Hallowe’en Countdown III, Day 17

« I may turn up as flies on your ceiling. »

From the earliest issues of  Love & Rockets (circa the early 1980s), it was quite evident that Jaime Hernandez was a cartoonist of the first order.

At first, he kept the tone of the proceedings fairly jovial; but gradually, a little darkness crept into the ambiance. Not systematically, mind you: it was just the natural course of things. For all that, he didn’t sacrifice one bit of his light touch; he was just expanding his range, the simple process of his artistic maturation.

The first time he fully demonstrated that he could evoke the texture and the essence of terror… was a milestone. In 1989’s Flies on the Ceiling, he stunned readers with a dizzying, yet understated tale that lifted the veil on a murky chapter of Izzy’s past. In the telling, he adroitly looses a startling panoply of techniques and ingredients that this reader wasn’t nearly prepared for. A true brain-singer.

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Roman Catholic iconography, traditional Mexican beliefs and rituals, dead-on psychology, awful things hinted at in the margins. An excerpt from Flies on the Ceiling: the Story of Isabel in Mexico (Love & Rockets no. 29,  Fantagraphics) [ Read it here. ]
Jaime occasionally returns to the realm of the uncanny (we’ve featured him in a past countdown entry), but never treads the same path twice. A few further samples, if you will:

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Poor Ray has a singularly vivid nightmare. Hopefully, that’s all it is. This ghoulish entry appeared on the back cover of Penny Century no. 3 (Sept. 1998, Fantagraphics). Story and art by Jaime Hernandez, colours by Chris Brownrigg.

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La Bianca: a True Story appeared in the Gilbert Hernandez-edited all-ages anthology Measles no. 2 (Easter 1999, Fantagraphics.)
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Jaime in a spooky-lite register, for a 1994 Rhino Records spoken-word anthology featuring such titans of the macabre as Boris Karloff, Brother Theodore and Nelson Olmsted.

– RG

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