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Human Diastrophism (Love & Rockets) by…
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Human Diastrophism (Love & Rockets)

by Gilbert Hernandez

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First third was good. Third third I didn't care. Still eh. ( )
  morbusiff | May 9, 2013 |
what a masterful storyteller. it takes a village - so that's what the artist gives us, the stories of and in a village, which changes over time or does not change or reveals new layers of itself, as it dreams and reimagines its own history in response to eyewitness accounts by characters who also grow or slip or sometimes even become in time. there isn't a lot of linear to cling to in this complex tapestry because it's always in motion, turning corners, though there are plenty of different threads to pull. eyewitness accounts and brief asides meant to illuminate can be contradictory, and as a result the living story also changes as it goes, responding to new insights, new evidence. meanwhile the characters in quickcut, and the town, lurch forward into their futures, scarred by their pasts and wilfully reinventing all their presents. death is not far, but children grow, to change the story for them all. memory and hindsight, hatred, ambition and love drive these narratives, and in its freezeframes the village and the characters, preserved, become immortal, even at moments when the weight of all the history that follows them seems to be turning them into stone.

and along the way the drawing style of the whole series lingers lovingly, seamlessly, on everything that came before it, referencing for instance everything from Krazy Kat in the plague of monkeys saga to bits of R. Crumb everywhere to the origin of comics in woodcut novels by Masereel and Lynd Ward. oh Palomar, mi Palomar. classic and timeless work. the women that dominate this landscape, although never treated as flawless, are unforgettable: indomitable and strong. a gorgeous edition, too, from Fantagraphics Books. ( )
1 vote macha | Aug 11, 2009 |
Human Diastrophism is entirely more enigmatic than the preceding Heartbreak Soup volume, and makes for an odd and challenging temporary end to Gilbert Hernandez's sprawling Palomar saga.

As his characters age and spread out into the world, well beyond the familiar borders of Palomar, a certain sense of darkness and foreboding descends over Hernandez's expansive cast. There is more violence, death, and destruction in these latter tales of Palomar, and while it's all entirely appropriate for the maturation of the overall narrative, one can't help but be a little nostalgic for the lighter tales that occurred earlier in the series, as collected in Heartbreak Soup.

That said, the present volume is still entirely worthwhile, as Hernandez sharpens his always evocative artwork and begins to flex his storytelling skills in all sorts of unexpected ways. I won't pretend that I understand everything that happens in Human Diastrophism, and I'm not sure I ever will regardless of how many times I re-read it.

Nonetheless, Hernandez has done such a wonderful job of character development over the course of this series that it's impossible not to see this volume through to the end, no matter how strange and inexplicable it all becomes at times. Whatever else they may amount to, the Palomar stories are art of a high order, and one of the most interesting contributions to American comics in the late twentieth century. ( )
1 vote dr_zirk | Aug 17, 2007 |
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Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2007, the iconic 'Love & Rockets' comic-book series is finally presented in a series of compact, thick and inexpensive volumes which present the whole story in chronological order.

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