Dan Kois of Slate reports for NY1 on newly released book titles and the world of publishing in "The Book Reader."
More than 30 years ago, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez created "Love and Rockets", one of the first great titles of the comix revolution that transformed cartoons from cheap pulp entertainment to the rich art form they are today. The Hernandez brothers are still working, expanding their "Love and Rockets" stories but also creating fresh new comics for new readers to discover.
This month, Gilbert Hernandez - Beto, as he's known - has two books out from two different publishers. They're both great, and they're great introductions to Los Bros Hernandez for those of you who've been intimidated by their 30-plus years of work.
"Julio's Day", published by Fantagraphics, tells the 100-year life story of one man from his birth in 1900 to his death in 2000. In between, we meet his parents, his children, his neighbors, his enemies and his secret love.
Julio's life, of course, is also a shadow history of the American century, from the great wars to the upheaval of the '60s to the social revolution that happens every time young people reject the rules of their elders.
"Julio's Day" shares much in common with Beto's "Love and Rockets" stories, but stands alone as a feat of compressed, sharp storytelling, with plot twists and revelations that will shock you.
Meanwhile, Drawn and Quarterly has just published "Marble Season", a charming book about Beto's childhood as a second-generation immigrant in Oxnard, California.
Just like in the Peanuts cartoons that inspired the look and feel of this book, adults are absent from this world. It's a town made of kids, who watch TV, fight, play make-believe and mete out justice when necessary. If you've ever been a kid with a crush, or a kid who made a new friend, or a kid who can't believe the injustice of the world, you'll love "Marble Season".
Look for reviews of more new fiction, nonfiction and comics at the Slate Book Review, slate.com/books.