I watched a lot of cartoons and movies. I draw incessantly and carry a sketchbook everywhere. I work in animation and self-publish my books. There are monsters in the streets, don't wear red. Mad bulls and monsters hate that color. I still watch cartoons.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Jaime Hernandez interview

Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing fame interviews one of my all time favorite comic book creators, Jaime Hernandez (link here for the GNR post) on the publication of the collected Maggie and Hopey stories. Created over 15 years from 1981 to 1996 in the pages of the legendary comic book series Love & Rockets, this giant book (over 700 pages) spans the evolution of an important voice in independent comics and one of the most respected.

Do you keep a notebook when you come up with ideas for stories?

Sometimes I have to, but a lot of it's stored in my head, so if I get pelted by a brick and lose it all then it's gone! I've been, at times, lying up in the middle of the night and I'd think, "Hey, I'm going to do a story about that," and then it's gone. But sometimes when I'm doing a story I go, "Haven't I seen this before? Am I repeating myself?" And I'll go back to older issues, and go, "I never did this." So it must have been something I tracked from the back of my head.

I met Jaime Hernandez for the first time this past San Diego Con and yet it felt like I had known him for longer. I had bought my first Love and Rockets collection at the Forbidden Planet on Ventura Blvd., probably late 1989. I was hooked even before I got halfway through it. How can this man do this to me, what one reviewer had spot on diagnosed, making me "...fall in love with ink on paper?" I would be at the edge of my existence when reading about Maggie's choices and left turns, a quivering puddle gasping for air and haunted for years after. This guy can tell stories! And what's more, them stories got balls!

I continued to be a fan through my Batman: The Animated Series stay (there were many of us who were L&R zombies. Glen Murakami had a fixation to beat all and could draw the most convincing Jaime-like girls in his sketchbooks), and I even drew Hopey as a passenger on the back of a bus that The Penguin was taking on his way to a legit life after prison in a storyboard for "Birds of a Feather." I'm not sure now whether anyone caught that. I saw Jaime Hernandez once in a small convention around that time, wearing all black, though he looked quite the approachable author I chickened out. I was sure I was going to babble some incoherent nonsense, it was best that I avoided that.

Well, I nearly did just that this year as my brother Louie announced that he was eyeing a particular original by Jaime. "What?" I didn't even know he was going to be here. "Where?" My brother says that he's just two aisles away from me on the same side as our booth. That was it. I bounded out of there with a copy of PB2 to hand to him. Once in front of him I blathered something to the effect that I've been a big fan for years and I forget what else--it wasn't very impressive. After buying an outstanding drawing of Penny Century I give him my book, "I'd like you to have a copy of my book," striking the appropriate I'm not worthy nod.

"I know you," he says.

I must have heard that wrong. It almost sounded like he said he knows me. "I know your friends from Warner Bros. And I bought a comic book you did, an Aliens book." Whoa! Hey, he does know me! I demured in all shades of, well, copper and brown I could and proceeded to sweat profusely. I can't remember what else I said but I know I must have thanked him over and over again and bothered him for an email address that I may write him. He wrote me his email! In that Jaime Herandez dialogue script of his. Awesome! Geeking out to the heavens about then.

So, there. My lone meeting with Maggie's creator. It was well worth the years of finding the right opportunity. I'm afraid to write him now, fearing that I had waited too long and that he might view it as an intrusion--or worse, wonder what he was thinking when he gave me his email. I'm sure he wouldn't mind. But I'm more certain I'm going to again chicken out. But maybe next year?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always been more of Beto fan as he is one of most understated storytellers in the business. Beto's Heartbreak Soup, Blood of Palomar, Luba are a maze of cross cultural and interrelated stories mixed with sadness and humor.

However, a couple years back, I bought Glen Murakami's Sunday Girl sketchbook from Stuart Ng. I really noticed Jaime's influence on Murakami's work. I backtrack and check out some of Jaime's trade paperbacks as well as Jamie's original artwork. Check out John Higashi's original art collection of Jaime's characters. I got a deeper appreciate of Jaime. When I watch old reruns of Batman Beyond, I noticed the influence of Jamie especially on characters designs like Barbara Gordon/Terry McGinnis. Thanks for the blog post as it gives insight that Jamie really did influence the WB crew. In summary, Beto is the story teller whereas Jamie is the stylist.


11:13 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's interesting. Glen's work also brought me back to Jaime's...

Ronnie, you've made me jealous twice with this post. Not only did you meet Jaime Hernandez (I missed way too much at the con this year), you have also seen unpublished Glen Murakami sketchbooks. *sigh* I'm green with envy since I haven't seen new drawings from him in quite a while.

Back on topic, this book looks great and I'll have to pick it up.


8:09 AM

Blogger Ronnie said...

Charles, I've been too much of Jaime fan to venture too far into Beto's world, though I have read his work in the regular run of L&R and found them excellent reading--very intense and pulls no punches. Good to hear from you. I have a Harley & Ivy painting that I've owed you in mind still, so I'm not forgetting.

John, yep, you gotta pick that book up. And the Glen drawings I remember were from years back and, like you, I haven't seen any new work from him. Mayb he'll actually find time to do that story he's intended for Sunday Girl.



9:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

and I even drew Hopey as a passenger on the back of a bus that The Penguin was taking on his way to a legit life after prison in a storyboard for "Birds of a Feather." I'm not sure now whether anyone caught that.

I caught it! AHHHHH!!! :-) God bless Boomerang and TiVo!

9:20 PM

Blogger Michael said...

Strange.. this is the first link to come up when you google "jaime hernandez interview". I'm a big fan of yours, Ronnie, after reading the Harley and Ivy story from Batman: Black and White. You're spot-on about Jaime being approachable and also making a person fall in love with ink and paper. I think in a more recent issue of L&R, his and Beto's email addresses were printed in the back, so I emailed both of them and they both replied.


12:02 PM

Blogger Mahala said...

Awfully late comment, but I've reading Love and Rockets' collected editions voraciously, AND been rewatching all my favourite episodes of Batman Animated since the special edition came out. So when I saw that episode I shrieked "HOPEY!!!" and ran to google "hernandez hopey in batman penguin".

To think you did one of my favourite Black And White stories as well! Now I think of it, your Harley and Ivy have such a Maggie and Hopey vibe. Consider another fan added to your list!

12:56 PM


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