cover image The Children of Palomar

The Children of Palomar

Gilbert Hernandez. Fantagraphics, $22.99 (112p) ISBN 978-1-60699-625-6

Hernandez is already having a stellar year with Marble Season and Julio’s Day, and the hits keep coming with this successful return to his fictional Central American setting of Palomar. It’s an engaging collection of vignettes full of magical realism and compelling characters. Whether trouble is caused by two possibly supernatural orphans, a ghost baby, or bizarre scientists whose nefarious plans involve stealing eyes and prophesying death, the people of Palomar rise to confront the unnatural around them. The female characters in 0the heroes in almost every tale; even more than the men, they come alive as complex characters who fill more than a single role in their community. Hernandez’s clean art emphasizes the surreal nature of his location while also heightening the sense of Palomar’s residents as real people. The few duo-tone color entries showcase Hernandez’s minimal style. The collection includes many vignettes, which often end with a feeling that nothing is settled, and evoke comparisons to the short fiction of Jorge Luis Borges or, in the case of the science fiction–styled entries, Ray Bradbury. Longtime readers of the Palomar stories will be delighted to return to their old stomping grounds; newcomers may need to set a spell before they feel at home. (July)