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Palomar: The Heartbreak Soup Stories

(Love and Rockets)

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  2,072 ratings  ·  74 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 hardcover ...more
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published November 17th 2003 by Fantagraphics (first published July 2003)
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Average rating 4.33  · 
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 ·  2,072 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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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
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
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
Jason Pettus
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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. ...more
Sep 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Loved this spending the past few days enveloped in the Palomar universe. This massive collection takes the reader through generations of life in this fictional town...every panel is sparse, but very detailed. The stories are very real and yet magical. Can't wait to explore my way through the rest of Gilbert's art. ...more
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... ...more
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: meat
heartbreak soup of course. with extra potatoes and subtle spices.
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
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 anymor ...more
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.
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. ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics-read
My favorite part of Hernández's artwork is how the characters grow and age throughout the course of the collection. Bravo artist! While this book was a little hard to find I was able to obtain a copy through Interlibrary Loan. Please READ Banned Books! ...more
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. ...more
Jonathan Lee
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Far more darker, violent, surreal and political than his brother's work. This was really really good but it's a shame they did not include Poison River and Love & Rockets X in this collection. Those two stories are important to the latter half of Palomar narrative. ...more
Mort Zoffy
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
such a powerful book, I recommend for anyone who liked black hole
Dec 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just awe inspiring.
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Whichever Love and Rockets story I'm reading - that is my favourite. Instantly drawn in and hard to put down. This is my second read-through. ...more
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing

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
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 interest ...more
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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

Other books in the series

Love and Rockets (1 - 10 of 61 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

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