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Locas
By Jaime Hernandez
Published by Fantagraphics Books; $49.95 USD

Forget Dagwood and Blondie, Hi and Lois, Scott and Jean or Batman and Robin -- the greatest love story ever told in comics is probably that of Maggie and Hopey, the stars of Jaime Hernandez's Locas.

Romantic and genuine, sexy and frustrating, the two women's lives intersect and bifurcate with maddening unpredictability, driving both reader and characters mad, as circumstance and very human failings and fears work to keep the pair apart even as destiny seems to draw them back together, maybe, someday...?

Collecting over two decades of stories from Love and Rockets, Locas features over 700 pages of stories from one of the best comic books ever created. Having read Love and Rockets from its first Fantagraphics issue in the 1980s, I found it instructive to take in this saga again from beginning, seeing for the first time just how skillfully Hernandez always handled the relationship between Maggie and Hopey (he discussed the creation of Locas and other matters in an excellent interview at Graphic Novel Review).

While the earliest Locas stories featured some sci-fi elements and Maggie's crush on the handsome mechanic Rand Race, in retrospect this may have always been a red herring to divert attention (both Maggie's and the reader's) away from the true nature of the story: Hopey is in love with Maggie, but Maggie, despite her occasional sexual fling with Hopey, is still attracted to men, and pretty much everyone of both sexes is attracted to Maggie.

Jaime's affecting scripting and meticulous cartooning make Locas a delight, and if I marginally prefer brother Gilbert's Palomar over this volume, it's really only by a matter of degrees and my attraction to Gilbert's mysterious gift for plumbing the dark corners of human experience.

Locas fully deserves its reputation as one of the great works of comics art, though, and Maggie manages to break both Hopey's and our hearts time and again throughout this beautiful volume. Grade: 4.5/5

-- Alan David Doane



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