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Locas: The Maggie and Hopey Stories (Love & Rockets) Hardcover – October 17, 2004
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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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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"Locas: The Maggie And Hopey Stories (Love & Rockets)"
Written and Illustrated by Jaime Hernandez
It's quite possible that Jaime Hernandez is my favorite comicbook artist of all time - his work is so elegant and intelligent, so full of life and genuine good humor, and so much closer to the "real world" that we live in, it has an irresistible pull. Plus, Maggie and Hopey are both so sexy - count me in on the legions of fans with unrequited crushes on these two fictional locas. I started reading "Love And Rockets" a bazillion years ago with issue 3, and made it through the full fifty issues of the first run. When they started up again, I would occasionally dip into something new, but it was hard to keep track of the publishing schedules and I was often discouraged/alienated by Gilberto's pretentious Palomar stories, which became too self-involved and masturbatory for me to bear. Picking up the mammoth Jaime-only "Locas" collections is a rare treat, however, with stories that gather more texture and depth with each re-reading, and several story arcs that I'd missed during my years in the wilderness. If you love Jaime's work, these big books are a godsend. (Joe Sixpack)
The original Love and Rockets comics, which during their initial run, were published for 15 years between 1981 and 1996, featured two incredible ongoing dramas by brothers Jamie and Gilbert Hernandez (with an occasional tale from a third brother, Mario). Gilbert's "Palomar" stories (collected separately by Fantagraphics), and Mario's "Locas" series were published together in each issue, alternating chapters and cover artwork. While Gilbert's work was more gritty, tragic, and adult oriented, Jaime's work, which focused on teenage best friends Maggie and Hopey in a sort of bizarre Archie Comics universe set in a largely Hispanic southern California neighborhood that featured professional wrestlers, punk rock, and lesbian romance. Both works are masterpieces of the comic book medium, but to have the stories separated and published in their own complete hardcover sets is a dream come true. I'll be reviewing Palomar separately, but for now, let's focus on the brilliance of Locas.
Locas may be single best comic book drama series ever created. As a writer and artist, nobody has been able to capture the youth and vibrance of young adults like Jaime Hernandez. Utilizing the black and white page with a skill that only Frank Miller has been able to equal, Hernandez brings out a charm and grace to his characters that is sexy, realistic, and endearing. From the cocky smile of Hopey, to the ever-growing rounded ass of her best friend Maggie, to the smart and realistic dialogue that makes you feel almost voyeuristic spying on the girls' trials and tribulations.
The characters of Hopey, a short haired undersized punk-rock girl with a penchant for chaos, and her best friend Maggie, an expert mechanic and adventurer at heart who struggles with a ballooning waist size, are so well defined, many readers in the letter columns of the original issues would profess that they had crushes on them, or went to school with girls who were just like them.
It's hard to not fall for either of them in this epic that spans a huge period of time, and ultimately splits them apart as they go their own separate ways. The last page, which brings the two together again, is one of the most bittersweet moments I've read in comics since Bill Watterson's final "Calvin and Hobbes" strip.
Jamie has a blast with the series as he features tales revolving around struggling punk rock bands, the behind the scenes world of professional wrestling (and mostly lady wrestlers to boot), and gang life. One saga, "The Death of Speedy" is a brilliantly tragic tale about the inevitable death of a young man, who was a longtime crush of Maggie's for the first 6 years of the book, who makes the mistake of dating a rival's girl on the side. The eventual death scene is done so brilliantly and with such an eerie presentation, that I still get shivers and look around me after I read it.
Considering the high quality of the paper, and the monstrous weight of the book, the $49 cover price is a steal, considering you've got over 50 issues of comic book stories collected in this tome. I read the whole thing again in one sitting and am blown away.
This is as good as comic books get.
On to Palomar...
Academic drivel aside, this massive comics volume has a wonderfully endearing social drama, something to return to, to look forward to. The lives of Maggie, Hopey, Penny, Izzy and the gang are continually fleshed out in this book then Locas II. Jaime is so thorough in his jumps back and forward in time. We get to know each character so well over time. This volume is where the story all began. For some of the germination stage info and drawings, pick up 'Jaime Hernandez: Secrets of Life and Death.'
The excellent reviewers above have discussed and know the story detail so much more intimately than I.