It's Time for Some Love For Peter Bagge

I recently saw this poster outside a restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and was instantly smitten with Peter Bagge.

Once I finished laughing, I realized I’d never heard of the man, (and here I thought I was a serious underground comic book-o-phile. I felt so ashamed). Luckily it was a poster advertising a show for him at the Scott Eder Gallery in DUMBO and I could make up for some of my past ignorance. Sometimes living in New York really pays off.

So don’t be a knucklehead like me, go check out the stellar work of a comic book genius!

Show Details:
April 9 – May 5, 2011
18 bridge st 2-i
brooklyn NY 11201 (DUMBO)
718-797-1100

Below is a very small sampling of the work of Peter Bagge and the wisdom of some much more informed writers than me:

Lifted entirely from the Scott Eder Gallery site:

Peter Bagge’s style moves to a fluid beat, incorporating elastic design with over-the-top characterizations and brutally honest portrayals of suburban and domestic landscapes. The ever-present humor and slick signature gags effortlessly poke fun at both the reader and his subjects, while at the same time coating the darker matter and message of his social commentaries. The best comedians make fun of us, but most people never know it…so it is with Peter’s stories and characters: there might be a rubber tip covering the syringe, but the prick is still there. Rarely matched by any other artist of his generation for this blend of humor, socio/polito viewpoints and cartooning bravado, Peter continues to spread his brand of graphic expression while maintaining the core style and evolving ideologies true to his game.

Beginning in the mid to late ’70s after dabbling with art school and then making a clean escape, Peter began working at Punk Magazine. This connection to the music scene and its environs is a lifelong theme that would continually play itself in the various guises of fan, writer, artist and musician. By the early ’80s he made his mark in the comics world, co-publishing Comical Funnies and creating The Bradleys! Soon after, his work was published in R. Crumb’s Weirdo magazine, featuring the character Martini Baton…Peter would later become the managing editor from 1983-1986.  

In 1985 he began working with Fantagraphics Books and produced Neat Stuff for a total of 15 issues. It was here that some of his most enduring characters were developed: Girly-Girl, Junior, Studs Kirby, The Bradleys, and lastly the standard bearer of all disillusioned ’80s teenagers, Buddy Bradley! Buddy’s evolution would continue in Bagge’s landmark comic Hate beginning in 1990, running for 30 issues and which still gets published in Annual form today.

And this is from the site A Nickel’s Worth where you can also read a great interview with the man himself:

Peter Bagge is one of the best cartoonists of his generation. And that’s a natural fact.

In the mid-1980s, when Pete was still in his twenties, Robert Crumb handed over the editorial reigns of his legendary comix anthology, WEIRDO, to the young cartoonist.

At about the same time, Fantagraphics published NEAT STUFF, a hilarious alternative comics series that showcased some of Pete’s craziest and funniest characters: Girly Girl, Studs Kirby, Martini Baton, Junior, The Goon in the Moon, and, of course, Buddy Bradley and the delightfully dysfunctional Bradley clan.

Pete had Buddy leave home and move to Seattle and chronicled the slacker’s adventures in the pages of HATE, a sprawling series that epitomized the very best of 1990s alternative comics.

If you’re unfamiliar with HATE or Buddy Bradley, I won’t spoil the story for you. Get over toAmazon and load up on these essential collections.

In recent years, Pete has branched out, spoofing Marvel’s Spider-Man and Hulk, lampooning syndicated cartoonists in SWEATSHOP, chronicling the tabloid-terrific adventures of Bat Boy, exploring the end of the world in APOCALYPSE NERD, and investigating social and political issues with his always edifying “cartoonitorials” for REASON magazine. He’s also a frequent contributor to MAD.

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