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“Love and Rockets” Moves to Annual Book Format in 2008

by  in Comic News Comment
“Love and Rockets” Moves to Annual Book Format in 2008

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 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.

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