Love & Rockets
Heartbreak Soup

Author: Gilbert Hernandez
Artist: Gilbert Hernandez
Titan Books
RRP: 9.99, US $14.95
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 521 7
ISBN-10: 1 84576 521 4
Available 25 May 2007

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2007
Love and Rockets is being released in chronological order. In 1982, brothers Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez created Love & Rockets, a mixture of realism, science fiction, and meditations on the human condition which became one of the most critically acclaimed series at the time. Welcome to the mythical Central American town of Palomar, and meet Luba, the town's larger-than-life mayor. With tales weaving in and out of the town's entire population, Heartbreak Soup is a complex tapestry of Latin American life...

Heartbreak Soup collects the first half of Gilbert Hernandez's acclaimed magical-realist tales of Palomar, the small Central American town, beginning with the groundbreaking Sopa de Gran Pena (which introduces most of his main cast of characters as children, plus the imposing newcomer Luba), and continuing on through such modern-day classics as Ecce Homo, Act of Contrition, Duck Feet, and the great love story For the Love of Carmen.

This volume is a vast improvement on the first volume, Maggie the Mechanic, by Jaime Hernandez. In the third issue of Love and Rockets, Gilbert Hernandez abruptly jettisoned his Marvel- and Heavy-Metal-influenced sci-fi yarns to focus on the day-to-day tribulations of the inhabitants of a tiny Central American hamlet more or less untouched by time - Palomar. The resultant graphic novelette, Sopa de Gran Pena, sent shock waves through the comics field.

Heartbeat Soup features not only the original Sopa story, but the subsequent suite of tales that presented and defined the ever-evolving cast of characters from Palomar. There is a certain charm to Hernandez's work - even if some of the art seem a little crude. The stories are a lot more satisfying than those offered in Maggie the Mechanic, but still a little on the drab side for most modern audience to actually connect with.

Nick Smithson

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