Penny Century: A Love and Rockets Book
(Written and drawn by Jaime Hernandez)
May 26, 2010 Web Exclusive
In reviewing Jaime Hernandez's Penny Century, I could point to the frenetic pace of many of the stories; the cute, odd, and endearing sort of strangeness spawned in this lightly magical universe; or even the beautiful art, which is truly the mark of this master cartoonist. But, no, I am going to hype the very first story, "Whoa Nellie," beyond anything else in this fantastic volume. Because it takes a lot to get me to give a shit about pro wrestling, let alone a soap opera about the behind-the-scenes lives of a couple of small-time women grapplers. But Hernandez not only pulls it off, he body slams it (please forgive me one wrestling pun, thanks). The story transcends the backdrop, as many great stories do, but in this case the wrestling backdrop is full of local color, history, legacy, and meaning.
Such a wonderful, and grounded, story is a nice start-off point for the still compelling, yet far stranger and sexier, tales that follow. Soup to nuts, this is a great book. (www.fantagraphics.com)
Author rating: 8/10
Average reader rating: 5/10