patrick Henry Roark but Marv doesn't believe him and kills him.

When he left the church he was attacked by Wendy, Goldie's twin sister, who he obviously mistakes for his lost love. She leaves him for dead and Marv writes it off as his condition kicking up. Instead he heads for the Farm where he is attacked by Kevin.

After being knocked out with a sledgehammer, Marv is tossed into the basement where he finds Lucille who was brought in earlier. She tells him about Kevin; about his killer dog, about his collection of woman's heads on the wall, about how he ate her hand and made her watch. After she calms down Marv busts them out and heads for the woods when the police show up. Lucille knocked Marv out thinking the cops will help and Marv would try something stupid, but after she surrenders to the police they gun her down. Marv goes wild and kills them all, but takes his time on the leader Painted Cop who confirms that Roark had Goldie killed, and Kevin was the assassin. Now with a name and someone new to kill, Marv gets himself ready to take on the Roarks. But suddenly he is struck by doubt. What if all of this bloody business was something he just made up, and that he finally had gone crazy.

He headed to Old Town to clear it up, Lucille having told him that Goldie was a prostitute. After making a commotion Wendy come by and knocks him out, intending to kill him for the murder of her sister. Gail tied him up and Wendy wailed on him with the butt of a pistol until Marv tells them he knows who killed Goldie and he's out to kill him. After a show of faith Wendy believes him and goes along with him to The Farm with a kit of supplies: surgical tubing, razor wire, special gloves, handcuffs, and a can of gasoline. Marv covers the woods with razor wire, then tosses the flaming gas-can into the house to get Kevin's attention. They fight, Kevin's supernatural agility giving him the advantage until he gets close enough for Marv to cuff him to himself, where Marv knocks him out with one punch. Wendy then shows up with a gun, telling Marv to let her finish it. Marv knocks her out, feeling bad about it but says what he's going to do to Kevin will give her nightmares. He then proceeds to saw off Kevin's arms and legs, using the surgical tubing as tourniquets. Then Kevin's pet wolf, having caught the smell of blood in the air, ate him alive. Marv sawed off his head to take with him but was unsatisfied with the kill seeing as Kevin didn't scream during the whole proceedings. After dropping Wendy off at Nancy's place Marv went to Roark's where he killed his way through the guards.

When he got to Roark, he presented Kevin's head, to which Roark showed great sorrow. He waxed nostalgic about how he took the boy in, about his fascination with his cannibalism, and how he eventually joined in. He also mentioned how Goldie had gotten suspicious when the girls started disappearing from Old Town and got scared when she found out how high it went. So Roark had her killed and that was that. He then asked Marv whether killing an old defenseless man would give him satisfaction. Marv famously replied "The killing, no. Everything up to the killing. Well that'll be a gas." He then proceeded to torture Roark to death, unintentionally continuing John Hartigan's hope of the Roark family dying, until the police arrived and shot him.

They didn't kill him though, they gave him surgery to fix him up for the trial. They tried to get him to confess to the killing of Roark, the prostitutes, and Goldie but no matter how much they beat him up he didn't confess. Then they threatened to kill his mother. He broke the lawyer's arm in three places and signed the confession. The night before his execution he got one last surprise. Wendy visited his cell to thank him for getting her revenge. He got confused and called her Goldie to which she replied 'you can call me Goldie if you like'. She spent the night with him, giving Marv one last glorious day on earth. They put him in the electric chair and electrocuted him. It took two consecutive charges to finally put down the legend of Sin City.

Movie appearance

In the films, he is portrayed by Mickey Rourke.

Rourke took to the role despite the heavy amount of make-up work required and the minimal use of sets and even other actors. Because of the speed at which the film was shot (and the fact that most of the cast who appeared in multiple stories hadn't yet been cast), several of the people Rourke is seen interacting with weren't necessarily there during the day it was shot. During the scenes at Kadie's, he never met or interacted with Brittany Murphy, Clive Owen or Jessica Alba, all of whom were yet to be cast or scheduled for filming; those scenes were all shot on different days several months later. Similarly, Rutger Hauer and Elijah Wood never met Rourke either. Hauer was one of the last people to be cast and his scene was shot months after The Hard Goodbye had finished principal photography. Wood and Rourke were shot fighting each other's respective stunt doubles.

He also makes a cameo appearance in the segment That Yellow Bastard at the same bar where John Hartigan went to look for Nancy Callahan, just as featured in The Hard Goodbye.

Rourke's portrayal of the character was very popular among audiences and critics, winning awards from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, Online Film Critics Society, Chicago Film Critics Association, and the Irish Film and Television Awards. On the Sin City DVD, Frank Miller commented that "After [the interview] with Rourke, I was only able to get down one note: 'He IS Marv!'"


In 1999, Marv's likeness was captured in the form of three McFarlane Toys action figures, all depicting scenes from "The Hard Goodbye." One comes with Kevin's severed head and a gun, while another figure was made with bandages on his face. The latter also comes in black and white and a gun, while the other, known as "Death Row Marv", comes with an electric chair.

Death Row Marv was comparably rare to most other action figures on the market, as it was offered exclusively to comic book specialty stores and was not made available to larger chains such as Toys R Us and Walmart. Despite the fact that this was a collectible marketed solely towards adults, it caused a considerable amount of controversy.

In 2005, the license for Sin City toys has been acquired by NECA, who has also done their own versions of "Death Row Marv".

In 2007, Marv was announced to be in the second series of Marvel Toys Legendary comic book heroes action figure line. Shortly afterward, another company, Dynamic Forces announced a full series of Sin City comic figures, which will start with a repaint of the Marvel Toys Marv figure.


Marv has been well received both as a comic book character and a film character. Marv was ranked as the 24th greatest comic book character in Wizard magazine. Empire magazine also ranked Marv as the 26th greatest comic book character of all time stating that Marv is a Frank Millar Grade A patsy, the fall guy, the hapless hero at the center of a conspiracy that he can't even begin to understand but with a traditional Miller tweak; Empire described Marv as a force of nature, cutting a path through the corrupt power-brokers of the city, until his pound of flesh (and more) has been exacted.

Also In 2008, Empire Magazine also selected Marv as the 82nd greatest film characters stating that he ain't too bright, but it turns out that Marv, despite his seemingly indestructible (if bandage-swathed) exterior, has a soft center. IGN also listed Marv as the 75th greatest comic book hero of all time stating that Sin City is a place where only the strong and sadistic can survive. Marv is a little of both, but he also has a noble streak and an unbreakable sense of loyalty towards those few people who can see beneath his craggy exterior and recognize the good man within.

In 2006, French country troubadour Steffan Rock recorded a song called "The Return of Marv", which is a tribute to both the character and Mickey Rourke.

Marv and "Sin City" was parodied in Robot Chicken episode "Bionic Cow". As in the comics and film, Marv is portrayed as a gruff, mean-spirited good protector of cats and grandmas in "Virtue City". He was voiced by Breckin Meyer.


  • Marv is a major character first appearing in The Hard Goodbye. With his iconic profile, Marv may be the most easily recognizable character in Sin City, possibly only second to Nancy Callahan.
  • He was portrayed by Mickey Rourke in the movie. Rourke will reprise his roll in the sequel, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For which is being released on August 22, 2014.
  • Marv's appearance was actually somewhat different in the book than in the film. In the book, he is much larger than his film counterpart, and he usually wears his trench coat strapped closed. His clothing in the book were nearly ripped to shreds by the end of the story and he didn't wear his shirt under the coat at all after the basement scene. His injuries in the book were also far more severe in the books than in the movie. Marv was almost unrecognizable after the fight with Kevin. His whole body was hacked to shreds after the fight. Marv suffered serious injuries in the film, but those were just deep slashes at his face and body after the fight.
  • Marv possesses an abnormal amount of physical strength and endurance, having survived several gunshot wounds, lacerations, being hit by moving vehicles, and even a jolt in the electric chair. Throughout the series, he has been shown breaking apart doors and ripping open window bars (The Hard Goodbye), effortlessly crushing a henchman's skull with his bare hands and dual-wielding two shotguns with no signs of fatigue (Nancy's Last Dance). He even managed to overpower the equally-imposing Manute, resulting in the loss of the latter's right eye (A Dame To Kill For).
  • Marv also possesses a military background similar to Wallace, giving him a slight advantage over his opponents.
    • This could also be where he learned his escape artistry, shown when he removed his ropes following Wendy's interrogation in The Hard Goodbye.
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