This week in comics sees the return of a seminal indie classic, Love and Rockets. Originally self-published in 1981 by Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario Hernandez, the series was always on the cutting edge of stories from characters on the edge. The series dealt with issues like body image, sexual identity, and race, with comic runs like Maggie the Mechanic (which featured a mashed-up world of punk, dinosaurs, and science fiction through the lens of a brash female protagonist) helping to spur those conversations long before anyone else in comics talked about 'em. The latest run of the series, which was formatted like huge graphic novels, ended a few years back. That's why it's so exciting to see a new comic-sized run from Fantagraphics on comic book shelves: Love and Rockets is back.
Also featured this week: Son of Satan (exactly what it sounds like), Spider-Woman, and Cave Carson has a Cybernetic Eye.
Rather than reboot their famous series to appeal chiefly to new readers, the Hernandez brothers pick up where life left off with their huge cast of characters. The writing and art, however, are so smooth, so well-told, that this fourth volume feels, in some ways, like the best place for a newcomer to start. This issue features notables including Hopey, Maggie, and the Fritzes dealing with everything from aging punks to breast size and self-scrutiny. As always, Love and Rockets is a brash, loud comic, and it won’t be for everyone. What does this prove? The Hernandez brothers are still very much at the top of their game, and still have lots of stories to tell.
Few characters have had as weird of a run as Daimon Hellstrom. As the title of this comic implies, Daimon is the son of Satan, and he ran around in the mid-1970s helping Marvel heroes like Ghost Rider and The Thing, clashing with his dad, and using his flaming trident to smite his foes. In later incarnations Daimon sported an unfortunate goth look, but this book collects his best early moments. This was during a time when the money was rolling into Marvel and DC, but not so much that they couldn’t tell weird stories.
Here's a series telling superhero stories rarely told in comics. Spider-Woman, a.k.a., Jessica Drew, is a single mother of a newborn baby. The comic deals with her juggling motherhood and the superhero life, and it’s done in a realistic, compassionate, completely believable way. This issue, she and her new protege The Porcupine (a one-time D-list Marvel villain now trying to make good) take their respective kids to the beach on Staten Island. When a famous Spider-Man villain shows up, the two divvy up the work. This is a must read for fans of interesting superhero tales and for new mothers.
For the third time in a row, the Gerard Way-run Young Animal comic imprint is knocking it out of the park. Like Doom Patrol and Shade, the Changing Girl, Cave Carson Has a Cybernetic Eye takes an old character and reboots and reinvents them. Cave Carson was an old DC hero from the early 1960s who specialized in spelunking and underground adventures. In this first issue, he’s long since retired to a life of normalcy, but his cybernetic eye is acting up again, and various forces are trying to drag him back into action with his daughter, Chloe. The writing (by Way and Jon Rivera) is clever, and the storytelling is more narrative than Doom Patrol or Shade. If readers want to read cool comics, but those two series are too disjointed, Cave Carson is absolutely the way to go.
What were your favorite pulls of the week? Let us know in the comments or on twitter@CreatorsProject.