Staff Picks (July14): Bumperhead
Jun 18, 2014
Publisher: Drawn & Quarterly
As one can expect from a creator who lived during the underground comix movement and helped redefine the comics industry of the 1980s, when you pick up a Gilbert Hernandez book, behind the clean-lined, lighthearted black-and-white illustrations you are always going to encounter a story that is so raw, uninhibited, and powerful—a story that through its almost imperceptible subtlety page after page builds into a contemplative narrative that you walk away from knowing that you just read something worth reading, worth remembering, and worth returning to.
It is for these reasons, along with the fact that Gilbert Hernandez’s books are just and immense pleasure to read, that Drawn & Quarterly’s Marble Season and the new and complementary title Bumperhead are both necessary additions to any Hernandez Brothers fan’s collection. But more so than the fact that these books are wonderful accompaniments to your copies of Love and Rockets and Luba, as fantastic graphic narratives in and of themselves both titles really belong in any comic reader’s library.
The truly masterful quality of Gilbert Hernandez’s own works is that he has the wonderful ability to take something as simple as two young boys growing up in suburban California in the 1960s and 1970s and morphing their experiences into thought-provoking stories of the trials and tribulations of adolescence as they move through a time of counterculture and huge social change. This is a story that we have seen time and time again, but what makes Gilbert’s so unique and special is that it is approachable. The reader is neither overwhelmed by the harsh realities of life nor burdened by the facts of the past, but is rather subtly encouraged to engage with the stories and the characters on a personal and emotional level.
Both of these books being semi-autobiographical they possess a delicate personal touch of Gilbert’s own experiences that the reader cannot help but resonate with. Although both books have that sharp edge we have come to know and love from underground comix, it is the rare infusion of subtle emotion and relatability that make both of these titles immensely pleasurable to read and what I personally believe to be necessary additions to any comics fan's library.
~ Caitlin McCabe
In Stores: 9/17/14