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The Hernandez Brothers take their show on the road

This just in from Fantagraphics HQ: Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez are going on tour next month, making personal appearances on a limited stretch of the East Coast to mark the 30th anniversary of Love and Rockets. There’s nothing north of Brooklyn (sadly, for this Boston resident) but they will be making appearances at the Small Press Expo and the Brooklyn Book Festival. Here’s the full itinerary:

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Previews: What Looks Good for October

It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. Michael, Graeme, and Chris Arrant have each picked the five new comics we’re most anticipating in order to create a Top 15 of the best new comics coming out two months from now.

As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.

The Golden Age of DC Comics: 1935-1956

Graeme McMillan

The Golden Age of DC Comics: 1935-1956 HC (Taschen, $59.95): If you were as jealous of everyone who could afford the mammoth 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Myth-Making from a couple of years ago as I was, here’s some great news; Taschen is reissuing the material in a series of different (cheaper) volumes, reworked and expanded with new art and commentary by Paul Levitz. The next in the series, covering the Silver Age, is the one I’ll really covet, but you know that this will be awesome.

Julio’s Day HC (Fantagraphics Books, $19.99): Continuing my education in all things Love and Rockets, this never-collected Gilbert Hernandez strip from the second series of L&R is one of those things that goes on my “Want” list almost as soon as I discovered it existed.

Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity #1 (of 4) (Image Comics, $3.99): I’ve been waiting for more Multiple Warheads since Oni Press put out the first issue a few years back. Now that I know it’s 48 pages for just $3.99 and in color, it seems worth the wait. Brandon Graham is an amazing talent.

Sailor Twain HC (First Second, $24.99): I dropped off Mark Siegel’s amazing webcomic online fairly early, promising myself that I’d get the inevitable collected edition when it was all done and read it in one sitting. I’m glad it’s finally here.

The Zaucer of Zilk #1 (of 2) (IDW Publishing, $3.99): Without doubt, my favorite superhero comic in years – I read it in its 2000AD incarnation – I am overjoyed to see this get a US release like this. Hopefully, everyone will read it and realize just how great Brendan McCarthy and Al Ewing are, leading to all manner of zequels (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

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Check out Chris Ware’s Small Press Expo poster

The Small Press Expo has unveiled Chris Ware’s poster for this year’s convention, which will be held Sept. 15-16 in Bethesda, Maryland. You can see the full poster below, and in much larger form on the SPX Tumblr (which is kind of great, and deserving repeat visits and “likes”).

Ware will be a special guest at the event, along with Dan Clowes and Gilbert and Jamie Hernandez. It’s been several years since I’ve attended SPX, but it’s a terrific (and creator-focused) show. If you’ve never made the trip, this is shaping up to be the perfect year to change that.

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Food or Comics | Marzipan or Captain Marvel

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Dark Horse Presents #14

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d settle in first with Dark Horse Presents #14 (Dark Horse, #7.99). This is no mere anthology: Dark Horses seems to be increasingly using it as an alternate means to serialize new single issue stories, especially with this new issue, as the publisher has expanded it to 100-plus pages. Nexus, Finder, a new Ghost series, AND the new Buddy Cops series by Nate Cosby and Evan Shaner? Sold! Moving on from that, I’d next get Saga #5 (Image, $2.99), which is completely not what I wanted this to be, and turned into something else I want even more. My third and final pick of this big week is Avengers Vs. X-Men #8 (Marvel, $3.99). I believe this is Bendis’ first issue as the lead writer post-Phoenix Force 5 and I’m interested to see him bring his dialogue to this. Seeing Adam Kubert on this brings up some questions for me, as I never really saw Kubert’s style fitting in with the overall aesthetic Marvel’s been pushing these past couple years.

If I had $30, I’d get a second anthology title – World War 3 Illustrated #43 (Top Shelf, $7.00). I’ve been remiss in buying this series for the past few years, but after stumbling over it in Previews a couple months back I made it a point to seek it out next time it came out. After that I’d get Glory #28 (Image, $2.99), Joe Keatinge and Ross Campbell’s warrior-woman epic. Each issue manages to outclass the one before it, and I’m thrilled and surprised Ross has been able to do five entire issues with no delays or fill-ins. Finally, I’d get Daredevil #15 (Marvel, $2.99). The media-sensitive side of me is torn about this book now because for a time it was considered Marvel’s best kept secret, but now with the creative team coming out of the Eisners with a wheelbarrow full of awards I have to throw away my elitist mentality and fight off my expectations that the quality will drop now that it’s more well-known. Good thing Chris Samnee is on it, and they’re off to Latveria!

If I could splurge, I’d get Stuff of Legend Omnibus, Vol. 1 (Th3rd World Studios, $29.99). I remember reading a preview of this in a previous Free Comic Book Day sampler issue, but I seemed to have missed or forgotten about it in whatever single issues it’d been released in, so I’m glad I took notice of this. I’m a big fan of artist Charles Paul Wilson III, and this story of kids’ toys fighting in World War II sounds so crazily fun I’m excited to read it all in one sitting.

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Six by 6 | Six of my favorite moments from Love and Rockets

Love and Rockets: New Stories, Number 5

As several people have already mentioned, 2012 marks the 30th anniversary of Love and Rockets, the seminal, groundbreaking comic series by Gilbert, Jaime and Mario Hernandez. It’s an impressive feat for any cartoonist to maintain a series for so long (even given the various format changes L&R has gone through) and it’s all the more impressive when you consider the number of masterpieces the Hernandez brothers have put under their collective belt during that time period. The Death of Speedy. Poison River. Human Diastrophism. Wig Wam Bam. Heartbreak Soup. The Love Bunglers. Most cartoonists would kill to produce just one of those books. And they’re still going strong with no drop in quality.

In honor of their anniversary I thought I’d take the time to list some of my own personal favorite sequences from the series. This is by no means to be a definitive list — there are so many outstanding moments from this series that trying to narrow it down a mere six is a bit of a mug’s game. These are merely six moments that immediately came to mind when I thought of the idea for this post. I could have come up with 100 more easily. All you Los Bros fans out there can feel free to list your own favorite moments in the comments section.

Oh, and lots of spoilers exist below, so if you haven’t read the series yet and want to jump into it fresh. I’d stop reading here …

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Chain Reactions | Hypernaturals, A Hernandez brother and Harry Potter (kind of)!

I had a hard time deciding what comic to feature here this week, so I figured what the heck–let’s not pick just one. So here are round-ups for three different comics this week, two first issues and the presumably concluding chapter to a big ol’ Alan Moore epic. So without further ado …

Hypernaturals #1

Hypernaturals #1
Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning
Art by Brad Walker, Andres Guinaldo, Mark Irwin, Mariano Taibo and Stephen Downer
Published by BOOM! Studios

Bobby Shortle, Talking Comics: “The Hypernaturals #1, a new superhero science fiction yarn from Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, is a fun, but flawed tale that suffers from a slow start and its inability to bring anything new to the table.”

Benjamin Bailey, IGN: “Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning do cosmic superheroes better than anyone today. They practically wrote the book on it. That’s what really makes this book such a letdown. Nothing happens within these pages that you have not read many times before. This issue hits so many cliches of the superhero genre it borders on silly. It’s hard to tell where exactly Abnett and Lanning are going with this story, but right now there is nothing to grasp on to and be interested in. It’s the same old song and dance. There is no hook; nothing to set it apart.”

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Preview: The Adventures of Venus collects all-ages work by Gilbert Hernandez

More than 10 years ago Gilbert Hernandez edited and contributed to an anthology of kids’ comics called Measles. His stories starred Venus, the comic-loving niece of his Luba character from Love & Rockets. Those stories are now being collected by Fantagraphics into a $10 hardcover, The Adventures of Venus. Here’s the description:

A rare foray into all-ages work, “The Adventures of Venus” was Gilbert Hernandez’s contribution to the kids’ anthology Measles which he edited in 1999 and 2000. This super-affordable little hardcover collects all the previously uncollected “Venus” stories from Measles in which Luba’s niece creates and collects comic books, walks through a scary forest, plays soccer, schemes to get the cute boy she likes, laments the snowlessness of a California Christmas, catches measles, and travels to a distant planet (OK, the last one may be a dream). Plus a new story done just for this book!

Courtesy of Fantagraphics, we’re pleased to present a preview of the project, which is due in stores later this month. Check it out below.

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Previews: What Looks Good for August

It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics.

Wait a minute … “monthly”?

It’s true that we haven’t taken a What Looks Good tour in a few months, but the feature is back with an all-new approach that we hope will be more varied and useful than the old format. Instead of Michael and Graeme just commenting on everything that catches our attention in the catalog, we’ve invited Chrises Mautner and Arrant to join us in each picking the five new comics we’re most looking forward to. What we’ll end up with is a Top 20 (or so; there may be some overlap) of the best new comics coming out each month.

As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.

Love and Rockets: New Stories, Number 5

Chris Mautner

1) Love and Rockets New Stories #5 by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics) — How do you possibly top the triumphant storytelling feat that was “The Love Bunglers”? I dunno, but Jaime Hernandez is certainly going to give it the old college try, this time shifting the focus onto the vivacious “Frogmouth” character. Gilbert, meanwhile, brings back some of his classic Palomar characters, so yeah, this is pretty much a “must own” for me.

2) Skippy Vol. 1: Complete Dailies 1925-1927 by Percy Crosby (IDW) — Percy Crosby’s Skippy might well be the great forgotten comic strip of the 20th century. Extremely popular in its day, and a huge influence on such luminaries as Charles Schulz, the strip has largely been forgotten and the name conjures up little more than images of peanut butter. IDW’s effort to reacquaint folks with this strip might change that — the few snippets I’ve read suggest this is real lost gem.

3) The Voyeurs by Gabrielle Bell (Uncivilized Books) — Tom Kaczynski’s small-press publishing company drops its first major, “big book” release with this memoir from the always-excellent Gabrielle Bell. Collecting work from her series Lucky (and, I think, some of her recent minis), the book chronicles a turbulent five year period as she travels around the world. Should be great.

4) Godzilla: The Half Century War by James Stokoe (IDW) — I usually stay as far away from licensed books as possible, but there is one simple reason I’m including this comic in my top five: James Stokoe. Stokoe’s Orc Stain has quickly become one of my favorite serialized comics, and his obsession with detailing every inch of the page combined with his ability to incorporate significant manga storytelling tropes in his work convince me he can do a solid job chronicling the adventures of the big green lizard that spits radioactive fire.

5) Barbara by Osamu Tezuka (Digital Manga) — Speaking of manga, here’s one of the more noteworthy Kickstarter projects of recent years: Digital Manga’s attempt to bring the master’s saga of a famous author and the homeless, beautiful woman he takes in and assumes to be his literal muse. This is well regarded in many Tezuka fan circles as one of the cartoonist’s better adult stories, and I’m glad to see Digital willing to take a chance on bringing more Tezuka to the West. I’ll definitely be buying this. I should also note that Vertical will also be offering some Tezuka this month, namely a new edition of Adolph (originally published by Viz in the ’90s), here titled Message to Adolph but well worth checking out regardless of the title.

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Free Comic Book Day: What to look out for

Today is Free Comic Book Day, and here’s a rundown of some of the comics that caught my interest. If you want to check ‘em out before you go, CBR has previews of many of the FCBD titles. (My FCBD comics came from my favorite Boston comics shop, Comicopia.)

Hands down, the one comic everybody wants is Archaia’s hardback anthology, which includes brand-new stories from six of their titles: Mouse Guard, Labyrinth, Return of the Dapper Men, Rust, Cursed Pirate Girl, and Cow Boy. The stories stand on their own but also tie in to the books in clever ways; the Mouse Guard story is a puppet show, and the Rust story features a boy writing a letter to his father (as his older brother does in the book). This book is a keeper; it even has a nameplate inside the front cover. Here’s a list of where Archaia creators will be doing book signings this FCBD.

BOOM! Studios has a nice flipbook with several Adventure Time comics on one side and Peanuts on the other. The Peanuts comics are mildly funny, but the Adventure Time side is edgier and features extra stories by Lucy Knisley and Michael DeForge. The stories are colorful and lively, and DeForge’s contribution, about a bacon ecosystem that supports tiny breakfast organisms, is downright surreal.

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Talking Comics with Tim | Matt Kindt

Mind MGMT #1

Matt Kindt is a writer/artist who is on the eve of being a monthly frequent occupant of retailers shelves after years of increasing recognition for his graphic novels. First up, on April 18, Dark Horse releases 3 Story: Secret Files of the Giant Man (Kindt’s follow-up to his 2009 graphic novel, 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man)–a set of three stories collected in one book that originally appeared in MySpace Dark Horse Presents. That April 18 release also features a preview of his new monthly Dark Horse espionage ongoing, Mind MGMT, which officially launches on May 23. I was interested in email interviewing Kindt to find out how it feels to be meeting the monthly deadline (as opposed to his creative process when working on standalone graphic novels). And, of course, I took the opportunity to find out more about his other major ongoing project, assuming the writing reins from Jeff Lemire on DC’s Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. (his first issue on that high profile assignment goes on sale June 13 with the release of issue #10). My thanks to Kindt for his time and thoughts. I particularly appreciated his belief that the “art-form of a good monthly comic has sort of been lost”–and his resulting aim to regain some of what’s been seemingly lost. Once you finish this interview, be sure to also read CBR’s Jeffrey Renaud’s late January 2012 interview with Kindt in which they detail the upcoming Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. work.

Tim O’Shea: How hard is it to decide to take on the monthly grind with Mind MGMT? Have you had to make adjustments to your creative process, or has the demand on you increased on you (as opposed as to when you were doing standalone graphic novels)?

Matt Kindt: It wasn’t a hard decision at all really. I’ve always wanted to do a monthly book. That’s the format I grew up reading and so it’s always been kind of a dream of mine to eventually work in that format. I’ve been spoiled my whole career, starting out doing OGN’s — which is something I know a lot of monthly guys aspire to so I’m just coming at it from the other side. I still love the OGN and it’s my favorite way to create but I think you get a different experience with a monthly book. When you read a monthly, you’re growing and changing and aging along with the characters. And you’re thinking about the story and the characters month after month instead of just reading 300 pages in one sitting and then moving on. I think you begin to actually care a little more about what’s going on.

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D+Q to publish Gilbert Hernandez’s Marble Season

Drawn and Quarterly announced yesterday that they will publish Gilbert Hernandez’s semi-autobiographical graphic novel Marble Season in the fall of 2012. The news came from D+Q’s creative director and acquiring editor, Tom Devlin, who described the book this way: “MARBLE SEASON is the autobiographical side of this great cartoonist (albeit semi-fictionalized)–where we get to see how his young comics mind developed.”

Marble Season was one of the many topics that came up in Hernandez’s conversation with our own Chris Mautner at CBR earlier this year. “I’m planning a serious, long graphic novel in the near future of a semi-autobiographical nature,” he told Mautner. “I’m going to do my best in making ‘Marble Season’ my last word on the subject.”

Hernandez continued,

“Marble Season” will feature kids growing up in the 1960s and [illustrate] how pop culture informs their interests, like comic books, movies, TV and sports. The different kids are rarely on the same page with their interests: the jock kids dismiss the comic book kids and vice versa, etc. The ‘60s setting is where it’s semi-autobiographical, I guess.

This is Hernandez’s first book for D+Q, and they will be launching a book tour to promote it next year.

Comics A.M. | ComiXology top iPad app for past six Wednesdays

Comics by comiXology

Digital | Comics by ComiXology has topped Apple’s charts as the top-grossing iPad application for the last six Wednesdays. ComiXology cited the launch of DC’s New 52 initiative, as well as many other comic companies moving to a same-day digital release schedule, as reasons for its success. “When have comic books, not comic book movies, not comic book merchandise, but the actual comic books been #1 in anything, much less high tech?” comiXology CEO David Steinberger said in a statement. “Being the number one grossing iPad application six Wednesdays in a row isn’t just a huge milestone for comiXology, but a huge milestone for comics as a medium … and we could not be prouder.” [press release]

Creators | An auction for the naming rights to a character in Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons’ The Secret Service raised $5,100 for St. Bartholomew’s Primary School, where Millar attended. The money will be used to pay for field trips for the school’s students. “I’m a former pupil at St. Bartholomew’s and have so many great memories of the place,” Millar said. “I know there’s not a lot of money in local government at the moment and I was sad to hear that the annual school trip for the children had been cancelled. By establishing this fund, I hope to have a pot the head-teacher can dip into every Christmas and take the entire school to a pantomime every year.” [Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser]

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You’ve come a long way, Jaime: or how I learned to stop worrying and love Love and Rockets

I just wanted to end Robot 6′s impromptu weeklong celebration of Jaime Hernandez and Love and Rockets by posting this portrait of “The Love Bunglers”‘ lead characters Ray and Maggie during their flaming youth. We knew them when.

But what if you didn’t know them when? What if this is your first real exposure to the worlds created by Jaime and his brother Gilbert? Jaime’s been writing his “Locas” saga — about a loose-knit group of (mostly) Latino/Latina men and women who (mostly) first met as teens in the Los Angeles punk scene — for thirty years now. Gilbert’s been chronicling his own group of characters — first the residents of the fictional Latin-American town of Palomar, then the family and friends of Palomar’s former mayor Luba, and now the on-screen and off-screen misadventures of Luba’s B-movie actress sister Fritz — for nearly as long. What if you’ve got no idea who these people are, or where you could possibly begin to learn?

That’s fine too.

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Quote of the day #2 | Love and Rockets after death

I’ll freely confess that at the end of the new issue when I saw how Jaime had tied together the fates of Hopey, Maggie, and Ray I started crying like a baby. When I started burbling to Jaime about all this, he said that in working on his recent comics he was thinking that if he were hit by a bus tomorrow and killed he wanted to leave behind a story that would complete his life’s work. Having achieved that goal, the question now is what will Jaime do next.

The Comics Journal‘s Jeet Heer on his recent conversation with Love and Rockets: New Stories #4 co-author Jaime Hernandez concerning the thought process behind his magisterial story “The Love Bunglers.” The only thing more striking than the fact that Jaime set this career-defining hurdle for himself is that he freaking cleared it.

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What Are You Reading? with Bully, the little stuffed bull

Bully enjoys Astronaut Academy

Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading? This week it is our distinct pleasure to welcome our very  special guest Bully, the little stuffed bull, who blogs about all sorts of comics with the help of his friend, John DiBello.

To see what Bully and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click on the link below.

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