Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Love and Rockets books announced

As part of a celebration of Love and Rockets's 30th anniversary, Fantagraphics will be publishing the following two books. (Descriptions below taken from a message sent by Gary Groth to a comics scholars mailing list.)

Love and Rockets Companion: 30 Years (and Counting)

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This book has foldout family trees for both Gilbert’s Palomar and Jaime’s Locas storylines; unpublished art; a character glossary (which is handy, considering that Gilbert alone has created 50+ characters!); highlights from the original series’ anarchic letters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).

The Love and Rockets Reader: From Hoppers to Palomar 

The Love and Rockets Reader: From Hoppers to Palomar started as a series of blog posts attempting to answer the deceptively simple question: “what makes Love and Rockets so great?” Over the next six years, it quickly grew into a meticulously researched study containing in-depth analysis of and commentary on the series. Author Marc Sobel delves into the comics’ themes, symbols and influences, as well as the Hernandez Brothers’ artistic development.

Organized into seven main chapters, one for each of the first seven Love and Rockets trade paperback collections (representing the original Love and Rockets Vol. I), the book also includes: the comics’ origins in the Hernandez Brothers’ roots, such as their involvement in the Southern California punk scene, their adventures in self-publishing, and their vital partnership with Fantagraphics; an examination of the Hernandez Brothers’ ill-fated Mister X (a science-fiction series) collaboration; a review of Mario’s solo book, Brain Capers; and a paradigm-changing analysis of Gilbert’s vastly underappreciated erotic graphic novel, Birdland. As an “extra,” The Love and Rockets Reader also includes Jaime’s very first published work: the never-before-reprinted four-page story, “Another Time, Another Place,” from 1977.

An essential resource for scholars and enthusiasts alike, this book will enlighten and deepen even the most ardent fans' appreciation of this groundbreaking series.

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