From Publishers Weekly
These superb stories from the nearly 20-year run of Love and Rockets define a world of Hispanic gang warfare, '80s California, punk rock, women wrestlers and the subtle battle to stay true to oneself. Hernandez's main characters are Maggie and Hopey, two adorable lesbian rockers who start out in a somewhat vague relationship and are then are separated by adventures both grand and demeaning. Maggie is a magnificent comics character, a tempestuous naïf who wears her heart on her sleeve when she's not throwing it at a succession of bad boys who ignore her, even though Hopey is secretly the love of Maggie's life. Hopey, a mohawked imp, is more opaque, a symbol of the youthful rebellion of punk rock that all the characters are trying to return to in some way, even as real life sweeps them further away from their dreams. Maggie's weight gain over the years sends her self-esteem on a downward spiral, while Hopey goes on an endless tour with a band. Along the way, Hernandez gradually peels away the strip's early sci-fi trappings (dinosaurs and rocket ships) to create a devastatingly naturalistic world. Sharp b&w drawings capture the characters in minute detail with a wide range of emotions. Finally collected into one volume, these stories are among the greatest comics ever put to paper, and an essential piece of the literature of the punk movement.
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*Starred Review* On the heels of the massive compilation of his brother Gilbert's stories of Palomar [BKL O 1 03], Jaime, the other half of the Love and Rockets team, collects 15 years of his comics about a group of young woman in the L.A. barrio into an equally impressive, 700-page saga. The series centers on the stormy but enduring relationship between the charmingly insecure Maggie and her abrasive soul mate, Hopey, but is roomy enough for a huge cast of vivid supporting characters. Beginning as a soap opera set against a backdrop of rocket ships and dinosaurs, Maggie and Hopey's adventures swiftly morphed into a sprawling, humanistic epic based in the Southern California punk-rock scene and encompassing street gangs, strip clubs, and women's wrestling. Maggie, Hopey, and the rest of the cast developed rapidly, as did Jaime's drawing skills, quickly becoming some of the most engaging characters and most elegantly expressive artwork in all of comics. As the cast aged, it became clear that the series' most poignant themes were the passage of time, squandered youth, and missed opportunities. Back in the 1980s, Love and Rockets was the coolest comic around; as this essential volume attests, Jaime's opus is much more than cool--it's classic. Gordon Flagg
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