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.