About Peter Bagge
DiRt interview

by mikE Everleth

    Did you read Dave Sim's series of articles "Comics & The Mass Medium" that he ran in CEREBUS in which he blasted certain attempts by the comic industry that tried to propel graphic literature into the same arena of popular entertainment as television and film?
    And, regardless of whether you did or not, do you think comics will ever be as widely accepted as film or television is in our culture? Or do you think comics should solely concentrate on maintaining itself as the niche market it seems to be?


    No, I haven't read it, so I can't comment on it directly. As for the 2nd part of your question: No, I don't think comics will ever be as widely accepted as TV or movies, and I feel they will become even more marginalized as time goes by. The reasons for this is that television -- as well as computers and the Internet -- has more and more to offer in the form of free or at least ever cheaper entertainment, thanks to recent, rapid advancements in technology. Comics, on the other hand, are ever MORE expensive, due to the ever increasing cost of paper and printing, and are sold in fewer and fewer places. Therefore, as electronic mediums are becoming cheaper and more accessible, comics and print mediums in general are becoming less so.



    Do you think comic book films, whether it's SPAWN, CRUMB or CHASING AMY, help the industry at all? CRUMB was (relatively) successful (though most people seem to think David Lynch directed it), but how many copies of SELF-LOATHING COMICS #2 were sold?

    I'm sure they help a little bit, in that they'll at least bump up the sales of whatever comic the movie is tied into, though even this "bump" is usually only temporary. So while the TV and the Movie Industry may be turning to comics more and more as a source of inspiration and ideas, this won't do anything to stem the tide of the comics medium's growing irrelevance, for the reasons I brought up in response to the first question.



    Do you ever consider your audience when you're writing HATE? Two things I've found peculiar recently were when you admitted to being shocked at how glad so many readers seemed to be when you dumped Buddy's girlfriend Lisa; and then you killed off probably one of your most beloved characters--Stinky. Did you do that to anger HATE readers, did it just seem funny at the time, were you sick of the character or something else?

    Of course I always take into consideration -- or at least speculate -- as to what the readers response will be to any given storyline or turn of events take place in my comics. But this has ultimately very little influence on what I decide to write about or not write about in HATE. Stinky's death was not at all done in reaction to anything a handful of readers might have said previously that may have angered or annoyed me. (That would be pretty silly, don't you think?)
    And while I confess to getting a rather perverse chuckle out of the way Stinky died, I saw his death as rather inevitable, or at least highly likely, considering the nature of his character. The way I look at it, it would have been CRUELER to have him continue to live the way he always had -- which was basically hand-to-mouth, moving from one scam to the next, one town to the next. This pattern would grow to be a lot less cuter and/or amusing as the years went on.



    Do you miss doing anthology books like WEIRDO & NEAT STUFF? Is that the reason you've added so many back-up writers and artists to HATE? I totally enjoy seeing other people's work in the book since I live on a budget and I can't buy nearly as many comics and zines as I would like to.

    I miss READING something like WEIRDO, since there is nothing like it out there these days! So yes, the extra added features are an attempt to have HATE evolve into a cross between WEIRDO and NEAT STUFF. The problem with being able to continue to do this are entirely economic, however, since anthologies tend to be much less profitable and far more difficult to produce than a one-person, one-storyline title.



    You have an Email address like so many people do these days. Do you use the Internet for much of anything or is it mainly a place where you get hassled by annoying webpage editors like myself?

    I haven't gotten "hassled" nearly as much as I had been warned I would be, but perhaps that's because I have high level of tolerance!



    When you're scripting Buddy's life, do you ever consider it as maybe a life you yourself could be living if you hadn't become such a famous cartoonist? Do you ever long for or envy Buddy's slacker lifestyle?

    A lot of what separates me from Buddy Bradley -- who is primarily an auto-biographical character -- is of the "there but for the grace of god" variety. So no, I don't envy him in the slightest.


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