Love and Rockets, the black-and-white comic magazine written and drawn by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez (plus, occasionally, their brother Mario) was one of the best things about the 1980s for me. When it ended and the brothers went on to other worthy projects, I didn’t pay as much attention to what they were up to. So it’s delightful to rediscover them in collections from the Love and Rockets revival that began around 2008 and find their powers undiminished.
Highlights of Vol. 1 include a complex punk superheroine-team epic by Jaime and a bizarre space opera by Beto starring Duke Mitchell and Sammy Petrillo, who in real life were bargain-basement knockoffs of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis and the co-stars of a low-budget science-fiction comedy called Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla. Everything in the collection is as soulful as it is surreal.
Graphic novels are all the rage now, but Los Bros were pushing the envelope of what comics could be when comics weren’t cool, and what they don’t know about the vocabulary and syntax of the medium isn’t worth knowing.