Peter Bagge: The MrSkin.com Interview
With a name like Peter Bagge you either grow up with a wicked sense of humor or become a gay porno star. To the best of our knowledge Bagge chose the former and has been making readers slap their knees black and blue with his comical funnies.

In fact, Comical Funnies was the name of his first published comic book back in the early '80s, which introduced the world to the sick suburbanite family the Bradleys. That spun off into a deal with alternative comic giant Fantagraphics and his solo book Neat Stuff.

But the floodgates of funny opened wide when Buddy Bradley and his proto-slacker life were revealed in the '90s-defining tome Hate. Since then Hollywood has come knocking with various projects that have yet to reach either the big or little screen, both of which could use a strong dose of the Bagge wit.

While Hate and the continuing adventures of Buddy are collected sporadically in an annual, Bagge has branched out to expose his cartoon style of mayhem in realms as varied as the political, with reportage in magazines such as Reason and the website Suck, mainstream comics such as Yeah and Sweatshop for DC and parodies of Spider-Man and the Hulk for Marvel, as well as finally landing on the seminal pages of Mad magazine and the just plain bizarre Bat Boy strip appearing in the Weekly World News.

You can also buy a figurine of Buddy Bradley. But Mr. Skin learned that Bagge is the real doll, as he explains his love of zaftig women, whatever happened to the buzzed-about Hate movie, and what really does on inside the offices of MTV.


What do you think of Mr. Skin?
The man, or the website? I've never met the former. As for the latter: it's dirty!

Well, Mr. Skin thinks you're great too. Is your slacker-defining comic book Hate ever going to make it to the big screen?
It's usually optioned or about to be optioned by someone, and usually for the purposes of making a live-action low-budget indie flick. Just what the world needs, right? No one's made a movie or anything else based on it yet though, obviously.

If the Hate movie is produced, who would you pick to play Lisa and would she have a nude scene?
I honestly never have any one actor or actress in mind to play one of my comic-book characters. Would Lisa have a nude scene? That depends. Probably, though I doubt it'd be very erotic.

MTV thought about producing a cartoon series of Hate and brought you to their New York studios to create a pilot. Are the halls filled with the scantily clad video vixens that network is famous for?
I worked in their animation division, which was far, far away from the main MTV offices. If anyone there wanted pictures of video vixens on the wall they had to draw them. I did visit the main offices once, however, and noticed that every single office had a signed photo of either Ringo Starr or Courtney Love (or both). Ringo and Courtney: the autograph whores!

You're known to harbor a perverse love for the bubblegum rock broadcast on that music channel. What is it about Britney Spears and her nubile cohorts that attract you?

Besides their being nubile, I'd have to say it's their concern for the environment and animal rights ...

Seriously though, I simply tend to like the really lively, catchy pop tunes that usually are marketed toward pre-teens.

What are you listening to now?
I just bought some used Knack CD from the early '90s that I didn't even know existed. It's produced by Don Was, which means it's really slick and boisterous and witless and retarded. I love it.

Do you recall the first time you witnessed a sex scene in a mainstream movie?
You'd think I would remember something like that, wouldn't you? I'm sure it was some "love-making" scene from one of the first James Bond movies that my folks would take us to see at the local drive-in. I'm sure I was bored by it too. I like it when the camera lingers on some sexed-up actress for a while, but once the leading man steps in and starts slobbering all over her the mood is ruined. I always think: "Who's this asshole? Get him out of here!"

Is there a certain genre of film that really grabs your Bagge?
No, but most of my all-time favorite flicks are those rare comedies that are really smart and funny but also are very wacky and irreverent and don't take themselves at all seriously, like Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? or, more recently, Bring It On.

Do cartoonists get groupies?
Rich and famous ones do! But now that Charles M. Schulz is dead the answer is no.

Congratulations on landing your work in Mad magazine, but have you ever published more blue material in dirty books?
I sometimes still get a little bit raunchy in Hate Annual, though it never goes over too well when I "go there". Alternative comic readers are a surprisingly prudish bunch.

As a struggling scribbler in New York City in the early '80s did you frequent Times Square, the grindhouses, strip bars, and peepshows, and if so what tales can you relay from those dark times?
I've been to those places on occasion, always reluctantly, and always in the company of drunken male friends. To quote [radio talk-show personality] Tom Lykis, I don't have the "stripper gene." Plus Times Square was a war zone back then!

I used to be a foot messenger back in the late '70s, and every time I had to work my way through Times Square I'd see someone pull a knife on someone else or witness some other stomach-churning act of violence or depravity. And this was in broad daylight!

Once the sun went down Broadway would suddenly be completely blocked off by a swarm of feral-looking black youths, looking for any excuse to stage a riot. What fun!

Yet once the area got cleaned up in the '90s all the [ex-New York City Mayor Rudy] Giuliani-hating liberal types in NY started to bemoan the "Disney-fication" of Times Square and would wax nostalgic about "the good old days," but all of these folks were 100-percent full of shit, unless they actually enjoyed getting VD from crack whores and then fleeing for your life from their pimps!

Back to movies; who do you think is the sexiest actress working today?
I don't have a favorite. They're all too skinny! Though I think the actress from My Big Fat Greek Wedding (I always forget her name) is a hottie [Nia Vardalos - Ed.]. She's cross-eyed! I just saw her new movie, which is why she's on my mind.

Oh, and Halle Berry, I like her. She's perky! And Denise Richards; she has a great face. So does Brittany Murphy, though I wish someone would feed her a cheeseburger or three, she's so scrawny.

Beyonc?nowles is gorgeous too, of course, though she looked uncomfortable in that last Austin Powers movie (Picture: 1 - 2). She was miscast, I thought. I'm also all pervy for the redhead from that TV show Less Than Perfect, whose name I always forget [ Sara Rue - Ed.]. I'm bad with names, obviously. Oh, and Hilary Duff is hot stuff too, though I don't think she's old enough for me to be saying that out loud yet.

You know what's really sad? I saw Grumpier Old Men on TV recently, and I couldn't get over how hot both Ann-Margret and Sophia Loren looked in it, and they're both 100 years old! I guess I'm a grumpy old man myself now.

You've created some feisty females in your comics. Where does the inspiration for them come from?
Uh ... real life feisty females? I mean, who would be inspired by boring females? (Come to think of it, most alternative cartoonists do seem to be inspired to write about boring, pouty females. Oh, well ... )

What are you working on now?
My weekly Bat Boy strip, stuff for Reason magazine, and a mini-series for Dark Horse called Apocalypse Nerd. Plus other tidbits.

Did you get a lot of shit for your last name growing up?
Only every mother-fucking goddamned day, was all. Even some of my teachers would give me shit about it! Amazingly, my own daughter has yet to be given a hard time once about her last name. Thank goodness for alternative hippie schools, eh?



All illustrations courtesy of PeterBagge.com