Hernandez delivers his first book since the acclaimed "Palomar,"
Gilbert Hernandez last wowed critics in 2003 with his epic life's-work "Palomar," collecting more than 20 years of groundbreaking comics that "Booklist" called "the most substantive single work that the comics medium has yet produced." In his first graphic novel in two years, Hernandez's "Luba: The Book of Ofelia" features the latest travails of Palomar matriarch Luba and her cousin Ofelia, along with their close circle of family, friends, enemies, and lovers.
"Luba: The Book of Ofelia" begins with Luba, Ofelia and company trying to acclimate to life in America, where Luba still has yet to learn English. When Ofelia decides to chronicle her life with Luba in a tell-all book, she discovers inspiration in Luba's young children-the one-armed Casimira, Socorro with the photographic memory, the loner Joselito and the silent Conchita. The children lead Ofelia to a seemingly haunted field where the disembodied voice of a baby crying opens the floodgates of memory, even memories Ofelia has spent a lifetime trying to forget.
Meanwhile, Hernandez continues to explore the complex, sometimes violent, sexual dramas that are his trademark: Luba's daughter Guadalupe is now married to Gato, who is the ex-husband of Pipo, who happens to be the producer of the TV show starring Luba's other daughter Doralis. Pipo is dating a man named Igor, who once dated Guadalupe. As if that isn't enough, Luba's beautiful, lisping therapist sister Fritz, preoccupied with two different boyfriends-famous soccer champion Sergio and gorgeous model Enrique-somehow finds time for a third man, Hector, only to change her mind and hook him up with hersister, the bodybuilder Petra. As these characters lives intersect and even more characters come in to the sexually charged fray, things get even more complicated, ultimately with deadly results.
"Luba: The Book of Ofelia" uses elements of Latino soap opera and soft-core porn, with touches of magic-realism, to tell the story of the changes that come with age and the unchanging need for sex and love, with the most vivid, memorable, and honestly depicted characters in comics.