- Posted by Johanna on February 6, 2007 at 7:07 am
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: by Jaime Hernandez
- PUBLISHER: Fantagraphics; $49.95 US
Jaime Hernandez, along with his brother Gilbert, is responsible for one of the key independent comic titles of the 1980s, Love and Rockets. Together, they brought a punk rock mentality to the medium and used it to express California Hispanic life. Locas collects Jaime’s Maggie and Hopey stories from that title in over 700 pages, resulting in a sprawling novel of two women’s lives over decades.
As you might expect from a series that ran over 15 years, off and on, there are noticeable changes from the beginning to the end, both in art style and subject matter. Watching the artist’s growth is part of the charm. Maggie began as a science fiction mechanic, working on rocket ships in exotic jungle locations populated by dinosaurs. Our first introduction to her is through her letters home to friend and sometime lover Hopey, a musician.
Soon enough, the focus changes to daily life, although the series never completely loses a sense of whimsy, with strange occurrences and characters appearing among the walking, talking, partying, fighting, and hanging out. The recurring cast includes Izzy, a spooky friend rumored to be a witch; an aunt who’s a professional wrestler trying to enlist Maggie in the game; and Penny Century, a topless adventuress and wannabe superhero. Conveniently, she’s friends with a billionaire, who provides an excuse for setting changes every so often.
Jaime combines unusual influences, most obviously expressive figures inspired by the work of Dan DeCarlo on Archie comics and the strong blacks of Alex Toth. Jaime’s compositions are shown to advantage on thick, glossy paper, and his characters are beautifully drawn.
It’s easy to get lost in the accomplishment of the panels, impressive combinations of line and shadow. Heartfelt emotion and complicated relationships are expressed through slick, powerful lines. While there are many comics that have followed the same characters over decades, this is one of the vanishingly few that allows those characters to change, grow, and age.