Thursday, May 17, 2007

200th Post Special: More Hernandez Love (and rockets)!

Yup, this one makes 200 posts and counting. Wow, that's a lot of words and pictures and other general nonsense. I've got a look at a cool comic below, but I figured I would use this opportunity to link to what I think is some of the better stuff I've written over the last six months or so:

Will Eisner Week, in which I spent a week examining Eisner's The Contract With God Trilogy. I think the first few posts are the best, especially the ones in which I looked at Eisner's page layouts and character designs.

My look at (and disappointment with) the Eisner nominations for 2006.

2006, the year in review: my "best of" lists of comics and movies (with a later revision of the movies list). Since then, I've read more comics (such as Fun Home and American Born Chinese) that could be added to the comics list, but I'm sure I'll be discovering more stuff throughout the year, so I'll just stick with what I have there.

Discussions of various video games I've played: Okami, Psychonauts, and Final Fantasy XII.

My tribute to Kurt Vonnegut (probably my all-time favorite author) following his death.

The 100 Bullets character chart I did. Maybe when the next volume comes out, I'll update it and do a cleaner electronic version. This one's kind of ugly.

Early content:
My first real post was a look at Scott McCloud's Destroy!!, with images that will look best if you have some 3-D glasses.

I did an image-heavy review of the weird horror manga Octopus Girl, and that's the origin of my term "WST" (weird shit tolerance).
Some of my favorite reviews:

Comics:
Various Marvel Adventures comics by Jeff Parker, including the infamous all-MODOK issue.
East Coast Rising, volume 1.
An Anthology of Graphic Fiction (my 100th post).
The webcomic Minus.
The children's book/graphic novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
Kyle Baker's Nat Turner.
Osamu Tezuka' Ode to Kirihito.
Adam Warren's Empowered, volume 1.
Movies:
Down in the Valley.
Running Scared.
Children of Men.
Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You.
Tommy.
Samurai Saga.
Black Snake Moan, Zodiac, and Pennies From Heaven.
300.
Tideland.
This Film Is Not Yet Rated.
Grindhouse.
Meet the Robinsons.
Okay, that's enough of that. Now, on to the comic I wanted to talk about:

Love and Rockets #46
By Los Bros Hernandez



Actually, there's really just one story in this issue that I wanted to discuss, called "Hernandez Satyricon". It's by Gilbert, but it features Jaime's characters, in their earlier, sci-fi incarnation. It's interesting to see Gilbert try to ape Jaime's style, resulting in a pleasant mix of their sensibilities. But the real appeal (for me) is the completely nutso, bizarre stuff he comes up with; it fits and even exceeds the mental image conjured by the story's title. Oh, by the way, the images from the story can definitely be considered Not Safe For Work, so watch out.

So, Maggie is in a desert location with Rand Race and the rest of the mechanical crew, along with Rena TitaƱon; they're in some sort of research team fixing some robots and monitoring a large black orb they refer to as "the big bowling ball":



The rest of the crew is busy, so Maggie goes out for a joyride on her hoverboard-style convyance to check out the area, which she describes as "Ditkoesque):





I would laugh at those mushrooms (or whatever they are, besides the obvious) too. She runs afoul of another research team, composed of aliens called Hinkenfoffers:



Then Maggie runs into another alien team, the Xix, and they force her to join them for a meal:



Whoa. She later encounters a guy named Subir, who is watching the desert on security cameras from a downed spaceship. I'm not sure if he is a character that gets introduced to Jaime's "Locas" stories, but I'm not familiar with him. Maggie knows who he is though, when he rescues her from some bat creatures using his inflatable suit:



Meanwhile, Hopey, Izzy, and Penny are hanging out back home, wondering what's going on with Maggie. Penny has superpowers here, but the "elders" who gave them to her don't allow her to use them unless there is a threat that's too big for humans to handle. So they hatch a nonsensical scheme to have Hopey smack her on the head with a baseball bat and pop her eyeballs out:



I'm not sure how that will avoid offending the elders, but apparently the intent is to get Penny's eyeballs to the desert to try to see Maggie. But that will be difficult, since Maggie stumbles upon yet another alien camp, the Tituiti, who ambush her, strip her naked, and throw her in a prison with Subir:



It looks like the alien races have teamed up to attack the humans, so Penny decides it's a matter worthy of changing to her superhero identity, Womyn Woman, and rushing there to help (even though she can't see). Maggie and Subir are stuck in the prison, so they bide their time and "get comfortable":



Meanwhile (there are lots of "meanwhiles" in this story), Penny saves Race:



And Rena kicks some Hickenfoffer ass:



Then Maggie and Subir escape their prison:



They also locate Penny's eyeballs, and Maggie puts them in a safe place: her stomach. But then Penny dies:



Maggie realizes everything has been caused by the big bowling ball, so she goes to attack it:



She collapses before reaching the bowling ball, and wakes up inside in the presence of the elders, and this is where the real weirdness starts:



Confronted by a seemingly-endless row of doors, she walks through one into a world that seems the same to her, but we can see is quite different:



Yup, everyone's gender has been switched, although Maggie and Hopey still share the same proclivities:



We get to meet the female version of Race (and Duke) when Maggie goes to work the next day:



I love the technical terms. They do seem more like Gilbert's words than Jaime's, I think. But then the real villain of the story presents himself:



Yikes, it's Jaime himself! He reveals to the characters that everything is an illusion of his own making, but then Penny Century reappears and saves the day:



We get one final gag, as Maggie is meeting with Rena and talking about the revealed nature of reality:



Whew! I don't know the exact circumstances behind this story, but I suspect Gilbert and Jaime decided to write stories featuring each other's characters, and Gilbert wanted to go as batshit crazy as he could. I think he certainly succeeded. I originally picked up this issue on a whim several years ago, before I knew anything about L&R, and man, this story freaked me right out. It makes a little more sense now that I know the characters, but not too much more. Whatever the case, I dig it, and I wanted to share it with other people.

I should also note that Jaime also has a story featuring Gilbert's characters in this issue, but it's a short, small-scale piece about one of Luba's daughters trying to put makeup on her mother while she's napping, but ending up just applying it to her own face. It's pretty cute, and I liked this panel:


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So that's it for the Hernandez love today. More reviews tomorrow, I hope.