“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.)