Bryan's Reviews > Love and Rockets, Vol. 1: Music for Mechanics

Love and Rockets, Vol. 1 by Gilbert Hernández
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's review
Jul 14, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: comic-nerds-must-read, best-comics-ever, you-should-read-this, own-it
Read in July, 2008

Love and Rockets is the comics series closest to my heart. What is truly wonderful about L&R is that it is a comic in the old fashioned form. An ongoing storyline about a groups of characters that goes on for years and years. It isn't as enclosed as a graphic novel and was never intended to be. These are human stories, unfolding at the pace of life.

Which is why I prefer this 15 volumes of trade paperbacks over the current collected editions. First of all, the size is correct. The new collections are smaller comic-sized whereas the original issues and TPB were magazine sized. It makes me a geek but the size of the art matters a lot to me. The second reason I prefer these TPBs is the intermingling of the stories. Jaime and Beto's work is best when the stories play off each other. It gives rhythm, tension, pacing to stories that lose some of their zing when collected tightly together.

Since they have stopped printing these original TPBs, I finally filled in the holes in my bookshelf and bought all 15. Now I am celebrating by reading the series through from the beginning.

As for the content of this volume, the art is tremendous. The later work has a more sedate and simple layout style but in this volume the Bros are going nuts and having fun. Jaime's deep blacks and silhouettes are sharp and beautiful and make up for the fact that his writing is fairly lightweight at this point in the series. We meet Maggie, Hopey and the crew in sci-fi comics world that makes for great fun reading. Gilbert spends the volume in sci-fi surrealist mode, only introducing Palomar in a short story at the end of the volume. I have never been a huge fan of Gilbert's non-Palomar writings. BEM in this volume is a huge exception. Tying together Japanese monster movies, Mexican melodrama, superhero, spy and private eye tropes into a great and moving Philip K. Dick inspired amalgam. Very similar to Charles Burns' work in the 80's but with less of a downtown art edge.
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