Gilbert Hernandez is a genius.
I’ve been rereading his Love & Rockets Palomar stories and I’m impressed once more with his brilliance. His characters are funny, sad, kind, cruel, smart and stupid, they dance, they cry, they lust and love, and they murder: The brilliance is they behave very much as real people. And like one of Dickens’s massive novels — Bleakhouse or Little Dorrit come to mind — Hernandez’s stories support dozens of characters, each one finely detailed, and over long stretches of their individual lives.
In Human Diastrophism, for example, we see how a “ghost tree” mentioned in an introductory short, short story reveals the fate of one misbegotten character near the tale’s end. And a few panels after a citizen of Palomar praises the work of Van Gogh, Beto (as he signs his work) turns the town’s daytime sky into a starry night.
The beauty of Hernandez’s skill is not only in his epic sweep but also in the details. Gosh.
More to come.
You can read my post on Gilbert’s brother Jaime Hernandez here.