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Teen angst with a difference.After awakening from an unexplained coma, high-school junior Miguel rejoins his friendsí band and helps them to investigate the local haunted lemon grove. Such small-town territory may sound more like the realm of Hernandezís brother and fellow Love & Rockets comics artist Jaime, than the magic-realist take on Central American soap opera for which Gilbert is best known. But in Sloth, Miguelís world becomes as strange and beguiling as any of Hernandezís previous creations.
Like the one-sided Moebius strip beloved of maths teachers, Sloth contains a twist that transforms everything around it. People and situations shift and reverse, whilst loose ends just loop back into the storyís beginning. Yet by playing metaphysical musical chairs with questions of fate, choice and reality, the story echoes the charactersí very human hopes. Like most teens, they are just trying to find their place in the world, and Hernandezís masterful black-and-white cartooning is as adept at conveying moments of joy, vulnerability and adolescent ennui as he is at conjuring up the lemon groveís endless, ominous rows.
Sloth by Gilbert Hernandez, out now published by Titan Books.
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