Fantagraphics will celebrate 40 years of ‘Love & Rockets’ with a slipcase edition and more

Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez will attend Comic-Con International this week to celebrate the anniversary.

Fantagraphics has announced their plans for the 40th anniversary of Love and Rockets by Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez. Those plans include a slipcase edition of the first 50 issues of the groundbreaking title.

The Brothers Hernandez self-published the first issue of Love and Rockets back in 1981, which was re-published by Fantagraphics in 1982 with a color cover. The series would continue through 1996 and issue #50, the final issue of the first volume. Since then, the series has returned for three additional volumes, as well as countless spinoff series featuring the characters from L&R.

“When I read Gilbert and Jaime’s stories in Love and Rockets for the first time their work looked to me, miraculously, like the artistic future of comics — and so it was,” said Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth. “It has certainly been a high point of my career (and my life) to have known and published these brilliant cartoonists over the last 40 years, and I look forward to publishing them another 40. Well, OK. Maybe 30.”

Love and Rockets: The First Fifty: The Classic 40th Anniversary Collection will arrive in October and will feature every cover, comics page, letter column and even the ads in seven hardcover volumes. That will cover every comic created by Jaime and Gilbert (and occasionally their brother Mario) between 1981 and 1996. An eighth volume will collect selected essays, reviews and profiles that appeared in the press during that time, along with more than 100 pages of rarely seen comics from the period by all three brothers, plus dozens of book and magazine covers.

“Wow. 40 years of comics, 40 years with Fantagraphics,” Jaime Hernandez said. “Not a bad haul and we’re not finished!”

Both Gilbert and Jaime will be at Comic-Con International later this week to participate in multiple panels and signings. They’ll participate in a spotlight panel tomorrow, followed by a celebratory panel on LOve and Rockets’ big anniversary on Friday. You can find details on all of Fantagraphics’ Comic-Con plans on their website. Oh, and there’s also a 40th anniversary T-shirt that will be sold at the Fantagraphics booth:

In addition, KCET and PBS SoCal, Southern California’s flagship PBS stations, will honor the anniversary by broadcasting and streaming an hour-long documentary titled ‘Love and Rockets’: The Story Behind the Great American Comic. The documentary will air as part of KCET’s Original Artbound series and be available to stream for viewers across the country on the free PBS App in the Fall.

“It’s 40 years of Love and Rockets with Fantagraphics and it feels like we’ve just begun,” said Gilbert Hernandez. “Here’s to 10 years more!”

The 2,200-page, 8-volume boxed set will arrive in stores Oct. 4 and will retail for $400.

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