The third in Gilbert Hernandezs line of original hardcovers featuring Love and Rockets Fritz in her guise as a Z-movie actress (the first two were Chance in Hell and The Troublemakers) is a trippy thriller that stars Fritz in no fewer than three roles.
A beautiful waitress (Fritz, of course) and her hospital nurse brother (also Fritz) visit their estranged father, a once successful but now retired writer (amazingly enough, also Fritz), in order to find out the true reason why their mother committed suicide. When dads health fails, the siblings are then more concerned with the money he might leave them.
The story weaves in and out of reality and hallucination and possibly back in forth in time, and to complicate things further, the sister is sexually obsessed with a mysterious man throughout the tale or is it her brother (at one point posing as his sister so that he might gain his and her inheritance) that is so hot and bothered by this mystery stud? And thats only the tip of the iceberg. Theres also a venture into ghost territory, with frauds bilking the gullible and Fritzs character(s) right in the middle.
To complete the pulp gestalt, the book's cover illustration is a painting by Pulp Fiction artist Steven Martinez (he painted the portrait of Marsellus Wallace's wife Mia Wallace [Uma Thurman] that hangs in their house and which Vincent Vega [John Travolta] scrutinizes while he waits for Mia).
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Praise for The Troublemakers:
"The outlandish plot piles double-crosses upon double-crosses, leading up to an over-the-top, apocalyptic denouement. Its pulpy fun that, appropriately, has the dashed-off, anything-goes spirit of a straight-to-video caper flick. The cinematic feel is accentuated by Hernandezs use of uniformly sized panels matching the proportions of a wide-screen film. While this self-imposed restriction limits the artists visual flourishes, it accentuates his other graphic strengthspowerfully bold compositions, vivid character designas well as serving to ground the often-hyperbolic goings-on." – Gordon Flagg, Booklist