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How Wonderful!
Jul 18, 2006






I only have excellent ideas




Love & Rockets was created 1981 by the three Hernandez brothers, Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario-- it's a sprawling, complex system of narratives covering multiple generations and dozens of characters, with dramatic shifts in style, genre and tone over the course of almost 40 years, so for all that it's touted as one of the triumphs of the comic book form, it can also be a little intimidating to approach.

Since we're all stuck at home, what better time to dig in, then, or to dive back into a beloved and familiar masterpiece? This thread is to read along the two main strands of the Love & Rockets publications-- Jaime's Locas/Hoppers series and Gilbert's Palomar/Luba series. These are two really different kinds of stories with increasingly disparate styles, and while reading them alongside each other is a thrill, the easiest thing to do in terms of keeping things tidy and accessible will be to tackle them one at a time. Fantagraphics has published each brother's main series separately in a bunch of volumes that are available digitally or otherwise for a pretty fair price. Let's start with Jaime just because... well, I like him better. Maggie the Mechanic covers the stories from "Mechan-X" to "A Date With Hopey" for anybody reading in another format.

This first volume is kind of a weird introduction to the Locas series-- for the most part, Jaime's stuff is down-to-earth, intimate stories about two women in a small California town and its orbit of punk scenes, artists, and assorted eccentrics, but Maggie the Mechanic kicks off with a bunch of issues about hover-cars and dinosaurs. It isn't bad at all, and it remains ambiguously relevant, but it is definitely not the most accurate barometer of what Maggie and Hopey's lives will look like as the series goes on. Anyway-- let's get to it. If you've read this before I hope you have as much fun as I'm having revisiting these older stories, and if you're brand new to L&R, get stoked.

Edge & Christian's excellent overview from the chat thread:

Edge & Christian posted:

I can work something up for the thread, but if we're doing a Jaime/Hoppers book club:


Jaime's stories from the original L&R run from the 1980s-1990s are collected in
v1: Maggie the Mechanic
v2: The Girl from HOPPERS
v3: Perla la Loca

All three of these library editions are collected in the big Locas hardcover.

Then from there, you have

v4: Penny Century
v5: Esperanza

Which collects everything of Jaime's from the period between the first and second run of L&R (Penny Century, the Maggie & Hopey Color Fun Special, some oter loose stuff) plus everything from the second run of L&R. That's the same stuff that's in the Locas II hardcover.

From there they started doing the annual New Stories volumes, of which there are eight.

They've started collecting the New Stories stuff into Library editions:

v6: Angels & Magpies (collects New Stories 1-4, aka Return of the Ti-Girls and The Love Bunglers)

This is where it starts to get a little confusing, I believe the rest of Jaime's "New Stories" stories are collected into two hardcovers (Tonta and Is This How You See Me?) but not into Library editions as of yet.

Is This How You See Me? carries over from New Stories into the first few issues of Love & Rockets Volume IV, which is the currently running book. However, that's 1600+ pages/thirty years into Jaime's output, so I don't know if that's something for anyone to worry about too much for the Book Club.


So-- for May, get your hands on Maggie the Mechanic or hunt down the material therein through whatever other means at your disposal, and let's consider that our first big goalpost. It's 277 pages so a pretty substantial chunk of comics! Alternatively this volume is made up of 29 separate chapters, which seems pretty tidy for roughly a chapter a day to focus on, giving people perhaps the weekend to get their mitts on the book, although obviously this would leave us at the cusp of volume 2 in early-middish June.

(the first few stories in this volume were published in the self-published Love & Rockets #1 from 1981-- a copy of this was sent to TCJ and Gary Groth was so impressed that he picked the series up for publication under Fantagraphics from 1982 to 1996, when the Gilbert and Jaime stuff split into separate books for five years before Volume 2 picked up in 2001. But that's neither here nor there)

How Wonderful! fucked around with this message at 01:12 on May 11, 2020

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Endless Mike
Aug 13, 2003

Get running
Start pumping your bunions, I'm coming
I'm the dumbest, who flamethrow your function to Funyons
Flame your crew quicker than Trump fucks his youngest
Now face the flame fuckers your fame and fate's done with



If you have Comixology Unlimited, Maggie the Mechanic is free on there.

Big Bad Voodoo Lou
Jan 1, 2006



The Hoopla e-book download service, offered through many public library systems, also included most of the Love and Rockets Library editions. Just be wary that most Hoopla subscriptions offer a limit on how many e-books and other media you can check out per month. My local system recently expanded from 4 to 6 per month, perhaps due to the library branches temporarily closing due to COVID-19.

Also note that the Love and Rockets Library editions have different volume numbers than what are listed above, since Jaime and Gilbert's volumes are collected separately but more or less published chronologically. This list comes from https://www.fantagraphics.com/howtoreadloveandrockets/, and I only include it so nobody checks out the wrong volumes from Hoopla or purchases the wrong ones elsewhere. Jaime's volumes are in bold type:

Maggie the Mechanic Vol. 1 (Jaime)
Heartbreak Soup Vol. 2 (Gilbert)
The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S. Vol. 3 (Jaime)
Human Diastrophism Vol. 4 (Gilbert)
Perla La Loca Vol. 5 (Jaime)
Beyond Palomar Vol. 6 (Gilbert)
Amor Y Cohetes Vol. 7 (Gilbert, Mario, & Jaime — out of print)
Penny Century Vol. 8 (Jaime)
Esperanza Vol. 9 (Jaime)
Luba and Her Family Vol. 10 (Gilbert)
Ofelia Vol. 11 (Gilbert)
Comics Dementia Vol. 12 (Gilbert)
Angels & Magpies Vol. 13 (Jaime)

Hoopla doesn't have Angels & Magpies, but it does include the two included stories, God And Science: Return Of The Ti-Girls and The Love Bunglers as separate, stand-alone volumes. After that, Hoopla includes Is This How You See Me? as a stand-alone volume, but Tonta is not included yet.

Big Bad Voodoo Lou fucked around with this message at 15:10 on May 11, 2020

Random Stranger
Nov 27, 2009



I've got the first Locas book that I got cheap a while ago and then realized I had no idea how it fit into Love and Rockets. I couldn't find a reading order at the time so it just sat on the shelf. I'll join in, assuming I can make sure I'm reading the right stories.

Big Bad Voodoo Lou
Jan 1, 2006



Random Stranger posted:

I've got the first Locas book that I got cheap a while ago and then realized I had no idea how it fit into Love and Rockets. I couldn't find a reading order at the time so it just sat on the shelf. I'll join in, assuming I can make sure I'm reading the right stories.

Edge & Christian posted:

Jaime's stories from the original L&R run from the 1980s-1990s are collected in
v1: Maggie the Mechanic
v2: The Girl from HOPPERS
v3: Perla la Loca

All three of these library editions are collected in the big Locas hardcover.

How Wonderful!
Jul 18, 2006






I only have excellent ideas


For handy reference, here's your cast of characters for Maggie the Mechanic:


and the cover of the first self-published issue, from 1981:

How Wonderful! fucked around with this message at 04:32 on May 12, 2020

Roth
Jul 9, 2016


Downloading on Comixoligy now.

I legit have no idea what to expect from this.

How Wonderful!
Jul 18, 2006






I only have excellent ideas


The first volume is really weird, I've never seen a comic reinvent itself so radically while holding on to a consistent voice. The first couple of stories have a really strong Moebius vibe and are all about globetrotting adventure and then 40 pages later Jaime is nailing down his Dan DeCarlo thing and it's just a bunch of people hanging out talking about flies on the ceiling. I think for a lot of Maggie the Mechanic it's just about being along for the ride and frankly it is definitely not my favorite Jaime stuff-- I think in particular the long sequence where Maggie is narrating through letters home is kind of a stylistic dead-end and an excuse to draw a lot of (very cool) stuff that he just wanted an excuse to draw.

lifg
Dec 4, 2000
The Young Turks committed the Armenian Genocide.


Muldoon

The strangest truth about Maggie the Mechanic is that it begins as an adventure story with dinosaurs and hover cars and superheros and revolution, and it's all less interesting than the the ending with just Maggie and Hopey going about their regular
lives and talking.

How Wonderful!
Jul 18, 2006






I only have excellent ideas


My favorite parts of the collection are the in-between where Jaime is still figuring out what kind of tone this world he's creating is going to have. "100 Rooms" is so strange and pulpy, but it's driven by the kind of complex interpersonal stuff that he'll shift towards a more realist mode later on. There's nothing really else like it in L&R that I can recall off the top of my head.

Big Bad Voodoo Lou
Jan 1, 2006



My promise to everyone is that if you can get through Maggie the Mechanic, the subsequent volumes get exponentially better. Some of the revolution stuff was a real slog, but Jaime improves so much along the way, settles on a consistent tone, and finds his voice.

How Wonderful! posted:

My favorite parts of the collection are the in-between where Jaime is still figuring out what kind of tone this world he's creating is going to have. "100 Rooms" is so strange and pulpy, but it's driven by the kind of complex interpersonal stuff that he'll shift towards a more realist mode later on. There's nothing really else like it in L&R that I can recall off the top of my head.

Is that the one where they're hiding in rooms in H.R. Costigan's mansion, and Maggie meets the criminal who is hiding out and falls for him?

How Wonderful!
Jul 18, 2006






I only have excellent ideas


Yeah. The hideaway guy is kind of a dud but I love the sense of this enormous space they're all just dwarfed by, the way time gets swallowed up in this big sterile vault of leisure to the point that the characters all forget how long they've been there, what day it is, weird stuff like the corpse Izzy finds just melting away from the narrative, and the big party at the climax is such a tour de force of Jaime just getting to draw weird creatures.

Big Bad Voodoo Lou
Jan 1, 2006



How Wonderful! posted:

Yeah. the big party at the climax is such a tour de force of Jaime just getting to draw weird creatures.

I don't have access to the volumes anymore, but that is such an odd thing about L&R -- the ultra-mundane lives that still take place in a world with dinosaurs, hover-cars, people like Costigan (who hardly anyone ever remarks on, but at least we get an origin story for him much later), people with low-key powers, and especially superheroes and supervillains -- and how hardly anyone even mentions them after that first volume, despite them being out there. Then the Ti-Girls shakes that all up again, which felt so strange to me, especially Penny's heel turn.

Sorry to jump ahead. I would have loved to discuss and debrief with other long-time fans and first-time readers when I binged all of Jaime's stuff myself last fall. Even though I don't own the books, I am looking forward to this discussion quite a bit. Sometimes I'd have to reread a page multiple times just to confirm "Yes, he actually wrote and drew that, and I actually did read it."

How Wonderful!
Jul 18, 2006






I only have excellent ideas


Big Bad Voodoo Lou posted:

Sometimes I'd have to reread a page multiple times just to confirm "Yes, he actually wrote and drew that, and I actually did read it."

I think ironically it's one of the most authentic-feeling things in both brothers' work-- that sense of the world being large and unfathomably weird but people choosing to focus on what's in front of them just to keep a grip on things, or rather that day-to-day life, relationships, friendships, paying bills etc. is a meaningful enough labor that you just eventually shelve the dinosaurs somewhere else. I think alot about how grotesquely weird the blue worm poisoning symptoms are drawn in Beto's Julio's Day compared to how blase everyone else in the story is about it. Just like, you know, today I woke up, cooked, did laundry, did departmental busywork, read, wrote, checked the forums, without really thinking much about stuff outside that micro scale like COVID or Trump or mortgages or whatever.

I like that feeling a lot. Weird comparison but it reminds me of when I was a kid picking up the Dragon Ball manga after seeing the Dragon Ball Z anime on TV, and finding that while the show (or what I saw of it) zeroed in tough guys fighting the manga had this whole world of goofy looking animal people.

I think that disconnect makes some of the really brutal stuff later on (I'm thinking of "Browntown" in particular) hit a lot harder because it's this completely believable cruelty and suffering set against this unseen backdrop of dinosaurs and superheroes and spaceships.

How Wonderful! fucked around with this message at 21:52 on May 12, 2020

Big Bad Voodoo Lou
Jan 1, 2006



How Wonderful! posted:

I think that disconnect makes some of the really brutal stuff later on (I'm thinking of "Browntown" in particular) hit a lot harder because it's this completely believable cruelty and suffering set against this unseen backdrop of dinosaurs and superheroes and spaceships.

I had to look up "Browntown," but you're right, that was so harsh and soul-crushing.

I also remember much earlier, when Hopey and Tex were staying with Nan, the old actress, and what she got up to and how she ensured they keep it a secret.

Random Stranger
Nov 27, 2009



For what it's worth the Locas hardcover volume does not have all the same stories as Maggie the Mechanic. It's missing about fifty or sixty pages worth of stories that were are in Maggie the Mechanic (primarily stuff from Love and Rockets #1 along with some other bridge material), and the stories aren't in the same order. I know it's silly to get annoyed at a book published over fifteen years ago, but I really hate how hard comics often makes it just read something in a collected edition in the same structure as it was originally published. It shouldn't be a research project to just figure out how stories are collected.

I read the first story in the book, Mechanics, and as an 80's indie comic it was fine. I know everybody says that these first few stories are disposable and the tone changes dramatically as the Hernandez brothers figure out what they want their comic to be, so I'm not expecting it to remain the same. I think that's a weirdly common thing with the indie boom. A lot of new creators put out a book on the cheap, then figured out what they were doing and drifted into something more significant; it's a contrast to more recent indies who get launched on the strength of their strong concept and then drift off since they don't seem to have much more than that initial pitch. That doesn't make those earliest portions not important since they give context to the entire work. Basically, I'm willing to accept the "you just have to get past the first season, then it becomes good" line here.

And it's not like I hated the book. I can't give a proper view on it out of context since Love and Rockets has a reputation as one of the towering works of genius in the comics field and my reaction is always going to have that lurking around it. I think my reaction is I read this as it was being published would be, "This is interesting, but not great. I hope to see more work by this creator in the future. Also, I hope they learn to not write like that."

The illustrated epistolary format did not work and the comic was notably stronger when it was abandoned. Stylistically, it's very freshmen creative writing. The format doesn't serve its characters since we're always removed from them by the viewpoint.

The illustrations that accompany the text aren't very illustrative: a great example of that is that I have no idea how large the rocket is supposed to be. About the size of the dinosaur, or about 100m? Then why is it such a struggle to look around inside it? A skyscraper? Then why don't we see it constantly in the establishing shots. For a story set in such a dramatic local which is fundamentally part of the story, there's no sense of space.

What did work was the character work, especially when the format broke. There's that page in the middle where it cuts back to home and everyone in the car is reading the letters and worrying if there's a cop behind them and dealing with the fact that maybe they shouldn't be that drunk. In those few panels we get more character definition and expressiveness in the art than appears in an entire chapter of the letters.

Since these are short stories, I might read about twenty pages or so a night until I hit the end of what I have that's covered in Maggie the Mechanic.

Endless Mike
Aug 13, 2003

Get running
Start pumping your bunions, I'm coming
I'm the dumbest, who flamethrow your function to Funyons
Flame your crew quicker than Trump fucks his youngest
Now face the flame fuckers your fame and fate's done with



Honestly I wasn't expecting the name "Love & Rockets" to be quite so literal.

How Wonderful!
Jul 18, 2006






I only have excellent ideas


Random Stranger posted:

What did work was the character work, especially when the format broke. There's that page in the middle where it cuts back to home and everyone in the car is reading the letters and worrying if there's a cop behind them and dealing with the fact that maybe they shouldn't be that drunk. In those few panels we get more character definition and expressiveness in the art than appears in an entire chapter of the letters.

I think this specific scene is an early instance of Jaime finding out what clicks. It's really magical especially since the epistolary segments with Maggie surrounding it are such a drag.

Random Stranger
Nov 27, 2009



Read a few more stories. I'm pacing myself slowly here so I stopped at 100 Rooms which was a longer piece.

I'm getting the feeling from "Hey Hopey" and "Locas Tambien" that these are characters who are kind of screwed up and aren't very good at knowing what they want. For storytelling that's a positive thing and I can see the outline of relationships forming here that I think is what people like in Love and Rockets. Maggie and Hopey don't come across as right for each other; I can see a stormy, on again off again relationship developing. Also my first proper impression of Hopey is that she's a real rear end in a top hat, the kind of people who thinks they're cool by being "gently caress you I do what I want!" and other people can barely tolerate because of that. I'm sure she'll get a chance to flesh out over the next few decades.

That superhero story, "Maggie vs. Maniakk", was weird. "Superheroes are all hosed up perverts," wasn't really a hot take even in the early 80's and it's been done so much better so many times. The story did have its good points in the climax where the action doesn't matter at all. It's still not the most original idea, but it's a good example of story, character, and art coming together as Maggie doesn't care about the fight scene so recounts it one sentence which translates to a single panel with just some sound effects.

CitizenKrang
Jan 2, 2005
this town needs an enema

I've been on-again/off-again reading this book for a few months because it hasn't really grabbed me so I inevitably pick something else up and forget about it for a while. This thread inspired me to pick it back up and I finished 100 Rooms tonight. I think it may be a turning point as I thought it was great and am finally at a point where I'm looking forward to see what happens next.

I think one of my biggest peeves with the book is that Jaime feels the need to pack dialogue into EVERY panel and doesn't really leave room for his cartooning to tell the story, which is odd because his art does such a great job at doing just that and would really benefit from some breathing room. I'm halfway through the book and don't think there's been a single panel without dialogue or narration. I'm excited to see how his storytelling matures.

How Wonderful!
Jul 18, 2006






I only have excellent ideas


CitizenKrang posted:

I think one of my biggest peeves with the book is that Jaime feels the need to pack dialogue into EVERY panel and doesn't really leave room for his cartooning to tell the story, which is odd because his art does such a great job at doing just that and would really benefit from some breathing room. I'm halfway through the book and don't think there's been a single panel without dialogue or narration. I'm excited to see how his storytelling matures.

He's a really dense storyteller but I feel like once he has an established vocabulary with the reader about character and setting he pulls off a lot of really impressive wordless sequences, like this one from Wigwam Bam:


or from Chester Square:

Endless Mike
Aug 13, 2003

Get running
Start pumping your bunions, I'm coming
I'm the dumbest, who flamethrow your function to Funyons
Flame your crew quicker than Trump fucks his youngest
Now face the flame fuckers your fame and fate's done with



I *really* enjoyed the Penny Century story.

How Wonderful!
Jul 18, 2006






I only have excellent ideas


Here's a question for somebody smarter than me: Jaime likes to use "BAW!" to indicate a loud, dramatic sob. It's really striking to me for some reason.
Like this:


This feels like something he got from somewhere but unfortunately afaik there's no OED for comic book sound effects and visual shorthands? Is this like...a John Stanley thing?

Edit: Well, here's a "BAW!" from John Stanley's Little Lulu #35 (1951):


I've also found an undated Jimmy Swinnerton "BAW!" but I guess it's probably from the early 20th century?

It's really frustrating to me that pinning down this strip is as tricky as it is.

How Wonderful! fucked around with this message at 20:37 on May 15, 2020

Zachack
Jun 1, 2000





Fun Shoe

I know I've seen that term used in fiction to describe a baby or child bawling, so I'd assume it's more of a generic use of sound, rather than a specific reference.

How Wonderful!
Jul 18, 2006






I only have excellent ideas


I got caught up to where I first started reading Love & Rockets, a 1998 story which got reprinted in a McSweeney's comics anthology I got in 2005 or so. I guess I hadn't been fully aware that I've been following this series for almost half of my life-- it's the story from Penny Century #2 about Izzy getting anxious about her book reading and growing huge.

Edit: Another kind of fun thing-- Jaime did a few pieces for the 1985-1987 Who's Who in the DC Universe.
Two LoSH girls:


and this Jay Garrick from the hardcover's dust jacket:

(Beto contributed a Golden Age Hourman to the same spread:)


He has a sprinkling of other DC stuff that I've found (mostly via Michael Fiffe's blog) as well as a pretty cool Tom Strong story with Alan Moore. So as we get into stuff like "Maggie vs. Maniakk" and especially much later in the Ti-Girls stuff it's important to note an element of real affection and admiration for the super-hero narrative. The Maniakk bit in particular is very very much of the pre-Watchmen deconstructive mold (it came out in 1983) and I think the "Gods and Science" take on a lot of the same issues is a lot more compelling.

How Wonderful! fucked around with this message at 15:50 on May 17, 2020

How Wonderful!
Jul 18, 2006






I only have excellent ideas


One of many kind of interesting curiosities from The Art of Jaime Hernandez: a 1985 ad for the L.A. clothing store Y Que.


And a pretty neat Outlook cover from 1992:

How Wonderful! fucked around with this message at 01:59 on May 18, 2020

Roth
Jul 9, 2016


Finally got to start on this after procastinating.

Highlight so far seems to be the way the day logs are written. I feel like I've seen the style of writing in a lot of recent comics, part Hickman's comics, but I'm wondering if this is the earliest example really experimenting with what's basically writing prose accompanied by some images.

I'm a little bit lost on characters and story, but that might just be me being a little flighty and easy to distract/let my mind wander while reading.

How Wonderful!
Jul 18, 2006






I only have excellent ideas


Roth posted:

Finally got to start on this after procastinating.

Highlight so far seems to be the way the day logs are written. I feel like I've seen the style of writing in a lot of recent comics, part Hickman's comics, but I'm wondering if this is the earliest example really experimenting with what's basically writing prose accompanied by some images.

I'm a little bit lost on characters and story, but that might just be me being a little flighty and easy to distract/let my mind wander while reading.

He definitely gets better at differentiating characters within the "cute brunette punk girl" mold as he goes and as the characters grow in and out of different fashions and body-types. Basically the most important characters are Maggie, the somewhat indecisive and introspective one who at this point wants to be a prosolar mechanic, Hopey, her more mercurial friend (and at this early stage they do look very very similar at some points), Izzie Rubens/Ortiz who is taller and older and very macabre, Penny Century the rich and statuesque one in a relationship with H.R. Costigan, and I guess Terry Downe, who early on is recognizable by kind of a John Romita Sr. Mary Jane haircut. Rena Titanon is important too but pretty easy to pick out because she's middle-aged and built like somebody who chews weak men up for breakfast.

Rand Race honestly doesn't matter at all, the other mechanics also drop off the face of the earth in the near future. I forgot how loving weird and unsettling Dr. Beaky's whole deal is, aside from the silent twins every panel he's in has the weirdest body language and facial emoting.

Big Bad Voodoo Lou
Jan 1, 2006



I just started rereading the first volume of Gilbert's Palomar stories (Heartbreak Soup) for the first time in over 15 years. I know he often gets more credit than Jaime as a writer, but it's a lot harder to get into than Jaime's Locas material.

How Wonderful!
Jul 18, 2006






I only have excellent ideas


Big Bad Voodoo Lou posted:

I just started rereading the first volume of Gilbert's Palomar stories (Heartbreak Soup) for the first time in over 15 years. I know he often gets more credit than Jaime as a writer, but it's a lot harder to get into than Jaime's Locas material.

Palomar's really good but I think Beto's been slipping over the past few years while Jaime keeps refining and refining. Everything about Killer is just super tedious to me and I really didn't get much out of the little series of pulp "adaptations" he did. Everytime Boots is in the background of some Fritz nonsense making a horrid face, that's me, the reader.


Edit:

How Wonderful! fucked around with this message at 09:07 on May 20, 2020

Payndz
Sep 22, 2006

They smelled of pubs, and Wormwood Scrubs, and too many right-wing meetings.

So I twatted them with a magic yo-yo. Because, hell, why not?


I first read L&R back in the 80s when I was at university, and still have the first three Titan collections of Jaime's stuff (which having seen this thread I now really must revisit). Decades later, I saw a more recent collection, and Jesus, did it depress me, because all the characters I'd got to know and love back then, who were full of energy and promise and hopes and dreams for their futures, were having a miserable time because their lives had turned to poo poo as they got older and they'd gone nowhere and achieved nothing, and were struggling just to get through each day. Realistic and all too truthful for many people, maybe, but drat.

Edge & Christian
May 20, 2001

Earth-1145 is truly the best!
A world of singing, magic frogs,
high adventure, no shitposters


The stuff from The Art of Jaime Hernandez (which is great!) got me looking through old Comics Journals where Jaime and "Bert" Hernandez were contributing artists for several years spanning pre-L&R all the way through the first couple years of L&R also being published by Fantagraphics. I think they touch on that a bit in the artbook, but a ton of artists got their start submitting pin-ups and spot art to fanzines, which TCJ still was in those early years. I pulled a bunch of it for the thread:


Medusa Black Widow

Wonder Woman Wasp

She-Hulk Validus!

DC vs. Marvel #349 DC vs. Marvel # 11,812

DC vs. Marvel #nn DC + Marvel?

DC vs. Fantagraphics Legal


DC vs. Fantagraphics Legal II, predicting DKR


Marvel vs. Age, predicting Into the Spider-Verse 35 years early


I also noticed while scraping these that Groth/Fantagraphics went all in on Los Bros, signing them to a contract on the basis of a single self-published comic that Groth effusively praised in a review, and then running house ads like this for the better part of a year:





Comics companies are prone to hype (Fantagraphics included) but history smiles on this particular bit of hyperbole.

Random Stranger
Nov 27, 2009



Finally picked this back up after having a busy week. 100 Rooms was a big step up. Thinking back through the story, not a whole lot actually happened but it built out the characters in an interesting way. I'm still thinking Hopey's a shithead; Maggie is feeling more like she's sticking with Hopey because of convenience and safety than a stable relationship. I'm feeling like I need to see some reason why Maggie would want to be with Hopey since I don't know why anyone would tolerate her; I'm sure that's something that'll be coming back.

How Wonderful!
Jul 18, 2006






I only have excellent ideas


I'm interested to see if peoples' perceptions of Hopey have changed since the 80s letter pages or what, because before I read L+R I was definitely led to believe that Jaime's stuff would be kind of a love story about these two characters rather than what I think it actually is, a story largely about Maggie and the various orbits she falls into.

There's a bit in some interview I read where Jaime talks about how he tried to never give Hopey thought balloons or interior monologue captions because he wanted her to be opaque compared to Maggie-- with Maggie you always understand quite crisply why she's not doing something, with Hopey you aren't 100% sure why she is. And honestly I think the series itself rarely tries to sell Maggie and Hopey as some kind of idealized pair-- Hopey's definitely a poo poo head a lot of the time. I think the series is at its most interesting during the chunks where they're not anywhere near each other at all, but have to deal with the other's influence at a distance.

Vincent
Nov 25, 2005

Goodness no, now that wouldn't do at all!

I love Love and Rockets.
At first I liked the stories from both brothers (never liked Mario's short comics, much) but after Gilbert started adding even more people from Luba's familiy, more gigantic tits and even more incest I bounced from his side of the comic pretty hard. It's a shame, I really dug the Palomar issues.

Now, Jaime is (in my opinion) and always will be rock solid, both in the art and story departments. Maggie's history with her two loves is so, so good that it's a shame that it's not more known outside of comic circles. Yes, even though his books are always in the Top 10 lists from pretty much everywhere that does top 10 comic books, L&R always seemed to be on the cusp of getting mainstream attention, but never quite getting there. It's a shame, but as long as the Bros. keep making their comics (and they are happy with the results), I'm happy.

It's also kinda surreal to see just how much Hopey was/is based on Jaime's ex-partner/mother of their kid.

Anyone got some reccomendations on books about Love and Rockets? I have The Covers and The Love and Rockets Companion, but there seems to be plenty more.

How Wonderful!
Jul 18, 2006






I only have excellent ideas


The Art of Jaime Hernandez is really cool, it has a lot of rarities and a bunch of nice info.

lifg
Dec 4, 2000
The Young Turks committed the Armenian Genocide.


Muldoon

“Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean” has a chapter on Love and Rockets.

How Wonderful!
Jul 18, 2006






I only have excellent ideas


I'm willing to hazard that Boots is the only part I unreservedly like in the post-Palomar Gilbert stuff with Fritzi and Hector and all that:

Vincent
Nov 25, 2005

Goodness no, now that wouldn't do at all!

I'm good with thinking the Gilbert stories ended with the 11th volume, Ofelia. I also think that his cartooning isn't as good in the latter stories, which is a shame, 'cause he's one of the greats.

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How Wonderful!
Jul 18, 2006






I only have excellent ideas


I feel like both brothers are obviously really forthright about making art that's not only about sex but also sexy to them personally, but while I feel Jaime always has a solid grasp on how his characters are thinking and acting, Gilbert is increasingly just doing really idiosyncratic fetish stuff, like the belly-dancing and the walnut thing and the endless on and on about Luba and Fritzi and Petra's breast size. Which like, good for him but it's a weird shock to gradually go from early Palomar stories which felt super honest and unsentimental about sex to scenes where everybody is just casually standing around talking about their stunt corsets.

It's even weirder because it's not even necessarily sex positive-- everybody is always hung up on weight and size in a way that feels really heightened and artificial, and it all feels especially when weird when it's juxtaposed with the stuff about the kids, like when you alternate between Venus stories that ran in Measles, for kids, and then really leering stories about Petra with Venus hanging around the margins. It doesn't help that Hector feels like a really poor attempt to have a Ray-like character without any of the charisma that Jaime gives Ray. Like I can't imagine a Gilbert equivalent of The Love Bunglers, something that ties together decades of narrative in a way that's affectionate and honest.

There's an emotional distance or detached interest in catastrophe and excess that I think is deliberate. I like the bits in "Boots Takes the Case" where she's just clinically describing peoples' penis sizes and tallying up orgasms, it feels like as readers we're kind of being invited into relating to her own method of "reading" the situation around her-- voyeuristically and dispassionately. I think it's a shift that comes about a little after Poison River which I think is often super heartbreaking and raw, whereas the long backstory about Maria and the other sisters begins to dip more into an interest in exploitation topoi and exploring narrative excess as an ends to itself. I get a weird feeling about how a lot of his depictions of queerness dovetail with this sensationalist turn-- I hated everything with Isabel, the way she was treated by the story and by the characters as a biological curiosity and a duplicitous kind of half-person, or how exploitative and coercive the relationship between Pipo and Fritzi is portrayed.

I think it's interesting that you pinpoint Ofelia because I agree. I think Ofelia is a really great character and a much needed stable point among the Gilbert characters, like Heraclio and Carmen were much earlier (Chelo too in a way), and I think when she exits things really go off the rails into pure kitsch hedonism which I respect but don't really find enjoyable.

Rereading it all again, I don't know. It's really absorbing because he just structures story in a way nobody else does. Where he magnifies, where he cuts away, it's so interesting and strange (I'm thinking in particular about how the really pretty lurid deaths of Fortunato, Gato, and Sergio are handled) but I just don't think I like it much.

How Wonderful! fucked around with this message at 23:16 on May 25, 2020

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