Junot Díaz is teaming up with award-winning graphic novelist Jaime Hernandez to release a deluxe illustrated version of his best-selling short story collection “This Is How You Lose Her.” The release is set to hit bookstores on October 31 and will feature full-page illustrations. 

JUNOTalma.jpg“Honestly, I am over-the-moon giddy,” Diaz told Comic Riffs this week. “I’ve got to tell you, I have never been the kind of person who [marvels] at his own work. I’m never over-the-top happy [about it]. I don’t even have parties … or go out for drinks with friends [when a new book of mine comes out].

Hernandez is known, along with his brothers Gilbert and Mario, as the co-creator of the long-running independent comic “Love and Rockets,” which follows a group of Latina teenagers in the California punk scene.

Díaz talked to the Washington Post about being inspired by Hernandez’s work early on in his writing career. ”I discovered ‘Love and Rockets’ in 1987, while I was living in Jersey, during my first year of university [Rutgers],” Díaz said. “What’s sort of important to me is that Jaime and his brother Gilberto have been at the forefront of representing the U.S.-Latino and the Latino experience in a profound and human and complicated way. Back when everyone else was creating shows, these guys were talking about young, bisexual punk-rock girls from Oxnard. That’s the universe I [recognized].”

Hernandez said he had reservations about doing the project. ”It was a little frustrating because this was his book,” he told The Post. “When doing something for someone else, I babysit it for a while.” As he read, he made mental sketches; sometimes, he even made physical ones in the margins, “so I wouldn’t forget a certain detail.” (Sometimes, he even had to backtrack; he envisioned Flaca as Latina till Diaz’s reveal that she’s white.)

(Above: Hernandez’s illustration of Alma from “This Is How You Lose Her.” (JUNOT DIAZ & JAIME HERNANDEZ — Riverhead Books )