A woman comes to the U.S. from Latin America to escape her shady past, only to fall into a new shady life. After a go at the adult entertainment business, Maria marries a drug lord and her dangerous past is nothing compared to her new life in America. The drug lord's son, Gorgo, secretly falls in love with her and he watches over her like a guardian angel. Danger and corruption (and of course sex) drive the first half of this love story.
Long-time Love and Rockets readers will find the storyline familiar... and that’s because, in an Adaptation-style meta twist, Maria M. is actually the B-movie film adaptation of the life story of Luba's mother Maria, as previously seen in its "real" version in the classic graphic novel Poison River (available in the Beyond
Palomar collection) — starring Maria's own daughter playing her own mother.
Confused? Don't be! Maria M. works perfectly on its own terms as the kind of violent, sexy pulp tale that Gilbert
Hernandez has proven so adept at these past several years, and the "source material" for the story just provides an extra layer of delight for the cognoscenti.
"I picture Gilbert Hernandez approaching his drawing board these days like Lawrence of Arabia approaching a Turkish convoy: 'NO PRISONERS! NO PRISONERS!'" – Sean T. Collins, Robot 6
"Gilbert Hernandez is one of the great craftsmen of modern comics... Hernandez’s new Fritz book, Love from the Shadows, is as bracing as a slug of bottom-shelf rotgut.... Hernandez artfully approximates the broad, thrilling badness of late-night movies and their inept special effects, and uses it as an excuse to show off some of his gifts: spacious compositions built around texture as well as forms, pauses heavy with foreboding, a sense of body language and facial expressions so acute that we can recognize both the story’s characters and the 'actors' playing those characters." – Douglas Wolk, The New York Times Sunday Book Review
"[Gilbert] Hernandez’s latest book Love from the Shadows is a confounding hybrid, inserting Love and Rockets’ watermelon-chested, lisping Fritz into a violent dream-novel that combines the fluid reality of Luis Buñuel with the two-fisted crime sagas of Jim Thompson. ...[T]he beauty of comics as a medium is that it invites re-reading; and Hernandez’s mastery makes Love from the Shadows easy to pore back over, savoring how its meaning shifts from page to page." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
"The outlandish plot piles double-crosses upon double-crosses, leading up to an over-the-top,
apocalyptic denouement. It’s pulpy fun that, appropriately, has the dashed-off, anything-goes spirit of
a straight-to-video caper flick. The cinematic feel is accentuated by Hernandez’s use of uniformly sized
panels matching the proportions of a wide-screen film. While this self-imposed restriction limits the
artist’s visual flourishes, it accentuates his other graphic strengths—powerfully bold compositions, vivid
character design—as well as serving to ground the often-hyperbolic goings-on."
– Gordon Flagg, Booklist
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