Sunday, February 8, 2009

Short Review: Chance in Hell

by Gilbert Hernandez, 2007, Fantagraphics, 120 pages, $16.95

Last night, I blew through Gilbert Hernandez's Chance in Hell in well under two hours. I think that if I had been stuck in that horrific world for a minute longer I would have lost it. I challenge anyone to read this thing over the course of more than one sitting.

I'm not saying you shouldn't read it. It is bravura comic book work. But be prepared for a visceral, stomach-turning assault -- I really didn't understand what I was getting into and got caught completely off-guard. Mind = reeling.

And yeah, now I pretty much have to hunt down Hernandez's Speak of the Devil asap. This guy is still swinging for the fences and hitting grand slams, several decades into his career. Astonishing.

Read a twenty-page preview here, if you dare.

You can buy it from Fantagraphics here or from Amazon here: Chance In Hell


  1. I had never heard of this before, but I read that preview you link to, and it looks pretty messed up. Can you tell me if that preview was an introductory/prelude segment of the book, or is the rest of the book more of the same? I'm intrigued to find out more.

  2. Well, the book is 120 pages. The first forty pages are set in that garbage dump when Empress is a young child -- they are all like the preview and are the most distressing pages in the book. The next forty pages show Empress living in the city as a young teenager; they are also messed up, but not quite as horribly. The final forty pages show Empress as a married adult; they are the least obviously horrific and are more just psychologically messed up. The whole thing is pretty damn depressing.