Before packing up our modest collection of Love & Rockets paperbacks, we snapped a few examples of the dramatic and personal artwork inside. Let’s just admit the photos aren’t the greatest, and offer this as merely a peek – a glimpse – of greatness. The Hernandez Brothers treat their cartoons with love. Though many of these stories resonate with us more than others, you won’t find any poorly done stories.
Highlights include the book Love & Rockets X, a riotous melting pot of ethnic, generational, and gender identity conflicts rendered with humor – but not so much sensitivity it doesn’t sting. The stories of female wrestlers remain our favorites, with loveable and pleasingly plump heroines rendered in black-and-white perfection. Our collection held a large chunk of the critically-acclaimed Palomar stories and the earliest Mechanics stories. If you haven’t read any of this historic series before, see if these pages catch your eyes.
Fantagraphics continues to publish new printings every few years. You can browse the Fantagraphics Love & Rockets selection to see what they currently have in print and in stock. Happy Reading!
It’s our birthday today, so we offer you an origin story. But not just any origin story: Trashman! Bearded hero of the people’s revolution: Trashman! Sometimes called “the Superman of the New left:” Trashman!
Subvert #1 by Spain Rodriguez contains the origin of his guerilla resistance character, Trashman. This off-beat 1970 story published by underground comix legends Rip Off Press describes the transformation of average guy Harry Barnes into an Agent of the Sixth International. He even masters molecular disintegration – whoa!
Murder, nuclear apocalypse, covert agencies, class struggle, satire – and that’s just the origin! The longer story which completes Subvert #1 involves some sexually hungry female revolutionaries. It’s a hoot, but forgive us for not sharing a few pages of THAT with you here.
You can still find well-read copies of Subvert #1 for a few dollars if you are willing to dig. We found a VG- copy at the local comic store for 3 or 4 bucks, or you can go right to Subvert #1 on Amazon.
Fantagraphics published a wonderful collection of all the Trashman stories from 1968 to 1985: Trashman Lives! It fetches a hefty price on Amazon these days, but we found a copy at a used bookstore for less than $20.
A year or so before Image began publishing Sam Kieth’s most famous work, Maxx, Fantagraphics produced two volumes of Kieth’s drawings and short stories as I Before E. With creepy aliens, prowling tigers, and visual treats like the short story “Max the Hare,” these two comic-sized volumes make a fine companion to any Sam Kieth collection.
– from I before E #2; Fantagraphics, 1992
This season’s Fantagraphics catalog arrived in the mail with the portrait of Kim Thompson, above. Kim passed away this summer, but not before he left a rich publishing legacy for us to enjoy.
Below you can see a comic about Kim’s history in the world of comic books, another portrait, and a couple of cartoons produced in his honor. They come from a Seattle publication sent to us by a friend just weeks before the Fantagraphics catalog arrived. If you want to go more in-depth, read the entire article online courtesy of The Stranger. Author Robert Boyd and several more comics artists give Kim a truly touching memorial. If you would like to sample some of our favorites from this publisher, just click Fantagraphics to roam through our online archive.
Jim Morrison had a few things to say in a 1970 interview about Robert Crumb, Zap Comix, and how they warped his view of the world. Jim Korkis provided this excerpt on his ‘potpourri’ page of Amazing Heroes.
– from Amazing Heroes #44; Fantagraphics, 1984.
Below, the original page, as compiled and edited by Jim Korkis.
Issue #44 of Fantagraphics’ fanzine Amazing Heroes showcases one of our all-time favorite series: Alien Legion. We scored it at our top-secret 50-cent rack, but you can easily find a copy for a couple bucks. Its highlights of the creative team, along with some tasty pencils by Frank Cirocco, earn it a place in your Alien Legion collection.
The creative backgrounds of Carl Potts (creator, plotter) and Alan Zelenetz (writer) make interesting reading. And, you get a good look into how the main characters of the series started out. Alien Legion deals with the evolution of the main characters: how they change in response to their missions and war. In retrospect, this article underscores just how much the characters develop throughout the series.
– from Amazing Heroes #44; Fantagraphics, 1984.
The back cover of this issue of Angry Youth Comix is one of the few pages we’d feel comfortable sharing with you here. Having never read this title before, we picked this up off a 50-cent rack just because Fantagraphics published it. It turned out to be the most offensive, disgusting piece of cartoon nightmare nonsense we’d ever read. So of course, we read it two or three times.
– From Angry Youth Comix Vol. 2, #13; Fantagraphics.
Hey – Who doesn’t love getting cool postcards in the mail? In these days of email and instant messaging, it’s easy to forget the joys of getting real, tangible letters delivered to you! Fortunately, our pen pals don’t let us forget. We’d like to share with you some of the fun postcards we get, mostly from our pen pal who goes by the top secret code name ‘Paranoia’ – hence, paranoid postcards!
Frank and his friend the chicken pull a cruel prank on Hog. As Hog flees, he finds solace and comfort with a strange, sensitive, and regal man who treats him kindly. But all good things must come to an end, and all terrible things must come full circle. Let’s take a look at a small excerpt from this tale. For the horrifying conclusion, pick up Portable Frank.
Wordless, funny, poignant, terrifying, and trippy: Jim Woodring‘s “Frank” takes ‘funny animal’ cartoons to a place they’ve never been before!
– From Frank #1 “Gentleman Hog,” Fantagraphics Press.
By Jim Woodring.
– Reprinted in the Frank Hardcover, 354 pages collecting all the color and b&w stories.
– The easiest Frank collection to find is Portable Frank. 200 pages collect a great deal of the black and white stories.
Recuerden el Alamo! presents the true story of Juan N. Sequin and his fight for Texas Independence. This intensively-researched historical comic book by artist Jaxon provides the reader with new insights into the history of Texas and Mexico. Maps and supplemental text, all hand-drawn and written, help bring the story to life. Here are a few samples. Published by Fantagraphics.
In Strange Avenging Tales, you’ll find a re-working of Ditko’s Charlton character The Question, reconfigured as The Baffler – for copyright reasons, we speculate. Also some short crime stories, a little bit of surrealism, and some satirical social commentary. Personal opinion: Some of the best Steve Ditko artwork we’ve ever seen, and the black and white format really showcases his sense of composition and rendering.
The second issue promised in the back of the book never happened, so don’t beat yourself up hunting for it!
Jaime Hernandez of Love and Rockets fame produced this little-known series, Whoa Nellie. Fantagraphics Books published it.
Feast your eyes on a delectable sample of its voluptuous and bodacious majesty!
We’ve looked at Penny Century here, too. Click Penny Century to see more!