Friday, June 3, 2011

Love and Rockets

originally written 3/30/10

Okay, now I see why it’s called Love and Rockets. There are actual rockets! Jaime Hernandez’s saga of the punkettes Maggie and Hopey started out with a decidedly surrealist/science fiction bent, and I have to say I prefer the later episodes as they are somewhat more grounded in reality (and the drawing style improves and gains confidence).

This volume sees Maggie becoming the mechanic assistant to Rand Race and traveling across the world with his entourage, a fact which doesn’t seem to faze her much despite the fact the world at large is full of hovercrafts, dinosaurs, failed coups, bombings, and stuff that just doesn’t happen in Hoppers! She’s head-over-heels with Race, but they never quite hit it off right.

The Hernandez Brothers are not afraid of nudity, something that should be clear to all readers of Love and Rockets right away. I don’t think I would charge them with sexism as even though Hopey, Maggie, and Penny Century spend a lot of the comics in various states of undress, they are for the most part drawn realistically (unlike DC or Marvel women, that’s for sure!) and usually have good reasons for being unclothed—for example, Maggie and Hopey sleep in the same bed. Perhaps they overdo it a bit, but I think I can honestly say as an artist it can be more fun to draw bodies than clothes all the time!

The early years of Las Locas are clever and punny and quite meta-fictional; they refer to themselves as being in a comic and also to their artist/writer! One of my favorite pieces is “Locos,” which is told from Speedy Ortiz’s perspective: Maggie, Izzy, and Speedy’s relationship with them. It’s interesting that, as fun as Hernandez’s forays into the fantastic are, I prefer the more grounded stories.

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