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2010.09.20

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I only skimmed this conversation, as I've been unable to get a copy of the new Love & Rockets yet, but it's always pleasing when somebody points out that the stuff Los Bros Hernandez are doing now is just as good as anything they've ever created.

It's just so easy to take them for granted, and even easier to go for the lazy nostalgia and declare that nothing they ever do will be as good as their work in 1989. It's nice to see any meaty discussion of new Love & Rockets, and even better to see somebody passionately argue that the new stuff is the best they've ever done.

"Jaime," not "Jamie" (in the headline and opening paragraph).

ugh. thanks d

Well done, guys. In absolute agreement with nearly everything you said. Picked up vol 3 earlier today and was blown away. Question for you both-- what do you thin was the significance of the blue sun that was mentioned several times that Calvin had seen? You know, Tucker's puckered blue anus as seen on the cover?

I assume that we're left to interpret that on our own, but maybe it's obvious and I'm just missing it. The blue sky is mentioned a few times throughout the story, though. Maybe it's a... it's a...

I don't know, George. I'm stumped.

I'm not convinced that it means something specific quite yet. It comes up before the abuse begins, which has me thinking that it doesn't correlate to that. If i'm understanding internet-sourced astronomy correctly, our sun would appear blue if it were hotter, but I can't see how that would be connected.

Maybe a retro-comics reference that's just escaping us right now? They still throw those in on occasion.

Children rocketed in from systems orbiting a blue sun are "faster than a mincing child-rapist" (H/T Super-wiki)

Things could have been so different for the boy...

Sorry - couldn't buy it. I have a low tolerance for rape stories, much less children being raped. Not just in this story, but the ape-people story. Frame it how you like, but I'm not buying that volume.

This was such a pleasure to read, thank you. It's heartwarming to know other people see what you see. When Jaime turned in his half of this issue a few months ago, I was floored. I said to something to him to the effect of, "You realize this might be the best thing you've ever done, right? I mean, you *have* to know that, right?" and in his inimitably humble-with-a-wink way, he said something like, "All I know is, it came together so well that I was almost worried about it."

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Very, VERY nice piece. God, this whole thing was just so good. Freaked me right out.

Great read -- I'm so glad to hear other folks having the same reaction I did. I too loved this issue(?), but wondered if I felt the work so strongly because of familiarity -- I've known these characters for 20 (!) years. But Fiffe's related comment reassured me that, nope -- the book is just that good.

Scarlet by Starlight was B-movie poetry, and I also burst into laughter at the punchline. (And yes, that was Fritz; Guadalupe confirms it later on.) But I was completely broadsided by the Jamie's contribution. He keeps peeling away these layers of Maggie's history, revealing who she is and why in a continuing series of resounding heartbreaks. The masochistic "I'm sorry." slap-fantasy at the end of Chester Square has suddenly acquired whole new resonance.

In lesser hands, we would have Cathy -- a fat, whiny, self-destructive loser no one has any real empathy for -- but this dude just keeps topping himself. Astonishing! IMHO, his character-driven fiction is among the great literature of our age. Can't you just imagine Browntown being discussed in a future Freshman Lit class, right alongside Bartelby the Scrivener?

The "Blue Sun" had me wondering too. I thought he was color blind at first but realized that perhaps it just emphasized a point: He "Told people about it but nobody believed me." Which is how many parents or organizations want to deal with the mention of molestation. It's considered bad publicity all around. What really happened to Calvin was kept hush hush from everyone it seems. Nobody will even know that the sun was blue...
Tim Hamilton

I also have to say, I read this after reading issues 5-6 of Pluto. Not to post spoilers but they had an uncomfortable "common ground" to them.

Time for me to use the fetal pose for a few hours...

Thanks for this, guys. I'm still absorbing what I just read and it is the sort of work that deserves discussion and reflection.

"Browntown" is a Jaimie story with skin on it. He's always a master at drawing volume with clean lines but here I particularly feel those subtle shifts of expression, cartooned facial muscles and gazes that speak volumes. Not to compare the brothers, but Calvin's heroic sacrifice recalled Ophelia's (Poison River) for me, the only time I cried on a bus reading a comic. Calvin's response is complex - jealousy, betrayal, shame. It's all there but in the end he's still looking out for his big sis.

And Jaimie does the same with the passage of time. The conclusion offers blind hindsight to Browntown but also resolution to years of story and conflicted emotion between Ray and Maggie, and does so almost between panels. I originally read the original L&R out of order, discovering the book at Issue 48 and then tracking down and reading the rest as I could find them. It didn't diminish the impact of the stories, because the punchline or climax in a Los Bros story is never where you'd traditionally expect it.

On the "blue sun" I agree with Tim's assessment, but, more literally, isn't it also electric arcing or "St. Elmo's Fire" over the power lines? The cover reads as if the kids and parents have reversed roles, the kids internalizing while the parents are engrossed in the wonder OR, the kids have already moved on while the adults finally face what the kids have witnessed/ endured.

When was the last time you saw a cover that you could revisit with multiple readings?

Great stuff here Michael, thanks. I think you've pretty much nailed it with that description of the cover (the parents engrossed in wonder, the kids internalizing), I can't look at it right now without registering that. And thanks for reading!

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