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SDCC ’11 | Jaime Hernandez on how the hell he’s going to top his last two Love and Rockets stories

The San Diego Comic-Con is the gift that keeps on giving, this time in the form of an interview with Love and Rockets co-creator Jaime Hernandez by CBR’s Kiel Phegley. Ask anyone who’s reading the series in its book-formatted New Stories incarnation — including this autumn’s #4, which picks up where last year’s massively acclaimed “Browntown”/”The Love Bunglers” storyline left off — and they’ll tell you: Jaime’s making some of the best work of his career, some 30 years after L&R made its debut. Unfortunately, that left him floundering when it came time to come up with a story for next year’s volume:

I almost blew my wad on these last two issues. I was so proud of it, and I wrapped up so many loose ends, and I was so proud of myself. And I said ‘Okay, now it’s time to do a new issue’…and I was blank. I swear, I was blank! I was actually looking out the window, looking for something, some kind of inspiration, you know? That happens to me once in a while, but this time — I mean, big! I was just wandering around, asking my wife, ‘Do you need me to go do something out in the back yard, or…?’ I just felt like the most useless human being. It’s what I always call the post-comic withdrawal, where after I’ve just gone BANG on one issue, after it’s done, I feel so useless. I need to do something, but it’s like nothing’s there. It always comes, but I can’t make it come. It’s an organic thing with me, where it comes when it comes. Luckily, it’s always come within the deadline.

Watch the entire fascinating interview, which reveals a lot about Jaime’s creative process and his desire to do comics outside his usual “Locas” world, above.

Six by 6 | Six great superhero comics by unlikely cartoonists

The Death Ray

Apart from all the “new 52″ brouhaha, one of the more interesting and talked about bits of online  was Michael Fiffe’s essay on the delineations between mainstream (i.e. superhero) comics and the alt/indie comics scene. Spinning off of his essay, I thought it would be fun to list my own favorite super-styled tales by folks who usually don’t do that type of material, some of which Fiffe talked about in his essay.

Note: For the purposes of this article I’m deliberately avoiding any of the officially sanctioned productions from the Big Two, namely Strange Tales and Bizarro Comics, just to make it a wee bit harder.

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Food or Comics? | Doctor Who, Batman Inc. and more

Doctor Who

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.

Graeme McMillan

Let’s give all credit to IDW for their sense of timing. I’m so psyched up in advance of this Saturday’s return of Doctor Who to my television screen that this Wednesday’s release of Doctor Who Annual 2011 (IDW, $7.99) seems like the ideal way to prepare myself. If I had $15, I’d happily spend more than half of it on that particular anthology. The rest would go towards closing out the current incarnation of the DCU, as I’d be grabbing both Action Comics #904 and Batman: Gates of Gotham #5 (Both DC, $2.99).

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What Are You Reading? with Mike Baehr

Elf World

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Fantagraphics’ Marketing Director Mike Baehr, who runs their indispensable company blog, Flog!, among other duties.

To see what Mike and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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SDCC ’11 | Gilbert Hernandez to return to Palomar in Love and Rockets: New Stories #5

CBR and Comics Should Be Good contributor Sonia Harris’s report from the Love and Rockets spotlight panel — in which all three of Los Bros Hernandez, Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario, analyzed one another’s work with moderator Kristy Valenti of The Comics Journal — is pure L&R-nerd heaven for a whole bunch of reasons. But not least among them is the revelation that Gilbert will be returning to the streets of Palomar, the tiny fictional Latin American village in which the bulk of his acclaimed stories for the series were set for years, with next year’s Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 from Fantagraphics. It’s a welcome surprise — emphasis on surprise, given how Beto has talked about his Palomar-based material lately.

Gilbert left the village behind years ago, with the end of the first volume of Love and Rockets in 1996. Subsequent stories were set in the same world, but shifted to Los Angeles and largely centered on the American sisters of Palomar matriach Luba, who moved to the States along with several other Palomar characters. Since L&R Vol. 2 wrapped up in 2007, the bulk of Beto’s work has come in the form of “adaptations” of the Z-grade movies that Luba’s psychologist-turned-actress sister Fritz has starred in within the Palomar world. The resulting material has been much more genre-based than the naturalistic/magic-realist Palomar comics, and absolutely suffused with graphic sex and violence. The move has left critics divided, but Hernandez told our own Chris Mautner that he wouldn’t have it any other way: “The Fritz series frees me of any obligation to be a do-gooder cartoonist, something most regular L&R readers probably don’t want to hear. I felt straight jacketed with ‘Palomar’ and the like after a while, really. I have a lot more going on in my imagination than I’m expected to utilize.”

On the panel where he announced his return to the town, he was appropriately enough a bit more conciliatory about his older work. “People always compare my [current] stuff to the ‘Palomar’ stuff, but lately, my stories have been just a little colder edged because I’m more interested in that,” he said, later adding that creating the “Fritz-verse” of movie-based comics enabled him to go wild without stuffing too much weirdness into “Palomar” for it to work properly as a setting.

As for what, specifically, is in store for Palomar’s residents, Hernandez hinted that the story will involve the legacy mothers leave their daughters — which, if you know your Beto, is enough to make you very excited and very nervous.

I want to break free: Gilbert Hernandez on leaving Palomar for the wild frontier

from Love from the Shadows by Gilbert Hernandez

from Love from the Shadows by Gilbert Hernandez

Interviews with Love and Rockets co-creator Gilbert Hernandez are increasingly rare treasures. It seems the man behind the decades-spanning Palomar/Luba/Fritz saga — a story at first centered on the people of a remote Latin American village, then on one of its more irascible and memorable leading ladies, then on her irresistible but troubled sister — has preferred to let his work speak for him. So I was delighted to discover that he’d opened up again, this time to our own Chris Mautner. And in Chris’s interview with Beto over at CBR, Hernandez is not mincing words. He speaks like a man fed up with restraints of any kind — those placed on him by his early, beloved “Palomar” tales, or by his fans and critics, or by the financial limitations of professional cartooning, or by the shape of the market, or by what he sees as the timid state of contemporary comics itself. None of this all that surprising given his ever more savage, unsparing work, particularly in the “Fritz” cycle of graphic novels ostensibly adapted from the low-budget films in which the character starred, but hearing him say it all in so many words makes for a bracing read. Take a look:

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Daniel Clowes and Jaime Hernandez on their peers

In the year spanning Fall 2009 and Fall 2010, the Grand Old Men and Women of Comics unleashed what strikes me as an all but unprecedented onslaught of major graphic novels. Joe Sacco and Footnotes in Gaza. Robert Crumb and The Book of Genesis Illustrated. Gilbert Hernandez and High Soft Lisp. Daniel Clowes and Wilson. Jim Woodring and Weathercraft. Kim Deitch and The Search for Smilin’ Ed. Chris Ware and The ACME Novelty Library #20: Lint. Lynda Barry and Picture This. Charles Burns and X’d Out. Joyce Farmer and Special Exits. Seth and Palookaville #20. Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez and Love and Rockets: New Stories #3. Stretching from the underground comix era of the mid-to-late ’60s all the way through the great alternative-comics wave that first crested in the early ’90s, the O.G.s arrived en masse to show the whippersnappers how it’s done.

Unsurprisingly, the creators themselves seem aware of this, too. In the interviews with Daniel Clowes and Jaime Hernandez that closed out his excellent annual Holiday Interview Series, Tom Spurgeon got the two comics legends to talk a bit about their peers. In addition to talking about how the cancellation by their creators of Los Bros Hernandez’ Love and Rockets Vol. 1 and Peter Bagge’s Neat Stuff and Hate spurred him to continue his own Eightball series beyond the point where it was a practical mode of delivery for his comics, Clowes addressed the recent wave of major comics from his generation very specifically:

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‘Love and Rocktober’ wraps up

Love and Rockets New Stories #1

If you’ve been following What Are You Reading? or Sean T. Collins’ blog since October, you know he’s been conducting “Love and Rocktober,” which was “a marathon examination of the entirety of Love and Rockets by Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez.” Rocktober is finally over, and Sean has posted an index of all his reviews and analysis of the works of Los Bros Hernandez. If you’re a fan of the Hernandez Bros. or have been curious about their work since reading Chris Mautner’s Comic College on them last year, go check it out.

What Are You Reading?

Daredevil: The Man Without Fear

Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew talk about the comics and graphic novels that they’ve been enjoying lately. Today our special guest is Chad Nevett, who talks about comics in several different places around the web — at his personal blog GraphiContent, at our sister blog Comics Should Be Good!, as a reviewer for Comic Book Resources and on the Splash Page podcast. He also writes about wrestling for 411mania.

To see what Chad and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click the link below.

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What Are You Reading?

Hellblazer: India

Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew talk about the comics and graphic novels that they’ve been enjoying lately. Today our special guest is Bill Reed, who contributes to our sister blog Comics Should Be Good!. To see what Bill and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click the link below.

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What Are You Reading?

Thor: The Mighty Avenger #1

Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew talk about the comics and graphic novels that they’ve been enjoying lately.

Today’s guest is Zom from the Mindless Ones blog. To see what Zom and the rest of the Robot 6 team have been reading, click below.

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What Are You Reading?

Changing Ways

Welcome to this week’s edition of What Are You Reading?, and a big thanks to Chris Mautner for helping out last week.

Our special guest this week is Larry Young, AiT/Planet Lar publisher and one of the editors behind the Kickstart Comics. To see what Larry and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading, make with the click below …

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A look at Fantagraphics’ fall/winter catalog

Pogo Vol. 1

Pogo Vol. 1

One of the biggest pieces of news coming out of this year’s Comic-Con was the announcement by Fantagraphics that they would start reprinting Floyd Gottfredson’s seminal Mickey Mouse comic strips.

But that book is at least a year away. What ever shall we read in the months between now and then? Thankfully, Gary Groth, Kim Thompson and company have the answer, via their lengthy fall/winter catalog, which I’ve taken the liberty of breaking down into bite-sized chunks for the hoi-polloi to peruse. No doubt some of these titles you’re probably well aware of and already expecting. But hopefully there’s one or two surprises in the list.

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Send Us Your Tat Porn!

Well, I asked and you answered. Last week I inquired whether anyone out there had any interesting comic-related tattoos they’d be interested in sharing with the rest of the Robot 6 community. And while I wasn’t necessarily bowled over with submissions, I did get a couple of interesting responses, which you can find after the jump …


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Thin wallets, fat bookshelves: Abrams’ 2010 spring catalog

Art in Time

Art in Time

Art book publisher Abrams jumped into the comics world with both feet last year with their new ComicsArts imprint. What do they have lined up for 2010? Poking around their Web site, I was able to figure out their plans, both via the imprint and their children’s line. They’ve slowed down their output a little but still have a rather impressive array of titles coming out. Fer instance:

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