Love & Rockets: New Stories #4 (2011), page 89. Jaime Hernandez.
What they're all saying is totally true: Jaime's work in the new Love & Rockets is some of the best comics ever. Forget everything else you're reading right now (unless it's Yokoyama), and go get that comic, because it's just better. Seriously: in light of comics like the new Jaime's existence, all this coverage of the New 52 (hinky hink hink!) and whatever else just seems gauche as hell. This week everybody is talking about Jaime, so I thought I'd add my voice to the chorus by analyzing the gorgeous page above in the latest installment of my Robot 6 column. Check it out here. Starts like this:
I don’t think I’m advancing anything too controversial when I say that if there’s a Platonic ideal for the comic book page, it’s a piece of sequential art that works both as an assemblage of individual panels and as a single, unified artwork. This, of course, is a lot easier said than done. When gridded layouts are discarded to turn the page into a poster-style piece of op-art there’s always some readability being sacrificed, and the grid is all too often a vehicle for cartoonists to work inside without paying sufficient consideration to what sum their page’s parts are creating.
Jaime Hernandez squares that circle in the page above, a slice of comics that flows like fine wine from panel to panel but stands rock solid as a full-page unit. The basic conceit of the page is that it isn’t unified by a dual identity as one single picture or any fancy layout tricks, but an immediate, cohesive sense of motion that every panel supports completely. It’s not always beneficial for comics to be “pictures that move”, but Jaime is a classicist through and through, perhaps the purest one in comics right now. Every panel here is story information above all, a drawing that communicates something of substance as clearly and crisply as possible. That’s true of pretty much everything Jaime’s drawn for the past two decades, but on this page the story is bracingly simple, and every panel works toward a common goal: closing the perceived space between the characters inhabiting two separate frames. Read more