Jaime Hernandez is one of my favorite visual artists. In the early 1980's, along with his brothers, he created the cult alternative-comics series Love And Rockets. Last year, I spent several months reading and playing cartographer with alt-comics, roughly trying to map for myself the evolution and history of the art-form. It also got me religiously keeping a sketchbook, which I still do. But more about those expeditions in future posts.
Today, I'd like to share with you a small but killer Christmas comic that Jaime wrote about a decade ago. Dan Clowes (of Ghost World) once told a story about buying a Jaime Hernandez page of original comics artwork and being stunned by how it contained not a single splotch of white-out, no evidence anywhere of a single second thought. The key to appreciating Jaime is to not treat his work like any other comic strip and zip though it just to get to the punch-line. Instead, read slowly, and watch for: (1) His wonderfully elliptical style, with its signature jump-cuts; (2) The virtuosic but minimal rigor of his pen-based line (not a brush in sight); (3) The endless creativity of his compositions (his mise-en-panel?) with their pitch-perfect balance between black and white areas; and (4) The humor tucked away into the details of almost every panel, a mark of one of his influences, Hank Ketcham. To get the most out of Jaime's work: linger on the details.
So, here's that comic for you to savor: "Our Christmas".