Last year, my reading world changed in a remarkable way, for I finally discovered a long held open secret from the 1980’s. I stumbled upon Love And Rockets, by the esteemed Hernandez Brothers. My senses knew of this comics existence, long a hallmark of the indie scene, but had never imbibed in a single issue. That quickly changed, and I am now the proud owner of three of the fifty or so issues published.
My excitement over this mature reader comic series translated to a hunger for the latest work from one of the brothers, Gilbert Hernandez and his hardcover graphic novel Marble Season. One I sated at TCAF.
While Love And Rockets tells the wild tales over the years of two sisters and their cadre of friends, all with an imaginary punk soundtrack blaring in our mind’s eyes, Marble Season is an off kilter time capsule to Gilbert’s childhood in some nebulous past of the 1950’s/1960’s.
These vignettes are mostly about one ten old boy and his brothers, one older, one younger. Sections of slices of life at home and around the neighbourhood are featured, with a loose story propelling us through these hazy days of childhood. One mayor turning point is when the tomboy ditches her trademark baseball bat and shocks everyone by wandering around in a dress.
That, coupled with subplots involving bullies just being mean and strange new kids who might harbour dark secrets, makes a complete picture of what is happening in the background of these kids lives, a fact our POV character only barely comprehends.
Which is one of the themes of Marble Season that master storyteller Hernandez cleverly infiltrates all along this graphic novel. What you as a child understand of the world and the adult problems around you is always interesting, and the cluelessness we all endure, with only the truth bubbling to our mental surface a ways down the line, is a rite of passage we all know and live with.
The adult world edge these parts illustrate is counter balanced with the play the kids engage in. As the oft repeated mantra of “pretend” is bandied about, all to explain any illogics used in their games. The comics and television shows that fuel these long and tempestuous sessions are frequently referenced by the kids, making you realize the eternal hold and sway these media have over us. A simple object becomes Captain America’s shield, all because of “pretend” combined with the religion of comics. And that is all we kids needed.
Marble Season is a different flavor and feel than Love And Rockets, a fact I love. Hernandez shows the human creature is all it’s glory, but this time with a The Mighty Hercules theme song as the soundtrack.
…is currently reading Superman Archives Volume 1 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.