Deconstructing Comics #545: Peter Bagge

FIRE!!

Peter Bagge is known for the manic comic series “Hate”. But his recent work has gone a different direction: profiling women who made a difference in early 20th century America. Why the change in topic and tone? In this interview, recorded with Koom in a spotlight discussion at Toronto Comicon, Bagge discusses what drew him to making comics bios of Margaret Sanger (Woman Rebel) and Zora Neale Hurston (Fire!!).

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Comics Alternative Interviews: Back with Peter Bagge

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:25 – Introduction
  • 00:02:25 – Setup of interview
  • 00:04:45 – Interview with Peter Bagge
  • 01:35:33 – Wrap up
  • 01:37:22 – Contact us

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“Forever on the horizon, never out of sight”

The Two Guys are pleased to have Peter Bagge back on The Comics Alternative. His new book Fire!! The Zora Neale Hurston Story comes out this week from Drawn and Quarterly. It is another in Bagge’s recent series of historical and biographical comics, following his brief biography of Isabel Paterson (appearing in Reason in 2010), Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story (2013), and Founding Father Funnies (2016). In this interview, Derek talks with Peter about the genesis of this project, what brought him to the writings and personality of Huston, the socio-political contexts surrounding Hurston’s work, and his research efforts in compiling the graphic biography. Fire!! is, in many ways, a companion piece to Woman Rebel, in that both focus on iconoclastic female figures, and their stories are told through an episodic, almost snap-shot, manner of narration. Although Peter and Derek spend the majority their time discussing Zora Neale Hurston, they also cover some of Peter’s other works, such as his Founding Father Funnies collection, last year’s Neat Stuff boxed set, and the possibilities of a similar treatment with Hate and other Bradley family stories.

Be sure to check out Peter Bagge’s other appearances on The Comics Alternative:

Comics Alternative Interviews: Peter Bagge

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Hate No More

SnotNoseWhile Derek attended this year’s Fan Expo Dallas, he had the opportunity to talk with Peter Bagge not once, but twice! On the Saturday of the con Peter was kind enough to sit down for a lengthy interview — about 30 minutes — in-between fans, commissions, and signings. Although their back-and-forth was substantial, there were subject matters that they didn’t get to cover on that first day. So they decided to follow up with another interview on Sunday. What you’ll hear in this podcast episode is an edited result of two-days-worth of recorded conversation at Fan Expo Dallas. Among other topics, Derek asks Peter about the response to 2013’s Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story, and that leads to a discussion of the creator’s next project, a graphic biography of Zora Heale Hurston. Peter shares his experiences researching for the book, the politics underlying Hurston’s previous biographers, and the challenges of putting the writer’s life — the palatable as well as the problematic — into comics form. They also discuss Peter’s recent work on IDW’s Garbage Pail Kids Puketacular and the connections between card collecting, comics, and pornography. In addition, Derek talks with Peter about the release of Sweatshop, a series that was originally published by DC Comics in 2003, and then just recently collected in trade through Fantagraphics. It’s the story of a newspaper cartoonist and his disgruntled assistants, and Peter explains that this is a title that he will probably never revisit, especially due to the fact that strip cartooning (at least in newspapers) is, unfortunately, a dying form. And the jury’s still out on whether or not Peter Bagge at Fan Expo Dallas 1will return to one of his most iconic creations, Buddy Bradley. Derek is a huge fan of Hate and the Hate Annual, and he specifically asks Bagge if there’s any future for Buddy and Lisa. Although that fact remains uncertain — as is a return of Guy Krause from 2012’s Reset — what is more assured is a collection of Peter’s Founding Father Funnies that will be coming out through Dark Horse Comics in the near future. Peter even shares with Derek news that his Neat Stuff comics will be collected in nice archival editions through Fantagraphics. However, the conversation isn’t only about the comics. They spend a lot of time talking about Peter’s love of pop music — like Derek, he is a big Beach Boys and (especially) Brian Wilson buff — and especially his work as a musician in The Action Suits, and more recently the band Can You Imagine? In fact, you can hear clips from the band’s 2012 CD, Romance!, in this episode. Derek has previously interviewed Peter twice before — first, at the 2013 HeroesCon  and then for the blog around the release of Woman Rebel — but this time around, they cover entirely new territory. There’s a lot packed into this conversation, so give it a listen. And a great big thanks to Peter Bagge for taking the time and being on the podcast!

Be sure to check out Peter Bagge’s website.

The soundtrack for this episode can be found on the Can You Imagine? CD, Romance!:

  • “A Traumatic Ending”
  • “Housework”
  • “Rich Girl Poor Girl”
  • “Dennis!”

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Comics Alternative – Episode 128: Reviews of Tex the Lonesome Rider, Sweatshop, and Criminal Special Edition

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Genre Smorgasbord

TexThis week, Derek and Andy W. discuss recent titles that span the genre spectrum. First they look at the new release from Dark Horse, the English-language release of Claudio Nizzi and Joe Kubert’s Tex the Lonesome Rider. Based on the famous American Western character created in 1948 by Giovanni Luigi Bonelli, this book was originally released in Italian and is now being published in the states in a beautiful hardbound volume. (Dark Horse had released the first part of this story in 2005 as Four Killers, Vol. 1: The Bartlett Brothers, and that same year SAF Comics published the entire story in English, but those books are long out of print.) The guys approach Nizzi’s treatment of Tex Willer as a classic Western, but one that isn’t afraid to delve into the darker, violent side of the genre. In fact, Andy argues that much of the story, underscored by Kubert’s art, owes a debt to noir narrative, and that one could arguably read this as Western noir. Although Tex is a famous figure in Italian comics, he is much less known in the United States, and indeed, both Derek and Andy admit that before this new release, they didn’t know much of anything about Tex and his history. SweatshopInsideBut Tex the Lonesome Rider is the prefect introduction to the character, meticulously rendered by the legendary Kubert, and the guys hope that there will be more translated Tex stories to come. Next, they review the new collection from Peter Bagge, Sweatshop (Fantagraphics). Although this book was just released, Sweatshop isn’t a new comic. It was first serialized by DC Comics during the last half of 2003, but it was canceled after only six issues. Now, the short-lived series is finally collected in a trade paperback, and if you’re not familiar with the work of Peter Bagge, then this would be the prefect place to start. Reminiscent of Bagge’s classic Hate, the story revolves around a self-centered and crotchety newspaper cartoonist and the young people he has working for him on the strip. Illustrated not only by CriminalSpecialEditionBagge, but also by Stephen DeStafano, Johnny Ryan, Stephanie Gladden, and Bill Wray, Sweatshop is a humorous, and at times sarcastically biting, look at the comics industry and the personalities that strut across its stage. Finally, Andy and Derek leap into Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’s Criminal Special Edition (Image), a one-shot oversized comic that takes us back into the creators’ seminal world of noir. Released to help draw attention to the new editions of Criminal published through Image — the original series came out through Marvel’s Icon imprint between 2006 and 2011 — this special edition is also an homage to the kind of sword-and-sorcery magazine-sized comics that appeared in the 1970s. The result is not only a curious pairing of genres, but more significantly, a narratively sophisticated return to a noir world that would eventually lead to such titles as Fatale and The Fade Out. If you’re a fan of crime comics, Criminal Special Edition is essential reading.

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Deconstructing Comics #256: Talking about “Star Wars”…again!

FIVE YEARS of “Deconstructing Comics”! We celebrate with a retro lineup (Tim, Mulele, and Brandon, plus Kumar) discussing the topic that we always used to accidentally end up talking about anyway: Star Wars! Specifically, Dark Horse’s Star Wars Tales #20, an issue in which various indie creators took a crack at the Star Wars characters. Especially Jar Jar.

Also, our reactions to the trailer for the Green Lantern movie. Have all these superhero movies run their course?

A fun (if rather ribald and un-p.c.) conversation!

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Gutter Trash – Episode 75: Other Lives

75

We review Peter Bagge’s Other Lives. Music by Legbone and Black Wolf Fight.

Check out Jason’s site, Eric’s site and our new project Ok, PANIC!.

Email Eric or Jason.

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Teenage Wasteland Episode 65 – InvinciAlec Returns!

This week on Teenage Wasteland…

If you know your history, then you understand that I was a hardcore Invincible fan at one point in time. So, how does the book hold up when I return to reading after a ten issue hiatus? Have my thoughts changed?! Also, some opinions on DC Entertainment, a congrats to iFanboy, comic reviews and Jeff Sandquist stops by to share his thoughts on Mesmo Delivery (which I now want to read). Enjoy!

Books Discussed
Nexus: The Origin
Invincible #70
Hate #5 and 6
Spider-woman #5 and 6

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