Poppa's Got a Brand New BaggeHe hit the cruel streets of Manhattan looking to graffiti a wall with his unique style of comic mayhem. After several years of underground success with the legendary Punk magazine and Comical Funnies, this quiet and reserved young man of the humorous scribbles headed West. Settling into pre-grunge Seattle, the talented inksmith became the Kurt Cobain of the comics scene, convincing his publisher, Fantagraphics Books, to move there from Los Angeles.
by Peter Landau
His book Hate struck a chord with a burgeoning generation of angsty outcasts, igniting a migration of ambitious cartoonists to Seattle unlike any the world has ever seen. Hate is gone, but the artist has moved on to greener fields of newsprint and four-color hilarity. His name is Peter Bagge. Remember, you heard it here first. Bagge is, in his own words, "peddling his ass" throughout the media hubs of our great country, and people are biting. One set of spectacular teeth-marks belongs to Will Smith and his new production company, which is tied to Fox. They are currently working to option Yeah!, a monthly from DC Comics written by Bagge and drawn by Gilbert Hernandez, which Bagge describes as a "light romp" through the world of intergalactic girl groups. It's sort of like if Josie and the Pussycats and the Spice Girls gave birth to three hot rock 'n' rollers. Whew, the Insider's fedora is matting with sweat just thinking of the possibilities. Universal has the rights to the Josie and the Pussycats tale and a rival production company has been eagerly pursuing Bagge to scramble with a film script for Yeah! so they can get a quickie flick out just to burn Universal. Ah, the integrity of Hollywood motivation. As you read this, Bagge's agents are in negotiations with Time Warner, DC's parent company, to free him from his contract there and take the project to a little screen near you.
If that's not enough, Hate refuses to die. The popular comic book has traveled from MTV animation to HBO, without finding a home at either cable network. However, a live-action version is now being pitched to Fox, with Alison Lee Hannigan (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and American Pie) rumored to be interested in the role of Lisa, Buddy Bradley's wack-o girlfriend. "I think she's a really funny actress," says Bagge, but admits the problem with such forward-thinking casting is that in the time it takes to start shooting, Hannigan will be too old. Bagge is too frantic pumping out scripts and originating new projects to worry about casting. New media is next on the target for the Bagge satirical wit. Video-streaming entertainment from Den, a Web TV startup, is next on Bagge's trophy wall of accomplishments. He has developed a new character to make havoc of the Internet. If all goes well, cyber-heads will be able to follow the adventures of Lovey Flowers in Here's Lovey, what Bagge calls a more "X-rated version of That Girl." There goes the Insider's fedora again.
And if you think Bagge is chained to his drafting board, designing innovative ways to keep America laughing, you'd only be partially correct. The netzine Suck.com has hired Bagge as a roving reporter. He just returned from Las Vegas where he covered an infomercial convention. "It sounded interesting, but it sucked," Bagge notes appropriately. Expect to see more of the journalistic side of this grab-bag of talent, as Suck is likely to commission Bagge to cover the upcoming presidential election. If anyone can squeeze a laugh out of that sour pile of political dullards, our man Bagge can.
(this piece is © 1999, Show Business, Inc.)