A three-issue series and a soft-cover collection with additional material, produced by Gilbert Hernandez, "Birdland" is the story of the troubled marriage between Mark and Fritz Herrera and the lives of the people (especially Mark's girlfriend Bang-Bang, Mark's brother Simon with a fixation on Fritz and Fritz' sister Petra with a fixation on Mark) surrounding them, especially their sexual lives. What is particularly relevant is that Dr. Fritz maintains a psychiatric practice using hypnosis (and using her golden heart-shaped pendant as a hypnotic focus) in which she (and eventually her sister) has sex with her hypnotized male clients.
Then there's the alien abduction (Greys, it appears) elements and the added era-spanning material which leads to Mark and Fritz' possible reconciliation, all of which draws the story into 'magical realism' . Its all quite a conglomeration with very little overall plot or character development but that's not really the point: the whole story is more of a snapshot of the relationships between the characters with plenty of sex included.
Note: The entire book is totally
Addenda: Gilbert Hernandez is brother to Jaime Hernandez. Together they produced the award-winning and critically acclaimed "Love and Rockets" comics. Los Hermanos Hernandez are two of the best artists and storytellers in the comics business, individually and cooperatively: their work has consistently shown a strong B&W art style with strong depictions of the female characters and a concentration on Hispanic life and characters. Gilbert's tale here is not as widely known as his other works and is correspondingly just as difficult to find. And although "Birdland" does share some characters with "Love and Rockets" they are technically not the same people.
Recommendation: The book is still worth checking out, if you can ignore the rampant sex throughout There are a number of levels that require several readings to explore.
- '"Birdland" Reconsidered' by Marc Sobel at "The Comics Journal"
- '"Birdland" Reconsidered Part 2' by Mark Sobel
- '"Birdland" Reconsidered Part 3' by Mark Sobel
- '"Birdland" Reconsidered Part 4' by Mark obel
- '"Birdland" Reconsidered Part 5' by Mark Sobel
- "Birdland" at GoodReads
- "Birdland" at LibraryThing