cover image Marble Season

Marble Season

Gilbert Hernandez. Drawn and Quarterly, $21.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-77046-086-7

Someday they’re going to run out of superlatives to heap upon the lap of Hernandez (co-creator of Love and Rockets), but not yet. This graphic novel is a sublime and soulful portrait of childhood through the eyes of Huey, a middle child (like Hernandez). The book follows him and his brothers, friends, and the various cliques and clubs of neighborhood kids from toddlerhood to teenage years. This is the pure stuff. Hernandez captures the joy and obsession of childhood days—comic books and trading cards; baseball and “let’s pretend”; the terror of big kids, scary neighbors, and girls; superstition and ritual; television and pop music; and parents (forever offscreen, like in Peanuts) who rein in the fun for no discernible reason. As usual, Hernandez’s artwork adeptly highlights his skill infusing seemingly simple and open panels with intense memory and meaning. Proust had his madeleines, but Hernandez’s inspirations are the smell of newsprint comic books, the sound of a tinny AM transistor radio playing the Beatles, and the taste of a marble on his tongue. This lyrical, memorable book stands alongside the sequential work of Stanley’s Little Lulu, Fitzgerald’s Dennis the Menace comic books, and Schulz’s Peanuts as a masterful, involving, funny, and real portrait of kids and their wide world, unlimited by reality—until, at least, it’s time to go home for dinner. (May)