For me, the highlight of last month's Free Comic Book Day was the Love And Rockets sampler from Fantagraphics, which served a soft launch for the new series due to take off this summer.
Back in the '80s, when I first got into comic books in a big way, one of my main non-superhero favourites was the Love And Rockets comic magazine, which ran from the early '80s until mid-'90s.
|Hopey and Maggie|
The two brothers both write and draw their own material independently.
Except for the first few issues, I ended up only really reading Jaime's stories - which I fell madly in love with - while Gilbert's, for whatever reason, never did anything for me.
Jaime's half of the magazine appeared to begin life as a low-key futuristic fantasy, but gradually the retro space age elements slipped into the background as the characters blossomed and became more rounded.
I only read the magazine for a few years before I lost touch with it (I didn't have a regular comic book supplier in those days or a set pull-list), so didn't appreciate - until I picked up the FCBD title - that the characters were actually ageing in real time as the stories went along.
However, the two central women in Jaime's beautifully illustrated world have stuck with me through the years: namely the punk Hopey (who I was totally smitten by) and Maggie the Mechanic.
I was so caught up in their lives for those few years that during one of my trips to London I even picked up a pair of wrestling boots, because that's what some of the characters in the magazine were wearing.
In retrospect it's always surprised me, that as someone whose comic book intake is dominated by superheroes, how much I enjoy the occasional 'slice of life' tale - like this and the whole New Riverdale shindig at Archie Comics.
I've missed out on vast tracts of Maggie and Hopey's lives and never even realised that, in some form, the title was still going. A second volume of comic book stories ran from 2001 to 2007 and, apparently, there has been an annual graphic novel every year for the past eight years.
And now, I'm delighted to say, the comic is returning - courtesy of Fantagraphics - and while I'll still only read half of every issue, that half is worth the price of admission just to allow me to rub shoulders with Maggie and Hopey again.