Love and Rockets Bonanza collects short Love and Rockets miscellanea from, approximately, 1985 to 1988. The first issue of 1985 was #10, the last issue of 1988 was #28. All these little stories–the longest ones are six, some are just single pagers–appeared in other Love and Rockets publications, like the collections or in the color Mechanics series or Fantagraphics’s Anything Goes anthology. There’s even a Los Bros story from “The Village Voice.”
What’s so interesting about the stories in the collection is what Beto and Jaime were developing outside the regular series. Like Pipo getting dropped on her head on delivery and it haunting her. Or Pipo hanging out with the boys until she started wearing dresses. Or Chelo’s back story. None of this Palomar stuff made it into the series proper–well, maybe some hints about Pipo hanging out with the boys, but nothing to this level. Instead, it showed up in the collections–in Pipo’s case, starting with the first one. Pipo, who disappeared from the series proper, had a whole character development thing going (as a kid, anyway) and it never bled through to the main series.
Similarly, Daffy is much more of a supporting cast member in some of Jaime’s extra Locas pages than she ever was in the main series. Especially in the time frame of these stories–it’s all “Mechanics”-era stuff. There’s even a story, from Anything Goes, so not a Love and Rockets collection (yet… it subsequently got collected), where there’s actual closure with Rand Race. At the time Jaime did the story for Anything Goes, Hopey and Maggie were about to be separated–or already had been–Bonanza’s March 1989 release was a flashback to a much different Love and Rockets than where Jaime and Beto had ended up in the main series at that point.
Though there were some definite hints of things to come. While most of the new elements are on their own–like Pipo’s head, Daffy’s continued presence, some actual sibling bonding for Hopey and Joey–there’s also Beto foreshadowing Ofelia’s tragic story. It’s in a story about Guadalupe’s interest in astronomy, which may or may not have the giant book from Human Diastrophism (more like does), from Anything Goes in May 1987. Beto didn’t get around to fully revealing it in the main series until #30, over two years later.
There’s also some interesting standalone stuff, like Beto and Jaime collaborating on the “Village Voice” piece. They both wrote, Jaime pencilled. It feels very much like one of Beto’s first person punk historicals, which he stopped doing in the main series ages before March 1989 when Bonanza dropped. Jaime’s got a A Date With Hopey, about some doofus who–according to him–was “this close” to dating Hopey. It’s all from his perspective, Hopey and Maggie are background, and the whole thing reads like Jaime’s trying to ape Beto’s first person style. Very, very, very interesting stuff in the creative timeline.
It’s a solid collection of stuff; Beto’s Palomar stories are the best, just because Jaime’s not trying too hard with the Locas material. It’s for fun. He’s got some great art–Maggie reading the comic book adventures of her time with Rand Race, for example, has some gorgeous science hero-ish art from Jaime; material from a September 1988 collection, years after Jaime had stopped doing “Mechanics.”
There’s some stuff with Penny telling Hopey about Costigan, so set in the early days, during a story covering Maggie’s first day as Race’s assistant. Very cute story. Jaime goes for laughs and smiles, Beto goes for laughs and smiles but with some depth.
A lot of Beto’s art is much cleaner in these little stories, less hurried, like he was trying to be impressive for the collections.
Bonanza has been collected again elsewhere, but like I said, it’s a interesting bit of creative development stuff–what the Brothers didn’t work on in the main book, but worked on to support the main book when it got collected.