By Leroy Douresseaux
September 25, 2007 - 13:25
Ignatz is a line of comic books co-published by Fantagraphics Books (Seattle, Washington) and Italy's Coconino Press. With an international roster of cartoonists and creators, each individual Ignatz comic book is printed on heavy paper with cardstock covers in an oversized two-color format. Ignatz titles are part book, part magazine, part comic book (pamphlet), and part serialized graphic novel, and like a book, each edition in the line has a dust jacket. The oversized publishing format makes this look like a magazine, but the contents are all comic book. New Tales of Old Palomar #2 by Gilbert Hernandez (Speak of the Devil) is the 19th entry in the line.
Gilbert Hernandez uses NTOOP to return to the Central American hamlet of Palomar, which is the setting of his most beloved and acclaimed stories. The specific time period is during “Sopa de Gran Pena,” which was the very first “Heartbreak Soup” storyline, appearing in the early issues of Gilbert’s seminal comic book series, Love and Rockets, co-created with his brother, Jaime Hernandez.
The story in New Tales of Old Palomar #2 is entitled “The Children of Palomar,” and opens with four ‘tweens: Arturo, Guero, Pintor, and Soledad in the middle of a cruel prank on Gato (who as an adult would become the well-endowed husband of Pipo). Later, Gato and Pintor find themselves trapped in a strange encampment, where they also meet Manuel (who would go on to become a prolific lover boy of both women and girls and later meet his death at the hands of his secret male lover). The strangeness takes a double-weird turn when the boys are exposed to a strange gas that gives them a glimpse of their fates. But (future Sheriff) Chelo is coming to the rescue.
THE LOWDOWN: Consider New Tales of Old Palomar a gift from Gilbert to his longtime readers, especially those who remember when Love and Rockets was published in a magazine size. All of the emotions, moods, atmosphere, as well as the narrative resonate and ring with so much more strength in this larger format. I guarantee that when you finish this single issue, you’ll wish for more with great bitterness.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Even the passing Gilbert fan will find joy in this delightful entry in his oeuvre.