The very best comic book ever. The brothers Hernandez have created great literature and unforgettable characters in their timeless collection of stories in Love and Rockets. I first discovered these treasured issues in 1987 when I found a copy of Love & Rockets on my roommate Debbie's floor. I was immediately taken by Jaime Hernandez's punk Archie comics style of drawing, and by his favorite heroine, Maggie Chascarillo. Maggie had everything other comic characters didn't: vulnerability, a genuine, loyal heart, and a big butt. She was super cute and a talented mechanic. Jaime's drawings of Maggie with her punk rock hair and mechanics gloves, holding some huge wrench up to adjust a Plymouth Valiant, or perhaps a robot or rocketship, are classics. Maggie lives in a world that includes old cars and rocketships, cute punk rock boys and billionaires with horns, a contemporary latino comunity of friends and family, and her best friend, the unflappable Hopey. Jaime's crew of women protagonists includes champion wrestlers, playgirls, the deeply religious and the insane. His bold graphic style of drawing is facinating, and his treatment of their foibles, passions and friendships is as touching as any novel.
Gilberto Hernandez has also created his own world of heroes and heroines set in Mexico with a decidedly fantastic edge in his series of Palomar. Men and women participate in age old rituals of passion and betrayal, they raise their children in a poor economy, and some make a living selling human-sized grubs, or some kind of larvae. He also created a beautiful comic inspired by Frida Kahlo's life in which he draws her dreamlike world of pain with a tender darkness.
I haven't held a new copy of a Love and Rockets comic in years. I used to live for the next installment, and I think they're pretty much over now. I did get to meet los hermanos Hernandez at the Hungry Head bookstore in Eugene. I just about hyperventiliated when Jaime agreed to draw me and Hopey on the back of my jacket in Sharpie. I was finally in the comic book, too!
If you haven't experienced this feast of great material, I suggest you get down to your local comic book store right this minute and get started. You'll never forget it.