Monday, August 31, 2009

Love and Rockets Curiosities #4

Ever wonder what the original 32-page self-published version of LOVE AND ROCKETS 1 looked like? I'd thought this obscure comic incredibly rare but there are currently two copies on ebay stores from two well-respected comic book stores.

Comics and Comix has the front cover by Gilbert of his B.E.M. character and the back cover by Jaime with his Hopey, Maggie, and Penny Century characters instantly recognizable posted on their sale page. They also post the introduction from the inside front cover. Check out these great images while they last at:

Amazingly enough, Mile High Comics has another copy of this comic on "buy it now" status, as well. The item number is: 370243284395.

I have a longer essay planned for the future inspired by this find. Stay tuned...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hernandez Brothers News and New Releases

CITIZEN REX 2 arrived in stores yesterday in a timely fashion. That alone would be great news, but according to the FlogBlog LOVE AND ROCKETS: NEW STORIES 2 is now available from just go to the home page and wait for it to come up on the slidshow at the top of the page. It's not often two major projects of theirs are released on the same day, so enjoy!

LOCAS II: MAGGIE HOPEY & RAY (Fantagraphics, 2009) was given a "starred" review in Publishers Weekly "Fiction Book Reviews" online column, which can be found here. [via Flog Blog, also]

The hompage of Fantagraphics also lists a book signing by Jaime Hernandez at Skylight Books in Los Angeles on 9/12/09. For more information check out the store's website: .

Holamun2 Interview: Jaime Hernandez 7/17/08

Visit page on mun2

Monday, August 24, 2009

Hernandez Brothers Links and Beyond

These three sites list CITIZEN REX 2 as being released on August 26th, although that's still not a guarantee you'll see it when you go to the comics store this Wednesday.

Two of the best reviews of Love and Rockets of recent vintage come from Chris Mautner at Robot 6 who answers Leonard Pierce's "Gateway to Geekery" essay (7/23/09) on entry points to LOVE AND ROCKETS with his own introduction to the world of L&R in his new column, Comics 101.

The second is the first review I've seen of LOVE AND ROCKETS: NEW STORIES 2, the yet-to-be-released second volume of the newest L&R iteration, it's quite in-depth and well-written by Rob Clough. Lots of information with frank assessments of the quality of the Los Bros current work, this used to be the kind of review you could only find in THE COMICS JOURNAL. It's nice to see these folks and many others carrying on that tradition on the internet, blogosphere, or wherever else they may be (including TCJ, of course). [these last two are via FlogBlog]

There have been a number of short reviews of CITIZEN REX 1:
Paul O'Brien at:
Unknown blogger at:
Ian at:

A review of the LUBA hardcover can be found at:

My favorite feature of Tom Spurgeon's is his interactive "Five for Friday" feature (which often mentions Jaime or Gilbert Hernandez). I'd like to single out a recent segment devoted to comics that should be made into Broadway Musicals, this was suggested by columnist David P. Welsh and discussed on his blog. One of his suggestions was Gilbert Hernandez's "Palomar" stories. What an original idea, I certainly agree (in so much as I wouldn't exactly want to go watch it) there are many qualities in Gilbert's series that would adapt themselves to that unique format.

A thorough and welcome review of LOCAS IN LOVE, the out-of-print volume in the larger-size editions of LOVE AND ROCKETS reprints, recently appeared in livejournal by whereweather. This is the only book of the original series of reprints that I have never seen, so it was a real surprise to find such a detailed examination. Most of these stories can be found in the recently released LOCAS II hardcover. However, I think I'll wait until Fantagraphics decides to put this version back in print, whether in this format or their smaller reprint paperbacks. (hint, hint)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Love and Rockets Curiosities #3

I liked the idea of this post on another blog, where Anthony Vukojevich paints his version of Gilbert Hernandez's cover to BIRDLAND V2#1 (1994). It's much more abstracted than Gilbert's Eros-proportioned beauties and lends a different tone to the scene. Go look at: [probably NSFW] [and via FlogBlog]

Looking through Google shopping again brought up a rare (to me, anyway) vinyl 45 on ebay with a nice Tonantzin-like silouhette drawing by Gilbert Hernandez. The single is from the band Throwing Muses and the song title is "Shark Tar Moochers." Find the image at:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gilbert Hernandez and the Fritz Film Novels

It all started for me back in THE COMICS JOURNAL #281 (February 2007), their annual Best of the Previous Year issue which included interviews with some of the artists named. Steven Grant interviewed Gilbert Hernandez on the basis of the latter's SLOTH graphic novel published by Vertigo/DC in 2006. The revelation came with these two responses by Gilbert:

"Getting my new graphic-novel series on paper sooner. I'm doing manga-sized
books featuring sleazy, violent sex stories with no redeeming social value
whatsoever. One or two a year, if I can swing it." [page 102]

"These books wi[ll] be 'adaptations' of 'films' featuring my film actress character
Fritz (Luba's sister). They will be self-contained 'B-movie' stories, but will
read like graphic novels. The reader won't need to know any continuity with the
character, as she will be someone else in each book. This all began when I was
preparing to feature Fritz's films in L&R, but I got ambitious when I
started the first story. I wanted to start doing graphic novels, anyway, so I
just put two and two together. Art and indulgence working together once again."
[page 102-103]

I instantly thought this was a great idea, even though I wasn't really aware of the fictional film career of Gilbert's "Fritz" character, a graphic novel series by Gilbert Hernandez was something exciting in the dull world of comics. The above interview was published in February 2007, and mere months later in June the first book in the series, CHANCE IN HELL, was published. Almost simultaneously (starting in July 2007), Dark Horse Comics started publishing SPEAK OF THE DEVIL as a six-issue comic-sized miniseries (released as a collected graphic novel in 2008). This year's entry in the graphic novel series is the wordless version of HYPNOTWIST coming up soon in LOVE AND ROCKETS: NEW STORIES 2. However, the hardcover stand alone series is beginning to pick up steam again with the completion and publication coming up in November 2009 of THE TROUBLEMAKERS, as well as Gilbert starting work on LOVE FROM THE SHADOWS and planning on starting the much-anticipated meta-fiction MARIA M. after that. In anticipation of those, the following is a biblioblography of Fritz's "B-movie" film career culled from the pages of LUBA: THREE DAUGHTERS and LOVE AND ROCKETS VOL. II #17-20 (there may be more references in earlier "Mark Herrera" stories in L&R VOL.II), finally a complete list of titles in Gilbert's graphic novel series.

page 58-59: "For Art's Sake" (previously unpublished) Fritz tries out for "Chance in Hell" movie role.

page 76: "Petra" Background character discusses Fritz Martinez' short movie career and "Chance in Hell" being his favorite.

page 78: "Rosalba" Fritz on the movie set of "Speak of the Devil."

page 84: "Something About Pipo" (previously unpublished) Three movie posters in background. "Mad Circus" "The Gamma Lovers" and "Hallowed Are The Seasons".

page 91-92: "Three Daughters" "I'm reading for the part of a heartleth grifter with a confident air[Troublemakers]," says Fritz.\\"They liked me in that vampire film[King Vampire]," says Fritz. "Not your big three-minute role as the bearded belly-dancer[Mad Circus]?" asks Petra.

page 94: "Day Job" (previously unpublished) "King Vampire" "Tame: Blood is the Drug" "Chance in Hell" "Speak of the Devil" and "The Troublemakers" movie posters.

page 107-108: "The Kid Stuff Kids Starring in: Down in Heaven" Four scenes and DVD case from "King Vampire" movie.\\"Yeah! Like the one where she's this whore and her john gets his head smashed in[Chance in Hell], or where she's this MILF and her stepdaughter wears a mask to spy on her naked[Speak of the Devil]," says Sandy.

page 111: "Down in Heaven 3" "Johnny Tame: Blood is the Drug" movie poster in video store window.

page 116: "Down in Heaven 4" scenes from following Fritz movies: "Three Mystic Eyes" "Speak of the Devil" "Chance in Hell" "For Sinners Only" "Black Cat Moon" "Troublemakers" and "Maria M."

page 118-131: "Luba's Daughter Guadalupe in: Another Story Altogether" "The Troublemakers" movie poster.\\Fritz on the set of cable TV show "Mind Spurs."\\Scenes from the following Fritz movies: "The Troublemakers" "Black Cat Moon: The Seven All Girl Kung Fu Killer Clones" "For Sinner's Only" "The Earthians" "Three Mystic Eyes: Silver Boots."\\A beautiful full-page movie poster for "Maria M." film.\\"Speak of the Devil" movie poster for re-mastered director's cut DVD.

page 133-141: "Luba in America 2" "Three Mystic Eyes" movie poster for Unrated Director's Edition.\\Doralis as "Maria M."\\Fritz on the set of her first starring role "Maria M."\\"Tame: Blood is the Drug" movie poster.\\"Chance in Hell" movie poster.\\"Maria M." movie poster for 2-disc special edition Director's Cut (in dialogue it is stated Fritz's niece Doralis was the screenwriter of "Maria M.").

cover: amazing color illustration of Fritz as five different characters from her movies. Can you name all five movies these came from? [Gilbert says they are: The Earthians(top); Black Cat Moon; For Sinners Only; Maria M.; and, Scarlett by Starlight(bottom). e-mail 8/19/09]

page 3-5: "Blackouting" Fritz and her Father discuss her work on "Maria M." and her possible abuse as a child.\\scene from "Maria M."

page 26: "Dumb Solitaire: God's Eye View" "Perhaps because of her increasingly heavy drinking, Fritz was fired after only a week of filming the sequel to her sci-fi epic, and was replaced by Mila, no less," says Mark Herrera.

page 16-20: "Pattern for Living" scene from "Seven Bullets to Hell" and "Three Mystic Eyes: Journey's End"(both co-starring Fritz and Mila).\\"For Sinners Only" movie poster.\\"The Magic Voyage of Aladdin" movie poster and "Speak of the Devil" and "Chance in Hell" DVD cases.\\DVD cases for "The Troublemakers" "Maria M." "Black Cat Moon" "For Sinners Only" "The Earthians" "Three Mystic Eyes" and "The Midnight People."\\"I understand [Fritz]'d been doing a lot of Spanish-language TV and there was rumor of a film comeback," says Mark.

story page 2 8-9 11 13 14 18 20: "Venus and You" "Lie Down in the Dark" movie poster at premiere.\\Fritz interviewed about her directing debut on "Lie Down in the Dark."\\Fritz on children's show "Pedro."\\creepy scene from early Fritz adult movie.\\full page of scenes from early Fritz adult movie.\\awesome page of fifteen magazine covers depicting Fritz from her various movies.\\movie posters from "Hypnotwist/Love From the Shadows(double feature)" and "Inhuman Nature."

compiled from the endpapers of CHANCE IN HELL






  6. FANCY







  13. MARIA M. (6)







  20. TAME




Footnotes to Master List:

1. Chance in Hell (Fantagraphics, June 2007) hardcover graphic novel, 120 pages

2. Speak of the Devil (Dark Horse Comics, July 2007-May 2008/October 2008) first released as a six issue limited series, then collected in a hardcover graphic novel, 128 pages
"SOTD was the 'true story' the 'Fritz' movie was based on (so an official 'Fritz movie' adaptation would be pointless)" [Gilbert Hernandez quoted via Kim Thompson e-mail 8/6/09]
Could it be that this would be considered an adaptation of a documentary accompanying the re-mastered director's cut DVD of the "Speak of the Devil" film?-Gary

3. Hypnotwist in LOVE AND ROCKETS: NEW STORIES 2 (Fantagraphics, forthcoming 2009) 43 page wordless story in newest L&R volume (see accompanying illustration (c) 2009 Gilbert Hernandez. Used with permission.)

4. The Troublemakers (Fantagraphics, completed and forthcoming November 2009 [originally scheduled 6/08]) hardcover graphic novel, approximately 120 pages [Fantagraphics Book Distributors Catalog Spring/Summer 2008; Kim Thompson e-mail 8/4/09+8/19/09; and, Mike Baehr Flog Blog 8/6/09]

5. Love From the Shadows (Fantagraphics) in progress [Kim Thompson e-mail 8/4/09]

6. Maria M. (Fantagraphics) projected next film in line to be adapted, fictionalized version of events from POISON RIVER [Kim Thompson e-mail 8/6/09]

The depth of passion Gilbert has for these "Fritz films" is obvious from the above lists as he's built a back story for many years, and is now working hard bringing his dark vision to completion. One could only compare Will Eisner's output to this ambitious framework Gilbert has built for a series of unserialized, true graphic novels. In my opinon, Gilbert's is the harder road to travel as these books are of a different thematic current than his more famous "Palomar" series, and like the mood the artwork is much harsher as well (recalling Steve Ditko's line in his 70s Charlton horror work, for instance) simplified with a thicker line. Rather than an Eisner or Chris Ware, we would probably be better suited to place Gilbert's future graphic novels alongside the likes of genre novelists such as Richard Stark, Dan Marlowe, the ultra-bleakness of David Goodis, or even the sexually charged stories of Gil Brewer. Someday, Gilbert Hernandez might me studied along with those authors, or maybe this graphic novel series will be one facet of a long varied career.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Social Networking and Love and Rockets

People are a lot more accessible now than they were when LOVE AND ROCKETS started publication, not even e-mail or cellphones were around back then. Nowadays, Facebook and MySpace can bring you more information about your friends, family, or even your favorite cartoonists.

LOVE AND ROCKETS has a very well-done, frequently updated page on Facebook. Aside from frequent updates on the Hernandez Brothers activities and publications, there are many photo and image "albums." Four of particular interest are titled:
  1. Love and Rockets-The Hernandez Brother's Photos-Early Days of L&R (3/1)
  2. Love and Rockets-The Hernandez Brother's Photos-Sketches from the early 80s (18)
  3. Love and Rockets-The Hernandez Brother's Photos-Original Art (14)
  4. Love and Rockets-The Hernandez Brother's Photos-Comic Con 2009 (8)

There are 1,847 "fans" on this page so it seems like a lot of people are getting their L&R information from here. I'm not sure of the intricacies of Facebook, but the following two addresses will bring up the same page:

Gilbert Hernandez has had two stories published in the MySpace version of DARK HORSE PRESENTS. Chris Beckett's detailed article on the history of this project including his interview with editor Scott Allie can be found here, this also includes a direct link to the online comic's page where both of Gilbert's stories can be found.

There are many groups and communities on the internet, one such devoted to LOVE AND ROCKETS is "The Love and Rockets Community" at . This group was created on 12/5/2001 and currently has 107 members (and is "watched by" another 89), the group is moderated/ maintaned by "lalenfay." Google, Yahoo, and various posting sites (like also have groups, so a future post will be in order if I turn up any more LOVE AND ROCKETS communities.

Jaime Hernandez's wife, Meg, has an excellent blog which has pet photos, food photos, family goings-on, some private drawings by Jaime, and occasional candid photos of the artist himself. Two of my favorites being, August 8 "1979 or thereabouts" and August 16 "Chores?" This is a relatively normal family-type blog, and it's a fun opportunity to see a different side of the man behind Hopey and Maggie.

Finally, all three of the Hernandez Brothers have e-mail addresses, but I will not be printing them in this blog, sorry. Buy any of the later issues of LOVE AND ROCKETS VOL. II and you can find their then-current e-mail addresses on the letters pages.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Love and Rockets Curiosities #2

This time out my journey through Google's shopping site brought me to and their four LOVE AND ROCKETS cover cigarrette case/ID wallets. The cases are stainless steel and measures 4" x 2.75" x .5" and has a spring-loaded latch with a protective coating, all work is done by hand in their California studio. The cases are $9.75 each and feature the covers to LOVE AND ROCKETS (Original series) 1, 2, 3, and 4. I couldn't tell if these were unique items or produced in quantities, check out these individual web pages for more information:

I'll be on the look out for more obscure items...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Hernandez Brothers Links Roundup

The biggest news since last week is reporting that Gilbert's "Papa" story from LOVE AND ROCKETS: NEW STORIES 1 was chosen by Charles Burns to be in THE BEST AMERICAN COMICS 2009 anthology. TBAC2009 is again sheparded by series editors Jessica Abel and Matt Madden, this year's guest editor is the aforementioned Charles Burns (Skin Deep, Big Baby, El Borbah, Black Hole, etc.). Those interested in the criteria for submissions to this anthology can check out this older page for a lot of background information on how the series editors work with the guest editor and publishers. Charles Burns talks about his childhood and early comics influences in this fascinating interview, some of his talk of the impact of "violent" images in his early comics reading may have something to do with his choice of Gilbert's story with it's violent scenes (or, maybe not! a fun viewing experience in any case). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will release the 352-page anthology on October 8th.

Reviews of LOCAS II: MAGGIE, HOPEY, AND RAY are starting to turn up. Jon at the Star Clipper (St. Louis, MO) blog, Jog, and Douglas Wolk all discuss the book at varying lengths. Jog also had a short comment on CITIZEN REX just before it's release last month.

Kelly Thompson, a graduate of The Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), listed on the blog 1979semifinalist her 100 top comics covers, among mostly superhero/vertigo covers are four classics from LOVE AND ROCKETS(original series): 1(ranked #7 overall) by Jaime; 5(#30) by Jaime; 23(#32) by Gilbert; and 31(#39) by Jaime. Nice clear scans of all covers, beautiful stuff. Look here: [also follow link to part IV] [via FlogBlog].

The old news of Jaime's iGoogle Theme page came from Scott McCloud's blog or somesuch, here is a direct link for your Google Home page decorated with Jaime art (if I had a G home page this is what it would look like): .

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Love and Rockets Curiosities #1

Looking through the Shopping section of I came across a well-done set of craft items with a Love and Rockets-theme.

Kelly of blahblahcrafts in San Antonio, TX has a set of ten pendants for sale (each $12+$2 postage) on her website, the Love and Rockets ones are pictured in this section.

These 1&1/2" pendants use images cut directly out of early "Mechanics"-era Jaime Hernandez LOVE AND ROCKETS comics. They appear to be assembled by coloring an image by hand, gluing it on a 1&1/2" round piece of wood, and attaching an 18" length of sterling silver chain.

Go take a look!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Locas II, Citizen Rex, and Speak of the Devil Links

The big news is that LOCAS II: MAGGIE, HOPEY, AND RAY (Fantagraphics, $39.99) should be in stores today, according to the FlogBlog and Diamond. This is the one that reprints most of the Maggie, Hopey, Ray, and Frogmouth stories from one shots, Penny Century, and Love and Rockets Vol. II.

Fantagraphics also announced pre-orders are being taken on their website for LOVE AND ROCKETS NEW STORIES 2. A pdf-file preview of five pages from each of the Brothers is included on this page.

A well-written review of SPEAK OF THE DEVIL was posted last week at . If you are not a fan of this particular Gilbert Hernandez graphic novel I recommend reading this article, and re-reading the book. You might change your mind. The author also references three other reviews of the book by Jog, Sean Collins, and Andrew Wheeler at ComicMix.

CITIZEN REX 2 is due in stores on August 19th according to , although that date is subject to change as we all know.

I've only found two reviews of CITIZEN REX 1, an entry in "Comics of the Weak" by Tucker Stone and a short review by Paul Dale Roberts. Check out this fun string of comments on CITIZEN REX 1. Finally, while searching for reviews I came across two Citizen Rex-related interviews, including this very rare solo interview with Mario Hernandez by Jennifer M. Contino from back on 6/18/09. This second one came along after my list of Gilbert interviews, I believe. It has Chris Arrant talking to Gilbert and Mario about their newly released series on 7/29/09: .

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Guide to Love and Rockets Reader's Guides

Leonard Pierce's 7/23/09 article "Gateway to Geekery: Love and Rockets" on the website was a welcome attempt at reaching out to new readers of Love and Rockets and trying to give them a starting point. I completely agree with Jaime's "Death of Speedy" as a good short storyline for casual readers to try out, as this was the exact point I started buying the original magazine-sized series. It's a more traditionally plotted story with the characters, such as Maggie, Danita, Ray, Doyle, Speedy, and Esther explored in more realistic detail than earlier Locas episodes (in my opinion). Flashbacks that fade in and out of the narrative are a staple of Jaime's stories, and they serve this short story arc very well, fleshing out the backstory of Maggie making us care for a character we might not have even encountered before. The ending, where Speedy visits Maggie and it's not clear if he's a spirit or still alive at that moment, is the sort of element that elevated Jaime's work from sci-fi or punk moving it more toward literature.

Another good point of Mr. Pierce is the new reader moving onto Gilbert's "Palomar" stories, also mirroring my own introduction to Gilbert's work, as early on I bought Love and Rockets Volume 2: Chelo's Burden one of the big-size softcover collections they were doing in the late-80s. That reprinted Love and Rockets 3 and 4 with Gilbert's first Palomar story "Heartbreak Soup." This is also a shorter story at only 50 or so pages, although Gilbert manages to introduce nearly all his major characters and tell a compelling love story/tragedy in a more European-style story (in form, if not theme).

The only thing I disagree with is Mr. Pierce's assertion that the various collections and series of Love and Rockets are either confusing or unavailable (OK, maybe the former is hard to argue with). All Love and Rockets collections are available from in either new or used condition at varying prices. How do I know this? Simply search for "love and rockets hernandez" and the sidebar will have a link to "The Complete Guide to Love and Rockets" by Armando Milcevic. This lists all 24 large-size collections of L&R Volumes I and II, two hardcover collections of selections from Volume I, and all seven of the newest softcover reprints which reprint the complete stories from Volume I.

Of course, the logical thing to do when having trouble finding your favorite book is do an internet search for the publisher, in this case: Fantagraphics Books . Knowing that it might be difficult to keep track of all three Love and Rockets series (not to mention all the other related Hernandez Brothers titles), co-publisher Kim Thompson put together the invaluable "How to Read Love and Rockets" this covers all the newer collections, sorts them out, saying what books overlap, lists links for separate tiles in the catalog, allows you to browse either Jaime or Gilbert books, and points out the two (only two) books that are out of print (even though the material is/will be in print in other volumes).

Would someone please tell Mr. Pierce to buy a copy of Amor Y Cohetes the new softcover collection which reprints all our beloved "Rocky and Fumble" stories and "Errata Stigmata" as well (not to mention Mario's stories which are often overlooked)! This certainly isn't a good entry-level book for new readers, more like a bonus for all of us that already are Love and Rockets geeks.