At long last, Fantagraphics has released the 7th and final Love and Rockets reprint volume: AMOR Y COHETES. Collecting all the "extras" from Los Bros Hernandez' pioneering independent comic series, this volume contains anything that didn't fit with the regular Locas or Palomar stories. In addition to Jaime and Gilbert, there are a few contributions from Mario Hernandez, who helped to get the series off the ground in the '80s, but eventually moved on to other things while his brothers' more refined and increasingly complex work grew to dominate the title.
The majority of the early stories in this volume are obvious nods to the sci-fi/fantasy adventures that populate Heavy Metal magazine. Some are one-pagers, while others are longer, multi-part affairs. Then there's the occasional political thriller or Errata Stigmata story. Further on, we are treated to a beautifully surreal biography of Frida Kahlo, the Hernandez Satyricon, and the familiar faces of Maggie, Hopey, & Ray D, plus Luba and other residents of Palomar.
The early stories are rough, meandering, and amateurish at times, but paired with the later works, this is a fascinating look at the evolution of Jaime and Gilbert's skills as storytellers. As for Mario - well, his creative skills certainly weren't up to the level of his brothers, and I feel that his lengthy and confusing contributions are the drawbacks of this collection. Still, it's worth the expense to complete the set.