Mexican porn comics? Who knew? Nobody tells us Norteamericanos the stuff we need to know. Until now:

Pocket-sized comic books called historietas have been available for decades on every corner newsstand, but in the past seven years they have been overrun by a fresh and lurid genre that’s part noir melodrama, part Tijuana bible–what Mexico City writer Alex Giardino dubs the “ghetto libretto.”

These nasty funnies are less graphic than their Japanese counterparts but make up in operatic depravity what they lack in plumbing. Page through Heat Between Her Legs, Secret Temptations, or Carnal Sins, at the Las Americas supermarket on East Lake Street, and you’ll find every variant of anguish on the characters’ faces. My favorite artist, who signs his name Galvez and inks boldly with crude strokes, tells sweaty tales of poor women who endure class browbeating, male predation, incest, and long nights of hot, guilty sex–all before hacking their tormentors to pieces.