By Jaime Hernandez
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
Format: Hardcover, black and white, $19.99
Reviewed by: Publishers Weekly
In this perfect confluence of stunning illustration and gripping narrative, Hernandez returns to his early Love & Rockets roots with aging punk-rocker Esperanza "Hopey" Glass taking the spotlight in this collection's first half. "Day by Day with Hopey" chronicles a week in the feisty Latina’s life as she transitions from tending bar to teaching kindergarten while her low-rent personal life teems with girlfriends who come and go, her lifelong friend and sometime-lover Maggie the only constant. In terms of action or intrigue, not much happens, but Hernandez spins narrative gold from the mundane straw of his protagonist's existence, as Hopey’s awkward romantic and social tribulations add more layers to her complex character. The second half features Ray Dominguez, Maggie's long-ago boyfriend, now in his early 40's and still carrying a torch for her. Ray finds himself caught up in a pulp fiction maelstrom hinging on the fallout from a murder and his lust for the gorgeous but borderline-psychotic Vivian, an aspiring actress also known as "Frogmouth," who has her own history with Maggie. Fraught with grimy intrigue that evokes a Chicano Mickey Spillane yarn, the second half of the book comes as an unexpected and pleasant surprise that rivets both old fans and newcomers to the page.