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Ghost of Hoppers (Love and Rockets) Paperback – March 13, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. This 22nd volume of the critically acclaimed Love and Rockets series finds recent divorcée Maggie Chascarrillo managing a low-rent apartment complex in San Fernando Valley. She's struggling with being single, navigating a complicated relationship with her on-again off-again girlfriend Hopey and catering to a group of eccentric tenants in a complex where the air-conditioning never works. Then a crazy old "witch" legendary in Maggie's childhood neighborhood comes to stay for a few days and things take a turn for the weird. At the same time, Maggie meets Vivian, a tempestuous, deep-voiced bombshell who is intent on seducing Maggie, if only out of boredom. But where Vivian goes, trouble follows, in the form of a murderous ex and his jealous fiancée. Hernandez's tale meanders through the life of his punk Mexican heroine, using bold dialogue and just a touch of the supernatural. The clear black-and-white drawings echo classic comic books like Archie, but the figures are drawn with unparalleled nuance and realism. Although newcomers may have a hard time catching all the subtleties of past relationships (the "ghost" of the title), they will have no trouble marveling at Hernandez's intense artistry and humanism, which put him among the giants of the medium. (Mar.)
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Despite the Brothers Hernandezes' massive collections of the first two decades of, respectively, Gilbert's tales of a mythical Latin American village, Palomar (2003), and Jaime's stories about two young Chicanas in the L.A. barrio, Locas (2004), new collections show that Jaime has not given up on his creation.Unlike his brother's characters, Jaime's haven't traveled far since the original series about them ended in 1996. Central figure Maggie is now newly divorced and managing an apartment complex in the San Fernando Valley, far not geographically but from the days when she and soul-mate Hopey were the coolest troublemakers in the L.A. barrio of Hoppers. Hopey's still back there, managing a seedy bar nearby, and the pair's spooky friend, Izzy, is still around. Maggie returns to Hoppers for a reunion with her mother and sister. There she witnesses the destruction of Izzy's house, which is haunted by figures from the locas ' long history. Maggie is still a bundle of insecurities, and watching her come to terms with growing older is genuinely poignant. Jaime's gorgeously economical artwork is better than ever, and if he isn't developing any major new characters, the established cast grows richer. Maggie, in particular, is one of the greatest creations in all comics, attractively outrageous but touchingly real. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Absolutely. This was a deep and rewarding tale, told in three parts, with each seamlessly moving from one to the other. The supernatural elements that others mentioned didn't feel supernatural, frankly; they felt like a natural reflection of old fears or anxieties, expressed in shadows or misunderstandings. This story felt real, not spooky.
One thing: This is very much an adult story, funny and sad and comical and real. The language and actions are those of adults. If you're offended by curse words or sexual behavior, you'll be offended within the first few pages. You should avoid this book. Everyone else? Consider giving it a try.
They grew up in an area called hoppers (thus the title). Hoppers was once a punk haven barrio were Maggie and Hopey were endlessly partying and getting in trouble. It is the punk equal to Gilbert's palomar. It's the home Maggie and Hopey can never go back to, and the mythic punk past they both share.
In these issues hoppers is now a kind of sad suburb in decline. Maggie is now living in a L.A. motel as the handyman (er... handyperson). A far cry from the top mechanic she used to be early in the series. But jobs were never Maggie's strong point. And, while sometimes down maggie is never out. There is a new love intrest for Maggie (kind of!?). Perhaps the new love interest is just more trouble...
Things really take a turn for the macabre when Izzy (Isabella, speedy's sister ect.) comes to stay with Maggie to make an appearance on a local cable access show. Suddenly Maggie is plunged into a surreal, chaotic supernatural chrisis. One where crucifixes brake and bleed. One where flies fill an empty pool for no reason. The truly horrific moment you only catch if you pay attention to when Maggie's phone doesn't work but rings anyway (Izzy "he tells you what you want to hear...").
In the very first issues of love and rockets we saw large black dogs chasing Izzy's car. We also know Izzy was running from someone or something the first time we see her in issue one. In flies on the ceiling we were let in on the horrible secret Izzy hid from everyone about what happened in mexico. The dogs return for the first time in 20 years in this collection. And one of them speaks to Maggie! What is the horrible secret? It is either answered or hinted at (let the reader decide if the car trip with Maggie and Izzy answers all or not!) Only we see in the flashbacks the horrible truth, or do we?
The last 3rd of this collection is the creepiest, most horrific art and story Jamie has ever done. It is mythic in it's black and white (like the first living dead). The car drive with Maggie aand Izzy is like a David Lynch film they seem to be talking at each other without either understand what the other is talking about. The sences of Maggie in the fire at Izzy's house can't be described. They have to be seen (for the most part there is no dialogue) to be understood. Izzy's rant in the middle is the decision we have been waiting for her to make since issue one... But what is the decision? There is so much crammed in this single volume that once it all plays out it will be remembered like the volume "death of speedy" as one of love and rocket's best.
This volume leaves us wanting to know what happened to Izzy? Izzy has been a staple of the comic since it began, but always as the punk representaion of the scary witch lady that lives on your block that no one will talk too. What was the small 3 fingered thing Maggie saw in the road that night that lit the fire that destroyed Izzy's house. Why can't Maggie remeber being married (Izzy has an idea but is soooooo sinister)? Why is Maggie's super hot (perhaps super hero or super villian?) tenant looking at her like that at the end of the volume? What really happened between the time Maggie ran into Izzy's burning house and the morning when she was found on the steps? Did Maggie really hear Hopey say "i love you"? If so does that mean when the phone rang before....
Naturally, the cartooning is awesome. Jaime Herandez makes it all look so effortless. His ink line is gorgeous, and he's a master of reduction. The final chapter is a wonderful interplay of past and present, with various timelines rising up from nowhere, and the artist keeps them all clear and even, leading his reader through the drawing as much as the writing.
If you haven't read LOVE & ROCKETS in a while (like me), this is a good place to come back to the series.
This comic is unrated: Violence, Nudity, Adult Language, Adult Situations, Strong Sexual Content.