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Love and Rockets: New Stories #1 (No. 1) Paperback – September 15, 2008
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“As painful as it is to wait a year for new Love and Rockets now that the Hernandez brothers have switched to an annual format, it’ll be worth the wait if each issue is going to be as good as this one [L&R: New Stories #1]. Jaime Hernandez created the best superhero story of 2008 for this issue, and it should be required reading for anyone who reads or creates comics.”
- Corey Henson, Newsarama
“There is growing support for the argument that Love & Rockets represents the greatest output of any cartoonist not named Charles Schulz.”
“Love & Rockets has been American fiction's best-kept secret.”
- Rolling Stone
“Hernandez is a national treasure.”
- Douglas Wolk, Salon
“Jaime's entry [in Love and Rockets: New Stories #1]... is like a huge riff on what might have happened if superhero comics started their evolutionary path by focusing on more female-centered concerns instead of testosterone-fueled fisticuffs... Gilbert's contributions are hard to describe, mainly because they are so surreal. They really have to be experienced and interpreted on your own.”
- John Jakala, Sporadic Sequential
“If you’ve never heard of Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, you’ve been missing out on two of the hidden treasures of our impoverished culture.”
- The Nation
“A high point in the comics form, conventional in idiom, but not comparable to any strips before it.”
- The Washington Post
About the Author
Gilbert Hernandez lives in Las Vegas, NV, with his wife and daughter. He is co-creator of the long-running, award-winning, and critically acclaimed series Love and Rockets.
Jaime Hernandez is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning cartoonist and a lifelong Los Angelean.
Mario Hernandez lives in San Francisco, CA with his wife and children.
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P.S This was the fastest I have ever received a package from an Amazon seller, awesomeness!
One independent series that stands with the best is Love and Rockets from Los Bros. Hernandez. The series began in 1981, the product of brothers Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez (later, another brother, Mario, would join in on the fun intermittently throughout the years). It's a bit difficult to describe exactly what Love and Rockets is--perhaps it's easiest to say that it's a little bit of everything. Drama in one place, biting satire in others, more than a little superheroics (with, naturally, a unique take), surrealist fare--all of it makes an appearance. Love and Rockets is not just one thing. The brothers create short stories and ongoing serials that operate independently of each other and sometimes interlock. Don't be worried if that all sounds more than a little confusing; after more than a quarter century of stories, Love and Rockets has become a sprawling work, so big, in fact, that the Fantagraphics website includes a "How to Read Love and Rockets" page to help readers.
With that in mind, it's hard to say what new readers will make of Love and Rockets: New Stories #1. The trade paperback is an event in the comics world for longtime readers, and rightfully so. The Hernandez brothers are excellent at what they do. The smooth lines of their artwork flow effortlessly from page to page, and they are talented storytellers (check out Gilbert's excellent Sloth for another example of his work; it's a self-contained tale). And their influence throughout the industry cannot be denied.
That said, new readers may be hard put to find an easy jumping-on point here, but there are great rewards for those who do. Fantagraphics is promoting Love and Rockets: New Stories #1 as the first of a series of new work in the annual format (a larger format familiar to longtime comics readers), and as such it serves a unique purpose. The book begins and ends with the story of Penny Century, a very offbeat superhero story that has been ongoing in the series for years. That story takes up the bulk of the book, and in between, the brothers present some solid, entertaining, and very thoughtful work. It's a strong book, and it shows that the Hernandez brothers haven't missed a beat in all this time. (But let's be honest: A guide to catch new readers up on what's going on for some stories would be helpful; it would allow the work to be more accessible to new readers and help old readers fill in some of the blanks they may have forgotten.)
There's gold in all of the work of the Hernandez brothers, though, and if Love and Rockets: New Stories #1 inspires new readers to check out the vast backlog of material available in the series (there are several collections that make it easy, if expensive, to get caught up), then that's a good thing. Love and Rockets is always a treat.
-- John Hogan
This comic is all over the map - from a kitschy superhero comic story that deconstructs the genre better than Miller or Moore could hope to achieve (love the references to the superheroine team that requires all members be supermodel proportions to join and fight crime) with loopy tale spinning concerning magic babies and runaway superheroes.
THen the middle stories involve Mexican parasites, bloody retribution and big-eyed animals.
One of my favorite stories is the Jerry Lewis/Dean Martin space opera that is just so weird and wonderful that it deserves to be loved by sheer audacity alone.
So even though I regret being a dumb teenager, I am happy that I have a wealth of Hernandez Brother material to catch up on.
LOVE AND ROCKETS: NEW STORIES #1 reformats the quarterly ongoing L&R comic into a 100-page annual format. Unfortunately, it's approximately 175 pages shorter than the aforementioned reprint trades, yet priced the same, and I can't say that this one release will tide me over for the whole year. Anyway, Jaime begins and ends the book with a fun 2-part superhero adventure: "The Search for Penny Century". It features the familiar face of Maggie, plus Angel, Alarma, Espectra, Golden Girl, and a host of others, ending on a cliffhanger for the next issue. Gilbert's shorter stories fill the rest of the book and didn't make a good impression overall. "Papa", Victory Dance", and "?" left me flat, while "Chiro el Indio" (written by brother Mario) and "Never Say Never" are just strings of dull humor. The only one that really got my attention was "The New Adventures of Duke and Sammy", featuring the comedy duo adventuring in outer space - this story did get me laughing, if only because of the over-the-top violence at the end. It's upsetting, because I feel that Gilbert's Palomar saga is one of the best and most complex works ever to appear in the comic medium, but his more recent work simply comes off as rushed.
One last thing: there is a two-page color spread near the back of the book featuring advertisements for comic shops, drawn by Pat Moriarty. This ad actually impressed me more than some of the stories in this book, and that's a sign that something is wrong. I hope that Gilbert will step things up for #2, or I won't be sticking around.