Saturday, January 20, 2007

Book-A-Day #188 (1/20): Luba: The Book of Ofelia by Gilbert Hernandez

This isn't actually the latest Gilbert collection of Love & Rockets stories, since the next book (Luba: Three Daughters) has already been published, but I finally finished it -- it had been sitting around for a while.

(In my defense, I tend to arrange the comics-and-such stack by size, and these books are album-sized; so all of the trade-paperback-sized books were on top of it, weighing it down. And there were a lot of them for a while -- all of the comics-y stuff from Book-A-Day came off that pile.)

I've said some of what I have to say about Gilbert when I read Sloth (his first standalone, non-porn graphic novel) a few months back. That would probably be a better place to begin with Gilbert than this book; there are five full-length Gilbert
books that came before this one (plus his half of more than half a dozen shared books). He does make a strong effort to explain the tangled relationships up front, and the series did have a major dislocation a few years back (moving from the fictional Latin American town of Palomar to southern California), but these stories still build on a multi-generational soap opera, and it's better to know the backstory first.

There's that big Palomar book to dive into, if you're so inclined -- it reprints all of the stories in this world up to three years ago -- and there's also a new series (starting in March) that will reprint all of those earlier stories in fat little manga-like volumes. But Gilbert Hernandez is one of the masters of modern comics, so, if you're interested in comics stories about people who don't wear their underwear on the outside, you should check him out.

The Fabulous Book-A-Day Index!

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