Your Love and Rockets 30th Anniversary thought of the day

Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez have each been telling the stories of the same group of characters, continuously, for three decades. They’ve done lots of other stuff, Gilbert especially, but that’s the bulk of what they’ve done. No one else in comics has done it. No one’s even come close. Could someone else do it? Could someone else tell the life story of their characters, over an actual life span, and have a lot of people care passionately about where those lives end up? I won’t say it’s unimaginable, the idea of someone else doing it, because there are enough similar cases out there for you to imagine those other people doing it, and it’s only then that the gulf between Los Bros and everyone else becomes so clear. What if Bryan Lee O’Malley just kept going with Scott Pilgrim until he hit Vol. 30? What if Dave Sim had never lost his mind? What if all the B.P.R.D. spinoffs were written and drawn by Mike Mignola? What if Achewood were a comic book and Chris Onstad never burned out on it? What if Erik Larsen’s main touchstone for Savage Dragon were Márquez rather than Kirby? What if The Walking Dead were filled with Rick-level characters, instead of Rick and a bunch of other people for Rick to react to? What if Alison Bechdel made a series of Dykes to Watch Out For graphic novels instead of memoirs? What if Harvey Pekar had made stories up instead of writing them down? What if all of these things lasted for thirty years? And oh yeah, what if all of these people had siblings doing the exact same thing at the same time under the same title? It’s only when you see all the hoops one would have to jump through even to come close to what Beto and Xaime have accomplished that you really appreciate that hey, they’re the ones who built the hoops.

Love and Rockets, the great serial comic by Gilbert, Jaime, and sometimes Mario Hernandez, is celebrating its 30th anniversary at the San Diego Comic-Con International this week. Inspired by Tom Spurgeon, this week-long, daily series of posts will highlight some of my favorite things about Los Bros Hernandez and their comics. For more information, click here.

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10 Responses to Your Love and Rockets 30th Anniversary thought of the day

  1. Jeet Heer says:

    I actually think Dave Sim is the closest analog to what Gilbert and Jaime have achieved in their respective world-building enterprises, although as you suggest Sim (for reasons that are endlessly debated) lost the thread half-way through his epic But even the parts of Cerebus I like don’t matter to me in the way that Locas and Palomar matter.

  2. Jeet Heer says:

    By the way, I love this L&R series you’re doing. A really smart way to deal with an immense and amorphous body of work.

  3. Ayo says:

    Thank you: Dykes To Watch Out For is such a good comic and somehow it is underrated. However, Alison Bechdel did essentially make a series of Dykes to Watch Out For “graphic novels” because those strips were collected on a bunch of books. Like what, twelve? More?

    So your wish is pre-granted.

    More significantly, the comics field could stand to smell the roses more often and appreciate what we have rather than pushing it all aside and yearning for some romantic ideal. Dykes to Watch Out For is a nearly-perfect comic. It’s a strip, it’s a book, it’s several books, it’s a webcomic. It is what you want it to be.

    • I’m not even interested in DTWOF, but it seemed like a reasonable comparison. Moreover, I’m all about the yearning. I yearn, Darryl. This blog is not a place to come for non-yearning.

    • Specifically, a gag strip works very differently than a comic, which is why I’m more interested in L&R than in any given gag strip in terms of the topic of this post, character building.

      • Ayo says:

        So you haven’t read Dykes to Watch Out For.

        It’s a character building strip. It’s not a “gag” strip. A little weirded out that you implied that gag strips aren’t “comics,” but I can tell you mean “comic books.”

        Sean, read Dykes to Watch Out For. It’s all about characters, building their relationships in real-time, analogous to Jaime. It isn’t possible for you not to like DTWOF. It was explicitly, exactly what you’re yearning for. Believe me.

        • Yeah, I did mean “comic book” and not just “comic,” not sure how that happened. And no, I haven’t read it. It’s not an art style I’m crazy about, or a format I’m crazy about. I get what you’re getting at by saying it’s not a gag strip, but it still tells a joke every fourth panel and then starts over again, right? I’m not attacking the strip or anything, but I do think I’m making a reasonable distinction.

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