Locas: The Maggie and Hopey Stories

Writer(s): Jaime Hernandez
Artist(s): Jaime Hernandez
Publisher: Fantagraphics
ISBN: 978-1560976110
Price: $49.95
Page count: 704
Year Released: 2004
Status: in print
Original Source: Love and Rockets (vol. 1) 1-50
Other Collected Edition(s): Maggie the Mechanic, The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S., and Perla la Loca
Genres: coming of age; humor; magic realism; romance/relationships; science fiction; short stories; slice of life; teen/young adult
Recommended for Fans Of:
Possibly Objectionable Material: coarse language; nudity; violence; explicit sexual situations
If You Like This Book, Try: Strangers in Paradise Pocket Book, vol. 1
Also in This Series: followed by Whoa Nellie!

Plot Summary
How to describe one-half of the greatest small-press comic book ever created? On the most basic level, Locas collects the short stories from Jaime's half of the comic Love and Rockets that star Maggie and Hopey, a pair of Mexican American chicas growing up in the '80s punk scene of southern California. Maggie is sensitive, sometimes romantic, and occasionally insecure, while Hopey is rowdy, tough, and frequently a little obnoxious. Together, they share a bond that transcends traditional friendship. Sometimes lovers, sometimes strangers, Maggie and Hopey's bond endures despite geographical separation and countless personal crises until it becomes clear that they are ultimately, for better or worse, soulmates.

These stories, which were created from 1982 to 1998, follow the ups and downs of the girls' tempestuous relationship. Though the majority of them would be considered slice-of-life vignettes, Locas also contains a number of extended stories, including "Las Mujeres Perdidas" (or "The Lost Women," in which Maggie and wrestling star Rena Titañon get caught up in a revolution on a small Latin American island), "Vida Loca: The Death of Speedy Ortiz" (in which Hoppers resident Speedy Ortiz starts dating Maggie's younger sister, Esther, and sparks a gang war with inevitable yet tragic results) and "Wigwam Bam" (a culmination of Maggie and Hopey's teen years that sums up their shared past, their relationships with the extended cast of characters who surround them, and the relationships between those characters when Maggie and Hopey aren't around).

Since the stories in this collection essentially span 15 years of real time, the cumulative effect is of watching these two very different characters grow from being hard-partying teenagers to being young women well on the road to something resembling maturity.

My Own 2 Cents
Love and Rockets is without a doubt the best comic book series ever published. At the vanguard of the small-press comics explosion of the early '80s, its name is synonymous with "independent comics." It is, quite simply, an institution--and with good reason.

Jaime's L&R stories started out as pulpy, sci-fi pastiches, populated by space jocks, robots, and monsters. So the stories at the beginning of Locas may not be what a first-time reader is expecting. However, it isn't long (i.e., about 57 pages) before Jaime leaves the genre fiction behind--for the most part anyway (airships and rocket bikes still make the occasional appearance through the first 200 pages). From the start, though, the "Maggie and Hopey stories" are really about these two friends and their relationships--not only the one between them, but with Jaime's huge cast of supporting characters as well. And although Maggie and Hopey get equal billing, Maggie is the undisputed heroine of Jaime's work. Her long and complex journey from teenager to womanhood is unparalleled in comics, and maybe even in all of contemporary fiction.

Love and Rockets is essential reading for anyone with an interest in comics. In fact it might just be the best way to hook someone on the art form. However, I should point out that this book, billed as the "Maggie and Hopey Stories," is missing some essential Jaime stories, including a whole sequence starring Rena Titañon, and one of Jaime's best stories of all time, "Flies on the Ceilng." As such, I would strongly recommend that you read the three smaller volumes listed above (Maggie the Mechanic, The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S., and Perla la Loca) because they contain all the stories in this book as well as the few that are missing.