• Love-and-rockets-hero3

    Hernandez Brothers: Love and Rockets covers

Illustration

The inimitable Love and Rockets turns 30! Let’s celebrate with a look at their fantastic front covers

Posted by Anna Trench,

When a long-running comic book series rejects the timeless universe to embrace aging, the gradual crow’s feet and readjusted dreams can be incredibly moving to follow. Love and Rockets, first drawn and stapled together by brothers Jaime, Gilbert and Mario Hernandez in 1981, is currently celebrating a remarkable 30 years as a trailblazer in alternative comics with a retrospective at San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum. The series has not only embraced aging, it’s aged brilliantly itself.

Love and Rockets changed comics. Not only is it beautifully drawn, cleverly observed and assuredly composed, its pages introduced characters who weren’t usually found in panels, namely Latinos, punk rockers and lesbian mechanics. After the first few issues Mario took a step back, but Gilbert and Jaime have both sensitively nurtured their own distinct, developed casts with the kind of expansions, contractions and tangles you’d expect from ambitious 30-year storylines. After a flirtation with sci-fi (space ships and dinosaurs feature early), a kind of magic realism meets gritty urban domesticity has been the prevailing flavour.

If life had a magic realism storyline we’d fly to San Fran and check out the Cartoon Art Museum’s excellent exhibition in person. Failing that, we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of this comics legend with a load of fantastic front covers. Look and learn everyone!

Love and Rockets: A 30th Anniversary Celebration is at the Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco until March 10.

  • L_r02

    Hernandez Brothers: Love and Rockets 2

  • L_r01

    Hernandez Brothers: Love and Rockets 1

  • L_rvol1-_24

    Hernandez Brothers: Love and Rockets 24

  • L_rvol1-_50

    Hernandez Brothers: Love and Rockets 50

  • L_r03

    Hernandez Brothers: Love and Rockets 3

  • L_r08

    Hernandez Brothers: Love and Rockets 8

  • L_r09

    Hernandez Brothers: Love and Rockets 9

  • L_r06

    Hernandez Brothers: Love and Rockets 6

  • L_r-14

    Hernandez Brothers: Love and Rockets 14

  • L_r05

    Hernandez Brothers: Love and Rockets 5

  • L_r04

    Hernandez Brothers: Love and Rockets 4

  • L_r-poster

    Hernandez Brothers: Love and Rockets exhibition poster

Portrait16

Posted by Anna Trench

Anna is a writer and illustrator who joined us as an editorial intern after studying at Cambridge University and Falmouth university. She wrote for the site between January and March 2013.

Most Recent: Illustration View Archive

  1. List

    Michael Parkin’s portfolio is a wonderful mix of commissioned work interspersed with personal projects, which is exactly what you want when looking through a creative’s website. His style is simple but well observed and whether he’s creating a poster for Little White Lies or a series of prints relating to a trip to Denmark, Michael’s work is wonderful at telling a story.

  2. List

    I love that moment when big brands start to recognise the immense talents of illustrators who had previously been making work primarily for themselves, and duly commission them to do exactly what they do best. Linda Linko is a prime example; since being signed to Agent Pekka the Finnish illustrator has been gathering speed as well as commissions, creating her characteristically bold artwork for a number of huge posters and magazine covers.

  3. List

    Lawrence Zeegen has never been one to mince his words. The illustrator, writer and dean of design at London College of Communication has recently launched his new book Fifty Years Of Illustration which he co-wrote with Grafik editor Caroline Roberts. It’s an impressively ambitious undertaking with the duo condensing five decades into 1,000 images by 240 illustrators from 30 countries. Lawrence admits it’s a “pretty personal selection” but one that aims to “represent the movers and shakers across each decade according to the work I believe was instrumental in shaping the discipline.”

  4. List

    Growing up in a family of doctors, Swedish illustrator and paper-cut artist Petra Börner secured her first commission (illustrating medical journals) through her surgeon mother, which might go some way to explaining why her work is so reminiscent of botanical diagrams in biology textbooks. Petra’s principle subject is the flora and fauna of the natural world, which she creates using paper cut techniques so intricate and painstakingly-detailed that they scarcely look like they could be real.

  5. List

    Alright, we admit it – Peter Judson has made a lot of work we’ve been really into this year, and he’s had the props on the site to prove it. But why should we be made to contain ourselves when he keeps producing illustration of this calibre? Why, we ask you?

  6. List

    If, like me, you spent many an hour in your teenage years gazing absentmindedly at Larry Carlson’s experimental website Medijate, you’ll no doubt be similarly transfixed by The Landfill from the very talented Santtu Mustonen. Stitching together a “collection of unused sketches, leftover drawings and rejected ideas from forgotten projects” to a mesmerising soundtrack by Tuomas Alatalo, Santtu created a hypnotic animation that’s a work of art in its own right.

  7. List

    As the man who gave form to the twisted genius of Hunter S. Thompson, British illustrator’s Ralph Steadman’s latest project seems like a perfect fit. Ralph has worked with Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan to illustrate some limited-edition Blu-Ray covers for a special boxset of the series due out early next year.

  8. List

    Having just re-read Sammy Harkham’s 2012 anthology of short stories Everything Together I was stupidly excited to find out he’s just got himself on Tumblr and uploaded a small but growing archive of work both old and new. Included in among old covers of Kramers Ergot, book jackets for Kafka anthologies, Bonnie Prince Billy album covers and bits and pieces of rejected work are original drawings from his ongoing graphic novel (and surely future masterpiece) Blood of the Virgin, which he’s also selling to fund further work on the project. I for one cannot wait to see this project massive volume finally realised. Keep at it Sammy!

  9. List

    This top image by New York-based illustrator Karan Singh caught my eye on purely aesthetic grounds; it was only when I delved a little deeper that I discovered the interesting story behind the work. Karan was one of several artists commissioned by Ogilvy New York to work on the IBM US Open Sessions, whereby LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy created a series of tracks based on data gathered at the tennis tournament.

  10. Main2

    I came across the work of Matthias Geisler over on Booooooom the other day and was reminded that we hadn’t posted something like this in a while. Matthias’ work is a swirling blend of spirits and creatures that are created with meticulous use of pencil crayons and water-colours. Is it me or are watercolours real in at the moment? All the cool kids seem to be using them.

  11. List

    If you’re feeling a bit bleary eyed this morning, grab a cup of coffee and take a look at Goncalo Viana’s beautiful illustrations to wake yourself up. Rich with colour and charming detail his work has a wonderful texture to it, as though you could reach out and actually feel the deep pigments he’s used.

  12. List

    Before I write anything about illustrator Nicolas Delort I feel like full disclosure is necessary; between the ages of 11 and 14 I spent all of my pocket money collecting and painting Warhammer models and most of my saturdays hanging out in Games Workshop, which means I’m predisposed to LOVE epic fantasy artwork, like Frank Fazetta, Julie Bell and Boris Vallejo.

  13. Main

    It’s comforting to see the resurgence in the physical aspects of music. There was a moment a few years back when gig posters and witty, well-crafted promotional material seemed to be confined solely to the world wide web, which made every poster that was actually printed on paper something of a novelty. Not any more though: we’re receiving and finding so many illustrators now whose portfolios are chock full of variations on the humble gig poster and they are brilliant. Today we thought we’d champion this theme with Dutch illustration student Douwe Dijkstra. His visual interpretations of bands such as The Growlers and Losers are taking the stylistic qualities of early 1990s gig posters and infusing them with a modern style to make some seriously nick-able printed matter. Keep up the great work, Douwe!