Saturday, August 4, 2012


What I try to do with reviews at this Bookshelf blog is keep it simple and spoiler-free, and let you know whether I'd recommend you pick up a copy of what I just read. Seems to work okay. This time, a brief review of Esperanza (Fantagraphics, 2011).

I made a decision, about the time that I read Jaime Hernandez's most recent Love & Rockets story, "The Love Bunglers," that I was not going to give Fantagraphics any more of my money any more than once for the material that I wished to read. See, they keep publishing these fantastic comics - really, other than 2000 AD, they're the only comics that I am interested in purchasing anymore - and then they keep repackaging them. And I keep buying them. They observe multiple potential audiences who enjoy the material in different configurations - tall and thin hardcovers, big coffee table books, these shorter and fatter paperbacks - and I just sign up for each of them.

I have "reviewed" this material previously. It appears to be all the stories that Jaime drew about Maggie, Hopey, Ray and the Frogmouth in volume two of Love & Rockets, and appears to be all of the material in the second half of the larger, $40 Locas II coffee table collection.

I really love this stuff. I love Maggie, at different times in her life, being haunted by a weird dog who rises on its hind legs. I love how she gains weight and Hopey doesn't. I love how Hopey tries on different glasses to stick around the optician. I love how she and her girlfriend, all the lust gone from their life, agree without any rancor or passion to break up, and how it hurts the reader more than either of them. I love how Maggie never really figures out to never, ever mention Julie Wree around Hopey. I love the artwork. I love that idiot wanna-be gangster shouting about doing a solid at his buddy's funeral and his dimwitted, unpredictable demise. I love the artwork. I love the format. I love the book. I don't love trying to come up with anything new to say about it. I don't love coming up with new excuses to myself to buy the stuff again and again when I don't earn very much money.

I'll almost certainly buy New Stories # 5 when I'm next in Athens. The next time, down the line, that Fantagraphics finds a new format for that story, and "The Love Bunglers," I'll probably put it on my Amazon wish list or something. The center can't hold, and such. Highly, highly recommended for older readers who didn't already buy it someplace else.

No comments: