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Love and Rockets, Vol. 1: Music for Mechanics

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The original, seminal Love & Rockets comic book series, which ran for 50 issues from 1981 to 1996, singlehandedly defined the post-underground generation of comics that spawned Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, and so many others. Now collected into 15 volumes, Love & Rockets is a body of work that The Nation has described as "one of the hidden treasures of our impoverish The original, seminal Love & Rockets comic book series, which ran for 50 issues from 1981 to 1996, singlehandedly defined the post-underground generation of comics that spawned Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, and so many others. Now collected into 15 volumes, Love & Rockets is a body of work that The Nation has described as "one of the hidden treasures of our impoverished culture." Created by brothers Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario Hernandez, three Southern California Mexican-Americans armed with a passion for pop culture and punk rock, Love & Rockets gave a voice to minorities and women for the first time in the medium's then 50-year history and remains one of the greatest achievements in comic book history.


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The original, seminal Love & Rockets comic book series, which ran for 50 issues from 1981 to 1996, singlehandedly defined the post-underground generation of comics that spawned Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, and so many others. Now collected into 15 volumes, Love & Rockets is a body of work that The Nation has described as "one of the hidden treasures of our impoverish The original, seminal Love & Rockets comic book series, which ran for 50 issues from 1981 to 1996, singlehandedly defined the post-underground generation of comics that spawned Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, and so many others. Now collected into 15 volumes, Love & Rockets is a body of work that The Nation has described as "one of the hidden treasures of our impoverished culture." Created by brothers Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario Hernandez, three Southern California Mexican-Americans armed with a passion for pop culture and punk rock, Love & Rockets gave a voice to minorities and women for the first time in the medium's then 50-year history and remains one of the greatest achievements in comic book history.

30 review for Love and Rockets, Vol. 1: Music for Mechanics

  1. 5 out of 5

    William Clemens

    I didn't make it through this book. While I found some of the weird stuff interesting, I just didn't care about any of the main characters. Perhaps they get better if you read more, perhaps I didn't spend enough time trying to understand the book or perhaps it's just not for me. The art was good for the most part, but I didn't really like the hyper-sexualized way all the females were portrayed and nothing beyond that really stood out for me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    I was all "HEY I SHOULD PROBABLY BECOME FAMILIAR WITH LOVE AND ROCKETS" and this book was all "YOU HAVE A DISTINCT FEELING THIS IS GOING TO BE INTERESTING AND WORTH YOUR TIME, BUT HERE IS A NOT TOTALLY AWESOME BUT STILL GOOD INTRODUCTION TO THESE STORIES." I am excited to read more, but saddened because I do not have infinite gift certificates with which to buy the other volumes.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I read these in the late 1990's. I wasn't impressed then and I'm not impressed now. I don't understand the high marks for these books. I won't be reading any more from Gilbert Hernandez. Overated.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    Love and Rockets is the comics series closest to my heart. What is truly wonderful about L&R is that it is a comic in the old fashioned form. An ongoing storyline about a groups of characters that goes on for years and years. It isn't as enclosed as a graphic novel and was never intended to be. These are human stories, unfolding at the pace of life. Which is why I prefer this 15 volumes of trade paperbacks over the current collected editions. First of all, the size is correct. The Love and Rockets is the comics series closest to my heart. What is truly wonderful about L&R is that it is a comic in the old fashioned form. An ongoing storyline about a groups of characters that goes on for years and years. It isn't as enclosed as a graphic novel and was never intended to be. These are human stories, unfolding at the pace of life. Which is why I prefer this 15 volumes of trade paperbacks over the current collected editions. First of all, the size is correct. The new collections are smaller comic-sized whereas the original issues and TPB were magazine sized. It makes me a geek but the size of the art matters a lot to me. The second reason I prefer these TPBs is the intermingling of the stories. Jaime and Beto's work is best when the stories play off each other. It gives rhythm, tension, pacing to stories that lose some of their zing when collected tightly together. Since they have stopped printing these original TPBs, I finally filled in the holes in my bookshelf and bought all 15. Now I am celebrating by reading the series through from the beginning. As for the content of this volume, the art is tremendous. The later work has a more sedate and simple layout style but in this volume the Bros are going nuts and having fun. Jaime's deep blacks and silhouettes are sharp and beautiful and make up for the fact that his writing is fairly lightweight at this point in the series. We meet Maggie, Hopey and the crew in sci-fi comics world that makes for great fun reading. Gilbert spends the volume in sci-fi surrealist mode, only introducing Palomar in a short story at the end of the volume. I have never been a huge fan of Gilbert's non-Palomar writings. BEM in this volume is a huge exception. Tying together Japanese monster movies, Mexican melodrama, superhero, spy and private eye tropes into a great and moving Philip K. Dick inspired amalgam. Very similar to Charles Burns' work in the 80's but with less of a downtown art edge.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    REREAD: You know, apparently I read this back in 2011, but I don't think it's true. I'd never read BEM before, and if I did, I have no memory of it whatsoever. I know Gilbert is the critically-acclaimed Bro, but Jaime is just where it's at for me. Nonetheless, this particular book is pretty excellent, and I enjoy it far more than the digest-sized reprint series that came out a few years ago. The art, in general, is way too good to get shrunken, and I like moving back and forth between the Bros. REREAD: You know, apparently I read this back in 2011, but I don't think it's true. I'd never read BEM before, and if I did, I have no memory of it whatsoever. I know Gilbert is the critically-acclaimed Bro, but Jaime is just where it's at for me. Nonetheless, this particular book is pretty excellent, and I enjoy it far more than the digest-sized reprint series that came out a few years ago. The art, in general, is way too good to get shrunken, and I like moving back and forth between the Bros. I just don't know if I like Gilbert's stuff enough to read another nine volumes. -- FIRST READ: From an email I wrote a little while ago about reading this book: "You know, I recently pulled Love & Rockets off my short list of "Hip Comics I May Not Be Hip Enough to Read But I Should Try Anyway" and read the first volume, 'Music for Mechanics.' I've heard that the series takes a little while past that to get good, but I've also heard it's pretty continuity-heavy so I felt like I had to start from the beginning. I really liked the cyberpunk angle, and the lesbo-punk angle was cool too, as was the overall DIY feel of the whole book. But I wouldn't say I totally clicked with it, and maybe I would have to sit down with one of those longer reprint volumes that came out a few years ago and really commit to it in order to get more out of it. I came away feeling more like I liked the idea of L&R than I actually enjoyed the book while I was reading it."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    I was introduced to Los Bros Hernandez nearly 25 years ago. The impact of meeting the two touchstone characters: Maggie and Hopey, has had a lasting impact on my psyche. Maggie Chascarillo, a gifted apprentice “Pro-solar Mechanic” in the earlier fantasy-oriented storylines, and Hopey Glass, a feisty anti-authoritarian punk dykette, [who also happens to be Maggie’s on-again, off-again lover] they are the touchstones but Love and Rockets is more than a universe, its a multi-verse. The s I was introduced to Los Bros Hernandez nearly 25 years ago. The impact of meeting the two touchstone characters: Maggie and Hopey, has had a lasting impact on my psyche. Maggie Chascarillo, a gifted apprentice “Pro-solar Mechanic” in the earlier fantasy-oriented storylines, and Hopey Glass, a feisty anti-authoritarian punk dykette, [who also happens to be Maggie’s on-again, off-again lover] they are the touchstones but Love and Rockets is more than a universe, its a multi-verse. The story-lines cross time and space, Science Fiction, Palomar and Luba, Lucha Libre, the Hoppers Vatos as are separate parts of intra and interdependent lattice of the stories the Hernandez brothers have created. If you are a fan of feminist literature, comics, relationship based young adult, science-fiction, erotica and/or Latin culture you can find something to like in Love and Rockets, Vol. 1: Music for Mechanics.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Todd N

    While my wife and friends were at a play (that I skillfully got out of attending) I spent two hours browsing at Bookbuyers in Mountain View. I exercised tremendous restraint by only buying two Love and Rockets compilations and one history book. I love the Love and Rockets comics, and I completely admit that I slept on them in the 80s. But I intend to catch up on them now.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bart

    Took some time to get into this refreshing surreal ‘everything goes’ 50s lesbian sci-fi proto-tankgirl/charles burns piece of underground comic. But once the penny dropped, there’s no looking back. Cant wait for next issue.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

    Music for Mechanics is a collection of comics written by the Hernandez brothers during the early 1980's. The drawings are great, and I love how most of the characters are bad ass females. The stories themselves are silly sci-fi stuff with a lot of cartoonish violence and mischief. There are some deeper messages and societal criticism, but very little. I wish there were a little more of that. The end of the collection is much stronger than the beginning of it. My favorite series is def Music for Mechanics is a collection of comics written by the Hernandez brothers during the early 1980's. The drawings are great, and I love how most of the characters are bad ass females. The stories themselves are silly sci-fi stuff with a lot of cartoonish violence and mischief. There are some deeper messages and societal criticism, but very little. I wish there were a little more of that. The end of the collection is much stronger than the beginning of it. My favorite series is definitely "Mechanics."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Garden

    So this was very fun to read primarily because of how bubblicious all the women are, which is kind of a busted primary, so idk. Also, like, I don't super care about the plot and I just wanted to watch all the hecka gorgeous dames banter and smoke, so like a significant portion of this book (the adventure) I was like fine sure whatever, let's go back to Maggie & Hopey's apartment now. Anyway I will read more! To see how it all shakes out.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Fábio Fernandes

    Love and Rockets helped shape my generation. Reading it now after so many years (I remember I first heard of it when I was in university, back in 1988 - how time flies!!), I can't help but feel nostalgia. Those were the days.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    This is the second "Love and Rockets" book that I've read. I read #3 first, because the library didn't have #1 or #2 on the shelf at the time. I have become a huge fan of Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez's work. I loved this book. Jaime's work is gorgeous and goes great with his story. His artwork is classical and reminds me of 50's and 60's serial strips like Steve Canyon, Tarzan and the like. The story line is right out of a 50's B movie. Loved it! I know know why the books ar This is the second "Love and Rockets" book that I've read. I read #3 first, because the library didn't have #1 or #2 on the shelf at the time. I have become a huge fan of Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez's work. I loved this book. Jaime's work is gorgeous and goes great with his story. His artwork is classical and reminds me of 50's and 60's serial strips like Steve Canyon, Tarzan and the like. The story line is right out of a 50's B movie. Loved it! I know know why the books are called "Love and Rockets". Jaime's stories are in a 50's era future with rockets and robots and center around Rand Race a "prosolar mechanic" and his assistant Maggie and her friends. Great stuff. It was interesting to read Gilbert's story "BEM". He has characters in there, like Luba, who appeared in #3 but in a very different context. I will definitely be reading more "Love and Rockets".

  13. 4 out of 5

    D.M.

    As the jacket blurb says: 'It starts with the first glimpse of Maggie and Hopey and ends with the first glimpse of Palomar.' Carter Scholz's 1985 introduction to this volume of Hernandez material from '81-'85 really speaks alot about the endurance of Love & Rockets. It's probably hard to imagine now, if one were to come to the material fresh (this is at least my third time reading the books, since the early '90s), the state of comics in the mid-'80s, but it was pretty bleak. There are VERY f As the jacket blurb says: 'It starts with the first glimpse of Maggie and Hopey and ends with the first glimpse of Palomar.' Carter Scholz's 1985 introduction to this volume of Hernandez material from '81-'85 really speaks alot about the endurance of Love & Rockets. It's probably hard to imagine now, if one were to come to the material fresh (this is at least my third time reading the books, since the early '90s), the state of comics in the mid-'80s, but it was pretty bleak. There are VERY few creators who not only owned and entirely created their work, but made it through the boom of the '90s AND are still creating new work of the same characters of at least the same calibre...but Los Bros Hernandez have done all that. Cultural relevance aside, this first volume is fun, engaging reading, with entries from Jaime and his Hoppers characters (then pursuing Maggie as a 'prosolar mechanic,' rather than her later just 20-something travails sort of thing), from Beto with some Paul Pope-inspiring sci-fi as well as the first sight of what would become the spectacular tales rooted in the small town of Palomar, and even from the rarely-seen Mario, offering a politically-infused sci-fi story worthy of The Outer Limits! All three are clearly displaying nascent talents, and wearing their influences often a little to clearly on their sleeves, but it all works out to the high-standard work Love & Rockets has been fro decades. This is not a book I'd recommend to someone not ready to sink the funds into the entire saga (thus far!), but if you're willing to go the length this is absolutely required comics reading.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Summer

    This book is an interesting one - it seems so different in tone from Los Bros's later works, but the artwork is so solid, and a lot of what makes them great is visible - Jaime's punk rock aesthetic and keen character building, Beto's zany sci-fi weirdness and great world building. It's a little depressing seeing how the latter brother has deteriorated in art and writing skill, though.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dan Wilson

    This is the first Love & Rockets book. I liked the art, and I know Love & Rockets was a big deal in terms of making room for indie cartoonists, but I did not find the stories all that compelling. I intend to read a few more L&R books to see if they either get better or start to grow on me. I hope so.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sammie

    I didn't like this at all and feel weird about that, since a lot of people i look up to seem to really like it. I'd be super interested in talking to somebody who was around when it was first published, just to understand what impact it had / what it was offering to the scene. It just feels so incredibly masculine, which a book about women should definitely not. I feel like these comics were written by a bunch of men who didn't like how women were written in the comics they were reading, so set I didn't like this at all and feel weird about that, since a lot of people i look up to seem to really like it. I'd be super interested in talking to somebody who was around when it was first published, just to understand what impact it had / what it was offering to the scene. It just feels so incredibly masculine, which a book about women should definitely not. I feel like these comics were written by a bunch of men who didn't like how women were written in the comics they were reading, so set about to do it themselves, but couldn't get over their own male gaze and idealisations of women and therefore ended up putting out these comics that had great potential but became absolutely dull because every tenth panel they needed to draw some ass or tits. One page that really stands out to me as to why I didn't enjoy the book is when theres the two women in the desert. One wants to ride a monster, but is first like 'I can't ride with this dress on! but I'm not wearing any panties! I'll just tear my dress up the side!' In response, the other woman is like 'ha ha, i have some shorts but they wont fit over your fat ass! they really drew you fat in this comic, huh!' and it just... wound me up. one, because.. is this how men imagine that tough cool girls talk to each other/act? two, because would this scene ever happen in any women written book? why was it necessary? three, i'm pretty sure the only reason it was necessary is so that she'd rip her dress and then they could draw her ass in the next panels. In theory, I like the stories in these comics. In theory, I also like the characters. I think its all a really cool concept and I was so excited to read, it just all feels so weirdly.. fetishised? male gaze-ish? that I couldn't enjoy it at all. Maybe I just didn't get it, maybe it aged badly or maybe people look back on it with rose tinted glasses but I just really dont understand why its praised so heavily.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Nathaniel

    Probably closer to 4.75? I don't remember reading this volume of Love & Rockets, however I do remember owning it back in the late 80s, early 90s. I never got very far in Love & Rockets in any case. The bulk of this collection introduces Maggie and her adventure in digging up a rocket ship in South America? Maybe Central America? It's a fantastic story. The Hernandez Bros have a talent for writing science fiction that's rooted in Earth-bound situations. Is that the definition o Probably closer to 4.75? I don't remember reading this volume of Love & Rockets, however I do remember owning it back in the late 80s, early 90s. I never got very far in Love & Rockets in any case. The bulk of this collection introduces Maggie and her adventure in digging up a rocket ship in South America? Maybe Central America? It's a fantastic story. The Hernandez Bros have a talent for writing science fiction that's rooted in Earth-bound situations. Is that the definition of pulp science fiction? There a short stories in this collection that demonstrate that again and again. They're all fun, although some work better than others. The short story near the end of the collection 'Somewhere in California' starts out as a very dense, confusing story, and the denouement wraps it up brilliantly. It appears that most of the work collected here is from the early 80s, the storytelling and artistic talent on display is extraordinary. (I obviously put this down for a while. Fine, I misplaced the book for a few months.)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarospice

    I love LOVE AND ROCKETS! It is without a doubt my favorite comic book /graphic novel series OF ALL TIMES! It just speaks to my generation ~ We were these weirdos! The Hernandez Bros. have such a great ability to take you to their world. You can pick up any volume and instantly be in Hopper's or Palomar, and get an entire heart breaking story. This first volume is a hard digest, as the bros WRITE OUT everything. The art is there but they hadn't perfected their storytelling ability and flow. Of co I love LOVE AND ROCKETS! It is without a doubt my favorite comic book /graphic novel series OF ALL TIMES! It just speaks to my generation ~ We were these weirdos! The Hernandez Bros. have such a great ability to take you to their world. You can pick up any volume and instantly be in Hopper's or Palomar, and get an entire heart breaking story. This first volume is a hard digest, as the bros WRITE OUT everything. The art is there but they hadn't perfected their storytelling ability and flow. Of course it comes..... I plan to read every volume again. And again.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    When I was 16 I went into a comic shop looking for movie poster postcards and randomly picked up a graphic novel. Flicking through, I was hooked. And no matter how many graphic novels I have read since that first time (and it's a lot!) my first and truest love will always be Love & Rockets. Or more specifically Hopey & Maggie! :) This volume is a wonderful beginning to a lifelong love affair with the work of Los Bros Hernandez.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cameron

    I still haven't found an equal to the Hernandez Brothers when it comes to world building with so little effort. Within half a page, you realize how deep and rich each bizarre world and character is with basically no exposition. And the stories themselves range from intimate portraits to the mundane to parody often in juxtaposition to the wild sprawling world behind them. There's more heart in the tiniest stroke of this book then all the mainstream comics of the 80's.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Baal Of

    I found this volume to be a bit unstructured as compared to the Luba volume I read before. I still enjoyed it, but it seems a bit formative, lacking cohesion. Still, it's creative and the artwork is nice, and the characters are idiosyncratic and varied, far more than typical superhero fare from the same time period.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bill

    Let me state, I adore Love and Rockets. It might be my favorite comic series (sorry, Spider Jerusalem), but this is the weakest in the series. It's their first, so totally understandable. The artwork is there, but the story telling hadn't quite blossomed yet. Still a great introduction.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Finally finished! That was so hard for me to get through... I don't know if I'm overly sensitive but it just felt extremely sensitive and written for the male gaze...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Yayobest100

    It's a excelent music

  25. 4 out of 5

    Richard Cronshey

    Everything by Los Bros Hernandez

  26. 5 out of 5

    StrictlySequential

    For me it's a coin-flip between this FIRST (not others) Love and Rockets book and Watchmen

  27. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Lee

    If this came out today instead of the 80s, people would be crazy about it and saying it’s the best thing ever. Not dated at all today. Truly a work of art.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alannah

    This is graphic novel is the whole reason I set foot into a comic book store. My friend John lent me his entire L&R collection and I read through them in a week or so. I then had to run out and buy my own copies & each new issue thereafter. My instant love of Jaime Hernandez's art made complete sense after I read an interview and found that his main influence was Dan DeCarlo (Archie comics). As a child/teenager, Archie was my favourite thing to read. Anyway, I don't think the Hernandez b This is graphic novel is the whole reason I set foot into a comic book store. My friend John lent me his entire L&R collection and I read through them in a week or so. I then had to run out and buy my own copies & each new issue thereafter. My instant love of Jaime Hernandez's art made complete sense after I read an interview and found that his main influence was Dan DeCarlo (Archie comics). As a child/teenager, Archie was my favourite thing to read. Anyway, I don't think the Hernandez brothers get nearly enough recognition--Love & Rockets is pure genius and absolute perfection. I'm a fan of theirs for life!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I don't think I'll bother to add them all, but the entire run of Love and Rockets, the seminal black and white comic from the Hernandez brothers, is great. Found these in high school, and the art and the stories are like nothing else, beautiful black and white line art and day in the life stories from the LA barrio or a Spanish-speaking country, with some other fantastic stories thrown in. The brothers have their own storylines and characters that they stick to, and follow their characters throu I don't think I'll bother to add them all, but the entire run of Love and Rockets, the seminal black and white comic from the Hernandez brothers, is great. Found these in high school, and the art and the stories are like nothing else, beautiful black and white line art and day in the life stories from the LA barrio or a Spanish-speaking country, with some other fantastic stories thrown in. The brothers have their own storylines and characters that they stick to, and follow their characters through decades; when I found these stories in high school, Xaime's barrio women were young punk rockers. They're still being published now and then. (Head up, adult themes and sex, not for kids).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Osvaldo

    I am reading Love & Rockets for an independent study as part of my PhD course work. I have never read it before, but it has been on my list for a long time and this seemed like opportunity to do it. How could I have slept on this so long? The art is fantastic and the stories are weird and all over the place, but I don't mind being made scramble a bit to understand what is happening. The BEM story arc is great and weird and the Mechanix epistolary portion with Maggie's story is a bizarre mash I am reading Love & Rockets for an independent study as part of my PhD course work. I have never read it before, but it has been on my list for a long time and this seemed like opportunity to do it. How could I have slept on this so long? The art is fantastic and the stories are weird and all over the place, but I don't mind being made scramble a bit to understand what is happening. The BEM story arc is great and weird and the Mechanix epistolary portion with Maggie's story is a bizarre mash-up. I am psyched to read more.

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