“The Laughing Sun” from Love & Rockets by Gilbert Hernandez

Gilbert Hernandez, Love & Rockets “The Laughing Sun” part 2, p. 6, 1984

Gilbert Hernandez (born 1957) is one of three brothers who self-published Love & Rockets in 1981. Fantagraphics Books, at the time essentially a small fanzine publisher, noticed this issue and offered to publish it as a regular ongoing comics magazine. Starting in the third issue, Gilbert began a series of magic realist stories set in a town in Central America called Palomar, based partly on stories his older relatives told. This brilliant sequence of stories stands as one of the peak achievements in the history of comics. "The Laughing Sun" is one of the Palomar stories.

Gilbert Hernandez and his brothers, Jaime and Mario, grew up steeped in American pop culture in Oxnard, California. They were early adapters when punk rock appeared on the scene (music plays a big part in their comics) and the DIY attitude of punk was part of what inspired them to do Love & Rockets. (Ironically, they would have the name of their comic appropriated by a rock band of comics fanatics.)

Gilbert Hernandez is quite prolific and most of his work is in print. To read his Palomar sequence, I would recommend starting with Heartbreak Soup.