One of the most humane, graceful and imaginatively inexhaustible artists in American popular culture, Jaime Hernandez has created in Locas one of the great American novels of the last 25 years, graphic or otherwise. Spanning a quarter-century, Locas tells the story of Maggie Chascarrillo, a bisexual, Mexican-American woman attempting to define herself in a community rife with class, race and gender issues.
Maggie's story begins in the early-1980s Southern California rock scene, when it was shifting from the excesses of glitter rock to the gritty basics of punk and new wave. "Hardcore" punk rock came to the fore, and the teenaged Maggie finds herself drawn to the anarchy, energy and diversity of the scene, which in the hands becomes a very real, habitable place populated with authentic human beings rather than stereotypes. She quickly befriends Hopey Glass, a feisty anti-authoritarian punkette who quickly becomes Maggie's on-again, off-again lover and a constant presence in her life throughout the book.
Maggie comes of age in this tumultuous environment, with class and racial tension fueling the rising violence between punks and the already antagonistic LAPD. Hernandez's naturalistic storytelling and mastery of body language and facial expressions, and his pitch-perfect depiction of barrio life all makes for an exhilarating read. His characters are infused with strength, intelligence, independence, imperfection, bitchiness, frailty, obsessiveness, and so much more.
Maggie evolves from an angry young punk into a mature woman. She encounters cruelties large and small and resigns herself to dashed hopes, shattered illusions, and even death with ironic acceptance. Locas presents an incomparable body of work in comics form, created over 20 years (which not coincidentally mirrors Maggie's arc), and told with an uncompromising beauty and grace. As the New York Times Book Review has described it, "These stories have all the visual smarts of film and the narrative smarts of literature....Hernandez specializes in psychological detail; we see both text and subtext immediately ....What better than to open a book that shows there is more going on than we dream of in our workaday philosophies?"...Continua