Love & Rockets: A surprising hurdle.

September 12th, 2012 by | Tags: ,

I’ve been planning (loosely planning) this thing for a while now. It’s the 30th anniversary of The Hernandez Brothers’s Love & Rockets, and I was going to check them out and write about them from a beginner’s POV. Partly out of guilt, I think — I’ve never read any Love & Rockets, and my first Los Bros book was Sloth, which I found sort of weird and impenetrable at the time.

Almost right after I came up with this plan, Fantagraphics announced that they’d be doing digital versions. Awesome. I’m running on empty when it comes to space, and I don’t need 4 or 8 or 16 or 32 books or however many stinking up the spot and leading to my eventual death-by-falling-books. So I backburnered my plans for a couple months and waited.

The one thing I didn’t expect was that they’d put the digital books up for full retail. There’s just two right now, Heartbreak Soup and Maggie the Mechanic, both marked volume one. Other than figuring out what order to read these in, I’ve got to choose whether or not to pay full retail for a digital comic that I do not legally own and cannot download or to order Heartbreak Soup and Maggie the Mechanic off Amazon for twenty bucks (ten bucks cheaper!) instead and get rid of something else to find space. I’ll also have to spend time scanning those, which I think dissolves the value of the savings. I’ve also got to figure if spending 30 bucks to make 50 makes economic sense (it doesn’t, I don’t think, especially when you factor in time spent reading + writing) or if I should just go about my business and find something else to write about.

It’s not a big deal, but it’s kind of a weird (and disappointing) high-wire act. “I want to do this thing, but I can’t make it make sense for me to do. So do I buckle or do I leave?” I don’t know the answer yet.

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13 comments to “Love & Rockets: A surprising hurdle.”

  1. Many people find the earliest Love and Rockets stuff hard to get into. I’ve never been able to fully appreciate Gilbert’s stuff but Jamie’s is my joint. The first collection, Maggie the Mechanic is kind of a blend of Sci-fi romance adventure stuff. The second book Girl from hoppers is more where all the classic stuff starts happening. You kind of need the first volume to get there though. Awesome stuff! Buy the physical books. You will always go back to them. There is a lot of depth to these books and they are really incredible works art wise as well.

  2. I can’t really help with the digital cost (that’s really disappointing, honestly), but Fantagraphics has a kind of reading guide for where to start with L&R: http://www.fantagraphics.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=76&Itemid=135

  3. I don’t know how you feel about this, but I’m pretty sure that the San Francisco Public Library has most if not all of the Love & Rockets collections. SFPL actually has a really, really good comics & manga selection, it’s a great system.

  4. I can’t speak to what makes economic sense overall, but I’m in a similar situation when it comes to shelf space and digital comics. I’m actually OK with buying digital comics at full price as long as I can download the files off my phone or table and read them on other machines (so I actually own them), but in cases where that isn’t available or I already own the print comics I’ve been looking into scanning services like 1dollarscan.com (not actually one dollar unless you’re scanning less than 100 pages w/o OCR). I can still get the physical books at a pull list or Amazon discount, and if I decide I can’t spare the shelf space on them hopefully the savings will mostly cover the cost of scanning.

  5. I once had extra copies of these but sold them off. Now I see I needed to keep them as LOANER COPIES.

    This may — or may not — be one of the greatest comics of all time. Take a chance on the physical ones and sell them if you don’t like them.

  6. I’ll second Doug’s adviceā€”if your library doesn’t have all the books, you can get them via Inter-Library Loan.

  7. I agree with Heidi. I doubt you’ll regret the purchase if you buy them in print.

  8. Lord knows I hate them myself . . . but in all honesty, this sounds like a job for the local library if anything does.

  9. I’d say physical books. And I’d love to hear your take on Love & Rockets.

  10. If digital is the same price as the paper version, getting digital is a waste of your money.

    Unless you want Los Bros to get a little bit more cash from each sale. That would be fine.

  11. I took a closer look at ComiXology’s offering and that per page price is the shit.

    Also, as very annoyed as I am by current comic prices, I am *beginning* to think that I may get more value from the digital versions – assuming that I read them more easily and more often since they’re mobile, volumeless, and weightless.

    I say, choose your preferred sampling method and, if you dig it, go for it.

  12. I’ll be curious to read a series about Love and Rockets from a first-timer perspective. I’ve been a fan of their art (especially Jaime) for years, but the books always kind of leave me cold. It’s the same problem as Cerebus or other longform comics works – everyone says that the books are amazing, even though the early books aren’t great, but their amazing-ness is exponentially increased by the accretion of history between characters built up over years of stories, except that the beginning ones (as previously mentioned) aren’t great…

  13. For what it’s worth, I got ten pounds of “the early books aren’t great” and I completely disagree with that. They’re different, and they’re necessary to frame the characters’ aging.