Love and Rockets #19 (January 1987)

Love and Rockets #19

Most of this issue of Love and Rockets is Beto’s. Jaime has three stories, but none of them are long ones. The Locas story, which starts the issue, is six pages. It’s mostly a flashback story, framed in the present with Hopey and Terry talking reminiscing. Though reminiscing has some positive connotations and there probably aren’t any of those for Terry.

The flashback is to when Hopey and Maggie become friends, set after they first meet, which Jaime covered at some point earlier. Hopey’s still got her shaved head and she’s best buds with Terry. Terry, who has the same haircut in the flashback Hopey has now. One of Jaime’s more subtle details. And Terry and Hopey are together together, not maybe or sometimes together like Hopey and Maggie.

It’s a mostly funny, quick Hopey story. Maggie’s very different. Some great silhouettes from Jaime and a mix of more comic strip humor pacing and, what I imagine, a romance comic would look like. The flashback is to when Maggie’s still living with her aunt (the first time). Also: Jaime remembers Maggie’s a mechanic in the flashback. So fingers crossed it was a fluke she wasn’t in the last issue (or the one before).

And then the end frame is a one panel joke about Maggie’s life with her aunt now.

But there’s also another flashback; four panels with Hopey waking Maggie up to bother her. It’s kind of funny but mostly cute.

And then comes the Palomar story. And wow, the Palomar story. Israel’s story. Not set in Palomar, except in flashback. The flashback reveals Israel had a twin sister who literally disappeared during an eclipse, which haunts him throughout his life. The flashback also establishes Pipo was friends–as a kid–with the boys. Also establishes basically every tween boy in Palomar lost their virginity with Tonantzin.

Anyway. The present. The present is Israel living in the city, a bisexual gigolio, living off “the old man.” Of course, Israel steps out on the old man to find his pot–weed is very serious (a little too serious)–and hook up with a lady friend. Beto then reintroduces Marcos, who was in prison with Jesus. Jesus never makes an appearance (outside the cast list at the beginning), but there’s some exposition about him.

See, Israel is on some kind of quest, off to the town of Olympus, which is kind of a surburban atmosphere but it’s unclear. There he visits Pipo, who’s having problems with Gato (but not the problems Beto implied earlier in that picnic story, in fact, he directly walks back Gato being physically abusive).

Then it’s off to see Satch, who turns out to be physically abusive to his wife (after the initial implication he’s not). In the one page with Satch, Beto follows up on that Vicente story from last issue (or whenever) with he and the roommate being out of work. The roommate’s name is Saturino, which never got mentioned in the story and the table of contents said it was Jesus. So. At least he gets a name. But they’ve gone off to the States to look for work.

Then Israel meets up with Tonantzin–by chance at a party–and there’s the flashback after they get it on. Of course, Israel is actually at the party because he’s talking to a psychic about his sister. So he loses it after he and Tonantzin hook up. Then Israel’s got an encounter with an ex-boyfriend, then with Gato, and finally he’s shacked up with an old lady. Carrying on with a dude on the side. Flip flop, flip flop.

It’s a lot. Israel’s never had this much material on his own before, so Beto’s not just establishing his whole life, there’s also the catch-up to the other residents of Palomar who’ve left Palomar. It’s a little bit like that Vincente and Saturino story but without the first person narration. Because it’s all framed around Israel’s sadness over losing his sister and the mystery of it.

It’s a fantastic twenty pages of comics.

Then come Jaime’s two final stories. First is a two-pager about migrant workers. Speedy makes a cameo, but otherwise it’s just all new characters. They’re worried about getting busted by immigration. Lots of silhouette, some gentle humor, but it seems like the strip has to be setup for something more later. Or I’m just remember when I read the Locas collection a decade ago.

Then it’s a two page Rena story, set after she and Bernie Carbo hooked up, while Bernie still flew with Duke. It’s mostly laughs, but some great art–and anti-silhouette, the ship is crashed in the snow–and it’s nice to see Rena and Bernie.

The Jaime stories are fine. The two-pagers feel a little like filler, the Locas flashback is nice, but it’s Beto’s issue. The Israel story is phenomenal.

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One thought on “Love and Rockets #19 (January 1987)

  1. And heres where the Hernandez bros start taking some artistic license. Not only have they grown in leaps and bounds as creators, reading these stories convincingly tell us how effortless it appears for them to do so. For Beto, he enjoys the twists and turns Palomar affords him, while Jaime decides to reset his universe a bit. His concerns seem much more serious and realistic than they were in the early days, and his approach reflects a more natural one depicting the aging of the cast. One of the fantastic elements he decides to tone down immediately is Maggie’s bigger than life mechanical prowess.

    To me here Beto starts to emerge as the master writer, while Jaime is self assuredly cranking out his whimsical, sometimes serious looks at humanity through Maggies eyes.

    At this point, I’ll allow them some artistic license if only to give them leeway into the universe yet undiscovered. Can’t say they dont surprise us every issue in some way, allowing our trust in them to lead us, either in pleasure or in pain.

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