We are pleased to bring you "Diaflogue," a new semi-regular series of exclusive Q&As with Fantagraphics artists conducted by various members of our staff! Leading things off: Peter Bagge interviewed by Larry “The Love God” Reid, curator and events coordinator for Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery.
We’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of HATE ANNUAL #8. Can we expect the responsibilities of parenthood to have an effect on the maturity of Buddy and Lisa?
Yes — or an effect on their immaturity.
As a father yourself, how much of your child-rearing experience will we find reflected in Buddy?
Lots. The big difference, as always, is that I was the father of a 5-year-old 15 years ago, while Buddy is going through it now, so there are different references and cultural touchstones here and there. The gist is the same, though.
Having served as a stand-in for Leonard on a couple of blind “Stinky Dates” myself, it came as quite a blow when we lost the “Love God.” Any other big surprises in store? Might we see a return of Valerie, for instance?
Maybe down the road. The next issue of HATE ANNUAL will most likely involve Buddy and Lisa going back to Seattle to visit her parents – whom Buddy has never met!
In many ways the fictional story arc of HATE foreshadowed actual events in the social counterculture of “Generation X.” An army of young adults seemingly followed Buddy to Seattle in the early ‘90s, came of age here, then meandered back to their home towns. Many are beginning to cope with delinquent children of their own now. Where do you see the grunge generation headed?
Does anyone in their 40s still think of themselves as “grunge”? God help them if they do! Unless they’re in the Foo Fighters or something.
Tell us a bit about your new Vertigo graphic novel OTHER LIVES.
It’s about 4 different people, each of who have past or present virtual and/or fantasy lives. As the story unfolds, all of their real and fake lives intertwine, and havoc ensues. A fun read!
Any other notable projects on the horizon?
I’m slowly getting started on several: besides another eventual HATE ANNUAL, I also plan on getting back in the REASON Magazine fold. My next feature will be about volunteering for an arts project at a women’s prison. After that I may start a series of biographical profiles for them, dealing with various women writers from the past.
Hate Annual #8 features a whopping new 20 page Buddy Bradley story where Lisa (everyone’s favorite psycho!) makes her first foray into show biz and gets way more than she bargained for! This issue of P. Bagge’s annual Hate also features strips compiled from his Discover Magazine gig: 5 biographies of scientists you’ve never heard of! — other than maybe Walter Reed, who’s well known only for that hell of a hospital named after him, and not for the handy yet forgotten fact that he discovered how malaria is spread... All that and many other odds and ends from hither and tither (see below for details). Why love when you can Hate!
We're no longer distributing Mineshaft, but we're happy to report that the essential underground comix zine is still going strong and the new 25th issue, with a cover by Sophie Crumb and featuring Peter Bagge, R. Crumb, Kim Deitch's review of papa Crumb's Genesis, Pat Moriarity and much more (see above), is at the printer and will be available from the publisher soon! If you order or subscribe now you can get $1 off select back issues — whatta deal!
This is the teaser trailer for the pilot of Fallout, English producer/director Tupaq Felber's adaptation of Peter Bagge's Apocalypse Nerd which Felber's currently pitching to the BBC. It's officially described as "A new 6 episode comedy-drama, exploring the edges of genre and style with the unique voice that distinguishes the best of television today. Fallout is the story of Douglas and Gordon, two friends battling their quarter-life crisis, who come home from a weekend in the woods to find the world has come to an end. ... Weird, funny, heartwarming and then a bit more weird. Fallout is to Cult British TV what global annihilation is to human kind: the next big thing."
I'm sure I'm not alone in saying HOLY CRAP GIMME. I hope to hell the Beeb picks this up (and then promptly re-airs it on BBC America).
As the weather heats up, so does the action at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, with a series of exhibitions, signings and performances featuring some of our favorite artists.
On Saturday, March 13, from 6:00 to 9:00 PM, Fantagraphics Bookstore welcomes illustrious LOVE AND ROCKETS co-creator Gilbert Hernandez on the occasion of the release of his latest masterpiece HIGH SOFT LISP. This exhibition of his amazing original art and book signing doubles as the official after-party for the Emerald City Comicon. Expect to socialize with a diverse array of unannounced special guests at this festive annual event.
Rock on Saturday, April 10 with our crew of musical savants from the warehouse and friends for an evening of dissonant performance. Improvisational quartet Zinjanthropus features maestro Martin Bland reuniting with his mate Ren from the awesome Australian combo Lubricated Goat and his Monkeywrench axe man Tom Price of the legendary U-Men. Joining them is former Gas Huffer front man Matt Wright. Our beloved Ajax makes lovely noise as Ardent Vein. Georgetown will be filled with melodious mayhem all night as the cacophonous Honk Fest West marching band carnival takes over the streets. Un-freaking-believable, this one.
On Saturday, April 17 from 6:00 - 8:00 PM we host a signing and publication party for James Sturm and Peter Bagge. Sturm returns to Seattle where he co-founded The Stranger and created his popular comic Cereal Killings for Fantagraphics Books. He since co-founded the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont and continued a successful career as a cartoonist. He'll be signing his recent graphic novel MARKET DAY. Also appearing will be the architect of the alternative comics movement Peter Bagge signing the highly anticipated HATE ANNUAL #8. Catch up on the latest shenanigans of Buddy Bradley and the gang.
Look for these and other activities throughout the Spring at Fantagraphics Bookstore, located at 1201 S. Vale Street only minutes sought of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110. See you all soon.
One of my favorite books I've received lately is this handsome, considered little tome from Spain's Blur Ediciones, Rotulando in Spanish • Lettering en Español, collecting something that on the face of it might sound a bit loopy: lettering by the cartoonist Nono Kadáver created for the Spanish editions of work by American greats R. Crumb, Daniel Clowes, Joe Sacco, Johnny Ryan, Peter Bagge and Gilbert Shelton.
Nono worked throughout most of the 1990s at Barcelona's Ediciones La Cúpula, one of Spain's leading comics publishers, and was one of the last of an era when book production was done largely by hand, not computers. Nowadays, most publishers get fonts created for an artist, but thru the 1990s, Nono spent many of his days mimic-ing the lettering styles of Bagge, Crumb, etc. the old fashioned way, with a pen and paper (and maybe a lightbox). He was a real master at trying to maintain the integrity of the original artwork, putting his ego aside in an effort to seamlessly blend the Spanish text into the artist's page compositions as unnoticeably as possible. Kind of like the old saw that the best movie soundtrack is the one you don't notice, Nono's work could probably make you forget that Daniel Clowes wasn't Spanish when you're reading Bola Ocho.
I am a lettering nerd and it makes me a bit sad that hand-lettering like this is becoming a dying craft, because it can make or break a translated foreign book and typeset fonts are rarely as effective. Kadáver likens his work to a forger in the excellent introductory text:
"I feel a great admiration and respect for counterfeiters... I think that even falsifying, we leave our mark... What you have to do is forget your personal style and adapt to the artist's. This is accomplished by reading a lot, dissecting his work, and learning from it; in the end the only thing that matters is as close a possible resemblance to the author's style."
Seattle Public Library has posted an MP3 (64.2 MB) of Peter Bagge's Jan. 30 talk at the Central Library. Synch it up with the photo slideshow (which autoplays, but you can pause and navigate manually — skip ahead to the third image to start) and it's almost like you were there!
• List: At The Comics Journal, the back half of Rob Clough's Top 50 Comics of 2009 includes:
#29, The Complete Peanuts 1971-1972 by Charles Schulz: "Twenty-two years into his run on this strip, Schulz was still at his peak even as Peanuts was moving into a new phase."
#31, Mome Vol. 14: "The most consistently excellent anthology in comics, issue after issue."
#39, Uptight #3 (misidentified as #2) by Jordan Crane: "Both [stories] were perfectly suited for this lo-fi yet gorgeously designed comic..."
#43, The Red Monkey Double Happiness Book by Joe Daly: "Daly didn’t create just a story or a set of characters, but an entire community for readers to wander around in and become comfortable with. Equal parts Tintin and The Big Lebowski, this was a stoner detective story, with all sorts of absurd events popping up in everyday life and eventually making a kind of sense."
#46, Everybody Is Stupid Except for Me by Peter Bagge: "This is Bagge-as-Mencken, trenchantly tearing apart stupid ideas from both the left and the right and doing it while actually going out into the field, gathering facts, and talking to people. His hyper-expressive style was a perfect fit for his over-the-top political commentary."
And finally, #50, Love and Rockets: New Stories #2 by Gilbert & Jaime Hernandez: "Jaime’s conclusion to 'Ti-Girls Adventures' managed to combine rip-snorting action and compelling character work. Gilbert’s 'Hypnotwist' was both a callback to his New Love-style weirdness and yet another entry in his 'pulp movie' adaptations. ...[I]t’s clear both brothers were having such a good time following their impulses."
• Review: "Abstract Comics: The title is, in itself, a manifesto. It makes official the existence of these strange objects that some will reject as a contradiction in terms: 'abstract comics.' ... In the abstract comics gathered by Molotiu, sequential ordering produces nothing on the order of a story; but solidarity between the panels is established (in more or less convincing and seducing fashions) in another mode — plastic, rhythmic and so to speak musical. Personally, I do not refuse to make a place for these creations in the field of comics, because I wish that field to be as open and as diversified in its expressions as possible, without excluding anything a priori. Nevertheless, I still note that they have closer affinities with the operating modes of contemporary art that with the ordinary ambitions of drawn literatures." – Thierry Groensteen, Neuvieme Art (excerpt and translation by Andrei Molotiu at the Abstract Comics Blog)
• Review: "Perhaps the best adjective I could employ to describe Castle Waiting would be 'homey.' It’s all about the pleasures of home and the relief of being amongst family who accept you, even if they don’t happen to be related to you or even entirely human. ... Taken on the surface, it’s a perfectly cozy and enjoyable story. If one decides to delve more deeply, themes of tolerance and equality can be found gently at work, though by no means do they take precedence over the characters. Lest all of this sound a bit too quaintly domestic, let me assure you that the story is also quite funny." – Michelle Smith, Soliloquy in Blue
Hey look, some photos of the Newave! exhibit opening and book launch party last Saturday at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery, nicked without permission from our pal (and Newave! contributor) J.R. Williams's Facebook page. We'll bring you more pics if/when they surface (got some? let us know!). Above, David Lasky and someone unidentified...