The brothers Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez grew up in sunny Oxnard, California, with three other brothers, one sister, and a mom who seriously dug comic books and rock n’ roll. (The eldest brother, Mario, snuck R. Crumb’s dirty Zap comics into the house and introduced his younger siblings to naughtiness of the artiest degree––guess they had to find some way to rebel in an otherwise rad household.) At any rate, the kids all developed rapt interests in comics and music, thanks to the influence of the family matriarch, and these early influences would go on to shape the world of the Hernandez Brothers as they produced their legendary comics.
To quote Gilbert, “[Punk] made me cocky enough to believe that I could do a comic book, and it was good and it was all right, as opposed to being intimidated by the Marvel guys… I took that musical anarchy to comics.” Published in 1982, the brothers’ Love and Rockets #1 is considered to mark a creative resurgence in comics, and for good reason. From the beginning the Bros. produced work that was subversive and masterfully crafted, combining the punk ethos with their own crisp intelligence.
Among other Hernandez Bros. volumes, Fantagraphics recently released Love and Rockets No.1 : New Stories, with 100 pages of new material in a nice big graphic-novel format that showcases the unpredictable, silly, clever and gorgeously drawn work of the brothers, whom the Boston Phoenix called “the Lennon and McCartney of comics”.
Praise doesn’t get much higher than that!