I've dealt briefly with the volume on Hernandez before:
While los Bros. Hernandez, Jaime and Gilbert and occasionally Mario, the perpetrators of Love and Rockets, the flagship title for the Fantagraphics comics line (along with their critical nonfiction magazine, The Comics Journal), were probably the greatest impetus for my beginning to read comics again fairly regularly as an adult, and thus to come across Wimmen's Comix and Twisted Sisters and Alan Moore's work and that of others who had been busily advancing the form...though I'd never given up on newspaper strips, and so knew of (introduction author) Alison Bechdel's work in the "alternative" press. I'd actually bought this for my friend Alice, who fell in profound love with Jaime Hernandez's two initially-young LA punk-rocker girl characters, Hopey (Esperanza) Glass and Margarita Luisa "Maggie" Chascarrillo (pictured on the cover) who individually and together tend to be the focus of JH's stories for the comic, at various stages of their lives over the the decades the title has been published (Gilbert Hernandez focuses on the characters living in a Central American town, Palomar, in the 1950s, and their often US-emigrated offspring). Whenever one reads of comics being compared to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, one has probably happened upon a reference to L&R.
True, but insufficient, but I won't have time for the full bore exploration of either book today, either, alas...what's notable, and Hignite and his interview subjects are quick to point this out, is how thoroughly Hernandez, even more than his brothers, draws on so much of the past work in in comics as direct influence, ranging from Alex Toth (the clean lines, the black and white masses) through Hergé, the creator of Tintin, to the compositional style of Wallace Wood (often most consciously in splash pages for the stories in the brothers' magazines, Love and Rockets in its various iterations and otherwise). (And I was drawn to revisit this book in part because Jeff Segal made a gift to me of a slightly chewed up but very inexpensive remainder he'd found.)
Meanwhile, Andrae (an academic deeply interested in comics) and Laqua (who had one of his chapters included translated from German by another) are supplemented in their multi-part study of Walt Kelly by Mark Burstein and Scott Daley. Walt Kelly, of course, was the creator of Pogo, from its newspaper debut through Kelly's death in 1973 the most sophisticated of newspaper-strip commentary on the US scene, rivaled early on by L'il Abner (with which it shared a rustic setting, albeit even more rustic inasmuch as it was a "funny animal' strip set in the Okefenokee swamp), after its first decade by the first of the "alternative" paper strips (the weekly Jules Feiffer strip The Village Voice originally tagged Sick, Sick, Sick) and by the end of its original run by Doonesbury (whose Gary Trudeau cited Pogo with Little Nemo in Slumberland and Krazy Kat as the three most important strips thus far). Another gift, this one from Alice, which I'd been looking at whenever dropping by the comics store next to the supermarket near my parents' house over the last several months, and which fellow Kelly fan Richard Robinson picked up. Let it be noted, again, insufficiently, for now, that Kelly went through a similar process of early imitation of the newspaper strips (there were no out and out comic books in Kelly's childhood) and the precocious creation of new variants, that led to Kelly's early work in the field for Disney and Dell...and somewhat less sharp, but still elegant, animal strip and comic book work was a specialty, before Kelly found his metier in the newspaper world.
These are fine introductions to the work of the men in question, Hernandez beginning to publish just under a decade after the passing of Kelly, though, of course, the various Fantagraphics collections (or the older Simon and Schuster volumes of Kelly) are even better introductions...
See, for example, Locas and Ten Ever-Lovin' Blue-Eyed Years with Pogo....
for more of this week's books, please see Patti Abbott's blog.