Monday, October 15, 2012

House of Raging Women

House of Raging Women

By now in the series, the brothers have shown just how much thought and design have gone into their stories. They tell tales from the past, fill in the backstories of their characters and cities, plus they keep us abreast of what is going on in the present.

Also, there is a whole lot of wrestling in this book. And the brothers show a lot about their popular culture roots, lovingly treating this populist, often-considered-vulgar sport. They delve into the history and mythology of wrestling in a variety of these tales, weaving a patchwork that is emblematic of their work in many ways.

Instead of summarizing every story, this time I am going to list each story by brother and give you my impressions and reactions.

Jaime's works here are:
  • "La Tona"- A short lead-in to...
  • "The Little Monster" - A funny, also troubling look backstage in the world of women's wrestling. India is a little person with rage issues.
  • "Queen Rena at 34" - Queen Rena's legal wrangling with a drifter and past opponents makes for a short, entertaining romp.
  • "The House of Raging Women" - Another look backstage of the wrestling world that highlights many life choices and strained family relations. Apparently the real drama is what happens where the public can't see.
  • "Young Locas" - A poignant tale from Maggie's youth that Jaime would revisit in New Stories #4 in a more measured, devastating manner. A hint at a different path her life could have taken.
  • "Locas" -  Slices of life, including ripped jeans, haircuts, rock shows, and a trip to the beach. Lots of romantic intrigue and personality make these stories pop.
  • "The Adventures of Maggie the Mechanic"- The "real" Maggie reads the "Mechanics" stories dismissively. An amusing meta-commentary on his own work.
From Gilbert we have:
  • "A True Story" - His getting into the wrestling theme. The real-life story of Keith Franke, who later went on to fame and an early death as "Adorable" Adrian Adonis. Followed by a realer than life epilogue.
  • "Boys Will Be Boys" - A throwaway story about how the men of Palomar cannot keep up with the smart, strong women.
  • "An American in Palomar" - A tale of double exploitation and heartbreak, with the gorgeous snail seller Tonantzin and the rest of the town falling thrall to an American photographer seeking to capture the "simple" beauty of Palomar.
  • "Holidays in the Sun" - A look into the tortured life of Jesus. He is obsessed with Luba, guilty about ruining his family, and despondent in prison. I know I keep saying this, but it is amazing how much gets packed into his stories.
  • "Love Bites"- An argument between Heraclio and Carmen. Simultaneously funny, touching, sympathetic, and it has a happy ending. Full disclosure: this couple is probably my favorite duo in Gilbert's comics.
My rating: The Hernandez brothers continue to weave a complex array of tales, hitting all kinds of emotional notes.

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