Page 45 Review by Stephen
Reprints material which originally appeared in LUBA'S COMICS & STORIES #3-4, 6-8, LOVE AND ROCKETS VOL II #3-9, 11-18, 20, LUBA: THREE DAUGHTERS, that enormous LUBA OMNIBUS from yonks ago and HIGH SOFT LISP.
HIGH SOFT LISP is a mischievous journey through the intertwined fortunes of successful motivational speaker Mark Herrera and "Fritz" Martinez, former marriage guidance counsellor turned straight-to-DVD movie star and half-sister to Luba, He is her first husband, she is his fourth wife.
He has had six, and is broke.
"She wept when I asked her to marry me. I wept when she asked for a pre-nuptial agreement!"
Fritz is a voluptuous, gullible romantic with an appetite for sex which is so often taken advantage of. She also has a penchant for sci-fi conventions, dressing up, and guns.
"Most people prefer a cigarette or a sandwich after lovemaking, Fritz."
She prefers target practice.
It's very much a series of snapshots with Hernandez weaving in other lives in the background, like Petra's memories of Joel whom we see first in person when they're all very young, then later in a High School Yearbook, then later still in an obituary notice. A subtle scene closes that particular story in which Petra's daughter finds what she assumes to be Petra's High School jacket gathering dust in the closet. It isn't, but Gilbert doesn't rub it in.
Enrique too, so close to becoming Fritz's third husband, has been simmering over the years with a rather unhealthy obsession, and I don't think I even want to write about self-centred slob and husband number two, Scott "The Hog", whom the punk rocker in Fritz adored. Meanwhile all bar one of Mark's wives leave only to return in one role or another, often when he needs a favour, and it's funny how so many of them end up writing children's stories! You'll also meet Pipo who becomes Fritz's girlfriend and produces her films (see LOVE FROM THE SHADOWS, TROUBLEMAKERS and CHANCE IN HELL).
As ever with Gilbert there are elements of the surreal and supernatural and a lot of this is delivered as if to camera. Hernandez refuses to conform to any narrative rules except his own, liberating him to tell the story he wants to tell in the way he wants to tell it, and I admire that unequivocally - so, so refreshing.
There's also a great deal of sex that would once have set him at odds with British Customs & Excise, though thankfully not any longer.
It's kind of what adults do, or there'd never be any children for us to get so worried about.