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Palomar: The Heartbreak Soup Stories

(Love and Rockets)

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  2,001 ratings  ·  68 reviews
For the first time ever, Fantagraphics is proud to present a single-volume collection of Gilbert Hernandez's "Heartbreak Soup" stories from Love & Rockets, which along with RAW magazine defined the modern literary comics movement of the post-underground generation. This massive volume collects every "Heartbreak Soup" story from 1993 to 2002 in one 500-page deluxe hardc ...more
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published November 17th 2003 by Fantagraphics (first published July 2003)
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Todd N
Mar 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people with one or more eyes
Shelves: favorites
It was supposed to rain all weekend (again), so I went to the library and stocked up on graphic novels. Palomar is probably the best graphic novel I have read. I stayed up reading it until 6:00am -- something I haven't done in years.

Palomar is a fictional Central American town that is isolated and somewhat left behind in time. The sheriff and some other people have a debate over whether or not to get a telephone. The owner of the movie house wonders why Bruce Lee hasn't put out any movies in a w
...more
Mariel
Nov 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: army buddies
Recommended to Mariel by: frat bros
I've never had an army buddy. (Do you have to be in the army to have an army buddy? Can I have Buster Bluth then? He was never really in the army either. Or I could just show up to the reunions. "Remember when we ate crappy food and I stole the picture of your girlfriend? Private Pyle was such a turd! I turned into a girl because Sarge called me lady so much. I realized I kinda liked it.") (I do have a thicker than blood blood-ties with my twin. We were even in the womb together. Womb buddy? It' ...more
Dov Zeller
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphics-comics
There is so much curiosity and wisdom about relationships in this book. I love witnessing the unfolding of stories over time in varying narrative modes. We often get to meet a character and see them in action, sometimes in ways that might lead us to make judgments about them. And a little later on their story deepens and sometimes even shifts significantly. We get the richness of knowing people from seeing them in different stories at different angles. Because Palomar is a small place, we get to ...more
Mark
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
So this is the great Latino graphic novel epic. You read any book about graphic novels and you’re bound to come across a whole chapter on Love and Rockets. It’s been canonized for a number of reasons, including the fact that it’s Latino and features strong female characters at its narrative.

First the art. There’s a large Steve Ditko (co-creator of Spiderman) influence, especially in the early stuff: sharp chiaroscuro, simplified, minimalist figures and faces, hybrid cross between cartoons and m
...more
Jason Pettus
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

Regular readers know that I make my way through graphic novels on a pretty regular basis, usually only ten or twenty pages at a time while in bed at night; and hey, what should just happen to pop up at my neighborhood library the other day than the collected "Palomar" stories from legendary '80s and
...more
Chris Heaney
Aug 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful and huge collection of a series of comic book stories set in a fictional Mexican small town named Palomar, written/drawn from the early eighties through the late nineties by a Mexican-American artist named Gilbert Hernandez. To answer the inevitable eye-raise -- this is a comic for adults -- and to address the obvious comparison -- Garcia Marquez's Macondo has nothing on Hernandez's Palomar. The latter is beautiful, I remember, but so baroque and unreal. Macondo, however, ble ...more
Marley
May 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
So painfully detailed a world, yet the MYTH of it all wraps around you completely. People who call this Marquez-redux are annoying reductionists. Sure, there are tiny hints of the magically real but only briefly, and then the realism is just so sharp and heart-filling that it only seems fantastical. The characters grow and age more truly than any living writer but his brother is capable of (why did they both get that? In the genes, in the upbringing, in the punk scene, in the Oxnard water?). And ...more
Michael Beblowski
Jul 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although I read Gilbert Hernández's 600 page collection entitled Luba, the busty and hammer wielding heroine and former mayor of Palomar, before tackling this preceding volume, neither The Heartbreak Soup Stories or Luba in American necessarily needs to be read in sequence. Palomar: The Heartbreak Soup Stories is written like an erotic telenovella as conceived by Pedro Almodovar and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This small impoverished South American town is full of wonderfully eccentric characters. T ...more
Chad Jordahl
Well I cannot imagine why this gets so much praise. I'm going to have to read some admirers' reviews. I suspect that this series looked better in relation to the contemporaneous comics of the 80s and 90s.

My main beefs...
1- It's a 522 page graphic soap opera. Melodramatic and absurd.
2- The humor was too often silly and cartoonish, like old time comic strip gags. Goofy characters mugging to the fourth wall.
3- Much of the dialog is characters straight up explaining what they are doing and thinki
...more
Ted Child
Oct 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
“Heartbreak” is right. This book is magic realism at its strongest. Having just reread Watchmen recently I know better then to call Palomar the greatest graphic novel I’ve ever read but it surely is one of the best. One of the more effective devices Hernandez uses, purely magic realism, is of the tree with the ghosts of recently passed characters waving from its shadow. The second time it is used is how we find out one of the main characters is dead and this is heartbreakingly effective. Hernand ...more
sweet pea
Sep 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
an amazing collection. the brilliance of this work is best felt not while reading it, but while you're not reading it. when you're constantly thinking about the characters, their lives, and eating fried slugs. populated by strong womyn of all sorts, the palomar stories have everything one could desire. the characters' histories slowly unfold as the comics continue - things hinted at and touched upon are slowly revealed. shifting alliances, shifting sexualities, and shifting power feed the drama. ...more
Valerie
Oct 11, 2007 rated it liked it
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I expected to. but i don't enjoy many things since i'm still somewhat depressed. but also, i think i've grown out of certain comic books. god that sounds so sad. i did like it though and felt compelled to finish. actually one of the most unpleasant aspects of reading it was the fact that it was so goddamned heavy! I like to read on my back in bed and propping up this mother fucker was not easy. i feel like i care about the characters, but not as much as before ...more
Max
Nov 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
There are some things where the view from the outside is fundamentally different from the view from the inside. When it's been a while since I've read these stories, it can be difficult for me to remember what I loved so much about them. Then I pick the book back up, and gradually I remember more and more, and by the time I'm reading "Human Diastrophism" the world of Palomar feels more real than my actual life. This would be worth reading just for the amazing characters Beto crafts (Heraclio and ...more
Hannah
Nov 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Yesterday I stopped myself from shouting across the kitchen, "Omigod dad, listen to what Tonantzín just did!" I guess that's pretty emblematic of the way that Palomar became a very real place to me. The characters evolved beautifully, both textually and graphically, and the narrative grew deliciously more complex from story to story. I had some questions about agency and objectification (esp. re: gender); both are complicated by the graphic novel form I think, and I'd love to hear others' though ...more
Famousperson
Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I used to prefer Jaime's talent over Gilbert's, but once I read all the Palomar stories together, as a unit, they all made so much sense and were absolutely enthralling. Now I am almost as big a fan of Gilbert's! I would definitely suggest reading the L&R series this way, as opposed to the original comic form, because a reader won't get as distracted by Los Bros. very different styles of storytelling, both of which are unparalleled in the comics world today.
kubby
Jan 04, 2009 added it
this book totally rocked my socks! it was also one i didn't really want to end--got that twinge before i was halfway through, dreaded when i was in the 50-100 pages left, and still hungry when i read the last page. beto crafts a good story. it all went crazy for me when la bruja came to town...
thaddeus
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: meat
heartbreak soup of course. with extra potatoes and subtle spices.
Michael
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loeg-archives
Palomar does what comics occasionally talk about doing - it becomes literature. I cannot possibly recommend this book highly enough.

Palomar is a fictional town located "somewhere south of the border." It is home to the most vibrant and rich cast of characters in the history of comics - from the complex, twisted, loving comraderie of Jesus, Satch, Heraclio, Isreal and Vicente, to the tortured and family-driven Ophelia, to the tragic Tonantzin Villasenor, and many more.

Beginning with the arrival o
...more
Richard Clay
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The 'Middlemarch' of comics. I'm not joking. Quite simply, the comic book that was created with the ghost of FR Leavis at its enormously talented writer/artist's shoulder. It doesn't get any better than this and, to be honest, there is no reason why we should wish it to. Characterisation, story, setting are all beautiful beyond words. Makes Graham Greene and DH Lawrence's attempts at doing Central America look pathetic. Quite possibly, along with Ozu's 'Tokyo Story', the supreme achievement of T ...more
Rob Anderson
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
A little gassy today. Does guac do that? "I keep confusing love and nostalgia". A line from an Allison Crutchfield song. Pretty much sums up my feelings here. Eide's records, late 80's, "Did you get a new Love & Rockets?" Transitioning from Peter Parker, Avengers, and X-men to semi-realistic shit. Wow, you can do that!?!? Total mind expansion. 30 years later, it took me three months to get through this compilation. Still on point, but of course the cutting edge stuff isn't so cutting edge an ...more
Kend
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Nooooooot my cup of tea. Maybe I'm just not fond of sex-drenched narratives right now. (I'm Asexual. Sometimes my tolerance is low. I find these narratives depressingly grim and ... dull.) But two stars for interesting artistic design and for representing a world which rarely makes it into comics, much less literature.
Andy Lagerstrom
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
An obscure masterpiece of comics. This was my first Los Bros. Hernandez book. This collection is out of print these days, but I found a battered old copy retired from a library in Ohio. Strange and beautiful, this reads like Archie on acid mixed with some elements from telenovelas and magical realist literature. Will be hunting for more of the big book collections of the Hernandez Bros. work.
Mateen Mahboubi
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A sprawling story of a small village south of the US border and all the characters living in it. Well deserving of it's reputation as a key graphic novel series.
Batmark
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
http://morethansuperhumans.blogspot.c...

This book collects the "Heartbreak Soup" stories (a.k.a. the Palomar stories) from Beto's half of the comic Love and Rockets. Palomar, a fictional Latin American town with only 386 residents, provides the backdrop against which most of the stories in this book take place. There are literally dozens of main characters, but many of the stories focus on some standouts. First there's Chelo, the town's midwife and bañadora (or bathgiver) who eventually becomes
...more
The_Mad_Swede
Apr 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, 2011
I first heard of the comicbook Love and Rockets and the Hernandez brothers (Beto & Xaime, or Gilbert and Jaime, if you will) in the late 80s, early 90s, soon after I began reading American (and British) comics in original English. I never read any of the material though. At first, my focus primarily lay with the superheroes of Marvel and DC (and others), and when I left those behind more or less completely after a while (temporarily, I hasten to add, albeit for a long time), my focus of inte ...more
David
Nov 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
GREAT BOOK. That is till about 50-100 pages before the end. I first loved Beto's stories and stumbled through Xaime's stuff. Beto's world felt like someplace I could have been living and I felt a closeness to Palomar.

I would have followed these guys anywhere (what am I saying I still am following them). I feel, though, that some fundamental thing changed for Beto and his storytelling, something that has turned things very dark and cold. I don't know this to be true, but everything seemed to chan
...more
Michael
Sep 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is my first exposure to the Hernandez brothers and the stories of Love and Rockets. At first the story and art seemed a bit underwhelming. This quickly changed as the story line and the characters evolved over time. Also the characters visually changed and aged over time as well. Relationships, power, status, all developed and changed through the storyline. Also well planned out as past events were not forgotten and impacted future story lines. I believe reading the stories in one book stra ...more
Yofish
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-graphic
A compilation of the "Heartbreak Soup" comics. This is a 500 page book, and heavy. It follows the lives of people in a small Mexican town, over the course of maybe 30 years? The dominant characters are women, But it varies from story to story. (I assume that originally, each story was a separate comic book, more or less, though one is quite long.)

There are a lot of characters to keep track of, which I had more trouble doing than I should have. (Should have used notes more.) There's a touch of t
...more
Brian Stillman
Nov 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
Gilbert might be Lennon to Jaime's McCartney. His stuff tends to be even weirder, not just in the details but in the presentation.

There are transitions other graphic novelists might make between pages that Gilbert makes between panels. Kind of have to get in that 'what's left out is as important as what's left in' rhythm as a reader to like Gilbert. And you should make an effort to like Gilbert.
Amy
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
The Love and Rockets comics/the Hernandez Brothers may be my favorite discovery this year. How did I go all of these years without any knowledge of these books? Anyway, Palomar is another total delight with characters that interact and age through the years. Although Locas maybe has this beat in terms of strong and complex female characters, the margin is quite small. I cannot recommend these collections enough.
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Gilbert and his brother Jaime Hernández often write together under the name "Los Bros Hernandez".

Gilbert Hernandez, born in 1957, enjoyed a pleasant childhood in Oxnard, California, with four brothers and one sister. In Gilbert’s words, they were “born into a world with comic books in the house.” His childhood enthusiasm for the medium was equaled only by his appetite for punk rock.

Initiated by ol
...more

Other books in the series

Love and Rockets (1 - 10 of 60 books)
  • Love and Rockets, Vol. 1: Music for Mechanics
  • Love and Rockets, Vol. 2: Chelo's Burden
  • Love and Rockets, Vol. 3: Las Mujeres Perdidas
  • Love and Rockets, Vol. 4: Tears from Heaven
  • Love and Rockets, Vol. 5: House of Raging Women
  • Love and Rockets, Vol. 6: Duck Feet
  • Love and Rockets, Vol. 7: The Death of Speedy
  • Love and Rockets, Vol. 8: Blood of Palomar
  • Love and Rockets, Vol. 9: Flies on the Ceiling
  • Love and Rockets, Vol. 10: X