Bagge, Peter (Christian Paul) 1957-

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BAGGE, Peter (Christian Paul) 1957-

PERSONAL:

Born 1957, in Peekskill, NY; married Joanne Connelly; children: Hannah. Education: Attended New York School of Visual Arts.

ADDRESSES:

Agent—c/o Author Mail, Fantagraphics Books, 7563 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER:

Graphic artist, writer, and creator of alternative comics. Weirdo, editor, 1983-86; writer for MTV's Liquid Television and Simpsons Comics; creator of animated commercials and print ads for commercial clients, including Round Table Pizza and Toyota.

WRITINGS:

COLLECTIONS; SELF-ILLUSTRATED

The Bradleys, Fantagraphics Books (Seattle, WA), 1989.

Studs Kirby: The Voice of America, Fantagraphics Books (Seattle, WA), 1989.

The Adventures of Junior and Tragic Tales about Other Losers, Fantagraphics Books (Seattle, WA), 1990.

Stupid Comics, Fantagraphics Books (Seattle, WA), 1991.

"HATE" COLLECTIONS; SELF-ILLUSTRATED

Hey Buddy!, Fantagraphics Books (Seattle, WA), 1993.

Buddy the Dreamer, Fantagraphics Books (Seattle, WA), 1994.

Fun with Buddy and Lisa, Fantagraphics Books (Seattle, WA), 1995.

Buddy Go Home, Fantagraphics Books (Seattle, WA), 1997.

Buddy's Got Three Moms, Fantagraphics Books (Seattle, WA), 1999.

Buddy Bites the Bullet!, Fantagraphics Books (Seattle, WA), 2001.

Buddy's at the End of the Line, Fantagraphics Books (Seattle, WA), 2003.

Author and/or illustrator of comic-books series and comic strips, including "World War Three," "Comical Funnies," 1980-81, "Martini Baton in Weirdo," "Neat Stuff," "The Wacky World of Peter Bagge and Ken Weiner," "Krass," "Testosterone City," "Eat Shit or Die," "Hate," "Big Mouth," "The Megalomaniacal Spider-Man," "Yeah!," and "Sweatshop." Contributor of writing, illustrations, and strips to periodicals, including Weirdo, East Village Eye, Punk, Screw, High Times, Swank, Video Games, Throttle, Terminal, Stop!, Rocket, Cracked, Seattle Star, Chemical Imbalance, Minnesota Monthly, Northwest Extra, Boingo, Entertainment Weekly, Guitar World, Gearhead, I Like Comics, Comics Journal, Spin, Details, ArtForum, Hustler, Suck.com, The Stranger, Tokion, and Reason, and to other books, magazines, comics, collections, and fanzines. Creator of short cartoon that opened the film Hype for its Sundance Film Festival premiere, 1996.

SIDELIGHTS:

Cartoonist Peter Bagge was raised in Peekskill, New York, where, according to his Web site biography, "he grew up reading and watching what most bored and antsy kids read and watched in the late 1960s: Mad magazine, Warner Brothers cartoons, hot rod comics, Peanuts, and plenty of TV." While studying in New York at the School of Visual Arts, Bagge's sole supporter of his underground cartooning ambitions was Joanne Connelly, whom he married.

Inspired by underground cartoonists R. Crumb, Bill Griffith, and Clay Wilson, Bagge, who is known for his bug-eyed characters, began to shape the Bradleys, a dysfunctional suburban family, in three issues of Comical Funnies. Crumb ran his strip "Martini Baton" in Weirdo and then offered Bagge the editorship of the magazine. During this period, which lasted from 1985 to 1989, Bagge developed his own comic-book series about the Bradleys, "Neat Stuff," and published fifteen issues with Fantagraphics Books. This allowed him to further develop the characters of his New Jersey family, particularly Buddy Bradley, the family's teenage son. He also created a number of stand-alone strips, and one-shots that were published in various magazines, comic books, and collections.

Bagge published several volumes, including The Bradleys, a collection of his "Neat Stuff" comics. In addition to Buddy, the family consists of a beer-swilling father, a religious and sarcastic mother, sister Babs, and younger brother Butch. Booklist's Ray Olson called the Bradleys "the antidote" to the "saccharine" families who populated the television screen, more like the "slovenly, caterwauling" family that everyone had in their own neighborhood. Olson commented that the stories "could probably best be characterized as sitcom from hell."

Penny Kaganoff reviewed The Adventures of Junior and Tragic Tales about Other Losers in Publishers Weekly, observing that Bagge's "collection of misfits, nerds, and assorted losers represents American satirical cartooning at its most inventively hilarious."

Beginning in 1990, Fantagraphics published thirty issues of the "Hate," series, a representation of the slacker generation and the Seattle grunge scene, to which Buddy had fled from New Jersey. The series features Buddy as he grows from being a teenager to an adult, and Bagge admits that most of his characters are inspired by real people. Buddy's Seattle friends include feminist girlfriend Valerie, her psychotic roommate Lisa, hedonist Stinky, and George, a reclusive conspiracy theorist.

A Publishers Weekly critic who reviewed the first "Hate" collection, Hey Buddy!, noted that Bagge's stories are a satire of a sort of "low-budget lifestyle that, often as not, continues long past the twentysomething years into a cheerful, underachieving, bohemian middle age." In Entertainment Weekly, Ty Burr found that Bagge very accurately portrays young male adulthood, and added that his drawing style is "a riot."

Bagge's second collection, Buddy the Dreamer, finds Buddy working in a bookstore and facing Val's upscale parents for the first time. He then becomes manager of Stinky's rock group, which is eventually named Leonard and the Love Gods. Life goes downhill from there: Valerie leaves Buddy for her boss and takes off for France, and the band not only fires him, but throws him from their van.

D. Aviva Rothschild reviewed the collection for Rational Magic, saying that "Bagge's rubber-limbed, bugeyed style perfectly complements the wild stories he tells. He's definitely one of the great humor cartoonists. What's nice is that not only does he chronicle the more extreme behaviors of the characters, but he also catches small and subtle traits, such as how Buddy casually peels the label off a beer bottle as he's talking, or how he cringes when two of the Love Gods ask him to tell the girlfriend of a quitting L. G. to get her fourth abortion."

In the "Hate" installment titled Buddy Go Home, Buddy returns to New Jersey with Lisa, and they move in with his parents. With no skills in a job-depressed labor market, Buddy looks for alternatives and goes into the collectibles business with Jay. In the following collection, Buddy Bites the Bullet, Buddy, fifteen years older than when he was first created by Bagge, enters the world of adult dating, and, ultimately, faces the prospect of marriage. Valerie and George, who have been out of the picture since Seattle, make appearances in this installment. Booklist reviewer Gordon Flagg noted that "Hate" "has its closest brush ever with seriousness when one of Buddy's pals meets a sudden, violent demise."

Gabi Martinez wrote about Bagge in the bilingual magazine Vanidad, calling "Hate" "a comic which is smashing the preconceptions of both U.S. and Spanish readers, who have never before seen themselves so accurately reflected in a collection of drawings." Martinez called Buddy Bradley "the perfectly crafted incarnation of the modern antihero.… Buddy is just after living his life at his own pace but finds himself dragged into the most infuriating [situations], with which, it seems from the mountain of mail Bagge receives, thousands of readers are able to identify."

After "Hate" ceased publication, Bagge created the comic-book series "Yeah!" with Gilbert Hernandez for DC's Wildstorm imprint. The characters are members of an all-girl band, and the comic is suitable for all ages. Bagge's "Sweatshop" series is a satirical look at a group of writers and artists who slave for a boss who puts his own name on their strips.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 15, 1989, Ray Olson, review of The Bradleys, p. 804; March 1, 1992, Gordon Flagg, review of Stupid Comics, p. 1190; May 1, 1993, Gordon Flagg, review of Hey Buddy!, p. 1562; October 15, 1997, Gordon Flagg, review of Buddy Go Home, pp. 374-375; February 15, 2001, Gordon Flagg, review of Buddy Bites the Bullet, p. 1105.

Entertainment Weekly, May 21, 1993, Ty Burr, review of Hey Buddy!, p. 44.

Publishers Weekly, March 22, 1991, Penny Kaganoff, review of The Adventures of Junior and Tragic Tales about Other Losers, p. 76; April 12, 1993, review of Hey Buddy!, p. 59.

Vanidad, June, 1997, Gabi Martinez, "Peter Bagge," p. 26-27.

ONLINE

Mote,http://www.moregoatthangoose.com/ (May, 1999), Craig Elliot, interview with Bagge.

Onion A.V. Club,http://www.theonionavclub.com/ (April 15, 1999), Keith Phipps, interview with Bagge.

Peter Bagge Home Page,http://www.peterbagge.com (August 4, 2003).

Rational Magic Web site,http://www.rationalmagic.com/ (August 5, 2003), D. Aviva Rothschild, review of Buddy the Dreamer.*