"Love and Rockets" Moves to Annual Book Format in 2008

Thu, November 15th, 2007 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
CBR News Team, Editor

Official Press Release

Seattle, WA ---- After 25 years of being published in a traditional

saddle-stitched magazine format released three or more times a year

-- first in the magazine-sized VOLUME I (50 issues, 1982-1996) and

then in the comic book sized VOLUME II (20 issues, 2000-2007) - the

award-winning LOVE AND ROCKETS comic book series will go on hiatus

effective immediately and return next summer in its third

incarnation, as a series of all-original, graphic novel-length releases.

Each annual volume will comprise at least 100 pages of all-new

comics, split evenly between its creators, Gilbert, Jaime (and

sometimes Mario) Hernandez. (The 21st issue of Volume 2, announced in

#20, will now become part of Vol. III #1.)

"This new format will allow the Bros. to present longer stories

without having to chop them down into bite-size pieces," said

Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth. "In today's graphic novel-

oriented world, readers (and cartoonists) are increasingly impatient

with this sort of serialization, especially in the case of L&R where,

because of the split nature of the book, each artist has only 15 pages."

"This is a pretty exciting prospect, creative-wise," Gilbert

Hernandez agrees. "I've enjoyed working in the New Tales of Palomar

format [Gilbert's three-issue solo series published under the Ignatz

imprint from Fantagraphics], where I don't have to worry about

editing 24 page stories to 14 or 12 pages any more. I've got 50 pages

to go wild with in Vol. III, #1. Later I might do a whole 50 page

story in one issue, and return some of the Palomar characters in long

single pieces. I planned to stop with the Palomar characters, but

only because of the serializing problem; now it's a different game. I

am very, very inspired here!"

Aside from the creative advantages of the new format, 2007's highly

successful repackaging of Love and Rockets Volume I into seven

smaller, thicker books (the seventh, Amor Y Cohetes, will be released

in June 2008) revealed a large untapped audience for Love and Rockets

that was not being reached with the comic books, which were

exclusively available in the direct sales market. "We wanted to be

able to reach those readers who aren't near a comics shop with,

specifically, the new LR material," says Fantagraphics sales director

Greg Zura -- "and we wanted it to be available through Amazon.com and

similar on-line book-selling services. Moving to a 'spine' format

gives us this option."

"We discovered with The ACME Novelty Library that opening up the

periodical to the book trade doesn't inhibit sales in the direct

market," said Fantagraphics Director of Publicity Eric Reynolds. "If

anything, it breaks the audience wide open."

This does not mean that each volume is entirely self-contained; for

instance, Jaime's first big story will actually be a two-parter

extending across the first two issues of L&R Volume III. "I'm really

excited about this format," says Jaime Hernandez. "It works perfectly

with the current story I'm working on. I was afraid the story's

length would turn some readers off running for six chapters in the

old format."

Fantagraphics confirmed that the stories published in Volume III will

eventually be collected into logical graphic novels/collections, most

likely in the same format as the "smaller, thicker" series of

collections that debuted earlier this year.

The first volume of LOVE & ROCKETS Vol. III will premiere in San

Diego in July 2008, with the general release scheduled for August.

Cover price: $14.99.

Now discuss this story in CBR's Indie Comics forum.

CBR News