By Molly Jane Kremer and Jarrod Jones. Happy New Comic Book Day! This is Casual Wednesdays With DoomRocket, a podcast series where each week we discuss our feelings concerning the comics that mean the most to us, and the industry news that affects us all. This week, MJ & Jarrod talk about the comics they can’t seem to quit, at the sacrifice of good taste. Later, they read reviews for ‘Spell on Wheels’ #1 and ‘Love and Rockets’ #1.
Don’t forget to share this podcast on the social network of your choosing, and please enjoy.
MJ’s Top 5 Most Anticipated Issues:
Spell on Wheels #1 — Dark Horse Comics/$3.99
The Mighty Thor #12 — Marvel Comics/$3.99
Night’s Dominion #2 — Oni Press/$3.99
Batman #9 — DC Comics/$2.99
Spider-Gwen #13 — Marvel Comics/$3.99
Jarrod’s Top 5 Most Anticipated Issues:
Superman #9 — DC Comics/$2.99
Love and Rockets #1 — Fantagraphics Press/$4.99
Demonic #3 — Image Comics/$3.99
Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye #1 — DC’s Young Animal/$3.99
Supergirl By Peter David TPB — DC Comics/$24.99
REVIEWS FOR OCTOBER 19, 2016
Love and Rockets #1
Written by Jaime Hernandez and Gilberto Hernandez.
Art by Gilberto Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez.
JJ: I’ve been reading Love and Rockets long enough that I can honestly say that I feel nostalgia for it. That’s exactly how I feel when I look at the cover to the first issue of the newest volume of L&R — Nostalgia. It inspires enough nostalgia in me that I may actually swoon.
Of course, I’m not old enough to say that I’ve been in love with Love and Rockets since the beginning (it started back in 1981, so it’s always been two years older than me). But ever since those formative teenage years came and wreaked havoc all over my emotions, the life’s work of Gilberto and Jaime Hernandez have been there; to provide a window to other lives, offer counsel, and inspire lunacy in equal measure.
Entering into its fourth volume and at the same time a brand new era, Love and Rockets returns to its iconic magazine-sized format for the first time in almost two decades, which will only prove problematic to those who feel comfortable stuffing such magnificence into a longbox. Fantagraphics Press have put out a stunner of a debut issue, one that will absolutely woo back lapsed readers and entice those who want to see what all the fuss is about. This sucker is the purest example of sequential art, of that you can be certain.
Two worlds exist in Love and Rockets — Gilberto’s almost dreamlike Latin American village known as Palomar and the achingly poignant goings-on of Jaime’s Hoppers 13. Here, Gilberto continues the Tolstoy-sized soap opera mystery surrounding Rosalba “Fritz” Martinez, framing his panels like a Bergman film, filling them with the impenetrable dialogue of David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, always weaving in and out of his metanarrative like a Daffy Duck cartoon. Gilberto — or just Beto — his unabashed approach to sexuality hasn’t faltered one bit. It’s just as ridiculous and whirlwind and fickle as it’s ever been. As for the story itself… well, diligent readers will doubtlessly pick up most of the narrative cues peppered throughout his story, so what about the new readers? Beto’s phantasmagoria just might beguile them.
Jaime pulls double duty this issue, starting off with the Hoppers-centric saga of Margarita Luisa Chascarillo and Esperanza Leticia Glass, or as long-time readers have always known them, Maggie and Hopey. Beto and Jaime’s stories have always progressed in quasi-real time, but with Jamie’s Locas saga, that progression can sometimes feel downright brutal. (Take Jaime’s cover and variant cover to this issue — familiar readers will recognize the years that have passed between these characters, and remember that for some, life has not been kind.)
The issue’s first story, “I Come From Above To Avoid A Double Chin”, reunites Maggie, Hopey, and their old pal, Daffy for an awkward, but no less wonderful, night out. Just as Beto’s story comes with self-referential nods, so too does Jaime’s Locas yarn — Hopey’s former nemesis, Julie Wree, makes a surprising cameo, and off panel, if you listen closely enough, you can faintly hear the wild chords of Ape Sex, reunited and it feels so good.
Even though miles of road have passed between these women, when the music is loud enough and the inhibitions are tossed aside, the captivating shenanigans of Wigwam Bam begin to peek from under Maggie and Hopey’s grown-ass selves. It’s really something to behold.
I don’t know how they keep doing it. Even though thirty-five years have passed, opening the latest issue of Love and Rockets still feels like coming home.
10 out of 10
Spell on Wheels #1
Dark Horse Comics/$3.99
Written by Kate Leth.
Art by Megan Levens.
Colors by Marissa Louise.
Letters by Nate Piekos.
MJ: Halloween is less than two weeks away and many of us are prepping our costumes, decorating the house with pumpkins and skulls (unless that’s your all-year décor, in which case, heck yeah–keep it spoopy, baby), and hunting down every creepity thing to watch or read until the 31st finally sneaks up.
I am definitely in the midst of the latter, and was delighted to discover that the new Dark Horse comic from Kate Leth, Megan Levens, and Marissa Louise, Spell on Wheels, debuts today. It’s more urban fantasy than Halloween horror, but it’s got witches and road trips and magic and three really rad babes for leads (and three really rad babes made it too), and if any of those things rev your particular engines, this is a comic you should definitely read.
Now, Spell on Wheels isn’t exactly scary per se (other than the sort of upsetting and realistic instance of a creeper ex breaking into the girls’ place and robbing them), it is about a road trip with the aforementioned three witches: Jolene, Claire, and Andy, mid-twenties ladies who so far, use their magic positively while keeping it nice and low-key. It’s written by Kate Leth, who (aside from being the founder of the got-dang Valkyries (of which I am a proud member) is one of those writers that, for me, guarantees my purchase of a comic. When I see her name on a cover (like on Marvel’s Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat), I know I’m getting a comic with very positive, fun, and diverse portrayals of women and lady-friendships, alternating seamlessly between action, sweetness, drama, and humor. And, lucky me, Spell on Wheels #1 has all of these things, in great abundance. (Honestly though, Andy’s line, “We just got robbed! Don’t do jump scares!” made me laugh out loud.)
Artist Megan Levens’ pencils—also currently gracing pages of the noirish Angel City series from Oni Press, also rocking my socks lately—are absolutely perfect on this book, and her art style is very complementary to Leth’s writing in general. Our three protagonists all look like real people (funny/not-funny that in comics, ladies drawn to look like real normal humans remains rare enough to deserve attention), each with their own discernible body-type, look, and style. The cleanliness and clarity of Levens’ lines and layouts ensure a well-paced flow to the story, and, apropos of nothing, I absolutely adore how she draws noses.
Colorist Marissa Louise makes each page pop with bold and bright color choices, but deepens and darkens the background and gutters when we get some magical bizness going on. She also gives the later exterior shots just the right mix of pristine blue sky and yellow-gold foliage to be truly evocative of autumnal New England.
The comic’s practical magic use within the real world makes for ever-so-slight hints of the worlds of Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, though that’s an easy comparison for most modern urban fantasy with a youngish cast. (But at least this cast isn’t so damn white.) Spell on Wheels is its own unique experience though, full of strong and interesting ladies within some solid world-building that I’m really excited to delve into more deeply. (I’m more than curious about everyone’s families they keep mentioning.) And while it is definitely a fitting Halloween read (duh, it stars three witches), this is a comic you’ll want to continue following long after you’ve thrown away all that dreadful candy corn.
8.5 out of 10
Check back next week for more from Casual Wednesdays!
Before: “We Are So, So Ready For More Killer CW DC TV,” here.