Bookgasm on Marble Season: "brimming with pleasures"

“Marble Season” / Bookgasm / Rod Lott / April 23, 2013

Like Charles Schulz’s beloved PEANUTS, Gilbert Hernandez’s MARBLE SEASON occupies that strange, nostalgic realm when the events depicted can be both hilarious and heartbreaking.

Based on his own childhood, the LOVE AND ROCKETS co-creator turns from drawing women with Russ Meyer-worthy breasts to recalling a time when little mattered more than whatever outdoor play awaited after school.

While presented episodic in a way that a distinct passage of time is not calculable, MARBLE SEASON takes place not during summer. The weather’s still ripe, however, for playing with marbles, G.I. Joes, homemade Captain America shields and, occasionally, fists of pent-up fury. Indoors, it’s all about comic books and trading cards.

Hernandez’s surrogate in this story is Huey, a middle child to an adoring older brother with grade troubles, and to an adorable younger brother who does little more than smile and cry. A cast of neighborhood kids and/or classmates weaves through Huey’s misadventures throughout. Like PEANUTS, each is distinct enough to stand on his or her own. Also like PEANUTS, no adult is glimpsed.

Presented as an oversized hardback from Drawn & Quarterly, it’s a thoroughly winning work brimming with pleasures about childhood pleasures. As with those comparative carefree times, you may not want to see MARBLE SEASON end.

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