The Love and Rockets Companion: 30 Years (and Counting) contains three incredibly in-depth and candid interviews with creators Gilbert, Jaime and Mario Hernandez: one conducted by writer Neil Gaiman (Coraline); one conducted some six years into the comic’s run by longtime L&R publisher Gary Groth; and one conducted by the book’s author, spanning Gilbert’s, Jaime’s and Mario’s careers, and looking to the future of the ongoing series, with a follow-up conversation with Groth. This book has foldout family trees for both Gilbert’s Palomar and Jaime’s Locas storylines; unpublished art; a character glossary (which is handy, considering that Gilbert alone has created 50+ characters!); highlights from the original series’ anarchic letters columns; timelines; and the most wide-ranging Hernandez Brothers bibliography ever compiled, including album and DVD covers, posters and more. The obsessive-yet-accessible detail and high production values make it a must-have for comics collectors, scholars, libraries and old and new fans alike: for those new to the series, it will make jumping in seem less daunting. For longtime fans, it clears up confusion that even those devoted to the groundbreaking alternative comic over its 30-year run can experience, given the sheer amount of material and sophisticated storytelling techniques (such as flashbacks, flash forwards, elliptical narrative and magical realism).
* Other People's Publications ** Yeah, You Know Me.
It's summertime, and the perfect way to spend it is with the "semi-autobiographical" novel Marble Season by the great Gilbert Hernandez, published by our dear friends at Drawn & Quarterly!
Sure, I s'pose it takes place during the school year, but there's just something about Beto's stories of kids staging backyard plays, shooting marbles, and holding initiations for secret clubs that made me think of my own childhood and running around with no parents around during summer vacations!
Even though it was inspired by Gilbert's own childhood growing up in suburban 1960s California, anyone can relate to the family relationships, to crushes on classmates, and, of course, to the developing love of comic books! (Although I will admit I kept thinking, "Is that s'posed to be baby Jaime?! Is Mario the older brother with bad grades?! Hee!")
Get your copy of Marble Season along with many, many, many other Gilbert Hernandez titles at the Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, located at 1201 S. Vale Street in Seattle's Georgetown district. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone: (206) 658-0110.
We know you've really been wondering what the interior of Love and Rockets: The Covers looks like... how it's laid out, what the recoloring looks like, what it includes. This PDF excerpt should answer your questions, particularly the Editor's Note:
It's a spectacular and dee-luxe production and we want to be sure we're getting everything just right at the printer, so we're taking a little extra time with it and it's now scheduled for September release. Here's a sample of the clear overlay that wraps around the front cover:
Supernatural mysteries run amok in Gilbert Hernandez's The Children of Palomar and unraveling them could mean trouble for all but this isn't quite Twin Peaks, its Palomar. Originally released as a three-issue magazine series titled New Tales of Old Palomar in the acclaimed international "Ignatz" format, these comics now live in a handsomely designed hardcover package!
We had advances of this beautiful graphic novel at TCAF but the book will debut at Comic-Con International in San Diego where Gilbert himself will sign copies and sketch Pipo, Chelo, Carmen or even a young Tonantzín inside! The rest of you will just have to preorder and wait for July! Beware the Blooter Baby...
The fastest hot-to-trot release of online Commentaries & Diversions:
• Review:Good Dog has it this week. Graham Chaffee's return to comics gets a starred review from Publishers Weekly. "Chaffees’s art is both lyrical and dramatic when it needs to be, mixing Craig Thompson and Gilbert Hernandez. As with White Fang and Black Beauty, Chaffee goes inside the psychology of animals without over sentimentalizing and shows why the human/pet relationship is so precious for both sides."
• Review: Diamond Scoop is all over Wake Up, Percy Gloom by Cathy Malkasian. "Malkasian fills the story with multiple levels, never once making any of them obvious. Her experience as an animator shines through as her pencil and panel construction holds an incredible sense of movement inside a graphic novel format.…More than a fable, Percy Gloom is part of story telling myth that can be traced back to campfires around a cave. This is an inspiring work that speaks to all levels of our existence."
• Review: Bob Temuka of the Tearoom of Despair checks out Peter Bagge's Other Stuff. "This book is excellent… the looser Bagge's stuff gets, the better. Other Stuff is funnier than [Everybody Is Stupid Except For Me], even if there is that same sociological satire, because it has Bagge people wigging the fuck out, and nuthin' is funnier than that.."
• Review: Shawn Starr of The Chemical Box reviews 3 New Stories by Dash Shaw. "3 New Stories is a comic which explores the juxtaposition and superimposition of images within the structure of text/drawing based comics (a.k.a. traditional comics) as a means of underlining the thematic nature of it's stories.…Shaw codes the pages of '3 New Stories' with layers of visual subtext that work as an interesting color palette and also through their existence as “images”, create additional layers of meaning to each page and the narrative as a whole."
• Review: Bill Boichel from Copacetic Comics enjoys New School by Dash Shaw. "This purposeful leveling of the high/low, fine/popular distinction in the arts has a specific aim in reinforcing the "message" encoded within the narrative. The basics of the story we are given in New School are about as old school as you can get, centering on two brothers, each sent by their father on a quest to a faraway land. The brothers, Daniel and Luke, are each given names with strong biblical associations. The latter, however, additionally references the modern mythology of Star Wars. This dual reference serves as a key opening the door to New School's narrative strategy."
• Review: IndieWire has a suggestion for you in regards to Micky Mouse Color Sundays by Floyd Gottfredson (edited by Groth and David Gerstein). Jerry Beck writes, "Leave it to Gerstein, with co-editor Gary Groth and the team at Fantagraphics, to reprint these rare strips with the greatest of care. The reproduction of the line art is superb, the coloring is vivid and faithful to the original newspaper printings … stop what you are doing and order this book today. 280 pages of absolute joy."
• Review: KC Carlson of Comics Worth Reading read and weeps (from laughter) in the latest Carl Barks collection, Donald Duck: The Old Castle's Secret. "I read it as a child. Yet I remember clearly every detail about it. Such is the power of Carl Barks’ work. His storytelling is designed to appeal to youngsters as well as folk who are as old as Scrooge.…I laughed so hard that I had to put the book down for a couple of minutes. Sharp-eyed readers should also pay attention to other jokes hidden in what Donald is reading in other stories throughout the book."
• Interview (audio): Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds and co-editor, Philip Nel, talk Crockett Johnson, Barnaby and Ruth Kruss on Inkstuds with Robin McConnell.
• Review:Comics Grinder makes some new meat with Beta Testing the Apocalypse by Tom Kacynski. "Kaczynski’s humor is, at times, acerbic, with an attitude…Read as a whole, the author’s vision comes through as heart-felt, witty, and maybe even, perhaps, genuinely concerned…Architecture is seen as a possible solution to the many ills of one struggling nation," writes Henry Chamberlain.
• Review:The Austin Chronicle weighs The Adventure of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert. Shannon McCormick writes, "Christ, this thing is gorgeous…Like his American Pop Art idols and comrades, Peellaert’s work smashed distinctions between "high" and ‘low’ modes of art, drawing from the visual language of advertising, cinema, fashion, and youth culture, as well as classical and neo-classical sculpture and architecture."
• Review: Stuff I Read This Week and the Darling Dork revisit Maggie the Mechanicby Jaime Hernandez. "A large part of the fun of Love and Rockets is seeing how the Herndandezes grew and developed as creators, with experimentation giving way to clarity of vision…You can look at these characters and still recognize them perfectly well, only sans several decades of growth…there’s still plenty of greatness to be found here."
• Interview (audio): Gilbert Hernandez talks about kids' comics, Love and Rockets, plus D&Q's Marble Season on The Dinner Party.
• Plug (video): Staffer Jen Vaughn speaks very briefly on working for Fantagraphics and comics at TCAF on Comics Bulletin (I apologize for speaking in 3rd person)
The coldest Dip'n'Dots of Online Commentaries & Marketing:
• Interview: Comic Book Resources and Alex Dueben interview Peter Bagge about Other Stuff and his favorite collaborations in the book, "The earliest one in the book, "Life in These United States," didn't come out looking at all like I had envisioned it…what Clowes did with it was truly remarkable. Also, Gilbert [Hernandez] radically changed the faces, ages and even genders of almost everyone in the "Me" strip. That threw me for a loop! Though it didn't negatively impact the story in the slightest."
• Review:The A.V. Club looks at Peter Bagge's Other Stuff. "Other Stuff also brings together strips Bagge has written about rock icons, along with a few cartoon essays, and strips featuring his characters Lovey and The Leeways, who respectively represent hipster adventurism and dogged domesticity. It’s a full picture of who Bagge has been as an artist and humorist over the past 20 years, and as such is as valuable for newcomers as fans…" writes Noel Murray.
• Interview:Peter Bagge is interviewed on Societe Perrierby Christian J Petersen on comics, Seattle and growing up clever. "Did your parents encourage your creativity? No, though they didn't discourage it. They were drunk."
• Review:The Quietus looks at The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert and Pierre Bartier. Aug Stone writes, "Jodelle is fantastic in every sense of the word, filled with in-jokes and time-defying references, nudity and sex (not always coinciding), exaggerated violence, but most importantly a sense of pushing the edges of possibility…The original Pop Art comic and one of the first ‘adult comics’ (released a year after Barbarella by same publisher Eric Losfeld), Jodelle is an artistic tour de force."
• Review: Bookgasm looks at The Adventures of Jodelle by Guy Peellaert. "…let the fleshy neon visuals explode into your eyeballs.…It won’t have the same impact today, as many of its visual ideas have been appropriated and subverted into the mainstream culture, but as both a time capsule of its era and as a visually stunning romp, it remains a unique experience that should certainly be at least sampled by any adventurous modern reader of comics. Playfully provocative, funny and smart, THE ADVENTURES OF JODELLE pops with a soft-lined splash of lurid color," writes JT Lindroos.
• Review: It's Nice That and look at The Adventures of Jodelle. "Peellaert was every bit the master of his craft and with enviable vision and flair managed to transform a previously safe medium into something exciting and dangerous…It’s intoxicating stuff!" exclaims James Cartwright.
• Interview:HeroesOnline and Seth Peagler interview Ed Piskor about comics, music and Hip Hop Family Tree. Piskor states, "There were some interesting things to look at while writing the book. It’s necessary to know the political/economic climate at the time. The fine art scene plays an integral role in the development of early Hip Hop as well, which many people might not know. If it wasn’t for the downtown scene gravitating toward graffiti culture it could have all died out in the early 80s."
• Review:I Reads You reads Love and Rockets: New Stories #5 by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez. Leroy Douresseaux writes, "This publishing format is designed to appeal to the people who decide what will make the shelves of bookstores.…this is another volume of New Stories which proves that Love and Rockets is as strong as ever and is ready for 30 more great years."
• Review:Kotaku's roundtable discuss what they did and didn't like about Julio's Day by Gilbert Hernandez. Evan Narcisse posits "I did like how the family lived on the fringes of the 20th Century. It reminded me A LOT of Gabriel Garcia Marquez' 100 Years of Solitude. The weird almost-incest, characters with the same names and weird proclivities, home-as-a-black-hole-you-can't-escape, the outside world as an exotic dangerous place, nature as this karmic equalizer …"
• Interview: Nicole Rudick of The Comics Journal interviews James Romberger and Marguerite Van Cook about 7 Miles A Second and their creative life together. James mentions, "…it is about empathy, the only thing we have that allows us to touch each other. So if there’s anything positive to be taken out of the book, it’s that we should be working toward a more empathetic experience while we’re on the planet."
• Review:Comic Book Resources looks at 50 Girls 50 by Al Williamson. "It’s interesting seeing how different some of the artwork is – Williamson liked science fiction, apparently, and was occasionally bored with the other stories William Gaines or Al Feldstein gave him, but there’s no story here that doesn’t at least offer something sublime…Fantagraphics has done a really nice job bringing a lot of the 1940s/1950s stuff back into print, and if they keep picking such cool stuff like this, I’ll just have to keep buying it!" exclaims Greg Burgas.
• Review:Spectrum Culture looks at'Tain't the Meat by Jack Davis. "Davis was a phenomenal draftsman whose dynamic line work could imbue even static scenes with restless energy, and whose clean but detailed layouts could bring to life queasiness-inducing tableaux of rotting corpses and piled intestines…Al Feldstein and Carl Wessler wrote the lion’s share of these tales and had a knack for mixing cruel irony and creeping dread.…EC has been gone for decades now, but volumes like this help ensure that its influence won’t be forgotten." writes David Maine.
• Review:The Portland Mercury on Dash Shaw's New School. "The experience of reading New School is like temporarily inhabiting the body and brain of an artist: This is what growing up might feel like for someone who lives and breathes colors and shapes," writes Allison Hallett. "It's heady, hallucinatory, and bizarre, but it's grounded in the simple experience of growing up in the shadow of a beloved older sibling."
• Interview: Societe Perrier by Christian J Petersen interview Johnny Ryan. "You seem to be exploring a darkside in your work but you soften the blow with humor. What would your real darkside look like?Prison Pit. "
• Plug: Duckburg Weekly looks at Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Vol. 1: Race to Death ValleyandMickey Mouse Volume 2: Trapped on Treasure Island by Floyd Gottfredson. "With Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse Classic Collection Fantagraphics Books published a must-have for everyone who's interested in early works of the Walt Disney Company!…[Vol. 1]offers amazing articles about the 'birth' of Mickey Mouse, bonus panels which were never published and different artists in the spotlight (such as Al Taliaferro and Jack King)…Again [in Vol. 2] there is a chapter with incredible bonus material which informs about the villains, Floyd's colleagues and additional comic strips."
• Interview:It's Nice That and James Cartwright interviewed Anders Nilsen about The End, coming out in print this fall. "…some of it is pretty raw, and that’s how I felt at the time. Some of it is funny, too, I think, which is also part of the experience. It can feel very absurd at times. If it feels like a crazy emotional roller coaster to read, then it’s doing the job."
• Review:The Comics Journal reviewed the Kolor Klimaxanothology, edited by Matthias Wivel. Robert Kirby writes, "I found myself drawn back to each several times…That, for me, is the common vibe generated by this and other Euro-comics anthologies: the sense of possibility and novelty that comes from having available a whole new frontier of previously hard-to-come-by alt-comics by accomplished artists to explore. Comics speak a universal, intuitive language, but this 'Nordic Hypnotica' opens Americans up to previously unfamiliar dialects that are a pleasure to read, enjoy, and occasionally decode."
• Review:Kitty Sneezes looks at Drew and Josh Alan Friedman'sAny Similarity to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental. "Shemp acts both as a beacon of Drew Friedman's amazing artistic skill, but also as a signpost of what you'll find.…strips starring the semi-forgotten figures of old media. Figures like Abbott & Costello, Chet Huntley, Joe Franklin or Tor Johnson come up frequently. I especially love the Tor strips. And usually, though there's a surrealist bent like you'd find in the work of Michael Kupperman, there's usually a sense of love for the work of these people" writes Rev. Syung Myung Me.
The Toronto Comics Arts Festival was amazing, it was a whole corral of Fantagraphics cartoonists visiting Toronto with publicist Jacq Cohen and me to sell sell sell books to the sweetest Canadians. On Friday we stopped at the coolest comic book store, The Beguiling.
Dash Shaw's new floppy comic, 3 New Stories! Plus, Maidenheadlock a crazy screen printed comic.
There was an awesome shop called Honest Ed's full of $1 jeggings and $3 babies. BABIES, guys. It was a hell of deal. Luckily they had cool signage everywhere. If Jacq ever uses the internet for dates, here you go.
We were all lucky enough to enjoy a converstation between Gilbert Hernandez, Tom Spurgeon and Jaime Hernandez about Love and Rockets, alternative comics and more in the Reference Library Friday night.
Andrew and James (yes?) from The Beguiling working the Bros book booth on Friday night. Thank you for being sweethearts and working hard.
Mike Winters, funny comic book man and Kupperman fan, was ready for his first comics show and showed off his cash envelope-bowl. His loonies and toonies smelled faintly of egg salad.
Jaime and Dash Shaw were ready EARLY at 9am to sign books!
Our first cup of coffee was barely over before a Jaime fan bared all to show off his sexy Maggie tattoo. Jaime said "Make sure to get those boxers in the photo" just so you know I'm not objectifying this gentleman.
Then the magical Ulli Lust made her appearance. Leon Avelino of Secret Acres and The Beguiling's Peter Birkmoe showed up but were sadly outdone by the BEST CON FACE EVER. Thank you, Toronto.
Ulli doesn't really spend ANY time on these book signings, right? Man, alive!
Gilbert pretends to act crotchedy with an enthsiastic Peggy Burns from D&Q. Jade and Tracy in the background!
Jaime and I discuss Little League baseball. Gilbert keeps up the act.
Jacq and our former intern, future super cartoonist Sophie Yanow.
Oh geez, they had someone doing 10 minute henna at the front of TCAF show and while so beautiful, all I could think is what happens when someone accidentally rubs the still drying design on some $40 book. Actually, now I think about it that's a great way to get rid of some backstock.
Ulli and Dash signing books: Dash promises he was listening and not drifting back into his new book, New School.
BUT Dash Shaw and I only have to hear the first half of the word 'VOGUE' before hittin' it, so to speak.
One of the Beguiling employees was chuffed to meet Michael Kupperman so they had to pose for a photo. You can tell its nice and early here because of all the butt space people have while walking down the aisles.
Michael draws a commissioned illustration for a fan.
Jacq snapped this photo of Michael at his artist spotlight panel. We wish our cartoonists had more confidence.
Alex from The Beguiling picks up The Armed Garden by his favorite cartoonist, David B. NO, DA-vead Beh, say it right.
Ulli stops to say hi to smart person and comics fan, Gil Roth.
Thanks to Oliver East for tabling next to Fantagraphics all weekend, he is a true pleasure!
ALSO, thank you thank you to anyone who stopped by my comics booth. I put my name in for work and myself and never dreamed I'd get into TCAF with my own comics. Thanks to you, new friends, (and my harried and usually alone tablemate, Lucy Bellwood).
How cool is The Beguiling for buying all your comics (or a goodly amount) after the show? Standing in the line was worth it not to carry your comics back over the border! Hopefully you said thank you to Peter Birkemoe and Chris Butcher at some point.
The after party was at Lee's Palace, an old punk venue that was so gorgeous. The town is full of beautiful facades and interesting buildings.
The Monday after the show we ran around Toronto with whomever was left in town. Like Rutu Modan! Jacq, me and Rutu accidentally ate opposite Robin, Mark P. Hensel (aka William Cardini) and Murilo.
Theo Ellsworth joined us for a visit to the beautiful Taiyo Matsumoto exhibit at the Japan Foundation and we ran into the Matsumoto himself! I've been a fan since Steve Bissette showed me some of his comics and the Ping Pong movie. PLEASE check it out if you haven't already and prepare to be blown away.
This restaurant could be dangerous for someone like me. We were all confused as to what this kid's mouth is doing, why he's pushing his cheeks in, especially when saying the word 'cheese' pulls your mouth wide. You win this one, Toronto.
Thank you, TCAF and The Beguiling, for all the help and love. We had a great time. Ulli mentioned one time how much she loved 'North American enthusiasm' so you made her week!
Here's your first sneak peek of an advance copy of The Love and Rockets Companion, edited by Marc Sobel & Kristy Valenti and coming in July. This book fits nicely on your shelf with the Love and Rockets Library volumes and serves as your guide to the L&R universe, with 3 major interviews with the Hernandez brothers, character guides, previously unpublished artwork, Locas and Palomar timelines, a complete bibliography, and letter column excerpts. All this wrapped in a fold-out jacket with a poster on one side and character family trees on the other! We'll show you that in action along with more views of the book soon.
Our free 32-page preview assembles short excerpts from each of the major sections; read it here, where you can also place your pre-order. And you can pre-order a set of the Companion, Covers, and Reader books at a nice discount here.
Holy comicsolly! Here's photos from the Stumptown Comics Fest in Portland, OR. Dash Shaw was in attendance with New School, which flew off the table. WHY THE WAIT on pictures? We forgot our own con rules. To remain human you must 5-2-1-I: At least 5 hours of sleep, 2 meals a day, 1 shower and Ibuprofen at night. Four hours of sleep one night wrecked this gal and boy, did she pay for it.
Lots of our Fantastaff came to the show since it was so close! Me, Designer Emory Liu, PR Director Jacq Cohen, Dash and Office Manager Steph Rivers.
Patrick Rosenkranz held some long, lovely conversations with fans of comics history and his book Rebel Visions. Patrick also led a Spain Rodriguez tribute panel, if you can ever take a class by him bring a recorder!
Dash talks to fans, cartoonists and the awesome Ming Doyle (who is both).
Portland is awesome because there are cartoonists everywhere. And by everywhere I mean at bars or restaurants. We ran in to Greg Means, Alec Longstreth and Claire Sanders at the Red Flag on the way to the Top Shelf party.
Having the warehouse van proved useful driving home slightly drinky cartoonists. James Kochalka, Rachel Foss and Dash Shaw hold court in the back.
ACCESSORIES. We saw quite a bit. Ed Luce rocked some additional tags.
Dash signed the Stumptown sketch poster HIS WAY.
Patrick Yurick had the best NEW comics-related tattoo. It even has the Wattersonesque dropped panel borders for that comic beat.
Speaking of PANELS: Dash tickled the audience with this animation and comic panel. He's got comedic timing DOWN.
Here I am looking goofy alongside some of the smarter people in comics on a submissions panel: Allison Baker of MonkeyBrain Comics, Jamie S. Rich (talking about old Oni days), Bob Schreck and Sina Grace of Image and Skybound. Panel photo by Glenn Peters.
Our Kristy Valenti, Patrick Rosenkranz and Tom Spurgeon gave a beautiful Spain Rodriguez tribute panel. Photo by someone who still rocks a flash.
INTERN POWER. We had several interns tabling with their own comics. Low-res intern Kevin Uehlein and Ben Horak on the edges of a beautiful comics table, Beth Hetland and Pat Barrett in the middle. Ben's shy so all you get is his sideburns.
Intern Nomi Kane and her comic spread. The Back of Ben Horak.