Digi-Zine.com interviewWhat does every fan of HATE need to know about Peter Bagge?
Nothing, really. Interviews like these ought to tell them more than they probably want to know!
How long have you been interested in drawing comics? Did you realize at the time that he would be the main focus of your career as a comic artist?
Ever since I was a wee lad, though I didn't become serious about it 'til I was in Art School. And Buddy Bradley just evolved as my main character, so nothing was planned there.
Besides drawing the HATE comic for Fanatagraphics, what else do you do in the field?
I do some occasional freelance illustrations, nothing too regular. I haven't done any record cover art in a while, mainly since I haven't been asked!
As you were growing up, which fictional characters and comic books most interested you?
MAD magazine, Warner Brothers cartoons and comic strips like Peanuts where my main inspirations.
Outside of comic art - which artists inspire or have inspired Peter Bagge?
That's a tough one to answer! Mainly children's books illustrators like Dr. Suess and Richard Scarry... anything that's remotely "cartoony" I'd have to say...
You have the opportunity to spend 1 hour learning from whichever comic artist that you choose.....
I pretty much have learned all that I want or need to from artists that I admire, though I would like to watch Charles Burns draw, just out of curiosity.
Joe Matt pees in his sink, and finishes a page a day.... what is the daily Bagge regiment in regards to your illustrations....
I pee on Joe Matt, then doodle some sketches that I then pass on to my exploited assistants to finish.
Where else will we find Peter Bagge work? (I know that you do a lot of band cover art)
I just did a comic for details, and I'm about to do a cover for Goldmine (The record collector's tabloid).
Who is your favorite director/filmmaker?
Woody Allen, Alfred Hitchcock, Preston Sturges... Not a very original list, I'm afraid... I currently like the films of Michael Leigh, and I've seen some other good films recently but I'm drawing a blank as to who directed them...
Tell us, in your own words about Buddy Bradley....Where did the Buddy Bradley character originally come from, and what was the first appearance of Buddy?
He's definitely my most autobiographical character, although there's a lot of my friends and aquaitances included in there as well.
Why do you think that people relate so well to Buddy's post-teen angst?
I assume that everyone who reads and enjoys my comic book relates to my world view, and thus relates to the main character. There's a lot of Buddys out there!
How is Buddy like Gilligan?
Aside from a physical resemblance, not at all.
Why in the world would Buddy choose that psychotic Lisa when Valerie is so much better for him? .....And, when he had the chance to make a move on her when he went back to Seattle to pick up his effects, why didn't he? You're not getting soft? (Normally, if Buddy was going with Valerie, Lisa never had any problems getting Buddy into it....)
Valerie was much more exhausting for Buddy to be with, since she had higher expectations of him, while Lisa had no expectations of him at all. She was just "there", in effect... I also don't recall Valerie coming on to Buddy that explicitly in HATE #17... Must be wishful thinking on your part!
So Buddy spends his whole life being the ultimate 'slacker', and then falls right into the ownership of his own successful store..... what message are we reading with this irony?
Buddy was never a total "slacker", in that he has always shown some sort of entrepreneurial drive. He's also very independent, so having his own business was inevitable for him, I'd say... He's still a total slob, I might add, in spite of his "success"...
On the 'Friends'.......What can Peter Bagge tell us about Lisa, Valarie, Stinky and George? How much of your wife is represented within the Valarie/Lisa characters?
They're all "composites" of friends and acquaintances of mine, and except for certain comments and quips I've borrowed from her, there's actually very little resemblance between my wife and my female characters.
Many of the underground comic artists find their stories close to home.... how much of what you have lived, and your experiences and friends are included within the pages of HATE?
Almost everything you read in HATE is based on true events, I'm somewhat sorry to say.
Whatever happened to Leonard's interest in being a rock star? Will he ever chase that dream again? Why didn't/doesn't Leonard seem to care at all about what people think of him.... With the venereal warts bit....he seems almost proud of his affliction?
Stinky will return in the next couple of issues of HATE to answer some of your questions...And I can't really explain or relate to his "who gives a shit?" attitude towards life, but it's one I've seen exhibited by many people I know...
On HATE......You changed the HATE banner?
The new one seemed more appropriate for the new full- color look.
What aspects of Seattle's music sub-culture have changed or evolved over the years that you've been doing HATE, and how has any of it affected your overall perspective? (Like, the Seattle grunge vibe, for example)
I'm not much of a club-goer and never have been, so I really can't answer that question with much authority. All I can say about the "Seattle Scene" in general, both past and present, is that it pretty much follows the same fads and patterns as any comparable city or "scene" did and/or does. It was just a combination of circumstances that put it in the spotlight for a while there.
What have been some of the main complaints that fans have expressed in regard to your move to full color books?
A sad fact of human nature is that people with complaints are much more inclined to write a letter than those who are content, so every format change I've ever made has been met at first with resistance,. But my relatively consistent sales suggest that most people are fine with it or just don't care.
When I was reading this book, and after talking to you about money, and reading much of what has been said about your desire to make a living at this, the first thing I thought was,"where are the ads?" I thought that this would be a very natural step for the mag..... then viola! Ads! What made you decide to do this, and are you happy with the new format?
I decided to try running ads as a way to offset rising printing costs, since the only other course of action would've been to raise the cover price, which I already thought was too high for a comic book. And while I was quite nervous at first about how the ads would look in HATE, I actually love the way the mix in with the content! (What that says about me or my comic book I'll leave for others to speculate).
How do your personal feelings towards alcohol abuse (Buddy is obviously an alcoholic), racism (although he lives with George, the whitest Negro ever, his bigotry is often obvious), abortion (many too many abortions throughout the issues and characters' lives) and dysfunctional homes work their way into your stories?
I obviously come from a so-called dysfunctional family (who doesn't?), where alcoholism played a part, so that's where all that comes from... as for Buddy's racism, that's just your standard attitude towards other races, I m sorry to say. T'would be nice if he made more of an effort to be more enlightened in that regard, but a hell of a lot of people are a hell of a lot worse... not to excuse him or anything...Also, how many abortions is "too many"?
What do you personally think about having the UPC code right in the middle of your cover art... I've noticed a few unorthodox placements... (you could run it up the spine, for example)
A lot of retailers simply won't carry my comic at all if it doesn't have a UPC code on it, which is why it's there (If I had been aware of this fact sooner it would've always been there). That being the case, I'm forced to work it into the cover's design somehow.
I know that you spend quite a bit of time reading other comic artists' books, which do you enjoy reading the most, which do you find most poignantly collect the truth of today's human character, and which would you recommend for fans interested in HATE?
EIGHTBALL and the work of The Hernandez Brothers (of "LOVE AND ROCKETS" fame) are my most consistent favorites, as is anything by Robert Crumb. But pretty much everything published by either Drawn & Quarterly or Fantagraphics is at least worth a look.
Can we ever expect to see an animated version of HATE on television? I think that it would be a lot cooler than X-Men, or King Of The Hill.
A HATE movie or TV show is something that I've been working towards off and on for years now, though whether it'll ever happen is impossible to say, unfortunately. I also like King of the Hill, and I suspect it'll get better as time goes on.
Which cartoons would Peter Bagge watch on Saturday mornings?
Bugs Bunny still makes me laugh. There was also this computer animated sci-fi cartoon on Saturday mornings that that was great to look at, but I can't recall the name of it...