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Well, the Love and Rockets 30th anniversary books are missing the actual anniversary, but they are so worth the wait! The Love and Rockets Companion: 30 Years (and Counting) is the ultimate guide to everything Palomar, Hoppers, and beyond, with 3 major interviews with the Hernandez brothers, character guides, unpublished artwork, timelines, a checklist, and even letter column highlights from the original series. Oh and by the way, the black title area on the cover is a removable sticker and the jacket folds out into a poster on one side and character family tree on the other! (We’ll be sure to demonstrate this in a future preview once we have printed advance copies… stay tuned.) We’ve put together a 32-page preview with smatterings of pages from the major sections, which you can read and/or download here.
Love & Rockets
by Xaime Hernandez
Don’t miss your chance to meet the fabulous Mario Hernandez, one of the three founding Los Bros Hernandez behind the landmark Love and Rockets comic series, in our closing event for the Love and Rockets 30th Anniversary Celebration exhibit, this Thursday, March 7, from 7-9 pm.
This is a free event, but a $10 donation (or more, if you’re feeling generous), will receive a special Love & Rockets print from Fantagraphics Books, perfect for signing!
Jaime Hernandez’s final page from the original 50-issue Love & Rockets series of the ’80s/’90s. Which means that as far as anyone knew, this may’ve been the end for his main cast of characters (it wasn’t).
Context: Hopey shows up for a long-awaited reunion with Maggie, and gets there just in time to see Maggie get slapped in the face by an old woman, spend two pages imagining everyone else she’s ever known slapping her in the face, and then tearfully beat a guy up and get arrested. Not willing to let her reunion be thwarted and her troubled friend get taken away alone, Hopey clobbers this guy on the head just so she can get arrested and put in the same police car as Maggie.
I’m bad at picking out favorite characters until they just jump out at me. It took Hopey’s prolonged absence and my excitement when she returned for me to realize that Hopey is my favorite Jaime Hernandez character.
“Life And Rockets” (subtitled “…When The Muse Is Not Amused”) is the first Mario Hernandez story I’ve really liked. And it’s because he addresses the elephant in the room: his comics haven’t been happening. He convinced his kid brothers to start a comic with him and they became more successful than anybody could’ve dreamed, but Mario himself just faded away, seemingly unsure whether or how to keep making comics. And then he finally made a comic about it.
I think it works because he’s as playful and imaginative about it as his brothers would’ve been. One moment he’s living out one of his failed stories and getting criticized by the characters, next moment he gets autobiographical, next moment we’re in his fantasies about the life he could’ve had. He somehow makes creative frustration feel like a fun time.
And yeah, stories about writer’s block are the most overdone cliche of all, but I’ll allow it when your absence is conspicuous. This isn’t just anyone; this is the Zeppo of maybe the greatest comic book tag team of all time. He has a reason to do this. And it works.
(Still kinda hoping his post-Brain Capers work gets a collected edition.)
I feel like this perfectly captures all the details and trajectory of early ’80s post-punk bands— a scene I loved when I was a teenager. Like Spinal Tap, it follows a fictional band through every milestone or event that those types of bands ever seemed to go through— except it’s wistful nostalgia instead of a parody.
I love the detail about how one member leaves for a “progressive pop-dub” band. That is so perfect for that era and that scene. I also like that every time the narrator says something nice about Julie, he swiftly clarifies that he means her music.
It’s only three pages! Read it!
Love and Rockets is a comics store that we grew up in — well, there weren’t comics stores; there were newsstands. But there’s a comic-book rack and there’s Blackhawk, Archie, My Love, and they were all comic books. It wasn’t like, “This is real comic books, and these are fake comic books” — no, they were all comic books. So we just take every subject we do in that way.