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Cover of Elvis at his Best. (Courtesy of the record label)

Love And Rockets (And Music): Comic-Book Pioneers Gil & Jaime Hernandez

Sep 27, 2012

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Cover of T. Rex Electric Warrior. Cover of MTV Unplugged: Los Tigres Del Norte And Friends Cover of Come Together. Cover of The Plugz's Electrify Me. D.O.A. Bloodied But Unbowed Love and Rockets

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You could suppose that two brothers with a Spanish surname whose family roots extend to Mexico would have Mexican music as part of their musical DNA. But culture is a complex thing.

Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez are Mexican-American baby boomers from Oxnard, Calif., whose mother loved Elvis and comic books. The boys inherited their mom's love of comics while their own musical preferences gravitated toward rock — until they eventually fell under the spell of Southern California punk music.

They are the typically bicultural California Mexican-Americans or Chicanos who grew up speaking English, and whose favorite music was played with electric guitars rather than accordions. They're also pioneers in the world of comics: an intellectual frontier of words and art that not only amuse, but also teach us lessons about the world and ourselves.

In 1982, we met Margarita Luisa "Maggie" Chascarrillo and Esperanza Leticia "Hopey" Glass, two fictional Mexican-Americans created by the Hernandez brothers, who grew up on rock and not rancheras. Love and Rockets, along with Hopey and Maggie, revolutionized the world of comics. With the Hernandez brothers behind their thoughts and actions, there was no way the characters could end up as anything but bicultural.

As guest DJs, the Hernandez brothers brought in a handful of tracks that will either surprise you or reinforce your own upbringing (as it did mine), which is to say that there isn't a lot of Latin alternative music in this week's show. What we offer instead is a chance to get to know a little about growing up bicultural in this country, amid the cultural riches of both sides of our ancestry.


Decir que los hermanos Hernandez — Gil y Jaime — revolucionaron el mundo de los comics, no es ninguna exageración. Durante esa época en la cual el mundo de las historietas estaba poblada de superhéroes heterosexuales, híper sexuales, y exageraciones de la belleza europea, su serie Love and Rockets (Amor y Cohetes) se basaba en la vida de chicas punks de Los Angeles. Varios de sus personajes eran gays; la mayoría hispanos. Una de las tiras comicas de Love And Rockets toma lugar en un pueblo imaginario en América Central.

Otro aspecto maravilloso de Love and Rockets es la constante presencia de la música, ya sea en las bandas de punk californianas en las que tocan las heroínas, o el arte que han producido los hermanos Hernandez para bandas como Los Lobos y Dr. Know.

Teniendo en cuenta todo esto, se imaginaran nuestra emoción al descubrir que Jaime y Gil pasaban por Washington DC (desde donde transmitimos Alt.Latino) en su gira por el aniversario no. 30 de Love and Rockets. Fue con mucho entusiasmo que los invitamos a nuestros estudios.

La música que trajeron los hermanos para compartir con nosotros resultó tan variada e interesante como los temas de conversación. Así que únanse a la charla: escucharemos un poco de todo, incluyendo a Pink, Elvis y Los Tigres del Norte, y también charlamos un poco acerca de todo: la política en el mundo de las historietas, porque es importante la diversidad dentro de ese mundo, y el punk chicano.

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