Jaime Hernandez is co-creator of the long-running, award-winning, and critically acclaimed series Love and Rockets, first published in 1981 and widely heralded as launching the alternative comics movement.
Praise for Jaime Hernandez
"Jaime Hernandez' work always inspires. Real characters, magical worlds, bold art. As a student filmmaker his creations helped me to understand visual storytelling." Darren Aronofsky
"Hernandez is a national treasure." Salon.com
“Jaime's art balances big white and black spaces to create a world of nuance in between, just as his writing balances our big human feelings and our small human trivias to generate its incredible emotional power. Quite simply, this is one of the twentieth century's most significant comic creators at the peak of his form, with every line a wedding of classicism and cool.” Alan Moore
"One of the most talented artists our polyglot culture has produced." The New York Times Book Review
“[Jaime's] stories never fail to entertain, but their claim on literature is due to Hernandez's bracing realism. His virtuoso drawings present characters of intelligence, wit, and human frailty who confront each other—and the reader—with such honesty and genuine tenderness that one may find it hard to believe she/he is reading a comic book.” Publishers Weekly
"When I was coming up in the '80s, the representation of Latinos, even at the literary level, was incredibly un-diverse. Even amongst hard-core Latino writers I really admire, there wasn't the kind of writing about the sectors of the Latino community that I was familiar with. Love and Rockets was not only a revolution in comics, it was a revolution in Latino letters. It was the first time that people were writing about the kind of Latinos that I grew up with where being a Latino was a given. What we really drew or what compelled us in our lives was who we were dating, the music we were listening to, the problems we were getting into. These guys were the originators of the kind of suburban Latino stories where they had all the problems of the community and the enormous complexity of who we were as young people. It was a dynamic part of the larger U.S. society, and not some static, nostalgic, sepia-print photo of itself." Junot Diaz
"Hopey and Maggie are lesbian, Spanish-American, and punk. In a sexist, racist nation, only political and social underdogs can be the real heroes and heroines." Kathy Acker
"Jaime's characters are so convincing and his stories so compelling that it is easy to overlook his greatest strength: the most economically handsome drawing style in comics." Booklist
"Hernandez's 'Locas' plunged me into a comics ecstasy I hadn't known since I was 10." The Nation
"No other man in or out of the field understands women the way [Hernandez] does." Trina Robbins
"Jaime's Maggie is one of the great characters in contemporary American fiction." L.A. Weekly
"Not like it needs saying, but Jaime Hernandez is a goddamn genius." Resonance
"Love & Rockets has been American fiction's best kept secret." Rolling Stone
"Love & Rockets is a high point in the comics form, conventional in idiom, but not comparable to any strips before it." The Washington Post
"The rough-edged Latin American minimalist, stylized black and white comic strips have been widely described as the graphic equivalent to the fabulism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Nobel laureate." The Times of London
"Jaime Hernandez is taking a lifetime to create The Great American Graphic Novel, and if you're lucky, you'll outlive him. That way, you get to see how it ends." The Village Voice
"I don’t like to choose between brothers, but Jaime Hernandez is one of the greatest drawers of human faces and human want on the planet." John Hodgman
“Los Bros… have been responsible for some of the smartest, best-drawn, most indelible comics of the past 30 years…” Douglas Wolk, TIME/Techland
Jaime Hernandez Biography
Jaime Hernandez was born in 1959 in Oxnard, California. Jaime and his brother Gilbert Hernandez enjoyed a pleasant childhood with three other brothers and one sister, growing up in a house filled with comic books, as their mother had been an avid fan as a girl. Jaime's interest in comics created by such artists as Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby combined with a love of rock music to inspire his earliest work. His draftsmanship bloomed under the tutelage of the community college art instructor, and thanks to this instruction, Jaime mastered the articulate body language he had admired years earlier in Archie comics and Dennis the Menace.
Jaime used his new skills to the fullest, with particular emphasis on the female form (one of the few interests the brothers shared with mainstream cartoonists). But the female characters both Jaime and Gilbert created would be notable for reasons other than prurient. Drawing on friendships formed with “punk girls” in the neighborhood and in clubs, both brothers infused their lusciously rendered ladies with strength, intelligence, independence, bitchiness, frailty, obsessiveness; in short, human qualities. These women were neither on a pedestal nor in the gutter but at eye level with their male counterparts.
Jaime’s central characters are Maggie and Hopey. Maggie Chascarillo, a gifted apprentice “Pro-solar Mechanic” in the earlier fantasy-oriented storylines, and Hopey Glass, a feisty anti-authoritarian punkette who also happens to be Maggie’s on-again, off-again lover.
These were the kind of women that populated the first issue of Love & Rockets, self-published in 1981. Initiated by older bother Mario, it may have been a small black and white affair, but it offered a strong impression of what the Brothers Hernandez were capable of in their chosen art form. After showing the first version at conventions and being advised to conform more to mainstream comics standards, a copy was sent to The Comics Journal, a publication known for its demanding criticism of the medium. To the brothers’ surprise, Gary Groth, the editor/publisher of The Comics Journal, offered to publish their work under the new comics imprint, Fantagraphics. It was an ideal match: Fantagraphics got a comic book that showed every sign of living up to the hoped for standard of excellence, and the brothers got a publisher who allowed them total artistic freedom.
With that freedom, the brothers produced some of the most startling, original, and intelligent comic art to be seen since the ’60s underground boom. Jaime garnered the first notice as a masterful cartoonist in the making, but his storylines soon evolved into realistic stories of barrio life, which turned out to be far more exhilarating than the fantasy that helped first earn him attention.
With the release of Love and Rockets #50 in 1996, Gilbert and Jaime began a five year hiatus from the series, each focusing instead on a series of solo comics: from Jaime, Whoa, Nellie! and Penny Century.
In 2001, the three Bros. (including Mario) reunited to launch the comic book format Love and Rockets Vol. II which ran for 20 issues through 2007. In 2006, Jaime produced a 20 part strip in The New York Time Magazine titled La Maggie La Loca. 2008 saw the launch of Love and Rockets Vol. III, entitled Love and Rockets: New Stories, which appeared as an annual 100-page trade paperback collecting new stories from all three Bros. In 2016, a new iteration of Love and Rockets was published with issue #1, returning to the original magazine format. Love and Rockets has won numerous awards and has been collected in numerous book volumes published by Fantagraphics. Jaime was inducted into the Will Eisner Comics Hall of Fame in 2017.
In addition to Jaime’s comics work, he has created illustrations for such publications as The New Yorker, Spin, and The New York Times Magazine, as well as album covers for bands such as Los Lobos, The Indigo Girls, and Michelle Shocked, and DVD covers for the Criterion Collection. His original artwork has been featured in numerous exhibitions, and the monograph The Art of Jaime Hernandez/The Secrets of Life and Death was published in 2010 by Abrams.
Jaime resides in Pasadena, California with his wife, Meg, and daughter Carson.
Biography adapted from information on the website of Hernandez' publisher, Fantagraphics Books.