The only problem with Love and Rockets: New Stories is that it's an annual. Volume 2 was, well, fabulous.
[I'm savoring here.]
In how many comic books do you have a superhero do laundry with her mother? Jaime Hernandez's Ti-Girls Adventures Number 34 provides both the slam-bam action and a cleverly twisting plot to satisfy any superhero comic fan. It also provides room for introspection. The story illustrates relationships between friends, between mothers and their daughters, and between enemies and partners, while giving us humor and surprises. But maybe what I liked the best was how it made me think about the superhero genre through send-ups of stock characters and an art that blasts all the cookie-cutter stereotypes of female heroines. Seasoning it all were keenly rendered emotions and side-stories, never spoken but beautifully illustrated, providing depth to the characters.
Sandwiched between two halves of Ti-Girls are Gilbert Hernandez's Sad Girl and Hypnotwist. Sad Girls is the story of one of Luba's granddaughters, an unpaid schoolgirl starlet, nicknamed Killer. In rapid-fire, short episodes over 8 pages, we follow her on again off again break-up with a boyfriend who is never named or seen or heard, yet who is a major character in his own right. The short story is something of a tour de force, rich in both detail and characterization. Hypnotwist, which is referred to in Sad Girls and immediately follows it, is a surreal story of a woman with magical shoes. In 42 pages of wordless text, we explore alternate lives, the fears of motherhood and aging, nightmares and happy dreams.
Both Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez are in full form in this volume. Lucky us.