Fantagraphics; 1985; $1.95; 36 pgs; available collected.
This issue of Love and Rockets is different from the table of contents–no Mechanics, no Locas. Jaime’s doing a Rocky and Fumble and it’s in between two Palomar. And these are kind of different Palomar tales.
The first gives Tonantzin a feature. She’s been a supporting cast member since the “jump ahead,” and she might have even had a brief appearance in the first story, but now she’s front and center. Beto had made her sort of a ditz before, especially in the party issue. Not anymore. Now she’s a goddess. Kind of literally.
The story is simple, slice of life. She gets up, gets her sister, gets her assistant, goes slug hunting. The finale pulls back to give the story a narrator, who can see the characters–Tonantzin and her sister–for the goddesses they embody. It’s an awesome little strip.
And fun. It’s a fun Palomar. Will Jaime have fun with Rocky and Fumble, his fun strip?
No. He’ll do an intense, dangerous, scary action strip. Rocky and Fumble go to visit Rocky’s niece, who’s just a few years younger. The niece has outer space in her backyard. You climb the fence into outer space, go to other planets. Thanks to Rocky having Fumble, they can go into outer space. And they do. They go to another planet.
Where a crazy guy kidnaps Fumble because the guy wants to kill all robots. So Rocky has to find people to help her rescue Fumble. Very, very intense stuff.
And then there’s an emotionally devastating hard cliffhanger, which incorporates the reality of Rocky and Fumble with its fantastical elements. Serious stuff. Maybe a little too serious. Jaime apparently wasn’t satisified making everyone worry about Maggie, time to worry about Rocky and Fumble too.
Then comes Beto’s second Palomar story. It’s all about Heraclio and Luba. Now, they met in the first Palomar story and this one–in a flashback in the flashback–revises the original relationship between the two characters. It’s a comedy strip, taking all the serious stuff Beto has been looking at, and presenting it slice of life and comedy.
Kind of exactly what he should’ve done to make the party in issue ten work, but whatever. He’s on point here. However, he’s so on point it’s a somewhat less exciting success than his first story this issue. Beto’s not going new places, he’s going familiar places and figuring out how to package them to reveal new things. Heraclio and the guys on the town, for instance, was introduced in the Heraclio and the guys story a few issues ago. The guys and their current situations informs the flashback. The first layer flashback. Beto likes doing the flashback in the flashback, particularly because it lets him get his third person Palomar narration on.
The composition styles are a little different too. The first one is more ambitious with composition and the physical comedy. The second one is more traditional. At least traditional for Beto. Some gorgeous stuff too.
Jaime’s art is something else too. He’s doing action in a way he’s never done before in Rockets, with sometimes silly looking characters. Not just sci-fi looking, but silly looking. As always, he stays focused on the story as it plays through Rocky’s expressions. The strip is about her character development through these fantastic adventures, or at least fantastic looking adventures, and Jaime makes sure the reader can track her expressions.
Killer cliffhanger on it though.
So, different–Jaime going serious in a usually light strip, Beto going light in his more serious strip. So good too.