How to read Love and Rockets

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Daunted by the idea of jumping into the immense canon of Los Bros Hernandez? You’re missing a world of wrestling, gangs, whispering trees and unexpected heartache. If you’re confused about how to read the books, Jeffrey O. Gustafson of Jim Hanley’s universe has just posted a Definitive Guide to Comics’ Supreme Masterpiece that explains which volume comes where:

Each author’s stories are independent of the others, and should be approached separately. Jaime (“Xaime”) has almost exclusively told one continuing story over the last 30 years, Locas, while Gilbert (“Beto”) has serialized several different ongoing stories and many short stories over the decades in Love & Rockets (the longest work being what I call the Palomar/Luba cycle), plus numerous other works for other publishers.

The comics of Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez contained under the Love & Rockets umbrella of titles have been published across 121 issues over 30 years, in four distinct phases across four anthologies and seven mini-series; collected in 27 sequential hardcover & softcover albums, collections, and graphic novels; and nine softcover omnibus collections.


Stellar work here—even as a die-hard fan I sometimes lose track of which books reprint what storylines. But with this guide, it’s really not that hard, and you’ll be glad you did.

It’s looking to be a big year for Los Bros, btw with several books about their work coming out, and Gilbert’s MARBLE SEASON coming out from D&Q. Don’t delay! Start reading LOVE AND ROCKETS today!

Comments

  1. awesomedude says:

    The fact that it needs such massive lists explaining it is preceisely why I’ve never had any desire to read it, despite everyone’s praise. What a pain.

  2. Whrnever I read Love and Rockets I wonder why I bother to read anything else.

    @ awesomedude – you don’t even need to bother with these lists. The new Fantagraphics reprints put the stories in order and collect them in story order. Just start with number 1! They hit the ground running and the first stories, while not as incredibly deep as the later and current stories, is fantastic.

  3. jacob lyon goddard says:

    I hate it when people suggest reading the stories separate. Watching the brothers grow as cartoonists side by side and seeing their work complement each other is a big part of what I love about the comic.

  4. Chris Duffy says:

    What a nice service! I can’t recommend this series highly enough.
    Though… I can’t help thinking that it’s too bad you have to read ‘em as big expensive books these days…if you can find separate issues from the first series (you know, back when comics had staples), a few of those might be the best introduction for the least dough. Then again, while I didn’t mind not knowing who everyone was at first, a younger reader might. I grew up reading superhero comics that were already underway and was used to catching up. Of course if you can keep track of all the Scott Pilgrim characters from volume to volume, you’ll be fine!

  5. Your loss, “awesomedude.” As I clearly delineate, it’s just six graphic novels to read all of Locas by Jaime, and seven to read all of Luba/Palomar by Gilbert. How this is worse than any random superhero with dozens of graphic novels and hundreds of issues and thousands of appearances is beyond me. I’m biased, but with my guide (and with Fantagraphics fantastic collected editions) it’s never been easier to read this stuff.

  6. awesomedude says:

    @Sabin! – No sh*t? – Fair enough. To the Fantagraphics collections! I honeslty had no idea. Time for me to see what the buzz is about.

  7. Chris Hero says:

    L&R is the greatest comic series ever. The Fantagraphics compilations just make it a lot easier to read the stories!

  8. jacob lyon goddard says:

    I haven’t read any of the digest editions, how does Jaime’s work look shrunk down from album size?

  9. Honestly, it does look better larger and the printing isn’t as good as the older editions or original magazine formats. But if you’ve never read it, having the stories in order for someone who’s never read it would outweigh the printing. But “New Love” began the smaller format and that is the way they are published now (and the new stuff looks great in the smaller format). If you’ve read Love and Rockets, the big chronological reprints are wonderful.

  10. jacob lyon goddard says:

    I managed to completely forget that New Stories was digest size. The Bro’s art looks just fine in them, but I can’t imagine Jaime’s early stuff looks good reduced that much.

    I still feel that reading the work in its original mish-mash order is a richer and more rewarding experience.

  11. The Beat says:

    My favorite formats are the huge hardcover LOCAS and PALOMAR books… kind of hard to hold up and read but indicative of the weight within.

  12. george says:

    I checked the massive LOCAS out of my public library and had a ball reading it. It was great to have so much material in one big (very big) chunk. It helped me get up to speed on these characters.

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