Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gilbert Hernandez You May Have Already Won $50,000


*A full list of United States Artists fellows for 2009 can be found here, broken down into arts categories and which sub-fellowship they were awarded (evidently the United States Artists fellowships are funded by different donors, hence the Rasmuson fellowship is the USA fellowship funded by that family's generosity).

*As far as I can tell Carolyn Kellogg broke the story in her "Jacket Copy" blog on the LA Times website. She gives details on the actual grant money and on the other winners of the United States Artists fellowship for Literature, but does not mention the Rasmuson fellowship.

*Eric Reynolds, one of Gilbert's publishers at Fantagraphics, posted an announcement on the official Fantagraphics blog.

*Tom Spurgeon and Heidi MacDonald reported further details and congratulations on The Comics Reporter and The Beat, respectively.

*James Bucky Carter offered congratulations to Gilbert and mentioned "little" brother Jaime will be speaking at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) on February 23, 2010.

Twitter (via):


Pictured above, a small intimate party at the Hernandez home the night Gilbert got word of his Rasmuson fellowship, well it could have looked like this anyway. [NSFWorC]

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gilbert Hernandez in MOME anthology

image (C)2009 Josh Simmons

Eric Reynolds breaks the news that Gilbert Hernandez will have a 12-page story in MOME 19 (Summer 2010). As with most publishing news, this is subject to change.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Love and Rockets 1979-82

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I. Fantagraphics Comics

Gary Groth was a longtime fanzine publisher with FANTASTIC FANZINE 1-13 (plus assorted specials and other publications like the 1972 GUARDSMEN OF INFINITY PORTFOLIO by Groth, George Keitel, Jim Wilson, and future science-fiction author, Carter Scholz), and upon returning to comics to publish THE COMICS JOURNAL he also had a few side projects. THE COMICS JOURNAL #47 (and other early issues of TCJ) had an advertisement titled "Fantagraphics Bookshelf" which lists the following: ALWAYS COMES TWILIGHT (Jan Strnad, Jim Wilson, Bill Cantey, David Anthony Kraft, D[wight] Jon Zimmerman, Steve Leialoha, Don Newton, Clyde Caldwell, Dennis Fujitake, Ron Wilber, Robert Kline, John Adkins Richardson, and Jim Pinkoski contributions); COLOUR YOUR DREAMS (Berni Wrightson, Mike Kaluta, How[ard] Chaykin, Barry [Windsor] Smith, Walt Simonson, Dennis Fujitake, Dave Cockrum, Howard Pyle, Roy Krenkel, Maxfield Parrish, Steve Hickman, and Jeff Jones artwork); and, WORD BALLOONS ("This spectacular fanzine features a cover by Jeff Jones and back cover by Dave Cockrum; a long interview with Neal Adams conducted by Marty Pasko; underground and sf reviews; convention speeches by Jim Steranko, Dennis O'Neil, and Archie Goodwin; art portfolios; and an incredible round table discussion on the merits of comics writing among Dennis O'Neil, Ted White, Marv Wolfman, Len Wein, Gerry Conway, and Mark Hanerfeld. THE COMICS JOURNAL'S precursor[...]").

So, Gary Groth and Kim Thompson weren't exactly strangers to publishing when the following article (most likely penned by the latter) appeared in that same THE COMICS JOURNAL #47 (July 1979) in the Newswatch section under the heading "Alternative Press":

Fantagraphics, the publisher responsible for THE COMICS JOURNAL, will expand it's sphere of operations this summer with the publication of several new alternative comics.

Fantagraphics Comics will consist of all types of comics, from PG-rated epic fantasies to X-rated undergrounds. "Our only criteria," according to Publisher Gary Groth, "are uniqueness and quality. We have no intention of restricting our output in any other way."

Grass Green, the author of such classic undergrounds as GOOD JIVE, will return to comix after a six-year sabbatical with HORNY COMIX, a 32-page "adults only" comic. Green has built up quite an inventory of material during his vacation from the medium, and Fantagraphics plans to release several more books of his.

Jay Disbrow, the Golden Age artist who retired from [comics] 20 years ago, is back in the saddle with THE FLAMES OF GYRO, an epic adventure saga starring his hero, Valgar Gunnar. The 32-page story is being done in wash, and Disbrow himself considers it the pinnacle of his career.

PORTIA PRINZ, Buscema School graduate Richard Howell's continuing comedy/drama/fantasy will, with a schedule of thrice yearly, be Fantagraphics' first regularly published comics magazine. The first three issues will consist of reprints of stories published in an earlier, limited edition, with new back-up strips and covers; beginning with issue 4, the book will contain all-new material.

Dwight Decker, one of THE COMICS JOURNAL's regular columnists, will script two comics: LORD OF THE MOON and AGE OF STEEL AND STEAM. LORD OF THE MOON will be a heroic fantasy set on the moon in the 25th century, and will be illustrated by longtime JOURNAL contributor Dennis Fujitake; AGE OF STEEL AND STEAM will concern the adventures of a train detective in the late 19th century, and will be drawn by Ron Harris.

Also in preparation is a science fiction anthology title.

All of these books will be 32 8 1/2" x 11", black and white pages with color covers.

Unfortunately, for some unknown reason this line of comics never materialized (with the exception of THE FLAMES OF GYRO, which I always considered the first Fantagraphics comic book) at Fantagraphics. At least three issues of HORNY COMIX were published by Rip Off Press in 1991 and PORTIA PRINZ OF THE GLAMAZONS was published by Eclipse Comics beginning in 1986 with a trade paperback (original or reprint, I don't know) by Marlowe & Co. in 1994. The Dwight Decker material is probably lost in an old issue of K-a, and, likewise, the science fiction anthology never came together.

Months later, Gilbert Hernandez spot illustrations start turning up with THE COMICS JOURNAL #53 (Winter 1980 [early 1980]). There's a "Two-Face" illustration on page 22 and another illustration on page 65, both are dated 1979. [I don't have access to THE COMICS JOURNAL 50-52, so don't know if any of Gilbert's drawings actually were published in 1979]

II. The Comic
In their collective interview in THE COMICS JOURNAL #126 (January 1989) the three Hernandez brothers discussed how the first self-published LOVE AND ROCKETS came about:

Gilbert remembers drawing Inez and Bang ("Music for Monsters" eventually) after graduating high school, some had Barbarian women visiting them from space in a sort of "Locas"-type setting [ca. 1978 barbarian women sketches (including an early version of "Fritz") can be found on pages 112 and 139 LOVE AND ROCKETS SKETCHBOOK VOLUME ONE, there are three "Inez" and "Bang/Fritz" full comic strips from 1978-79 reprinted as well]. Six Months before Mario came up with the idea for publishing their own comic Gilbert was working on the HEAVY METAL-influenced "BEM," but abandoned it until he needed a story to put in the comic.[page 86-7]

Jaime was going to junior college at this time and taking all the art classes he could, including a figure drawing class by a professor named Dietz who was very influential (aside from Moebius and fine art). He was also going to punk rock shows regularly and some of the characters seen in that scene inspired Hopey. His Maggie character was around before this as an older character named "Maggie Chase" as early as 1977, by 1980 ["Maggie the Mechanic" page 18 LOVE AND ROCKETS SKETCHBOOK VOLUME ONE] she has de-aged and started appearing in sketchbook drawings alongside Izzy and Hopey [page 30 top left LRS VOLUME ONE].[page 75 and 77]

Gilbert says that it took a year between the time Mario had the idea to do their own comic and the time they published while he finished up "BEM" and Jaime developed "Mechan-X" with his Maggie and Hopey characters. "We were doing our stuff, but we were sort of not into it that much anymore, and Mario says[...]"[page 87]

MARIO: [Jaime's "How to Kill a..."] kind of put it over the top. "If this is this good, he'll hold up the book at least. He'll hold it up for everybody else." So I told Gilbert, "We're definitely going to do this." And Gilbert started working on "BEM," and his stuff was getting really polished, and I thought, "Oh, Jeez, this is just going beyond." So I badgered this girl to get us into the print shop at the local college, and made up negatives of the first issue. Then we borrowed money from our brother Ismael." [page 74]
"So we did that, went out and got a printer to print the pages for us, and he did a lousy job of it."
"We used to see ads for these little 50 cent comic books that guys self-produced, and it had been years since I'd last seen one, but I assumed it was still going on.
[question from interviewer Robert Fiore: "Like, mini-comics?"]
"Yeah, but they were just rip-offs of super-hero comics. So I just took it from there, I figured we could always sell it through fanzines." [page 74]

According to Jaime, they took copies of the book to the 1981 Creation Con and didn't get any positive reactions. Gilbert added they sold some copies to "one of the Schanes brothers," who Mario remembers buying "a bundle of them at 50cents apiece." Finally,Gilbert sent a copy of the self-published LOVE AND ROCKETS #1 to "the meanest sons-of-bitches in the world" at THE COMICS JOURNAL, and the rest is history...[page 74]

The original self-published LOVE AND ROCKETS #1 was only 32-pages long, the front cover featured a character from Gilbert's "BEM" story and Jaime's back cover featured all his "Mechan-x" characters, Hopey, Maggie, and Penny Century. The front cover lists these stories: "How To Kill Isabel Reubens" by Jaime; "Music For Monsters" by Gilbert; "Mechan-X" by Jaime; and, "BEM" by Gilbert. With the three images posted by Comics and Comix on their ebay page, you could probably reconstruct what Gary Groth and company saw when the self-published LOVE AND ROCKETS 1 arrived in their mail. Comics and Comix posted the covers on their ebay store page when they had a copy of the book for sale, they also kindly reprinted the introduction Los Bros wrote for the inside front cover. Here's the text for historical purposes:

Welcome, Ladies and Gentleman, to the first issue of "Love and Rockets," brought to you by the "New Unholy Trio," Los Brothers Hernandez? Who? Hernandez? Oh, didn't they used to letter "Superfriends" or color "Tooth of Dracula"? Have an loc printed in Manswamp? Not quite folks. We, the brothers (Jaime, 'Bert, and Mario) Hernandez, have tried to get into the comics jungle for a few years now, but could never seem to make the right connections. (You may have seen a smattering of our work in "The Comics Journal", "The Buyer's Guide", and "Fandom Circus" to name a few.)

But now editor (and future contributor) Mario decided upon himself that it was time to do it ourselves. Our own Comics with our own ideas; our own mistakes and our own accomplishments.

This is what is before you now. Our comic. Done our way. We hope you enjoy it, and we'll be hearing from you soon.

Love and Rockets-
Los Brothers Hernandez
[stamped] P.O Box 861
Port Hueneme, CA

III. The Reviews

Kim Thompson astutely mentions the self-published version of LOVE AND ROCKETS in "Comics in 1981: Waiting for the Fruit Salad" (THE COMICS JOURNAL 71 page 40):

The Hernandez Brothers LOVE AND ROCKETS, a witty and gorgeously drawn collection of stories and vignettes.

Gary Groth wrote the only full length review of the self-published LOVE AND ROCKETS in THE COMICS JOURNAL 67 (October 1981) pages 52-4, that I'm aware of or frankly the only one (besides Kim Thompson's) that matters:

"Love, Rockets and Thinking Artists"

LOVE AND ROCKETS is a most impressive debut of, not one, but two very promising young artist-writers. The fanzine is self-published and showcases the strip-work of Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez. (A third brother, Mario, acted as editor, production supervisor, and business head; they bill themselves as "Los Brothers Hernandez.")

Obviously I like Jaime's and 'Bert's work--they also publish in THE COMICS JOURNAL--but even I wasn't prepared for the literate, witty humor and carefully crafted eidetic style. There are three very important elements that separate this fine, "amateur" effort from the galloping mediocrity littering the comics stands these days. First, LOVE AND ROCKETS is the work of genuine imagination; a very, individual, idiosyncratic, and energetic imagination. Second, both Jaime and 'Bert deal with ideas, not pretentious nonsense or regurgitated pulp trappings. Finally, they've got the technical wherewithal that's always the necessary complement to the imagination.

Most mainstream comics artists (and writers) mistake visual storytelling--the moving of one central image from one panel to the next--for narrative. When an artist draws a fight scene, he thinks he's telling a story. (The same is true of television; give a TV director a car chase to photograph, and he's on his way to becoming an auteur.) The Hernandezes never fall into this trap. They are obviously concerned with the writing first--which is to say the narrative--and those concerns shape and influence the artwork.

The lead strip, entitled "BEM," is written and drawn by 'Bert, and if the title isn't a tip-off, you probably won't understand the story. It's a sharp, snappy parody of superheroes, Japanese monster movies, formula plots, dimestore-mentality melodrama, horror flicks, pulp fiction--in short, everythin that that particularly low breed of illiterate comics fan cherishes above everything better. The strip is filled with cleverly disguised sterotypes from popular culture that come and go and that haven't much to do with the forward thrust of the narrative per se, but are meant as wry comments on all kinds of American kitsch--which is, after all, the point of the strip. (I especially liked a three-panel aside that refers to King Kong and Fay Wray which features the two characters who make the point and are never seen again. In such a way does 'Bert avoid the tedious logorrhea of a Steve Gerber.) The strip works remarkably well, not only because of the economical, wry script, but because of the acute visual pacing. Everything is very tightly organized visually so that the narrative structure has a very concise, ordered feel to it. Sequences begin and end on a single page (or less when less is called for) and the last panel of one page foreshadows the action in the first panel of the next to excellent comedic effect.

'Bert has a good ear for dialogue and is especially adept at capturing that clipped, staccato rhythm of speech indicative of frustration, fear, or anger. The artwork (like the writing) is lean and economical and while the influences are evident--Eisner, Ditko, and, of all things, Archie comics--'Bert's composition and storytelling are very much his own, and very much a part of the story itself.

"Mechan-X" (written and drawn by Jaime Hernandez) isn't much of a story, really; it's an episode in a day in the life of Maggie, a prosolar mechanic (whatever that is). The story's conflict arises when a criminal tries to escape the planet by disguising himself as a member of the mechanics' team, programming robots to do his bidding and taking Maggie hostage. The plan backfires so quickly that the action is clearly subordinated to the oddly endearing characters, whom we get to know through the relaxed and credible dialogue. (It's obvious the story takes place in the future, although the futuristic trappings never call attention to themselves. There were hints of bi-sexuality in the story, too, which I felt struck an optimistic note, suggesting more civilized--i.e., advanced--attitudes toward sexuality.)

The title of Jaime's second story--"How To Kill Isabel Ruebens" actually helps define this four-page tour-de-force. In fact, it's not a story at all in the accepted sense, but an exquisite, focused depiction of a journey into the writerly imagination in purely visual terms. (It's rather like the visual equivalent of programme music, not so much a story as the suggestion of a story.) Isabel Ruebens is a writer of intrigue, mystery, or detective fiction, but a writer who takes her work seriously. The strip illustrates her inner search for the narrative components she needs; without them, the book won't hold together. Anyone who's ever put pen to paper should appreciate this woman's struggle to find the right word, the right tone, the right structure. The last six pages are a sober portrait of a modern day elucubration.

The production values are modest, but adequate. The magazine weighs in at 36 pages (including self-covers), printed on paper approximating that used by ECLIPSE magazine and THE COMICS JOURNAL. The printing is a bit sloppy--paste-up lines are visible and large areas of black tend to bleed--but for a dollar (plus 50[cents] postage) this is a real bargain.

Since creators in the comic book industry hold rendering techniques in much higher esteem than cogitation, only a handful of American comic book artists actually think--and the the ranks of thinking artists we can add 'Bert and Jaime Hernandez. Their minor but superb effort is cause for celebration.
(c) 2009 Gary Groth For historical purposes only, do not re-post.

You can see why Gary Groth and Kim Thompson combined to slowly change the comics industry (whether for the better or the worse) into what it is today, one wonders if anyone else would have recognized the special qualities in this modest package of stories by unknown (past their spot illos for THE COMICS JOURNAL) artists and not only write so succinctly on their merits but in short order plan an entire publishing company around them. What you see from Fantagraphics Books today began with the package containing the self-published LOVE AND ROCKETS arriving in THE COMICS JOURNAL offices.

IV. The Competition

Gilbert and Jaime felt their work was only good enough for fanzines at the time, as it didn't fit in with Marvel or DC styles at the time. Gilbert says that they were too lazy to submit stuff to the undergrounds, although the drug content and lack of economical motivation also factored into their passing over the underground and sticking with their fanzine structure (self- publishing).[page 73]

A look through Clay Geerdes' 1981 COMIX WORLD newsletters (162-186, to be exact) to get perspective on what underground comix were being published, and to what exactly LOVE AND ROCKETS could have been considered an alternative:
CRYSTAL NIGHT (Sharon Rudahl); COMMIES FROM MARS 3 (Tim Boxell); COCAINE COMIX 2 (Bruce Sweeney, Jim Valentino, Chidlaw, Warren Greenwood)
COCAINE COMIX 3 (Sean Kerri, Warren Greenwood, Rich Chidlaw, George DiCaprio [Leonardo's Dad], T. Jensen); SNARF 9 (Robert Crumb, Howard Cruse, Rick Geary, Steve Stiles, Joel Beck, Julian Hoge, "Stumps" Schwind, Leslie Cabarga, Kim Deitch, Dan Steffan, William Prince, Denis Kitchen); WEIRDO 1 2 3 (Robert Crumb, editor); DOPE COMIX 4 (Rand Holmes, Greg Irons, Jim Valentino, Aline Kominsky-Crumb); RIP OFF COMIX 8 9; DOPIN' DAN 4 (Ted Richards); DR. ATOMIC 4 (Larry Todd); WHOLE WHEAT 3 (Vincent Jackson); NARD 'N' PAT 2 (Jay Lynch); FLAMING CARROT COMICS 1 (Bob Burden); ANARCHY COMICS 3 (Matt Feazell, Jay Kinney, Spain); ULTRA KLUTZ 1 (Jeff Nicholson); BIZARRE SEX 9 ("Omaha the Cat Dancer" Reed Waller); POWERPAK 2 (Aline Kominsky-Crumb); PHOEBE AND THE PIGEON PEOPLE 3 (Jay Lynch/Gary Whitney); AFTERSHOCK (Rebecca Wilson, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, Diane Noomin, and Phoebe Gloeckner); GUTS (Steve Lafler). Clay Geerdes also mentions, CHOLO, a hispanic-oriented comic published by early underground publisher Gary Arlington which I've never seen a copy or mention of before.

V. Fantagraphics Books

Although Fantagraphics Books had published THE FLAMES OF GYRO and Dwight Decker's THE ELQUEST GATHERUM, I trace the true beginning of the company we know today to this news story written by Dwight R. Decker in THE COMICS JOURNAL 70 (January 1982) pages 14-15:

"Fantagraphics Schedules Five New Books"
Coming in 1982: Two X-Men Books, Kane's SAVAGE, and LOS TEJANOS

Fantagraphics Books, a sister company to Fantagraphics, Inc. (which publishes THE COMICS JOURNAL), has announced its publishing schedule for the next several months. Fantagraphics Books specializes in books of or relating to comics art, and its first title, THE ELFQUEST GATHERUM, a book about the popular alternative comics series ELFQUEST, appeared in late December, 1981.


LOVE AND ROCKETS: Seen for April 1 release is LOVE AND ROCKETS, a 64-page comic book by Jaime and 'Bert Hernandez, a collection of stories that by turns satirize and challenge the assumptions by which most comic books are based.

About half the material in the book saw print before in an edition printed by the Hernandez Brothers themselves; when Fantagraphics Books president Gary Groth saw it, he called it "a cause for celebration" in his review in JOURNAL #67, and arranged with the Hernandez Brothers to reprint it in an expanded, quality format.

"Almost all alternative comics have followed very traditional patterns of storytelling and story content, utilizing creators with a proven track record," Groth said. "With that in mind, LOVE AND ROCKETS is inventive and courageous, coming as it does from two highly talented but unknown artists and writers."

The stories include "BEM," a long adventure epic that parodies nearly every cliche in the genre, from Japanese monster movies on, and "Mechan-X," a day in the life of a "pro-solar mechanic" that includes foiling the plot of a malevolent alien.

LOVE AND ROCKETS will be 64 pages with color covers and black-and-white interiors, and sell for $2.95.


Satisfying High Standards: When asked about the overall philosophy guiding his company's choice of publications, Gary Groth replied, "LOVE AND ROCKETS and LOS [TEJANOS] in particular--as well as other projects we are now working on--should answer JOURNAL readers who have been wondering what kind of comics art comes up to our high standards and elitist expectations. Well, these are they, published in as high-quality format as we can manage.

"We feel we have a responsibility to publish superior even though unknown talent," he added, "and we hope the readers who frequent the direct-sale market will support our efforts."

"One of the most dismaying recent trends," added Kim Thompson, an editor for the company, "is alternative comics' attempts to emulate 'mainstream' comics in format as well as content. So far, two alternative publishers have adopted the shoddily-printed four-color format that has been the bane of American comics for so long. We feel that quality material deserves quality production--that is the only way for comics to come out of the ghetto they've built for themselves."

In conclusion, this long and winding trip through the prehistory of LOVE AND ROCKETS will hopefully shed some light on how the paths of Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario Hernandez and Gary Groth and Kim Thompson all diverged at several points to not only launch the LOVE AND ROCKETS series still going strong today, but also the Fantagraphics Books line that likewise is still publishing today on the same principles they established back in 1979--"Our only criteria are uniqueness and quality" to repeat a quote from Gary Groth.

Self-Published LOVE AND ROCKETS front cover (c) 1981 Gilbert Hernandez (reprinted from inside back cover of Fantagraphics reprint of LOVE AND ROCKETS 1, Fifth Printing 1995)
Fantagraphics LOVE AND ROCKETS 1 front cover (c) 1982 Jaime Hernandez via

Monday, December 7, 2009

Love and Rockets Links 'R' Us

Steven Grant includes the LOCAS II hardcover by Jaime in his holiday shopping guide. Don't forget to read Mr. Grant's column about narrative techniques in comics, he's a little like the Alex Toth of comics writers.

Sean T. Collins asks "What's Wrong With The A.V. Club's Best Comics Of The '00s List?" Sean says there is no Hernandez Brothers work in this list of 25, and I'm okay with that. Now if Robot 6 or Comics Reporter did a top, say, 100 list of Best Comics of the '00s and didn't include at least one book by Los Bros., then I'd be freaking out like the manga fans in the comments section of this post. via Journalista

Tucker Stone's essay "Then as Farce" on the decade in comics, mentions LOVE AND ROCKETS at the bottom of the post. via Journalista

Douglas Wolk lists LUBA among his "Top 5 Graphic Novels of 2009." via Journalista

"Nexus Graphica" columnists Rick Law and Mark Landon Williams list half of their top 10 comics and graphic novels of 2009. Mark picks the LOCAS II hardcover at #10. via FlogBlog

Butch Perez posts a list of his Top Ten books (for no particular year or reason). It includes Gilbert's recent HEARTBREAK SOUP and HUMAN DIASTROPHISM paperbacks.
Jaime and Gilbert have been sparking a little bit of commentary here (Michael Mayket, Alonso) and here (Micmacs) in the comment sections of Brian Cronin's "Good Comics" Top 100 storylines. Gilbert and Jaime bring up the rear in that list with two of their better continued stories "Blood of Palomar" (94th) and "Death of Speedy" (87th) showing up early on the list. Again, check out the comment threads at the end of the last two links, as well, for an idea where Los Bros stand with todays discerning mainstream comics fans. You have to believe "Mechanics" and "Poison River" will place higher on the list, but don't count on it.

Glen Weldon reviews the PALOMAR hardcover in his "Five MORE Tomes With Which To Tough Out Your Turkey Coma." via Flog Blog

**(This is an old review but worth revisiting) Rebecca Frati in her column "Comic Book Virgin #54" reviews Gilbert's L'ENFER EST PAVE DE BONNES INTENTIONS (google translation: Hell is Paved With Good Intentions) which is the Editions Delcourt French translation of CHANCE IN HELL. Editions Delcourt Hernandez Brothers titles also include the forthcoming LUBA 1; and these already-released titles LA RIVIERE EMPOISONNEE [POSION RIVER] and a mouthwatering edition of LOCAS: ELLES NE PENSENT QU'A [google translation: "They Only Think About It").
*Nihil Novum reviews SLOTH for the Fifty Books Project.
*Grant Goggans reviews LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES 2.
*Shawn Conner reviews LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES 2 (and also mentions Los Bros. in relation to Johnny Ryan and his PRISON PIT book).
*Tom Spurgeon reviews THE TROUBLEMAKERS.
*Brad Buckner has a capsule review of Gilbert's THE TROUBLEMAKERS. via Flog Blog
*Johnny Gabes analysis of CITIZEN REX at Relevant Panels.
*Erik Henriksen's "Hype Talk" column reviews MYSPACE DARK HORSE PRESENTS Volume 4, and mentions Gilbert among the contributors.
*Decapitated Dan reviews DORIS DANGER GIANT MONSTER ADVENTURES 1 (Slave Labor Graphics, November 2009). Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario Hernandez are listed as contributors, probably pin-ups. Dan says this is "An amazing appreciation of classic giant monster works by Lee[...]Kirby[...]." Slave Labor online catalogue page can be accessed here. Video Preview. (Diamond Code: SEP090572; ISBN#978-1-59362-180-3)

Newnumber6 posts a link to a YouTube posting of the 2/18/93 episode of "Prisoners of Gravity" TV show. It has a short Gilbert Hernandez interview on racism and stereotypes in his comics. He's second to last on the episode.

Comic Book Resources has cover and three-page preview of CITIZEN REX 6.

Comixology has press release, cover, and three-page preview of CITIZEN REX 6. This site has an interesting feature that lists how many customers have this title on their "Pull" list, just for the record 46 have CITIZEN REX 6 on their list. Another version of this page has links to previews of the first five issues of CITIZEN REX, as well.

Atomic Books previews CITIZEN REX 6, lists December 9th as release date.

Gosh Comics (London) gives the U.K. release date for CITIZEN REX 6 as December 10th.

Edward Kaye posts a preview of CITIZEN REX 6, although I get nothing on my computer.
Maybe you will have better luck (or better hardware).

Peter Ha posts a preview of CITIZEN REX 6 on Techland, but I don't pull up anything on this one either.

Matt Brady previews CITIZEN REX 6, set to come out December 9th.

Kevin Melrose and Chris Mautner discuss CITIZEN REX 6 in their new roundup of comics that were to have arrived December 9th.

Jog recommends the last issue of the CITIZEN REX mini-series, although, all things considered, it sounds like he would have rather skipped to the collected edition.

It should be noted that Matt Brady and Jog have been there consistently calling attention to the monthly releases of CITIZEN REX. Now, I agree, where's the hardcover collection, in color, signed by Gilbert and Mario, in a Seth-designed slipcase, and throw in a hologram foil tip-in plate and I'll be happy!

Giant Robot, 2062 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90025. "Post-It Show 4" December 5, 2009-January 13, 2010. Opening reception was December 5 6:30pm-10:00pm. Jaime Hernandez Post-It size artwork on display with many, many other artists. via Flog Blog
*Jack reports more info about Giant Robot's "Post-It Show 4" (with an original work by Jaime). A good-sized photo along with post.
*Artist Lisa Hanawalt ("I Want You") talks about the Giant Robot "Post-It Show 4" and posts all of her beautiful post-its from the same show. (sort-of NSFW)
*Twitter: Michelle Borok writes Jaime's post-it's are sold out from Giant Robot's "Post-It Show 4."

Paul Gravett reports on the "ComiXmas: When Worlds Collide" exhibition of comics-related prints at LondonPrint Studio Gallery, 425 Harrow Road, London. The show runs from 12/11/09-2/6/10 and includes prints of images from Gilbert Hernandez's LUBA hardcover.

Sandy Bilius strikes again (and again) with more compilations of Best of... lists.
2005 No Hernandez Brothers titles on this year's list

Comic Book Realm has a price guide listing for CITIZEN REX 6 and, also, the first five issues of the miniseries. I don't know why, I just link 'em!

Comic Collector Live has a (limited) sales history and price guide for CITIZEN REX 6.

A long review of Peter Bagge books (starting with his newest one), has several passing references to LOVE AND ROCKETS. The article seems to be posted from something called Optical Sloth, or maybe that's the author's name.

Bitterfig's short-short fiction story "Finger Shaped" describes a character as someone who "read LOVE AND ROCKETS[...]." (NSFW)

Tom Spurgeon catalogues comix scenes by city and geographical area at, including Jaime in L.A. and Gilbert in Las Vegas (not sure if big brother is listed, or not).

Heidi MacDonald discusses comics that might make the cut on "The View" or "Oprah," LOVE AND ROCKETS is mentioned in this context.

Is it any suprise that Heidi MacDonald owns "all the LOVE AND ROCKETS collections[...]?"

Tim H. getting into comics via LOCAS II (also mentions the first LOCAS hardcover).

Alex recalls (among many other cool things) the Forbidden Planet comics store in New York ca. 2005, and mentions various artists having special shelf sections including Gilbert and Jaime. Well, I thought it was interesting, we're lucky if Jack Kirby or Osamu Tezuka get a separate section in our comics stores.

Drytowel is reading Jaime's comics, about a paragraph of "analysis." The comment thread following is awesome.

I did not know Gilbert Hernandez (w/Laura Allred) drew the cover for CLERKS (THE COMIC BOOK), Oni Press, 1998.

Goth Love and Rockets-band fansite, credits Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez as inspiring the band's name. Really annoying soundtrack plays automatically, making this NSFW. It's not in english either, but I can't remember what language exactly.

Here is another product page from Powell's Books (of Portland, OR). This one is on the first LOCAS hardcover by Jaime. It includes press release, Publishers Weekly review, and nine pull-quote/reviews. They also have a copy of the, likewise out-of-print, PALOMAR hardcover by Gilbert, covered in similar fashion.

Citizen Rex 5 did not make icv2's Top 300 comics in November list, which means it sold less than 300's 2,699 copies. Looks like folks are either having a hard time finding copies (like me), or giving up and waiting for the collection. via Comics Reporter


World Famous comics writer Matt Fraction is looking forward to Gilbert's THE TROUBLEMAKERS.

via. Jennifer Brown interviews Charlie Kochman, editor of Abrams ComicArts imprint, who briefly discusses Todd Hignite and Jordan Crane's forthcoming THE ART OF JAIME HERNANDEZ.

Kim De Vries interviews Mike Madrid ("The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of the Comic Book Heroine") who favorably comments on Jaime's recent "Ti-Girls Adventures."

Slightly disturbing content on this website where under the heading "Bucket Lists Are For The Now" is "Send Jaime Hernandez a charming e-mail." Very original layout, though, in the form of an open Moleskine journal. (so NSFW/JBC)

Artist Colin Panetta crushes on Jaime Hernandez in this interview.

treadhead lists Jaime's LOCAS among his favorites on his sidebar.

CITIZEN REX 2 cover is posted on tumblr (second entry in list).

Dorian Peace posts a Maggie and Hopey panel, I believe it's from LOVE AND ROCKETS 50.

Jaime artwork from Comic Art Collective is re-posted on FFFFound, a record cover for Lungleg (showing wrestling gals) and links to two other re-posted Jaime drawings.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Los Bros Hernandez Chistmas Shopping Guide

Tom Spurgeon recently posted his "Black Friday Holiday Shopping Guide '09" on This included many gift ideas for comics enthusiasts, listed under the heading "Eighteen Perennials" was the newest LOVE AND ROCKETS LIBRAY seven-volume set reprinting the entirety of the original series in yet another format.
Inspired by Mr. Spurgeon's mammoth listing, here is a list of links to various Hernandez items on sale or out-of-print but still available around the internet:

All-Ages Comics by Gilbert:
MEASLES 1-8 (Fantagraphics) editor/"Venus"
YEAH 1-9 (DC/Homage) art
some of the above are in stock from and or your local comics store

Dark Horse:

Fritz Fantagraphics Novels:

Ignatz-series by Gilbert:

Love and Rockets Old School Reprint Albums:
Signed Hardcovers on Sale

Hard-to-find Mario Hernandez comics/anthologies:
Of course, if you are looking for something for the hardcore LOVE AND ROCKETS fan, you might want to do some digging around for some of the lesser-known anthology work of Big Brother/Inspiration Mario, or his sole solo book BRAIN CAPERS. RENEGADE ROMANCE had at least two issues, and all three Bros. contributed to that fondly remembered anthology. Some of these were in stock at various sites when I searched:
ALL SHOOK UP (Rip Off Press)
BRAIN CAPERS (Fantagraphics)
BUZZARD (Cat-Head Comics) in many issues
DARK HORSE PRESENTS somewhere in 93-104??
HECK (Rip Off Press)
REAL GIRL (Fantagraphics)
THE NEW COMICS ANTHOLOGY (1991) Bob Callahan, editor

this website is not sponsored by any of the above publishers or websites, and does not endorse any retailer or publisher on the internet.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Survey of Film Noir on the Internet

A sort-of "Noir for Dummies" post by movie critic Roger Ebert can be found here, via. I'm not an expert on the "Film Noir" style of movies, but here are some links to lists, articles, and movie trailers and clips (w/some complete movies).

A "Top 50" list of "Film Noir" movies (as voted on by people that visit their site) can be found at here, with a more complete list of 500 movies over here. I'm a little dubious that there are that many "Noir" type movies out there (Does anyone really think "The Ox-Bow Incident" is Film Noir?), probably a lot of crime and gangster or more recent titles thrown in there.

Tons of great research on film noir from origins of noir through modern explorations of the style can be found on, the last page has lists of "Classic Film Noir" (40s and 50s) and "Modern Film Noir" (1960-2006). This site is somehow attached to American Movie Classics network and it's affiliated channels and websites. Check out page one, two, three, four, five, and six.

Anyone looking for full-length "Film Noir" movies probably already has a cozy setup tailored to their computer already, however here are some places to look for us just starting the hunt: has these movies under the film noir-heading (I believe these are permalinks to other sites??): Amazing Mr. X, The (The Spiritualist); Beat the Devil; D.O.A.; Daughter of Horror (Dementia); Detour; Fear in the Night; He Walked By Night; Hitchhiker, The; Impact; Inner Sanctum; Jigsaw; Kansas City Confidential; Panic in the Streets; Parole Inc.; Payoff, The; Phantom of 42nd Street, The; Red House, The; Scar, The (Hollow Triumph); Scarlet Street; Second Woman, The; Strange Love of Martha Ivers; T-Men; Too Late for Tears.

= has 43 titles under the heading film noir. I tested this site out, and was able to download in MPEG2 "Too Late For Tears" (w/the awesome Lizbeth Scott and Dan Duryea) to my Windows Media Player for no charge or registration.

=Veoh has a few movies tagged as "Film Noir" (and about as many old crime movies): The Big Combo; The Dark Hour; Detour; Killer Bait (Too Late For Tears); Money Madness; Port of New York; The Scar (Hollow Triumph); The Steel Trap; Sunset Boulevard; Woman on the Run.

=The biggest site if you're just looking for clips or trailers is definitely website of Turner Classic Movies channel. Here's a list of some "Film Noir" (maybe a couple that aren't exactly, my fault not their's) movies with a link to their database page on the site: Ace in the Hole, Angels With Dirty Faces, Asphalt Jungle, Beware, My Lovely, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, Big Clock, Big Heat, Big Sleep, Blue Dahlia, Body and Soul, Boomerang, Brute Force, Cornered, Crack-Up, Criss Cross, Crossfire, Dark Corner, Dark Passage, Double Indemnity, Force of Evil, Gilda, Glass Key, He Walked By Night, High Sierra, Human Desire, I Am A Fuguitive From A Chain Gang, In a Lonely Place, Intruder in the Dust, Johnny Angel, Key Largo, Killer's Kiss, Kiss Me Deadly, Lady From Shanghai, Lady in the Lake, The Las Vegas Story, Macao, The Maltese Falcon, Miami Expose, Mildred Pierce, Ministry of Fear, Murder My Sweet, Naked City, Narrow Margin, Niagara, Nightfall, Night of the Hunter, On Dangerous Ground, Out of the Past, Pickup on South Street, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Railroaded, Shadow of a Doubt, Sorry Wrong Number, Sunset Boulevard, Sweet Smell of Success, They Live By Night, The Third Man, Touch of Evil, Violent Saturday, White Heat, The Wrong Man.

via looks like a well-done fan site for "Film Noir" movies, check here for a complete list of movies they've reviewed.

"Double Indemnity" clip from YouTube, a very sexy scene that is pretty much the epitomy of the sex side of the "Film Noir" style.
"Nightmare Alley" clip also from YouTube, this is the flipside of "Film Noir" the downfall of the hustler at the hands of a woman (or two, in this case).

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Love and Rockets Links, Dames, and Tough Guys

In case you haven't noticed (because I haven't been posting as frequently this month) this is "Crime Month" at L&M, with some off topic entries about crime comics, books, and movies in honor of the imminent release of Gilbert Hernandez's much-anticipated new standalone graphic novel THE TROUBLEMAKERS. Let's get back to the Love and Rockets with another round of old and new links:

Thanks to Mike Baehr of FlogBlog for linking to Love&Maggie twice in the past month, Mike's blog is the most important destination for anyone interested in the Hernandez Brother's activities. If I could pay back Mike with relevant posts for all the great links I've found on his blog it would be a little like paying off a credit card debt. You can subscribe to the RSS feed of FlogBlog here, also includes occasional posts by other Fantagraphics staffers (and owners!).

REVIEWS: (some via FlogBlog)
Andrew Wheeler reviews LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES 2
Chad Derdowski of "Mania Review" reviews THE TROUBLEMAKERS giving it a grade "B."
Garrett Martin of "The Edge" has a short review of THE TROUBLEMAKERS giving it a "B+"
Don MacPherson reviews THE TROUBLEMAKERS
Niklas Pivic reviews LOCAS II hardcover, giving it 3 out of 5 stars.
Teddy Jamieson reviews LOCAS II for THE HERALD (Scotland).
Colin Panetta reviews Los Bros Hernandez's run on MR. X 1-4 from the 80s. (Nitpick: Gilbert and Mario wrote the stories, not creator Dean Motter.)

*Listen to Memphis, TN band Lucero's song "The Devil and Maggie Chascarillo" available for download.
*San Smith's "Things I Love Thursday" includes Jaime's Stussy t-shirts.
*Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Diaz (THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO) crushes on LOVE AND ROCKETS in an interview by John Hogan. via FlogBlog

Mike Baehr posted and linked to photos by Patrick Rosekranz from "Wonder Woman Day IV" of Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez.
Thanks go to Lilli Chen for posting Wes's photo of Jaime's signing at Skylight Books back in September (it was a while back, anyways). Now does anyone have any photos from that writers panel at 826la Jaime was also on?

Comic Book Resources has press release, cover, and three-page preview of recently-released CITIZEN REX 5.
Comic Book Resources has Shaun Manning interviewing Gilbert Hernandez on the forthcoming THE TROUBLEMAKERS and future projects. via FlogBlog
Fantagraphics Books has a pdf file of THE TROUBLEMAKERS pages 1-12.
Comic Book Resources has THE TROUBLEMAKERS pages 13-23 posted. via Everybody!
Fantagraphics Books coming in February 2010 include Gilbert's HIGH SOFT LISP Fritz-themed collection from the early issues of LOVE AND ROCKETS Volume 2 and PENNY CENTURY which looks to be one of the smaller format collections, you guess which Jaime series it reprints. via FlogBlog


Kevin Melrose links to Sean Brennan's "Queerscope" database of over 230 names of gay characters in comics, including Hopey from LOVE AND ROCKETS (and hopefully the many other so-oriented characters created by Gilbert and Jaime).

Rich Johnston lists Alan Moore's obscure self-published AARGH anthology. I didn't remember Jaime Hernandez contributing to this anti-homophobia legislation effort, but Johnston lists him here. A great book if you ever come across a copy.

ICV2 has reported some sales figures for CITIZEN REX on it's website.
CITIZEN REX 2 was #287 out of the top 300 titles in August (3,591 copies sold)
CITIZEN REX 3 was not in the top 300 in September (#300 title sold 4,098 copies, though)
CITIZEN REX 4 was #299 out of the top 300 titles in October (2,752 copies sold)
Good numbers, I believe, for a science-fiction-themed independently published comic.

Jog and Matthew Brady dilligently reminded us that CITIZEN REX 5 came out 11/11. One more time guys.

Mike Baehr found a little Jaime Hernandez drawing in the background of a new Bob Dylan music video. It's obscure, It's Hernandez, I love it.

Herve St. Louis's "A New Theory of Comic Book: Part 2-Art and Business" is a well-reasoned academic-nostalgic type article that mentions LOVE AND ROCKETS in passing.

@Robot6 Sean T. Collins listed six alternative cartoonists that specialize in horror, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez are honorary mentions. This was a good post discussing little-known (to me, at least) cartoonists, worth a second look.

Two from Tumblr: cover to LOVE AND ROCKETS (original series) 23; and, a string of image, audio, and video posts on LOVE AND ROCKETS. quote: "I can't remember if they [the band Love and Rockets] named themselves after the amazing Hernandez Brothers comic book or the other way around." LOVE AND ROCKETS started as a self-published comic in 1981, you do the math.

via Clay Shirky mentions LOVE AND ROCKETS (and DUPLEX PLANET, as well) as "literature...that survived mainly in the independent ecosystem" of smaller local bookstores of two decades ago. Whether that assertion is true, or not, this is a perceptive article on the effects of internet booksellers on local bookstores.

Powells Books on-line sale page for the LUBA hardcover contains press release, Publishers Weekly review, cover reproduction, and synopsis. It's a little rocky, but interesting to see how different outlets display the Hernandez Brothers books.

David S. Carter reports Gilbert Hernandez's LUBA hardcover (and many other interesting and obscure titles) was added to his library's collection in July. MORE COMICS-ORIENTED LIBRARY BLOGS PLEASE!

The Comics Reporter wrote and linked to a sale by Buenaventura Press, 20% off on all their in stock books including these Gilbert/Jaime and Jaime only rarities: PRIVATE STASH $19.96; KRAMERS ERGOT 7 $100.00

Mike Baehr of FlogBlog linked to this awesome post by Ken Meyer Jr., who profiles NO SEX fanzine one of the few amateur publications that published Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez before LOVE AND ROCKETS. Ken interviews both artists and links to a pdf of an issue of NO SEX, as well as linking to NO SEX publisher (the late) David Heath Jr.'s website.

Graphic Novel Reporter has it's "Best of 2009: A Survey of Comics Readers" which includes James Buckey Carter, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of English Education, UTEP English Department who list the LUBA hardcover in his top 5 of 2009. via FlogBlog also has "Best Books of 2009: Top 10 Comics & Graphic Novels" which lists LOCAS II at #6. via Robot6

Yes it's FlogBlog v. Journalista for internet supremacy in our header photo. Okay, so it's really Steve Brodie/Jane Greer/Robert Mitchum from "Out of the Past." photographed by Peter Stackpole (c) Time Inc.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Survey of Modern Crime Comics

My favorite comic of the past few years has been Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips CRIMINAL series, Brubaker has been a big influence on my reading habits (I first started reading Ross MacDonald way back when he mentioned him in his TCJ interview) by mentioning current and classic crime authors in the back pages of this series. Anybody wanting to try something besides a mainstream superhero or an alternative graphic novel couldn't do any better than trying this straight-up crime comic with well-defined characters on the wrong side of the law in a noir-heavy world.

CRIMINAL is, in my opinion, the best crime comic published currently, but searching the internet and turned up a lot more crime/noir titles from the past few years by some well-known to unknown creators.

B.C. (Before CRIMINAL) the most well-regarded crime comic was probably Paul Grist's KANE comic book series (recently seen in NOIR: A CRIME COMICS ANTHOLOGY). Guido Weisshahn has a thorough fan website on Paul Grist, in general, and KANE in particular. He has a complete bibliography of the series and an online sample of the comic.

Christopher Mills has numerous crime-comics-related websites including many with his own creations, FEMME NOIR and GRAVEDIGGER: reviews of crime/mystery comics, books etc. by Mills focused on Christopher Mills writing projects character site for Mills's character with online comics samples previews of and influences on Mills and Rick Burchett's hardboiled "Gravedigger" graphic novels

Michael Lorah interviews Rick Geary on his newest book (FAMOUS PLAYERS: THE MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF WILLIAM DESMOND TAYLOR. NBM, 2009) and the history of his true crime graphic novels.

Here is a link to another interview with Rick Geary on his true crime graphic novels that originally appeared in the magazine CRIMESPREE 32.

Boom Studios, well known for their new Disney/Pixar line of children's comics, has also put a lot of effort into more adult-oriented series/graphic novels including a lot of crime-style books:

  • 10 (2005) Keith Giffen/Andy Kuhn large-sized one-shot
  • HUNTERS MOON 1-5 (2007) James L. White/Dalibor Talajic+Sebastian Cardoso
  • LEFT ON A MISSION 1-5 (2007) Chip Mosher/Francisco Francavilla
  • POTTERS FIELD 1-3 (2007) Mark Waid/Paul Azaceta preview
  • 2 GUNS 1-5 (2007) Steven Grant/Mataes
  • HIGH ROLLERS 1-4 (2008) Gary Phillips (HIGH HAND, BANGERS)/Manoel Magalhaes
  • POTTERS FIELD: STONE COLD (2009) Mark Waid/Paul Asaceta [sequel]
  • UNKNOWN 1-4 (2009) Mark Waid/Minck Oosterveer
  • UNKNOWN: DEVIL MAD FLESH 1-4 (2009) Mark Waid/Minck Oosterveer
  • UNTHINKABLE 1-5 (2009) Mark Sable/Julian Totino Tedesco

Another mainstream publisher who has a crime-line is Joe Gentile's Moonstone, it's called Moonstone Noir consisting of original crime stories and licensed (or public domain) characters. Look here for individual titles with preview pages, prices, and more information:

  • BLACKSHIRT Adi Tantimedh/Diego Olmos
  • BOSTON BLACKIE Stefan Petrucha/Kirk Van Wormer
  • BULLDOG DRUMMOND William Messner-Loebs/Brett Barkley
  • HAT SQUAD Jay Faerber/Eric Yonge review
  • JACK HAGEE CJ Henderson/Richard Clark
  • JOHNNY DOLLAR David Gallagher/Eric Theriault preview
  • LONE WOLF Dan Jolley+Marie Croall/Terry Pallot+Corey Greene
  • MISTER KEEN: THE TRACER Justin Gray/Lee Ferguson
  • MR. MOTO Rafael Nieves/Tim Hamilton
  • MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER Joe Gentile/Trevor Von Eeden
  • PAT NOVAK Steven Grant/Tom Mandrake

    Vincent Danks and Roger Gibson's HARKER series is profiled here.
  • Erik Skillman's EGG: HARDBOILED STORIES 1, can be linked to through his website, following the link takes you to a sale page on someplace called "Indy Planet" with synopses, artists credits, and sample pages.

Michael H. Price's SOUTHERN FRIED HOMICIDE can be found here.

Joshua Williams and Alejandro of OVERLOOK 1-3 are interviewed here with preview pages of series.

The above images are used for non-profit purposes only:

HIGH ROLLERS 2 cover by Brett Weldele (c) 2009 respective copyright holder

PAT NOVAK FOR HIRE cover by Tom Mandrake (c)2009 respective copyright holder

Please remember this is not a qualitative review, none of these titles is necessarily recommended by this site. (Although I will be checking out the Steven Grant books, the Gravedigger graphic novel, and always enjoy Rick Geary's work.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gilbert Hernandez Influences: Sophia Loren and Luba

photo by Loomis Dean (c) Time Inc.
In THE COMICS JOURNAL 126 (January 1989) page 87-88 Gilbert Hernandez discusses a lot of the influences on his "Heartbreak Soup" story, including Sophia Loren and specifically her movies "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" and "Marriage Italian Style." He basically used a lot of material he had been seeing on TV and put it together with stories he'd heard from relatives that had lived in Mexico, and came up with the amazing "Heartbreak Soup" novella to start off his eternal Palomar series. Presented here are the trailer (w/striptease scene) for "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" and an amazing collection of powerful scenes from "Marriage Italian Style," both from YouTube. Loren's raw sexuality and moments of vulnerability (and anger) in the latter particularly remind me of Gilbert's Luba character. Take a look and go back and reread your early Palomar stories and see what you think!



Thursday, November 5, 2009

Review: The Mammoth Book of Best Crime Comics (2008)

I recently purchased a Dark Horse Books anthology, titled NOIR: A COLLECTION OF CRIME COMICS, with the intent on reviewing it (and the hope Gilbert Hernandez might have contributed). However, I was really disappointed with the material in this Diana Schutz-edited book. Lots of big names adding up to not a lot remotely resembling noir, save for the excellent "Criminal" short story by Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips. "Noir" to me has always meant the three Ds: Dark stories of Dopes getting mixed up with Dames. Sex, crime, and character flaws are what the best stories in this limited genre are built on. Ross MacDonald and Charles Willeford are what I think of when I'm determining if a story is just a crime or detective story, or if it's a character study of someone above and beyond the pale (the latter is quite good at that where some of his characters are so bad I'm practically yelling at the book. Check out Jason Starr's FAKE I.D. (Hard Case Crime) for a Willeford-worthy protagonist, if you can't find any Willeford classics.)
Browsing in a used bookstore I came across a book I had been wanting to take a look at, the Paul Gravett-edited THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF BEST CRIME COMICS. Mr. Gravett's book has the advantage of being able to survey the entire history of crime comic strips and books, while Ms. Schutz had the much harder task of assembling new stories from little known creators. Mr. Gravett's book is thus much more satisfying to read, in my opinion, as there are a wide variety of tones, styles, and viewpoints throughout it's 479 pages. I've broken the contents down into four categories. CRIME NOVELISTS are well-represented by Dashiell Hammett (with artist Alex Raymond) and his rollercoaster pinball-machine comic strip "Secret Agent X-9"; Mickey Spillane is represented by the proto-Mike Hammer "Mike Lancer and the Syndicate of Death" a brutal story nicely drawn by prolific Harry Sahle; also by Mickey Spillane is the comic strip-version of "Mike Hammer" which reflects the novels very well, and is harshly realized by Ed Robbins' Caniff-like art; Ed McBain isn't particularly well-represented by "87th Precinct: Blind Man's Bluff" which has a wacky charm all it's own, but is famous as being Bernard Krigstein's last comics effort (with a lot of static art, but some nice Krigstein pages (54 and 61, for instance) and single panels that stand out; modern crime writer Max Allan Collins (and comics collaborator Terry Beatty) have "Ms. Tree: Maternity Leave" a wonderfully convoluted and violent episode that captures the series' strengths and weaknesses. BRITISH AUTHORS, Gravett finds some offbeat work from popular names and a particularly nice classic piece. Alan Moore has two stories "Old Gangsters Never Die" drawn by Lloyd Thatcher and "I Keep Coming Back" drawn by Oscar Zarate; Neil Gaiman's story "The Court" is illustrated by Warren Pleece and mixes dark sexuality with Gaiman's typical mystic themes. All three stories are not my favorites but certainly deserve a place in a book of this sort; Paul Grist's "Kane" series is better served by the early lengthier story presented here, than the newer short story printed in NOIR. The revelation, however, is "Roy Carson and the Old Master" from 1953 by British pulp cover painter Denis McLoughlin and his brother Colin. This is a great fast-paced grim story with a lot violence and suspense, and a good panel in the "crime-does-not-pay" tradition where a father's lapse into crime leads to his son's death. FOREIGN ARTISTS are, to me anyway, the highlight of this volume and include many creators Gravett has been championing since his ESCAPE MAGAZINE days, in fact "The Murderer of Hung" drawn by Jacques Tardi first appeared there (in translated form). It's an unusual revenge tale as the total dissipation of the title character turns out to be all the retribution the main character needs. Fans of 1980s European comics reprints will remember "Torpedo 1936: The Switch" by Sanchez Abuli/Jordi Bernet and "Alack Sinner: Talkin' With Joe" by Carlos Sampayo/Jose Munoz, both of these stories represent the series well (an interesting historical bit about why Alex Toth only drew a few "Torpedo 1936" stories, is recounted by Gravett). The suprise of this group was the completely unknown, to me, "Commissario Sprado: Strada" beautifully rendered by Italian artist Gianni De Luca (although the story is a little too police procedural-heavy for my tastes). CLASSIC CRIME COMICS are best represented by a trio of postwar noir classics "The Spirit: The Portier Fortune" by Will Eisner (maybe w/John Spranger); "The Crushed Gardenia" drawn by Alex Toth; and, "The Sewer" by EC's Johnny Craig are all peak performances. Examples of the popular CRIME DOES NOT PAY series by Fred Guardineer and Bill Everett, the good girl gone bad "The Money-Making Machine Swindlers" by Simon/Kirby, the trashy slangtastic "Murder, Morphine, and Me" by Jack Cole, and "Lily-white Joe" a better shot of vintage Krigstein give a good rounded picture of the 40s and 50s heyday of crime comics. That's not to mention "Mary Spratchet" an anonymous Fox CRIMES BY WOMEN story, which typifies so many of the lesser titles churned out to cash in on the trend. Finally, who can forget "El Borbah" Charles Burns' post-modern wrestler/detective with a perfect chilling tone (twisted beyond reason) of patricide and world conquest through a fertility clinic. In closing, there's a lot of straight hard-edged noir to be found in this collection, all of it is better executed (no pun intended) than the good intentions of Dark Horse's NOIR anthology.
check out Paul Gravett's website here where he posts his introduction to this book and several great color cover reproductions.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Jaime Hernandez Original Art & Sketches Links

There are a few places on the internet to find postings of Jaime Hernandez original art and the many, many convention sketches and commissions he's done. Flickr is a great place to find higher quality posts, and I'll be looking there in the future. Today here are a couple major websites and a couple more suprises I found using a different search engine over the weekend (yahoo, I think):

The clearinghouse for alternative cartoonist commissions and illustration work seems to be Comic Art Collective. All of Jaime's entries are sold, but I believe you can still take a look at all the dozens of rare illustrations you wouln't normally come across.

Comic Art Fans is a nicely put together website, with 162 of Jaime's sketches (some original art, too) posted from 1/7/2004 to 10/27/2009. Interesting sidebar on this site is "Market Sales Data for Jaime Hernandez" which lists original art pages, the prices they have sold for, and even the date they sold. Yeah, I'm not affording any of those anytime soon!

Check out this page for two pieces of exceptional original art, including the splash page of Jaime's "Ninety-three Million Miles..." story and the cover to TRANSMETROPOLITAN 32.

Here is another great example of Jaime's fabulous femmes posted by the owner of the illustration back in 2004.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gilbert Hernandez and The Naked Cosmos



Above is a great image from Gilbert Hernandez's film "The Naked Cosmos" (co-starring wife Carol Kovinick-Hernandez) a very strange-looking effort, to say the least. The official site can be found here, with ordering information, stills gallery (where I found the above image), and anything you need to know about this project. Below is the trailer, and if you don't want to buy the DVD after seeing it you shouldn't be reading this blog:


(this used to be offered by Fantagraphics Books, but I couldn't find it anywhere on their website. Check the usual places for out of print items if Bright Red Rocket is also sold out of the DVD.)

(11/1: here is the actual catalog page from the Bright Red Rocket website where the new printing of "The Naked Cosmos" is now available)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Troublemakers is Coming Soon

Gilbert Hernandez's eagerly awaited new original "Fritz" graphic novel, THE TROUBLEMAKERS, debuted at the Alternative Press Expo 2009. Fantagraphics has recently put the book up for pre-order here, along with several preview options. via FlogBlog

This should appeal to all fans of hardcore noir/crime fiction, such as Richard Stark, Dan J. Marlowe, and Charles Willeford. Not to mention followers of the Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips CRIMINAL series. My personal favorite noir comic of all-time is definitely Gilbert's POISON RIVER saga, so many great characters acting so badly and ending up even worse. This promises to be more of a Gil Brewer-type wild ride, rather then the density of POISON RIVER. If, like me, you want to see this series of graphic novels by Gilbert continue, BUY THIS BOOK!

Love and Rockets Links Old and New: Part 3



Chris Arrant interviews Vito Delsante (co-creator of the since-cancelled graphic novel FCHS) who lists Jaime's "Locas" stories as an influence.

Molly Young of We Love You So crushes on LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES 1 and the Hernandez Brothers, in general.

A long time ago there was a huge posting of Jaime Hernandez rarities (including that SILVERHEELS 3 color story I've been looking for forever). I've got two addresses that you may be able to find this at, try here or here.

Brad Curran has unnatural attractions to a certain Love and Rockets mechanic, go look.

Erik's "now reading" sidebar is LOVE AND ROCKETS 2 (includes front cover). See previous link.

London, England's Gosh! Comics store blog talks about LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES 2 and CITIZEN REX 3.

Douglas Wolk recommends CITIZEN REX 3 (and crushes on LUBA) in his "Don't Ask! Just Buy It!" column.

Rocco Nigro at Trouble With Comics lists "Six Greats Comics of 2009" with #5 being CITIZEN REX 1. Geoff Grogan, same place, lists "Six Comics I happened to read in 2009 that I liked very much" including LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES 2, and "Six graphic novels I read in 2009 that I liked a good deal" citing LUBA and LOCAS II hardcovers.

Kiel Phegley interviews Jhonen Vasquez on his STRANGE TALES 2 contribution, wherein he reveals LOVE AND ROCKETS as an early influence (and mentions Gilbert's SLOTH as among the books he owns but hasn't read).

Wellington, New Zealand band "Kittentank" lead singer Frank Eggleton says the band's name was taken from "a graphic novel called LOVE AND ROCKETS."

On the Covered blog artist KG does a very nicely stylized version of Gilbert's classic Palomar statue cover from the original series LOVE AND ROCKETS 23.

Mike Sterling shows appreciation to both Gilbert and Jaime on his Progressive Ruin blog.

Gilbert Hernandez crushes on Scott Allie and Kevin McGovern's Dark Horse graphic novel EXURBIA. The link will take you to the press release with Gilbert's pull-quote, a preview, and another link for online ordering if you're so inclined.

some links via Flog Blog, Journalista, Savage Critics, and Comics Reporter

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Love and Rockets Links Old and New: Part 2


many are via FlogBlog, a few via Comics Reporter
Scott Cederlund reviews LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES 1.
Vanja has a long critique of Jaime's "Ti-Girls" serial from LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES 1+2.
Irene reviews LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES 2 as part of her vacation reading list on the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh blog.
Chris Mautner has a short review of LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES 2 at Robot 6.
Not-Matt-Brady-of-Newsarama has a long review of LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES 2.
Leroy Douressaux at Comic Book Bin reviews LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES 2, check out the links to other L&R-related Comic Book Bin articles at the bottom of the page.

Mark London Williams, in the "Nexus Graphica" column, reviews the LOCAS II hardcover.
Chris Estey discusses the LOCAS II hardcover collection.

Michael C. Lorah reviews the LUBA hardcover at Newsarama.

Gary Lactus reviews CITIZEN REX 1+2, be sure to read comment threads.
Don MacPherson reviews CITIZEN REX 1.
Infernolad briefly discusses CITIZEN REX 3.

Jill "The Nerdy Bird" reviews MYSPACE: DARK HORSE PRESENTS Volume 2 with Gilbert's "Manga" story, very well done website if I remember right.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Love and Rockets Links Old and New: Part 1

Here's a roundup of the September and October links I've got backed up on, many of them are from the ever reliable FlogBlog.


Jaime Hernandez had an illustration in the New Yorker of Hollywood blogger Nikki Finke, which sparked much chatter among other entertainment bloggers (usually with Jaime's illustration accompanying). Thompson on Hollywood, Bob Westel, Heidi MacDonald, Thierry Atard, Nick Nadel, and Nikki Finke, herself.

Sean T. Collins briefly mentions Jaime and his relationship with genre comics in his Small Press Expo 2009 "New Action Panel" transcript here.

Brad Curran reviews his pull list including the unread LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES 2, the comments on this post are amazing they go on forever! I love it.

The Comics Reporter, er, reported that current CITIZEN REX editor Diana Schutz was nominated to THE JOE SHUSTER AWARDS "Hall of Fame" 2009 class. Congratulations to one of the more talented editors in the business.

Both The Comics Reporter and Poopsheet Foundation reported that KRAMERS ERGOT 7 won the 2009 Ignatz Award for "Outstanding Anthology or Collection." Jaime contributed to this monster book.

Brad Curran, again, this time with opinions on a variety of Hernandez Brothers books: LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES 2; CITIZEN REX; SLOTH; and, "Palomar" stories.

CITIZEN REX 2 ranked 287th out of Diamond's TOP 300 comics sold in August, list here.

CITIZEN REX 3 and 4 have since been released, but I haven't been able to find copies at my local comics stores.

the folks at ifanboy had a few comments on CITIZEN REX 3, always worth a look.

Ng Suat Tong analyzes THE SANDMAN 1-20 by Neil Gaiman (and various) and mentions Jaime Hernandez's newer "Maggie" stories in comparison.

The FlogBlog reported that Jaime Hernandez's LA EDUCACION DE HOPEY GLASS won "Best Foreign Work" at the XIV Aviles Comic Convention, his second foreign work award for this book if I remember correctly.

"Look! It Moves" column by Adisakdi Tantimedh discusses Jaime's "Ti-Girls Adventures" stories in the context of FINAL CRISIS-type mainstream superhero crossover events.

Sean T. Collins lists his purchases from SPX 2009 including NEW TALES OF OLD PALOMAR 3 by Gilbert Hernandez.

Chris Mautner writes on Carol Kovinick-Hernandez's new photo uploads on her Facebook page. Also see THE COMICS JOURNAL 125 (October 1988) for three pages of Carol's photos from the 1988 San Diego Con.

Ed Howard brings up Jaime Hernandez in a discussion of the merits of Pixar animation.

Certainly the oddest comment thread I've come across, with Wendy Pini, George Perez, Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez discussed in relationship to the art on Archie Comics!

Lu writes on participating in a read-a-thon, one of the books is HEARTBREAK SOUP by Gilbert Hernandez.

Sean T. Collins profiles what is probably the rarest publication Jaime Hernandez ever appeared in, a photocopied mini-comics version of KRAMERS ERGOT 7. Collins even posts a picture of the little book! Go take a look.

CITIZEN REX 4 was previewed one, two, three, four, five times in anticipation of it's release on October 21. Haven't seen a copy yet, but it's nice so many mentions in the blogosphere.

Jaime audio interview:

Sandy Bilius has a "meta-list" of over a 100 critics best-of-2008 lists, which is boiled down into a top 100 of 2008 list here. It includes LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES 1 and THE EDUCATION OF HOPEY GLASS.

Tom Spurgeon's recent "Five for Friday" post on "Pals" included an inordinate number of characters from the LOVE AND ROCKETS pantheon, take a look here.