Friday, December 10, 2004


Peter Bagge

In the Batcave that is Planet Ace comics, Colchester's only ever comic shop serves its purpose by occassionally stocking the odd comic or two from Seattle's Fantagraphics Comics. The big three were/are HATE, Eightball and Love & Rockets. HATE and L&R have now called it quits but Eightball has just put out its first issue in a year. HATE is/was produced by Mr Peter Bagge. He was born in New York in 1956 and was influenced by MAD magazine and Loony Toons. Initially he self-published 3 issues of a tabloid called Comical Funnies with John Holmstrom and several other friends in 1980-81 and did a one shot comic in 1982 called Wacky World with Ken Weiner. Additionally he did a lot work for various porno mags and kiddie magazines (his words). His next work included was included in PUNK magazine. And then came taking over WEIRDO comic from Robert Crumb, without doubt the most famous alternative cartoonist of this era. Bagge's book for Fantagraphics, NEAT STUFF, was the first place to feature the Bradleys. He ended the book with issue 15 to go onto the all Bradley HATE. NEAT STUFF 15 ended with wayward eldest son Buddy Bradley leaving home moments before being thrown out. We rejoined him in HATE 1 relocated and settled into Seattle when, by coincidence, it was at its hottest and most happening according to the worlds media. HATE ran for 30 near perfect issues following the lives of an alternative Gen X to the stereotype Gen X (or perhaps just a version closer to the truth). Buddy, his pals (Stinky, George) and gals (Lisa and Valerie) and a cast of thousands battled through life in the nineties. At the height of nuttiness he and Lisa left Seattle to return to New Jersey to live with his parents at the end of issue 15. Issue 16 saw the comic relocated in New Jersey and now in colour! This move caused much controversy within the letters pages. It also now contained new darker content. Buddy and Lisa appeared to become more hopeless than ever, as moving home caused the rest of the Bradley family to return to the spotlight. During this period, effectively the second half of HATE's life, Buddy would start the collectors emporium he always dreamed he would as his partner in crime would fight a heroin addiction, his dad passed away, and Lisa would freak out on Prozac (giving her wind) to end up selling pot, hitting Marilyn Manson gigs and turning lesbian on Buddy, all delivered deviously dark and funny as hell. To an extent its all come together with issue 30. Buddy and Lisa (now all gone chubby) finally got back together with another Bradley seemingly on the way. Its all way too adult to continue, and spoiling for anyone still on the slacker trip. This is the genius of Peter Bagge.

In the words of Robert Crumb himself "I could count on one hand the number of cartoonists whose work is as strong."

Hi how are you?

Will we ever see Buddy Bradley again?
Probably but right now I can't say where, how or when.

Will you now be returning to black and white comics?
Not as a rule. And I never entirely left black and white comics, since much of the back up features in HATE were in black and white. That's a very loaded question Jason, since it implies that there's a big difference in terms of attitude and content between black and white and color comics. Traditionally there has been of course but there's no real reason for it to be this way.

What was it like working with Adrian Tomine of Optic Nerve?
He was great to work with, a great guy and a really hard worker.

What is R Crumb really like?
The movie gives a pretty accurate idea of what he's like. He's moody and cantankerous at times but basically a really dependable, well meaning person. I think very highly of him.

Have you been in negotiations with MTV to bring Buddy Bradley to TV? I think Daria is cool but Buddy could never be toned down to a recognisable level.
I was. I spent most of last year developing HATE into a TV show for MTV but they killed it in December. You think Daria is cool? Jesus! That show is the fucking WORST!

Was it a hard decision to leave the Action Suits?
No. It was a hard decision to join them! I just didn't have the time for them at all so I had no choice but to hang up my "sticks"!

Were you ever in any other bands?
When I was in the 8th or 9th grade, me and my pals had a band. We never played out for as long as I was in it though.

What is it about the Posies that makes you "feel like a 16 year old girl"?
Exactly? None, other than I have a weakness for that type of music, "girlie" pop music, like the kind they make.

Do you have a favourite Nirvana song? Which?
I couldn't single one out as a favorite. I like Nirvana okay but they don't mean as much to me as they did to the Gen X "kids". I don't even know what most of their songs are about! Their lyrics make no sense to me.

Was Stinky based on a real person?
He's a mixture of a lot of people I've known through the years.

Has he gone to hell?
No, he wasn't THAT bad! Well, I don't believe in the afterlife anyway, so you're asking the wrong person.

What work did you do for Sub Pop?
Several 45" record sleeves, a video box cover, a few t shirts, a poster or two.

Who are your favourite bands of all time?
The Beatles and the Beach Boys.

Have you heard of the Scottish bands Urusei Yatsura or The Yummy Fur?
No, I haven't. There used to be a band in Seattle called "Yummy Fur".

Who's your favourite Simpson's character?
Homer, I guess. He's the funniest.

Do you like South Park?
I've only seen one full episode. I thought it was pretty funny. We don't get the cable station that it appears on in Seattle!

What possessed Buddy to put up a Hanson poster in his apartment?
I like Hanson, and whatever I like, Buddy likes!

What's planned for the future?
Right now I'm keeping busy with a lot of different freelance jobs. I'm taking time plotting out my next big move, since I have several options.

Anything else?
Sorry to hear about the UK team losing in the World Cup. Brit fans do have a reputation for being the worst. That's about the only thing about World Cup soccer that Americans know: "watch out for those Limey hooligans!". Otherwise soccer is just a kids game over here. It's too boring to watch.

Jason Graham (taken from No Pictures 9)



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