Love And Rockets

The comic (not the band) by Los Bros Hernandez: Gilberto, Jaime, and Mario Hernandez.

LoveAndRockets was Fantagraphics' killer app from the middle eighties to the middle nineties. The comic ran to an epic 50 issues,[Epic? 50? Try CerebusTheAardvark?: 300!] and every story has been reprinted into books. Most stories spanned several issues, weaving intricate yarns with minimal dramatic exposition. Unlike a movie or prose book, you gotta read it again to understand it all. And again.

Gilbert ("Beto"), Jaime, and Mario Hernandez are each talented artists and humane playwrights. They represent Fantagraphics' foundation in comics authored and drawn by the same person, unlike peesashit Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse superhero comics drawn on assembly lines by committees.

Beto draws in a warm animistic style ostensibly influenced by folk art, Aztec statues, and classic Mexican cinema.

Beto's stories follow from the 1940s to the 1990s a dynasty of poor folks in the small Mexican coastal town of Palomar. The town has apparently never got itself a phone. The strip documents the small town morals and behaviors that buffer some people's chronic sins without running to the law, and the small town joy of life that uplifts individual differences (as long as they are not "too different" ;-).

Jaime (see the Hopey panel below) draws in a clean dry style forever reminiscent of a Polaroid candid of teenagers arguing. He chronicles the coming of age of a group of deadbeat punk rock fans from the late seventies to the early nineties, when they run out of party juices and settle down. His style perfectly reveals grimey Los Angeles suburbs their worst, with strip clubs, street gangs, calm level-headed drug-lords who try to resolve problems, and hot-tempered latinos who try to cause them.

Mario has only drawn a few strips. His drawing and authoring style are more volatile, and he'll jump in with a point that leaves you shocked and disturbed. I'm unaware why he does not draw more, but some folks channel their muse more often than others.

The band L&R stole the name. In retribution, Beto's story "Love and Rockets" trashed them with a parody of an awful garage band called "Love and Rockets". This epic reveals Palomar exiles and poor blacks in LA meeting rich Hollyweed brats and white supremacists, mixing it up like only we can.

Why do I love LoveAndRockets? Traditional family values.

-- PhlIp

Anyone else familiar with the fine works of Los Bros Hernandez? -- AlanFrancis

Certainly. Big fan. More of Jaime's stuff than Gilbert though. Always had a crush on Penny Century. -- RichardEmerson

Strange that you should mention the Jaime / Gilbert thing. When I first read L&R about ten years ago, I was very much a Jaime fan (see below for the Hopey frame I fell in love with :-)).

I just started buying the volumes (the issues I read before weren't mine) and have started buying "Whoa Nellie" and "Luba" (the new titles by Jaime and Gilbert) and I'm loving the Gilbert stuff. I guess when I was younger I was just looking at the pretty girls in Mechanics and now I'm really aware of the storytelling going on in the Palomar stuff.... -- AlanFrancis

In an interview in The Comics Journal, Jaime characterized himself as Paul, while Gilberto was John. (McCartney & Lennon, respectively, for those unfamiliar with TheBeatles?.) His point was that Paul's [Jaime's] stuff is more easily appreciated, but no weaker than John's [Gilberto's] work. See The Comics Journal #178, July 1995, p. 122. The rest of the interview is no less interesting.

I highly recommend the Fear of Comics volume of short stories. Wacky stuff. -- BayleShanks

...strip clubs, street gangs, calm level-headed drug-lords who try to resolve problems, and hot-tempered latinos who try to cause them.

Let's not forget the calm level-headed latinos who try to resolve problems, which one also finds in Los Bros' work. One of L&R's virtues is that all of its characters are people, not stereotypes.

I'm referring specifically to the story The Death of Speedy. Please read it before accusing me of stereotyping.

Which has calm, level-headed latinos.
Jaimé was inspired by Dan DeCarlo? and Hank Ketcham, and I think that really shows. In a good way. He's one of the best artists out there.

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