Love and Rockets
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 …
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.
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 …
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:
If you don’t have a Facebook account (and I don’t necessarily blame you if you don’t) you’ve been missing the wonderful photos that Carol Hernandez — wife of Gilbert Hernandez — has been posting of the Los Bros. on the Love and Rockets Fan Page. It’s full of great blow-your-mind yesteryear pics like the one above, (from left) Sergio Aragones, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Gilbert Hernandez and Robert Crumb at the Anglouleme festival in France, circa 1990. Also included: pics of Michelle Shocked, Russ Myer and Dennis the Menace creator Hank Ketcham.
Welcome, welcome, welcome to another round of What Are You Reading. I am very pleased this week to say that our guest is Jeet Heer, the peerless critic and historian who, when not writing introductions for Little Orphan Annie or Krazy Kat collections, can be found at the Sans Everything or the Comics Comics blogs.
Jeet and the rest of the crew have been reading a lot this week and are eager to share, so get clicking on that link pardners.
Welcome to a new feature we’re starting here at Robot 6 titled “Comics College.” Once a month (or more if time permits) we’ll be examining the body of work of a particular cartoonist or cartoonists of note in the hopes of giving newcomers and the generally uninitiated an entry point. Because let’s face it, there are a number of notable creators who have had lengthy careers in comics and figuring out where to start when reading their ouevre can be tricky, especially if not all of their material is easily available in print.
“Comics College” was inspired largely by the AV Club’s Gateway to Geekery and Primer features. More specifically, it was inspired by their attempt to provide a overview of Gilbert (“Beto”), Jaime and Mario Hernandez’s Love and Rockets series. I found I disagreed with a number of the suggestions and points they made, enough so that I decided I needed to do my own version.
Which is why we’re beginning our debut post with a look at the Hernandez brothers. A lot of readers out there are wary about trying to dip their toe in the Love and Rockets waters and it’s not surprising. The series has been going on for decades now in a variety of series and formats. Their reputation for telling long involved stories, can seem overwhelming and scary for those unsure where to begin.
So, come, take my hand and let me be your guide …