“There’s more than one severed penis in this comic.”
This week the Two Guys with PhDs Talking about Comics review three new titles, and boy, are they geared up! They begin by looking at the Hernandez brothers’ latest issue of Love and Rockets: New Stories (Fantagraphics). Focusing first on Jaime’s contributions, they comment on how his narratives have evolved after the “Love Bunglers” storyline from issues number 3 and 4 of New Stories. They’re particularly interested in Jaime’s deeper exploration of the family of Vivian Solis, AKA Frogmouth, especially as it relates to Tonta and the reappearance of Angel Rivera (last seen in the “Ti-Girls Adventures”). Next, Andy and Derek delve into Gilbert’s contribution to the latest New Stories, spending a good deal of time doing close readings of the multiple narrative levels at work: the current story of Dora “Killer” Rivera’s visit to Palomar, the flashbacks to her deceased aunt and great-grandmother, and the films surrounding her great-grandmother, Maria. Here, the Two Guys bring up Gilbert’s new graphic novel, Maria M.: Book One (Fantagraphics), and how it plays off of so well the new Love and Rockets. They look at Maria M. not only as another installment of Fritz’s b-movie books — along with Chance in Hell, The Troublemakers, and Love from the Shadows — but also, and perhaps more significantly, as a point of convergence among the various generations of Luba’s family. While Andy feels that Maria M. is a kind of retelling of Poison River (one of the most significant storylines in the first volume of Love and Rockets), Derek sees it as more of a prequel or lead-up to that narrative. Finally, the guys look at the first issue of Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Ríos’s Pretty Deadly (Image Comics). They discuss the density of comic, while at the same time commenting on the decompressed nature of the series’ premise.
There is a lot packed into this episode, plenty of close and detailed readings, and you’re going to have to listen to this show multiple times in order to savor every drop of the Two Guys’ insights…for what they’re worth.