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Gilbert Hernandez's first original graphic novel from Fantagraphics follows on the heels of his acclaimed graphic novel, Sloth, from DC's Vertigo Comics in 2006. Chance in Hell tells the story about a little orphan girl who lives in the slum of slums. Nobody knows who she is or where she's from, but her fellow shantytown inhabitants collectively look over her. The three-act story follows our heroine as she is adopted by a decent man who raises her well, and she eventually marries a kind, well-to-do man, only to discover that she can't relate to the good life and the comforts it provides. This is the first in a series of standalone stories depicting the fictional filmography of Gilbert's Love and Rockets character, the B-movie actress Fritz. Hernandez wowed critics in 2003 with his epic work, Palomar, collecting more than 20 years of groundbreaking comics called "the most substantive single work that the comics medium has yet produced," by Booklist. Chance in Hell further establishes Hernandez as one of the great cartoonists of our age.
"After nearly three decades in the business, Hernandez is primarily a 'pure cartoonist,' working straight from his id, and Chance in Hell is best read as an inspired ramble through his fevered psyche. Hernandez began his career as a flippant punk, but this book is his most sustained howl of fear and rage. (Grade: A)" – The Onion A.V. Club
"The rich emotions and passionate characters of [Gilbert] Hernandez are translated to a welcome new graphic novel, which fills B-movie situations with real drama... Hernandez takes his readers on a harrowing journey that examines the damage done in childhood and how it affects the individual as she moves on through life. It's heavy stuff, but highly recommended." – Publishers Weekly
"Gilbert Hernandez remains the most consistently surprising and shocking storyteller in comics and this 'exploitation movie' featuring one of his characters in a supporting 'role' is a tale of survival, coming of age and emotional damage that’s as spooky and dark as any movie by David Lynch." – Adi Tantimedh
"A terrifying graphic novel. Couldn't put it down, so disturbing and merciless." – Junot Diaz
"Chance in Hell is a visually stunning book that challenges its readers with a story that does not fit neatly into any genre. A book that forces readers to think and ask questions, this is a disturbingly tragic story that is still able to engage its readers. It is a book that dares to walk over the edge of what is expected, and with an able guide such as Gilbert Hernandez, one can be sure of landing softly as the ground swiftly approaches." – Chris Beckett
Salon.com Notable Comics and Graphic Novels of 2007
"If alternative comics can be equated to independent film, then Hernandez has become the medium's David Lynch or Guy Maddin, rolling his personal obsessions and freewheeling abstractions into stories that present as pulp, then take some very weird turns. In Chance In Hell... Hernandez may be intending to explore the symbiotic nature of human exploitation, but mostly, he's just tripping through his fevered psyche, and drawing images and situations with the unwanted clarity of nightmares." – "The Best Comics of 2007," The Onion A.V. Club