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July 9, 2012

A Plea To My Peers: Please Consider A Comic-Con Related Article About Los Bros Hernandez


If you're registered as press at Comic-Con International or otherwise employed in writing about pop culture, I ask you to please consider an article on the 30th anniversary of Love and Rockets, by Jaime, Gilbert and Mario Hernandez. These are great cartoonists and certainly don't need me to say as much in order to garner a bunch of interest, but I'm worried to death this astounding story might be lost in the wave after wave of material about which one may write at the show. I hope no one minds me gushing about them a bit as a reminder of all they've accomplished.

imageI believe the initial volume of Love and Rockets is one of the five best comics series of all time, a list that includes such works as MAD Magazine, the holy scripture of modern counter-culture. I further think the length of time that work has stayed near the top of comics art is an amazing thing for both comics and the popular arts more generally. Love and Rockets' primary creators Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez are very different cartoonists each of whom sits squarely in the pantheon of modern comics-makers, while inspiration and older brother Mario is a vastly underrated talent and an almost ridiculously over-qualified third contributor. Together, the Hernandez Brothers have created some of the best stand-alone comics works of all time: Blood Of Palomar, The Death Of Speedy Ortiz, The Love Bunglers, Wig Wam Bam and Poison River among them. Their characters are among the comics medium's most poignant and memorable. Theirs are stories that have shaped lives, and mine would be poorer for their absence.

One thing to remember about Comic-Con International is that at its heart it's a comics show. It's vital for the medium we love -- and, really, for the way Comic-Con informs all the different media for which we have affection -- that we treat San Diego as a place where Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez have been in attendance more than 25 times each more than we treat it as a place Steven Spielberg has been to once. Both Jaime and Gilbert remain vital, exciting cartoonists, with collections and new work out for this year's show. Gilbert's much-beloved kids' character Venus is finally available in book format, while Jaime's beautiful God And Science sits more than comfortably with the best half-dozen superhero stories of the last ten years.

Los Bros will also have a new volume of their Love & Rockets: New Stories available at the show. Comics from the previous volume was among last year's most critically-lauded work.

An article about Los Bros Hernandez might conceivably cover their immense and thrilling body of work, their influence on independent and alternative comics, the vital role that Comic-Con has played in their careers, even their continuing, ambitious slate of new work. If I can be of any help at all in brainstorming ideas or putting you in contact with someone in a way that facilitates coverage of these great American artists, I'd be more than happy to do what I can. If you're not a writer-about-comics and want to do a comics-related article, I can't imagine a better, more honorable window into all that comics has become in the Comic-Con era than Los Bros Hernandez.

The Hernandez Brothers will be attending a 30th anniversary panel on Saturday at 1:30 PM in room in room 24. They'll be signing -- well, I'm not sure yet. But I imagine most days at the Fantagraphics table and occasionally elsewhere. Gilbert Hernandez has a new series out from Dark Horse and will be signing there on Thursday at 2 PM. I have to imagine they'd be amenable to interviews or other types of press-drive contact -- their PR person at Fantagraphics is -- one of the most pleasant people on the planet and someone with whom you'll have fun working.

Comic-Con has a lot of different meanings to a lot of different people; no one's show is the same. I maintain great comics remain the show's greatest and most unique offering to the world of pop culture. There is no greater expression of the growth of comics as an art form over the last three decades than Love & Rockets and the Hernandez Brothers. Please consider affording them your time and attention, and making them a part of your coverage. If you already were, and thank you, I hope you'll take a second look at what you have planned and see if there's maybe a bit more to be done. They deserve it.

posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink

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