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The Children of Palomar
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The Children of Palomar is Gilbert Hernandez's much-anticipated return to
the small Central American town of Palomar, more than a decade after his last
"Heartbreak Soup" story. Originally released as a three-issue magazine series titled New Tales of Old Palomar in
the acclaimed international "Ignatz" format, these stories are finally
collected into one handsome book.
All of these stories deal with the classic characters of Palomar such as sweet
Pipo, her sharp-tongue sister Carmen, sheriff Chelo, and the gang of boys
who help start it all: studious Heraclio, tall and fey Israel, disfigured but goodnatured
Vicente, and girl-crazy Jesús and Satch.
In the first story, "Children of Palomar," mysterious, fast-moving thieves are
stealing food from wherever they can grab it; Sheriff Chelo and some citizens
do their best to solve this mystery, but nobody seems to be able to catch these
bandits in action until Pipo puts her soccer-trained legs to work and goes after
them herself. In the second, Gato, Soledad, Guero, Pintor, and Arturo go exploring
a bottomless chasm and come face to face with... well, we won’t spoil
the surprise. The third and last story focuses on one of Palomar’s most beloved
characters, the gorgeous but troubled Tonantzín: Everybody in Palomar seems
to take the supernatural with a grain of salt, but young Tonantzín is determined
to uncover the mystery of the laughing baby that only appears to her,
haunting her daily life. What is the baby’s link to the giant stone idols that
stand outside the small town...?
Praise for the New Tales of Old Palomar series:
"As Hernandez matures, he's expanding his style of storytelling into something close to the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Harumi Murakami and other creators of haunted landscapes where reality becomes a question of perception rather than a set of objective facts." – San Francisco Chronicle
"Some of Gilbert's loveliest art ever." – The Comics Reporter
"This may be Gilbert Hernandez's best work so far. Minimal without seeming spare and a huge argument for the 'comics as literature' thing having some traction." – Kevin Church
"You don't need to know the backstory of Love and Rockets to love these, nor do you even need to read them in order — each issue works totally on its own. (In fact, this is a pretty good introduction to Beto's world, and it's mostly kid-friendly to boot.) Taken together, though, the miniseries gives proof that the cartoonist's universe is as weird, wonderful, and expansive as any community cooked up by William Faulkner or Wendell Berry." – "Favorite Comics of 2007," Quiet Bubble
It begins in the year 1900, with the scream of a newborn. It ends, 100 pages
later, in the year 2000, with the death rattle of a 100-year-old man. The infant
and the old man are both Julio, and Gilbert Hernandez’s Julio’s Day (originally
serialized in Love and Rockets Vol. II but never completed until now) is his latest
graphic novel, a masterpiece of elliptical, emotional storytelling that traces one
life — indeed, one century in a human life — through a series of carefully
crafted, consistently surprising and enthralling vignettes.
There is hope and joy, there is bullying and grief, there is war (so much war — this is after all the 20th century),
there is love, there is heartbreak. While Julio’s Day has some settings and elements in common with Hernandez’s Palomar
cycle (the Central American protagonists and milieu, the vivid characters, the strong familial and social ties), this is a very
much a singular, standalone story that will help cement his position as one of the strongest and most original cartoonists
of this, or any other, century.
"Julio's Day is a story of one man's life, but it's a great deal more than that as well. It's the story of the life of a century, also told as if a day. Beginning with Julio's birth in 1900 and ending with his death in 2000, the graphic novel touches on most of the major events that shaped the 20th century." – Brian Evenson, from his introduction
"A haunting performance and about as perfect a literary work as I've read in years. Hernandez accomplishes in 100 pages what most novelists only dream of — rendering the closeted phlegmatic Julio in all his confounding complexity and in the process creating an unflinching biography of a community, a country and a century. A masterpiece." – Junot Díaz