cover image Love and Rockets: New Stories No. 6

Love and Rockets: New Stories No. 6

Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez. Fantagraphics, $14.99 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-1-60699-679-9

Back in 1982 when it debuted, Los Bros Hernandez’s energetically subversive comic book series received extensive critical acclaim and skyrocketed the pair into alt-comics preeminence. Thirty years on, their work has become even more sublime and captivating. The stories here highlight younger characters: Jaime’s tale follows teenage Tonta and recounts a murderous attack on her stepfather; Gilbert’s continuing generational saga focuses on Lubas’s granddaughter, the pulchritudinous Dora, aka Killer. Fans fearing this series would slow or falter following the denouement of previous storylines needn’t worry. The new tales are engaging, populated with vibrant, funny, and real personalities. Ultra-realism and surrealism mix and blend with hypnotic vitality, and Tonta and Killer and their extensive families and friends grapple with sex, death, pregnancy, and women wrestling—indeed, topics run the gamut from existential questions to fart jokes. Los Bros are both brilliant artists, but Jaime’s work here is especially vibrant. A four-panel sequence of Tonta falling off a skateboard has more dynamism than any superhero comic book. If you’re looking for the contemporary Great American Novel, it’s right here, beautifully illustrated. (Nov.)