Development Deal: Locas
If there’s one thing that a quick look at the current state of television and movies will tell you, it’s that there’s not much need for original ideas when there’s so much out there ready and waiting to be adapted, updated or just outright ripped off. That’s why we’ve decided to help in that process with a series which offers up some of the things we’d like to see being brought to big screen or small. This week’s suggestion? Jaime Hernandez’ Locas.
What Is It?
A strong contender for the title of best comic of all time – I thought I’d get the hyperbole out of the way first, but seriously for those who have never read Love and Rockets, this really is the good stuff – Hernandez’ 30-year run of stories follows a group of characters (Mainly Maggie Chascarrillo and Hopey Glass, but the cast grows to a truly impressive size as the series continues) from their teenage years in California through life to an adulthood that, despite many magical realist and outright fantastic elements, feels more emotionally honest and “real” than most fictions. Beyond his amazing artwork – Taking influences from classic artists like Alex Toth and Dan DeCarlo, but adding a naturalism and humanity to it that makes it far more than just the sum of its parts – Hernandez’ skill is in the patience and scale of his writing. He doesn’t write sweeping epics, but small stories that entertain and touch his audience and, over time, gather together to create lives on paper. As wonderful as the Locas stories are individually, their true power only becomes clear after you’ve read a bunch – and once you’ve realized that, you’ll likely be hooked.
What Could It Be?
The idea of Locas as movie is ridiculous, I realize; because the continuing nature of the stories is central to their appeal, the idea of picking one story – or story-cycle – and isolating it as an event in the way that movies do feels completely counter-intuitive to what Locas is. So, a television series, then; ideally, a television series for a cable channel like HBO or AMC that seems to consider the long game instead of the immediate ratings, and is also not married to the 22-26 episodes a season model, for that matter.
Perhaps most importantly, it should be an animated show. There are multiple reasons for this, not least of which is the fact that Hernandez’ art is so central to his work that the idea of a Locas that doesn’t look like the comic pages feels unthinkable. But outside of that aesthetic vanity, there’re practical reasons for the decision, not least of which is Hernandez’ tendency to use flashbacks to far earlier times (Decades, occasionally) within his stories, something that would be far more easily conveyed – and convincingly – through animation instead of relying on make-up and CGI to de-age actors.
I also found myself drawn to the fact that there hasn’t really been a lot of television animation that hasn’t been aimed at kids outside of the comedy genre, and that feels like something that needs to be addressed; the idea of a cartoon based on something as subtle, well-written and “non-cartoony” as Locas feels like an easy way to make a statement about adult animation.
I’d love to see Locas become a well-made animated television series, because I feel like Jaime Hernandez’ work deserves the widest-possible audience. But is such an idea messing with a classic that doesn’t need such “help”? Leave your take in the comments.