By common consensus, Peter Bagge is the funniest cartoonist of his generation, and is probably best known for the ’90s comic book series Hate, which followed the exploits of the slacker ne’er-do-well Buddy Bradley (and managed to show probably the truest representation of Seattle during the “grunge” boom and bust).
Peter Bagge was born in Peekskill, New York. He studied briefly at the School of Visual Arts in New York City in the mid-’70s. Upon exposure to the work of underground comics, particularly the work of R. Crumb, Bagge plunged into cartooning with a vengeance.
In the early ’80s Bagge co-published three issues of Comical Funnies (1980-81), a New York-based comic tabloid which saw the debut of Bagge’s dysfunctional suburban family, The Bradleys. Bagge broke into R. Crumb’s legendary magazine, Weirdo, with “Martini Baton,” and Bagge took over as managing editor of that magazine from 1983 to 1986.
Bagge also started his own comic book, Neat Stuff, for Fantagraphics Books, producing 15 issues from 1985 to ’89. Buddy Bradley, the Bradleys’ alienated and pessimistic teenage son, emerged as Neat Stuff‘s most engaging and fully-realized character. In 1990, Neat Stuff evolved into a new title, Hate, which exclusively chronicled the foibles of the semi-autobiographical Buddy Bradley. Hate became the voice of the twenty-nothing slackers as well as being hailed by critics for its brilliant characterization and its sharp dissection of 1990s hipsterdom. Hate continues to appear in print, albeit less frequently, under the title Hate Annual.
Bagge’s distinctive in-your-face illustration style has also appeared on many record and CD covers, and his comics have been featured in political and social commentary magazines like Reason and the website Suck.com. In 2009, Bagge’s Reason strips were collected by Fantagraphics in Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me and Other Astute Observations. Bagge also wrote and drew a weekly “Bat Boy” comic strip for the now-defunct Weekly World News (collected in 2011 by IDW Publishing).
Other comic work includes writing an all ages comic book for DC called Yeah! (drawn by Gilbert Hernandez, and collected by Fantagraphics in 2011); Sweatshop, also for DC, which satirizes the comics industry; Apocalypse Nerd, a six-issue science fiction comedy series for Dark Horse Comics; and Other Lives, a 2010 original graphic novel for DC’s Vertigo imprint. He wrote and drew two superhero spoofs for Marvel: “The Megalomaniacal Spider-Man,” which was released as a one-shot, and “The Incorrigible Hulk,” which was serialized in the 2009 anthology miniseries Strange Tales.
Bagge is currently developing The Bradleys as a pilot for an animated series for the Fox network, and an independent British producer has produced a live-action television pilot titled Fallout based on Apocalypse Nerd. Bagge also makes time to teach a comics writing course at Seattle University and play in his pop combo Can You Imagine?
Click here to read an extensive interview with Peter Bagge originally published in The Comics Journal #159 in 1993.
Peter Bagge’s Recent Releases (click covers for complete product details & ordering information)