Punk rock, disaffected teens, and anachronistic iPads play a part in the latest from Gilbert Hernandez.
The prolific Gilbert Hernandez somehow puts out multiple high-quality graphic novels a year. While his latest, Bumperhead, comes out this week, he has another one called Loverboyslaunching next week. (They are from two different publishers which is probably why they’re not spaced further apart.)
Bumperhead—like Marble Season, Hernandez’ previous offering from Drawn & Quarterly—is a somewhat autobiographical graphic novel, taking people and experiences from Hernandez’s childhood in Oxnard, California and sprinkling them throughout the entirely fictional life of a slacker named Bobby. The story jumps from Bobby’s childhood in the 1960s to his troubled teen years in the '70s and into his burnt out adulthood as friends, girls, and even his own father enter and exit his life with little lasting effect on him. As fans of Gilbert and his brother Jaime’s work on the legendary Love & Rockets series know, punk rock was an important part of his teen years and the music and attitude of that culture play a big part in Bobby's story. There are also some nice subtle touches of Hernandez’s magical realism, notably in the presence of a mysterious iPad that appears throughout the story starting in the 1960s.