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The Love Bunglers Hardcover – May 17, 2014
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*Starred Review* Along with his brother Gilbert, Hernandez helped usher in the alternative-comics movement in the 1980s with their groundbreaking Love and Rockets series. Three decades later, he remains at the top of his game, as proven by this masterful tale centered on his frustratingly flawed but immensely sympathetic longtime heroine Maggie Chascarrillo. The years have not been particularly kind to Maggie, whose once-turbulent life has settled into a drab existence managing a seedy apartment building. She occasionally sees friends from the old days, among them her on-and-off boyfriend, Ray Dominguez, who still carries a massive torch for her. Skillfully merging tragedy and serendipity, Hernandez brings the pair’s intertwining stories to a satisfying, if hard-won, culmination. The simplicity of Hernandez’s page designs and the elegant economy of his drawing style belie the thoughtful sophistication of his storytelling, exemplified by a two-page spread that brilliantly encapsulates two entire lifetimes in just 18 panels. Although The Love Bunglers certainly isn’t a jumping-on point for new readers, fans who have followed Maggie’s exploits over the years will find it a heartbreakingly satisfying achievement that leaves the door wide open for further chapters in this most rewarding and accomplished of serialized comics. --Gordon Flagg
“Skillfully merging tragedy and serendipity, Hernandez brings [Maggie and Ray's] intertwining stories to a satisfying, if hard-won, culmination. The simplicity of Hernandez’s page designs and the elegant economy of his drawing style belie the thoughtful sophistication of his storytelling, exemplified by a two-page spread that brilliantly encapsulates two entire lifetimes in just 18 panels. ...[A] heartbreakingly satisfying achievement that leaves the door wide open for further chapters in this most rewarding and accomplished of serialized comics. (Starred Review)”
- Gordon Flagg, Booklist
“…[A]s irresistible as ever, peeling back the years to reveal a lifetime of powerful relationships, rejections, infidelities, and adventures.”
- Calvin Reid, Publishers Weekly
“Jaime Hernandez keeps hitting home runs. It’s almost like he doesn’t know how to stop. … You don’t have to have ever read a Hernandez Bros. story before to appreciate the achievement, but for those who have, it’s impossible to reach the end without shedding serious tears. It’s that good, heartbreaking, and breathtaking in even measure. It’s just about perfect, and you can put that on the book flap.”
- Tim O'Neil, The A.V. Club
“The culmination of an achingly long will-they/won’t-they relationship between Hernandez’s signature characters, Hopey and Ray, this is a perfectly drawn, decades-spanning masterpiece by comics’ most unblinking and clear-eyed romantic.”
- Sean Rogers, The Globe and Mail
“[Hernandez's] writing is as funny and candid as ever. His drawing is -- always has been -- just a dream. It seamlessly combines conventional representation and cartoony exaggeration -- often in the same panel. But it's the depth that you drown in, the sense that we are swimming in the deep waters of the heart here.”
- Teddy Jamieson, The Herald (Scotland)
“Hernandez's understated dialogue and sparse, bold lines make every panel of his recent work sing and sting, and midway he drops the floor out from beneath his readers' feet. The narrative strands of his characters' histories converge, as the grand story he's been drawing for 30 years glides to its conclusion ― the most heartbreaking ending possible that's still, technically, a happy ending.”
- Douglas Wolk, The New York Times
“Since 1981, with pitch-perfect dialogue and impeccable draftsmanship, Hernandez has conveyed more entertaining (and poignant) drama than just about any contemporary filmmaker or novelist. There's a word for what this guy is doing with his life's work ― can someone give him a MacArthur grant and make it official?”
- R.C. Baker, Village Voice
“I don’t really understand why the material of Love and Rockets isn’t widely regarded as one of the finest pieces of fiction of the last 35 years. Because it is.”
- Neal Gaiman
“One theme of The Love Bunglers is what people don't talk about, to protect themselves or their loved ones, and the great unspoken things from the series, both secret and open, finally rise to the surface here, until -- in an extraordinary silent sequence -- we see the whole historical shape of an emotional truth that Hernandez's characters have never fully acknowledged before.”
- Douglas Wolk, ComicsAlliance
“The story moves masterfully between time periods, compressing and dilating key moments so that you’re never sure what’s around the next panel. It packs an emotional wallop even if you’re not familiar with the characters.”
- Jeff Jackson, Electric Lit
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This is a brilliant book! The nuanced, character rich storytelling left me begging for more. In a funny way it reminded me of the best parts of Ghost Town and Strangers in Paradise - compelling characters living in a rich, vibrant world. They live in the series and in the heart and mind of the author. I'm thankful for this slice of "love and rockets" life. I have a feeling that I'll be buying many, many more books by Jamie Hernandez.