10 Questions With Comics Brewmaster Gilbert Hernandez

This month’s Comics Brewmaster, Gilbert Hernandez, has sure been busy!  Four new books coming out over the next few weeks: Blubber #2, The Twilight Children #4, Love & Rockets Volume 3 #8, and the Comics Dementia collection.  I’ve been a fan of Gilbert(AKA ‘BETO) and his brothers'(Mario & Jaime Hernandez) work since I first picked up that issue of Love & Rockets with Gilbert’s bold rooster head cover.  The frequency and the format of Love & Rockets has changed over the years, but not the quality, and it’s still a steady source of groundbreaking visual storytelling.

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I think I was particularly drawn to Gilbert’s work early on, because of the surreal and sometimes weird nature of it.  I love Jaime’s strong character-driven stories and beautiful line-work, but I was definitely Team ‘BETO right out of the gate!  They are the Eisner and Kirby to the newer class of independent(small press) artists working today.  Considering how easy the internet has made it for a young cartoonist to get their work out there today, it’s hard to imagine the obstacles that faced the Hernandez Bros. back in 1981, when they first self-published that now infamous black & white version of Love & Rockets(which I was lucky to find for a song at SDCC, a few years back).  Of course, their talent couldn’t be denied, so burgeoning indy publisher Fantagraphics quickly picked them up in 1982 and the rest is funny book history!

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So, with all that being said, it’s a real honor that Gilbert agreed to take a whirl in the Comics Tavern hot seat! I think y’all enjoy this one, so grab a spritzer, get comfortable(recline/unzip) and listen in…

1. Younger Luba or older Luba?

Both are nice but I might prefer the older Luba. I’m more into women than girls which puts me in a minority among most straight guys.

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2. Do you ever drink and draw? If not, are there any other vices you partake in while making art??

I have been a little tipsy when drawing but I could tell it wasn’t a good idea, especially with inking. I have been high on pot while drawing but it was only pencils, because I was aware that I wouldn’t do any kind of inking justice. I’ve never been a druggie.

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3. I felt like I was watching Animal Planet on acid, reading Blubber #1, and I loved it!  Will issue #2(arrives Jan. 27th) be as wonderfully weird as the first?

Blubber #2 will move towards humans being involved with the critters, then the critters will be phased out as the series continues and will end up a human being sex fetish/humor comic sure to alienate people. I’m ok with that because I feel indy comics are much too conservative these days.

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4. What was the last good movie you’ve seen?

The movie that sticks with me the most right now is POSSESSION with Sam Neil and Isabelle Adjani from 1981, I think. It’s about a nasty divorce from the husband’s point of view so there’s a lot of delusional thinking coming from him. His difficult wife (Adjani) has a breakdown scene in a subway tunnel where she loses her marbles for 3 minutes straight, no shit. Then there’s the…’thing’ growing in her apartment….

Sounds intriguing! Added to my Amazon wish list… – AY

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5. I’m looking forward to seeing what you and Darwyn Cooke have in store for the conclusion of TheTwilight Children(issue #4 hits shops on Jan. 27th).  If the story allows, it would be great to see a sequel . 

I think Twilight Children would be a natural fit for a movie(or TV).  Any possibility of that and/or any of your other stories coming to the big(or small) screen, anytime soon??

Twilight Children is perfect for a TV miniseries like Fargo. Love to see it. As far as Palomar goes, I know somebody working to get that on screen or TV but he’s up against the usual brick walls. In the movie business you get a lot of ‘yes’ but nothing happens.

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6. Your new collection, Comics Dementia, hits shelves on Feb. 8th.  This will have some hard to find, out of print material from years ago.  What do your friends & family think of your wild(sick) imagination??

My mom doesn’t look at my stuff but she’s happy that I’ve done something with my life. My stuff is too harsh sometimes for most people. Ok with me.

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7. Describe your worst dating experience.

I had a blind date with a girl once and it was nice, then 5 years later when I was into punk I went on another date with her and I think she was mortified. We went to see Blondie and I think she was appalled seeing all the sleazy horror surrounding such a satanic bubble gum band. I never saw her again.

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8. In 2015 you had an incident where your book Palomar was taken off the library shelves at Rio Rancho High School(New Mexico), because of a complaint that it was “pornographic”.  Now, students there can check Palomar out with a parent’s signature. 

In general, what are your thoughts on censorship, and how did you view the situation in New Mexico as a parent yourself?

I don’t think of it much. Another conservative moron misreading my work. Snorrrrrrre. Sure, as a parent I didn’t let my daughter see my stuff but now she’s 15 and she’s seen a lot worse crap online.

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9. Have you had any funny or embarrassing moments being out in public at comics conventions/book signings/etc? 

Also, can you share any anecdotes from the early days of promoting your first self-published, black & white issue of Love & Rockets with Jaime and Mario?

We took copies of our self published L&R to a small con and the advice we got was that we needed a color cover. Most other indy cartoonists felt we were just another small comic struggling and that we were all doing the same thing except we weren’t Marvel or DC, which in those days were the holy grail. You made comics just to get in the door of those companies. Well, I’ve worked with those companies and here I am still doing my thing. There are no weird moments that stand out in or 34ish years of being out there. That’s what’s weird.

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10. Love and Rockets: New Stories #8 releases on Feb. 8th.  We get more of Jaime’s Maggie & Hopey and the 2nd part of your “The Magic Voyage of Aladdin” comic starring Fritz and Mila. 

In addition to that, what else should we look forward to from you in 2016?

Besides Blubber #2 and The Twilight Children coming out on Jan 27 and L&R #8 and Comics Dementia coming out on Feb 8, I’ll have Maria M 2 and Blubber #3 in the spring, I hope, and in the summer my Garden of Flesh graphic novel, an adult take on the story of Adam and Eve which is planned to be in color and the new 32 page revamped L&R #9 (or #1 vol 4, not sure yet), in the fall Blubber #4 and in early winter L&R #10 (or #2) and Blubber #5, likely the collection of The Twilight Children and somewhere during the year a 4 issue crime mini series. Maybe more…

OK, we can just start calling 2016 the Year of ‘BETO, then. 😉 -AY

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Thank you, Gilbert!

*Pictures of Gilbert Hernandez and his work were provided by the internet. Thx!