Jaime Hernandez's Dicks and Deedees
By Leroy Douresseau
September 15, 2003 - 15:17
Publisher(s): Fantagraphics Books
Writer(s): Jamie Hernandez
Penciller(s): Jamie Hernandez
Inker(s): Jamie Hernandez
Cover Artist(s): Jamie Hernandez
After two decades of continuously producing high quality comics, Jamie Hernandez is more likely than not the preeminent American cartoonist in that time span, with only his brother Gilbert, Dan Clowes, and Chris Ware matching Jamie's prodigious output. In the early 1980's Gilbert, Jamie, and sometime collaborator (the other brother) Mario began producing the comics magazine Love & Rockets. At that time, L&R was probably one of the few comics in which both "minorities and women" were the major characters.
In the mid 90's, Xaime and 'Berto shut L&R down with the 50th issue, and each began to produce a solo comic, Luba from Gilbert and Penny Century from Jaime. A lack of interest from many comic book retailers and the difficulty readers had finding both solo books for sale forced Los Bros. (as the brothers are affectionately known) to return with Love & Rockets Vol. 2 and to drop the magazine format for a traditionally-sized comic book. Dicks and Deedees, the new hardcover from longtime Los Bros. publishers Fantagraphics Books, is the 20th collection of Love & Rockets material. An all-Xaime book, Deedees collects Jaime's work from Penny Century #5-7 and his serials from Love & Rockets Vol. 2 #4-5.
Although known for his oh-so-fine art, Jamie is an accomplished writer. It's best to save the usual platitudes about his work for other reviewers. Simply said, Jamie's best known characters, the eternally bonded duo of Maggie and Hopey, live in a world where life is something like a bittersweet dark comedy, and the characters enjoy laughter as much as they suffer tears. Reading Jaime's work, one can't help but think how it's so like the real world that these Love & Rockets comics matter beyond being escapist entertainment.
There's not much else in the comic market like Jamie's work - touched with the verisimilitude of life and firmly rooted in the lush fantasy of the comics genre. His writing blithely dances from one genre to the next and often strides several at once. There is something reassuring about this life in the way the characters wrestle with the dilemmas of their lives and the way they trump fate by taking what comes their way with bruises and smiles, at least most of the time.
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