Monday, November 5, 2012
The Adventures of Venus
Love and Rockets month is over, but the fine books from Hernandez brothers just keep coming! This one is made up installments originally published in Measles, an anthology for children that Gilbert edited in 1999 and 2000, with one new story to introduce the volume. It follows Venus, a young girl who lives with her mother Petra. Venus is very active, playing soccer, shopping for her unique tastes, and having adventures with strange and fantastic aliens. She also has an ongoing rivalry with her frenemy Glinda Gonzalez that adds spice to the proceedings.
Gilbert (Beto) Hernandez is one half of the creative juggernaut that has been creating Love and Rockets comics for the last three decades. He has also been productive with self-contained graphic novels, like Sloth and The Troublemakers. One of comics most highly regarded creators, Beto has won many awards over his career, including the InkPot Award in 1986, the Kirby Award in 1985, multiple Harvey Awards, and a 2009 Fellow Award from United States Artists.
Reviews I have read about this book have been very positive though somewhat cautious. Drew McCabe praised the book as occurring in "that special place in between that catches that transition from childhood into adolescence, which doesn’t get captured on the comic book page much, and is a rare treat that Hernandez delivers here to such perfection." Peter Gutierrez was more reserved about the book, writing "while certainly young readers should appreciate many aspects of the book, some of its content may land as so idiosyncratic (albeit playfully so) as to inaccessible." Sheena McNeil also praised the book, "It's a good, well-done, fun comic I definitely recommend giving to younger readers." In this case, younger means about grade 8. I think the book is quite charming, though Gilbert's often surreal visions might not be for everyone.
A preview, video preview, and even more is available here from the book's publisher Fantagraphics. Here is another preview from Robot 6.