Monday, September 28, 2015

Jaime Hernandez' Locas vs. Locos

Love and Rockets was one of my favorite comics in the 80's and Jaime's Locas was my favorite part of Love and Rockets. In it Jaime would create stories that were like amazing jewelry by coming up with a simple plot thread on which he would string his myriad of precious gems of characters on. Impetuous Hopey, sweet Maggie, head strong Terry, crazy Izzy. Each of Jaime's crazy characters are a perfect example of people that we have met, or friends that we know, in all their wacky, endearing glory.
Love and Rockets #17 was one of my favorite issues. In it Hopey's brother Joey goes in search of his missing Ape Sex record he lent Hopey only to end up on a marry chase all over town, encountering some of the most interesting characters in all of literature.

It starts with Hopey's brother Joey entertaining his friends Doyle and Tony with his punk rock records in a typical teenager's messy room complete with pictures of bands and girls. It's such a simple scene but so packed with so much information about these characters. We all recognize how  bored teenagers get, and hanging out and listen to records or things. We recognize the young metal head skater with a chip on his shoulder and the apathetic older friend who buys them beer and drives them around town. We recognize the dad that has been alienated from his son because of years of working a shitty job that has left him too spent to care about much of anything. A lot of info is packed in these few panels filling out this rich world that Jaime is creating for us.
Jamie has a way with dialog which he uses to pull out each characters peculiarities. It's natural sounding but so full of tidbits of information about each character. Here we learn about Doyle and Joey's taste in women (and one in particular) and that the younger Tony not only has a different taste in music but also in women. 
Jamie's depiction of impetuous Hopey, not one of the most subtle of girls, is one of the most beloved characters in all of comics history. He creates worlds with his dialog casually referencing things like Maggie's bad foot, that builds upon each character's history, filling them out and making them more real and endearing to us. 
Jaime will casually mention people in passing to make the world seem more natural and real, but those inconsequential character's are fully realized even before we see them in the comic. For example Maggie's aunt Vicky Glory is mentioned here but we won't actually see her for some time. It's all part of Jaime's skill at world building and making the comic feel realistic. It's why we care so much for the characters. 
And Jamie creates myriad of fully formed characters that only appear in the comic in passing or not at all. Here we meet Tom Tom, Daffy and their crew. We don't know all their names but the clothes and behavior are so descriptive of who they are, we feel that we know them anyway.  
Jaime's mastery of body language and expressions perfectly captures the subtle inner world of the characters so well as we see here with Joey playing strait faced to Tom Tom's attempt to attract his attention by firstly playing and gradually getting frustrated at Joey's disinterest in her. It's so subtle but oh so juicy. 
On top of Jaime's amazing skill at creating believable, fun characters, his art is second to none. He employs this economic style of lines with very strong blacks that creates wonderful rhythms on the page. At times it's cartoony and expressive and at other times it's realistic and moody but it always perfectly suits and enhances the story. 
Jaime cleverly brings the story around full circle with Joey discovering that it is Tony that had his Ape Sex record all along.  
Jaime does some creative shading on the last panel of the page with the heavy shadows giving the impression of being at dusk. 
Here the heavy shadows adds a kind of mystery to the whole ambiance of the scene. 
The Hernandez brothers have become two of the most successful of the Independent Comics creators with their emphasis on original believable characters, especially their female characters. In an industry dominated by prepubescent male power fantasies, to make a success of a bunch of average girls is no small feat but with writing and drawing skills like Jaime's it's no wonder why.


  1. Sounds like a band name , love and rockets. To me its a bit shady, not something i would go over twice, but not bad enough to neglect either.

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