cover image Penny Century: A Love and Rockets Book

Penny Century: A Love and Rockets Book

Jaime Hernandez, . . Fantagraphics, $18.99 (249pp) ISBN 978-1-60699-342-2

This charming collection of stories from the long-running and much acclaimed Love and Rockets explores friendship and romance through the interconnected experiences of several characters over many years. Most prominent is Maggie, a Hispanic everywoman who struggles with her on-again/off-again relationship with her girlfriend Hopey as well as the men who pass in and out of her life. Also spotlighted is Penny Century herself, her adventurous lifestyle, and the impact she has on two men completely fascinated with her. What's impressive about Hernandez's work isn't so much each story on its own as it is how all the pieces fit together into a whole world that's almost but not quite like our own. The way one character can shift from being the central protagonist and then a minor character whose existence drives the plot makes the series fascinatingly lifelike. Hernandez's gorgeous art is both expressive and simple; his great skill at depicting human anatomy in motion is most evident in a stand-alone story about women's wrestling. It all comes together to construct a world and people easy to relate to. (Apr.)