The Bygone Bureau | Kevin Nguyen | April 12, 2013
Marble Season comes highly recommended by the Bygone Bureau
I’d be surprised if I read a better comic than Gilbert Hernandez’s Marble Season this year. It’s amazing that three decades into his cartooning career, Hernandez is still publishing his best work. He’s known for his prolific Palomar series, part of the larger Love and Rockets comics, which he has been co-authoring with his brother Jaime since the ’80s. But Marble Season, Hernandez’s first semi-autobiographical comic, is more straightforward and more accessible than anything I’ve read of his before.
Marble Season is almost like Hernandez’s take on Peanuts, set in a predominantly Hispanic California suburb in the ’60s. Through young Huey and his friends, Hernandez reveals a portrait of a pop-culture-soaked childhood, specific yet universally resonant. Also like Schultz’s comics, parents are figures that exist in the periphery but are never present. It’s mostly up to the kids to figure things out themselves.
Hernandez also taps into a disconnect between the way adults think of adolescence and the way teenagers think about growing up. As an older reader, we look at Huey and his friends with a nostalgic envy for a time when our days were spent wandering and playing pretend; and yet, Huey is overly concerned with the future, as teenagers are wont to be. In a moment of unknowing sweetness and insecurity, Huey announces that it is a beautiful day, and immediately after, wonders if he’ll like being a grown up. Hernandez has brilliantly captured the dilemma of adolescence in this single moment: wanting so badly to be an adult, while being so afraid of it at the same time.