In 1981 Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, two comics and pop culture—loving Chicano brothers, released the first issue of Love and Rockets, and the rest is comic book history. Published by Fantagraphics Books, Love and Rockets went on to become one of the most influential and critically acclaimed comics of the 1980s. L&R featured Jaime's stories about the lives and loves of two lesbian punk chicks, Maggie and Hopey, and Gilbert's Heartbreak Soup, the story of the fictional Central American village of Palomar.
Fans of the influential alternative comics series were dismayed when the brothers decided to cease publishing the periodical in 1996 and work on new projects.
But now they're back. The brothers have revived Love and Rockets and have just released a new periodical issue. Trade paperback collections of the series (there are 15 volumes) were always available, and in the last three months Fantagraphics has released three new volumes of stories collected from L&R. The new collections include Whoa Nellie! and Locas in Love by Jaime Hernandez and Gilbert Hernandez's Fear of Comics.
Eric Reynolds, director of publicity at Fantagraphics, told PW that the L&R collections are some the bestselling works on the Fantagraphics backlist. The trade paper collections are kept in print (the first volume has sold more than 40,000 copies over seven printings) and sell steadily. "We've pushed the relaunch really hard for promotion," said Reynolds, who points to media coverage in Time and Boston Phoenix and a long piece on Salon.com.