Brothers Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez are considered godfathers of the alternative comics movement. Fans and critics alike credit the brothers for bringing in a new type of narrative to the comics movement that features strong female characters and showcases Latino culture. Jaime spoke with Ross Reynolds on The Conversation.
The Early Years
The brothers grew up in Oxnard, California, in the 1960s when comics weren’t just superheroes. In fact, they wanted nothing to do with superheroes. “Part of the reason we came about was because we didn’t want to be like them,” Jaime says.
Jaime and Gilbert -- also known as Los Bros Hernandez -- cite diverse influences that include Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton’s “Wonder Wart-Hog,” LA’s obscure punk-rock scene and the DIY movement, but the heart of their craft is in the fascinating characters they create and the delicate weaving of their storylines.
Gilbert and Jaime began publishing “Love And Rockets” in their early 20s with help from their brother Mario. They hoped that one day someone would publish it. “I didn’t want a real job,” confesses Jaime. But a real job was right around the corner; one year after they self-published the first issue, they were discovered by Seattle publisher Fantagraphics.
Maggie And Hopey
Jaime's contributions to the "Love and Rockets" universe of characters centers on a protagonist named Maggie Chascarrillo. Maggie was created when Jaime was in high school. Hopey Glass, Maggie's close friend and occasional paramour, was inspired by the LA punk scene and the realities of a life not often seen in comics. “I wasn’t sure if they should be lovers or not, and it ended up that they did. That came about because there was so much stuff in regular comics not being explored that was happening in the real world – different race, different genders. Comics were so void of that.”
Through 30 years of "Love And Rockets," Maggie and Hopey evolve and mature with a timeline that progresses. They experience the normal ups and downs of adulthood: heartbreak, loss, elation, career growth, physical changes, frustration. And over time, Jaime's storytelling has created a wide world of family members and friends, co-workers and lovers that get woven into collections and solo work.
From Maggie and Hopey to Penny Century and a superhero all-girl gang, The TI-Girls, the entertaining and complex worlds from Los Bros Hernandez leave audiences wanting more.