cover image Loverboys


Gilbert Hernandez. Dark Horse, $19.99 (80p) ISBN 978-1-61655-478-1

This is sort of “Gilbert Hernandez for Beginners”—a standalone graphic novel set in a small South American town where various familiar themes from his long-running Palomar stories play out in a more compact arena. In the town of Lágrimas (“tears”), varying degrees of love—both too much and not enough—drive the inhabitants bonkers. Charlie used to be in Mrs. Paz’s class grade school class but now he’s in her bedroom, while still carrying on a separate affair with his boss. Mrs. Paz, aging but still one of the prime beauties of this small town, is the center of much jealousy and intrigue, especially from Charlie’s sister, Daniella, who has a grudge against Mrs. Paz for reasons Hernandez slowly reveals as the story goes along. The story includes all kinds of colorful supporting characters, including Seymour, a pretty boy in an ascot who thinks he’s the greatest thing to happen to women; bizarrely small-eyed snooping male twins; and disconsolate loser Elmo, all of whom have some relationship to Mrs. Paz and complicate the brew. Some abrupt transitions make this a minor work from Hernandez, but the compact story is a pleasing diversion. (Oct.)