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The Comics Issue

Comic Book Hero

Peter Bagge is one of the best comic storytellers ever. He’s the creator of Neat Stuff and Hate, and he edited R. Crumb's Weirdo for a few years. Hate was one of the most important comics ever produced.
JR
Κείμενο Johnny Ryan
01 Μάιος 2006, 12:00am

Bagge with Gary Leib and Charles Burns at his show in NYC last year.

Peter Bagge is one of the best comic storytellers ever. He’s the creator of Neat Stuff and Hate, and he edited R. Crumb's Weirdo for a few years. Hate was one of the most important comics ever produced. That's like saying Swank was the most important porno magazine ever produced or Slim Jim was the most important beef treat ever produced. In other words, AMAZING! He has since moved on to create a new comic masterpiece called Apocalypse Nerd. Everything this man touches becomes totally heterosexual. Let's find out why:

Vice: You used to edit a comic anthology called Weirdo. What was that experience like—shitty or horrible?

Peter Bagge:

It was a combination of shitty and horrible, with a heavy dose of nightmare thrown in for flavoring. Working with Crumb was great, though. He was really nice to me.

Is it true that one of those old ZAP guys wanted to beat you up?

Spain Rodriguez gave Crumb some strips that he had done for Screw magazine that Crumb had passed on to me, suggesting I reprint them. I didn’t think they were all that great—they were these sexy female spy stories—so I didn’t. As a result he told some people he was going to beat me up over it, but when I met him years later he didn’t even mention it. I think he was annoyed because he knew Crumb would have reprinted them in a heartbeat.

What do you like and dislike about today’s comics?

Well, I’ve never liked mainstream, genre comics, for the most part. As for “alternative” comics, right now there’s a lot of nice-looking, well-done stuff—more than there’s ever been, in fact. Not much of it really grabs me on a gut level, though. Too la-ti-da for my taste, and not as irreverent or intensely personal or brutally honest as I would like. But I’m a jaded old guy who’s hardly impressed by anythingthese days, so who cares what I think?

Name three comic artists you’ve seen naked.

Cartoonists don’t get naked, not in real life anyway. In their comics they ALL get naked.

Do you see yourself doing comics until you die or would you rather do something else?

At this point I don’t think I have the option of ever doing something else! So as long as my eyesight holds out, I figure I’ll be doing them until I croak. I’m not complaining though. There are worse fates.

Bagge deferring the nudity to Stinky.

Don’t you think it’s pretty stupid of Vice to have a whole issue devoted to comics? People don’t want to see that kind of shit in Vice. They want to see pictures of guys peeing blood into each other’s mouth and an interview with the girl who ate 10,000 tampons in ten minutes.

What if we did comics about blood-peeing and tampon-eating? Wouldn’t that keep Vice’s readers happy? Oh well, too late now. We blew it.

One of Bagge's recent strips for

Reason

.

In 30 words or less, why do you think you’re better than Dan Clowes?

I’ve never had a movie made based on one of my comics, which means I’ve technically never “sold out.”

INTERVIEW BY JOHNNY RYAN

Dark Horse Comics just put out the first three issues of

Apocalypse Nerd

. Check it out here. Pete’s also got another

Hate Annual

coming out from Fantagraphics and an album of his old band the Action Suits being released by Presspop on the horizon, in addition to a regular comic feature in

Reason

magazine.