Peter Bagge: The Interview
It's been too long since Mr. Skin sat down to chew the fat with famous cartoonist and all-around great guy Peter Bagge. Now's the time to catch up with all the various projects this talented funnyman has keeping him busy.

Bagge continues to contribute to Reason Magazine, he has a new comic-book series called Apocalypse Nerd from Dark Horse Publishing, and the color issues of his legendary Hate are being collected by Fantagraphics in the must-own volume Buddy Does Jersey.

As if that's not enough, Bagge is back behind the kit drum in his self-proclaimed "Kings of Pussy Rock," the Action Suits, which has a new self-titled CD.

And yet with all this activity, the generous Bagge kindly took time from his busy schedule to speak with Mr. Skin from his world headquarters in Seattle. Read on and learn the naked truth about nerds, Screw magazine's bawdy bacchanals, and why Nicole Kidman (Picture: 1 - 2) has cold mountains.

In Apocalypse Nerd, the hero is a nerd who survives nuclear holocaust. Do you feel the world is coming to an end?

No. I hope not! But no, I'm not a gloom and doomer in general.

Are you a nerd?

These days, everyone's is a nerd.

The classic film Revenge of the Nerds proposes that nerds make better lovers because they're always thinking about sex. Is that true?

I have no idea, but I doubt it!

Cartoonists seem sex crazed, at least the underground variety such as Robert Crumb. Do you find women take off their clothes more willingly for ink-stained scribblers than mere mooks like the hairy palms at

If Mr. Skin's employees really are hairy-palmed mooks, then yes.

[EDITOR'S NOTE -- We are.]

When you took over editing the legendary comics magazine Weirdo from Crumb, what was the most perverse work submitted?

Whatever Crumb sent in! I also ran a couple of strips by S. Clay Wilson that were mighty dirty. People were quite upset by them. It was a couple of two or three pagers I ran around 1985 or so. They were reprints of stuff he did for Screw, so they were over the top even for him: lots of poop and rapes and racism and such.

A lot of famous cartoonists were published in Screw, including some of the gang you hung out with in New York when you lived there. But were you ever printed on those filthy newsprint pages?

Yes, back in the early '80s. In fact it was my first semi-regular paying gig, thanks to my being good friends with many of the art directors and editors. The pay wasn't great and most of the work I did for them was nothing to be proud of--in fact, much of it I should be deeply ashamed of--but it was great fun working for them in spite of it. They gave me total creative freedom. Too much freedom!

Did you go to any Screw parties?

I went to one, held in the bowling alley in Madison Square Garden, which I didn't even know existed until I went to that party! [Publisher] Al Goldstein paid for all the food, games, and beer, and he wore a denim jumpsuit with a giant embroidered eagle on it. He was great! Some of my friends were assholes that night, though; one of them hit me on the head with his beer mug, and later another picked me up and dropped me on my head. My poor head!

You used to tour with Daniel Clowes; his Art School Confidential recently lampooned the world of art schools. Though he went to Pratt and you to the School of Visual Arts, did you have sexy naked models like Sophia Myles (Picture: 1 - 2) to doodle with?

Are you kidding? I never would have dropped out if we did! What also used to really bug me was that the male models were always in much better shape than the female ones.

Did you ever have models like that obscenely fat family that ran the deli around the corner from where you used to live on 19th Street in New York City?

Now that would have been entertaining! What was even more remarkable about that fat family was how unpleasant they all were.

My old girlfriend Lynne and I used to live by that deli. I'd love to hear anything more you remember.

Nothing stands out. Just that they were so fat and ugly and gross that they would change my mind about buying food altogether whenever I would shop there. Lynn Von once did a funny drawing of one of them for me once, back when you guys were still living over there!

You've been working for a wide range of publications, from the libertarian monthly Reason to Mad magazine, so tell us about the wide range of interests that stuff a Peter Bagge.

Both of those magazines asked me to contribute to them rather than vice versa, which is almost always the case. The one magazine I ever aggressively tried to get into was Weirdo. I wanted in on their $50 page rates!

As if cartoonists don't get enough attention, you're also in a rock band called the Action Suits. How much more debauched can you be?

It might be debauched if the Action Suits actually got any attention. We're a weenie little pussy pop trio. I was the drummer. I joined way back in '96 and quit shortly after for being too old to rock. We reformed last year to complete a full-length CD and quickly disbanded before I had a heart attack.

Does your teenage daughter think the Action Suits are cool?

Amazingly, yes. We're in her iPod! Her friends also download our songs onto their own playlists--as long as Hannah doesn't tell them who we are, that is.

When last we talked there was interest in making an animated Hate series on MTV, even a live-action theatrical one. Is Hollywood still teasing you with attention?

Yeah. It's the same old nonsense. If anything ever actually gets made Mr. Skin will be the first to know!

Have you seen any sexy movies lately?

I just saw a very unsexy one: Cold Mountain. Nicole Kidman was very unconvincing as a supposed woman in love.

Who would you rather have seen steaming up the screen in Cold Mountain?

Dolly Parton (Picture: 1), circa '83, in which case the movie would have to be re-titled Hot Mountains--though your question suggests that Kidman was steaming up the screen! I usually like Nicole, though. She just seemed kinda . . . cold in Cold Mountain.

Have there been any movies you've seen recently that make Peter's Bagge?

That what? I recently rented some old movies starring Natalie Wood (Picture: 1)--not just because I always thought she was pretty, but because I thought Hannah might like her as an actress, but Natalie actually got on both of our nerves, surprisingly.

Before I let you go, the readers need to know: Who are the most trafficked nudies you visit on Mr. Skin?

The fat family from that 19th Street deli and Kate Winslet (Picture: 1). Preferably together.

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