The PopCult Comix Bookshelf
This is a new edition of a Love and Rockets book that was originally published in 2008. One never-before-reprinted single-page comic strip has been added for this printing.
Amor y Cohetes is the seventh volume in the “Complete Love & Rockets” series of compact, affordable paperbacks. I recommend all volumes of this incredible work. They are some of the best comics ever made, period. Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez are masters of graphic storytelling, and Mario is no slouch, either. I’ve praised their work in this blog since before the first printing of this book, and they still produce some of the best comics in the world.
However, since this collects some of the lesser-known works from one of the most important and influential comics of the 1980s, we’re going to take advantage of the new printing and revisit these gems. Amor Y Cohetes: A Love and Rocket Book collects together in one convenient package all the non-Maggie and non-Palomar stories by all three Hernandez Brothers from that classic first, 50-issue Love & Rockets series—a dizzying array of styles and approaches that re-confirms these groundbreaking cartoonists’ place in the history of comics.
People sometimes forget that there is a third Hernandez brother, Mario, who though less prolific than his siblings, is still a powerful storyteller. Because he never launched a long-form series within Love and Rockets, like Gilbert’s Palomar tales or Jaime’s Mechanics universe, he sometimes gets the short shrift. This book of short stories by the trio shows how good all three brothers are.
The book leads off with Gilbert’s original 40-page sci-fi epic “BEM” from 1981’s very first issue of Love & Rockets, featuring a very different Luba and a much looser, cheesy sci-fi inspired way of storytelling. This was Gilbert trying to be commercial, before finding his own voice and his calling as a storyteller. It’s a wild artifact of his early talents. Eventually, over the first 50 issues of Love and Rockets, most of the science fiction elements evaporated, leaving us with amazing stories with real human interactions.
Fantagraphic’s PR blurb describes the rest of the contents of this volume:
Other stories include Jaime’s charming “Rocky and Fumble” series starring a planet-hopping girl and her robot; stunning one-shots such as Gilbert’s Frida Kahlo biography and his shocking autobiographical fantasia “My Love Book”; Mario’s genre thrillers which take place “Somewhere in California”; Gilbert’s brutally dystopian “Errata Stigmata”; the playful “Hernandez Satyricon,” with Gilbert drawing Jaime’s characters, and “War Paint,” with Jaime trying out Palomar; Gilbert’s light-hearted “Music for Monsters” starring Bang and Inez; and even a fantastical “non-continuity” Maggie and Hopey story “Easter Hunt” by Jaime that didn’t fit into the other books.
I don’t think I really need to sell experienced readers on Love and Rockets. If you’ve read their other works, you know how great they are. This is a good introductory volume for new fans because the shorter stories will allow them to become acclimated to the Hernandez’s classic storytelling style without being intimidated by tons of backstory.
You should be aware that, if you get hooked, you’ll have to buy the entire Complete Love and Rockets series and you will be a fan for life.
Forty years after I bought the first issue of Love and Rockets at a comic convention in Huntington, I’m still delighted by their new work.
You should be able to order Amor Y Cohetes: A Love and Rockets Book from any bookseller, using the ISBN code, or you can find it at extremely hip comic book shops.
BTW, the band stole their name from the comic book, not the other way around. It sucked because Los Bros wanted to call their own band “Love and Rockets.”