Monday, August 11, 2008

Big Bag O' Bagge: More Hate!

This is the second of two articles focusing on Peter Bagge's Hate. In the first part, we looked at the first fifteen issue of Bagge’s popular series, ending with Buddy Bradley’s departure from Seattle to return to New Jersey. Issue #16 also marked a format change to color, the addition of inker Jim Blanchard, and expanded content. Bagge opened up the second half of each issue to other cartoonists, essays, music coverage, and advertising. He was trying for a "zine" feel, but the change proved to be controversial, accompanied by complaints of Bagge “selling out”. I'm sure if Bagge wanted to sell out, he could have found a lot more profitable way to do so than adding color and extra shit, but whatever.

Jimmy Foley welcomes Buddy - From "Meet the Folks!" Hate #16

As Buddy returned to the family home in New Jersey with Lisa in tow, Bagge reintroduced the Bradleys to Hate readers. Pops Bradley was in the hospital again for the latest in a series of ailments, so Buddy and Lisa moved back into the Bradley house. The second half of Hate would see the couple drift apart as Buddy tried to get a collectibles business going with his old junkie pal Jay Spano:

"There's something delicious about the disgustingness of McDonald's" - From "Lets Get Serious", Hate #17

Brother Butch returns as well, discharged from navy for alcoholism. And as a side note, I've been in the Navy, and you'd have to be one serious drunk to get kicked out of the Navy for alcoholism. Babs is still around as well, with her horrible, horrible children, Tyler and Alexis:
From "Uncle Buddy" - Hate #20

In the second fifteen issues of Hate, Bagge's story became more relationship and plot-driven. Having introduced the cast of characters, Bagge's focus turned to establishing an adult life for Buddy and his pals. Characters changed and evolved as time went on, and no one stayed one-note or one-dimensional. Perhaps freed by the inking assist, Bagge's writing got sharper and funnier.

From "Bab's Ex" - Hate # 23

For my part, I liked the slicker-looking color artwork, and generally had no problem with the extra material, though some of it was pretty bad. Rick Altergott's Doofus was the best, with other features heading downhill from there. On occasion, Bagge included extra collaborations like #30's "The Hasty Smear of His Smile", with Alan Moore, as well as stories done with Adrian Tomine, Robert Crumb, and others.

Lisa inevitably leaves buddy to live in city just as Jimmy Foley and Butch are trying to convince him to help them with a drug-running scheme. Drawn by the idiocy in the air, Stinky re-emerges with his own wacky drug scheme:

I don't want to give too many more specifics, since saying too much more will spoil the story. suffice to say, the remaining issues of Hate contained much weaseling, sneaking, and aggravating of Buddy:

From "Let's Start a Crackhouse!" - Hate #26

Hate #27 was the pivotal "Buddy Cleans House", where a fed-up Buddy extricates himself from the crack plan, his partnership with Jay, and his break up with Lisa. Buddy finally takes charge of his life and his business, but it leaves him all alone:

From "A Day in the Life of Buddy Bradley" - Hate #28

Buddy spends some time living alone and attempting dates, to dismal results. Finally, in issue #30 Buddy and Lisa get back together when they learn she is pregnant. This marked the end of Buddy as a "young single character, as well as the end of Hate as an ongoing series.
From "Let's Get It On" - Hate #30

Since Hate #30, Bagge has been producing a series of Hate Annuals, which have included short Buddy and Lisa vignettes, but those haven't been as long or as eventful as the original series. Buddy's youthful days are behind him, and Peter Bagge has, aside from tracking his "fuddy-duddy" years, moved on to other things. Still, in its day, Hate was at the top of my reading pile, and this funny, unique, and vulgar masterwork remains one of my all-time favorites.



LurkerWithout said...

Man, this second omnibus just seemed to come from nowhere. I know I wasn't expecting to run across it while browsing B. Dalton...

Great book though. I'd skimmed a few issues of Hate before but never really got into picking it up. But these two omnibuses have been awesome...

Jack Norris said...

I never thought that Bagge "sold out" in the later phases of Hate at all. I love a lot of the later stuff, except for one "columnist" he brought in who was a stupid asshole with shitty taste in comedy and a fixation on that flake Natalie Merchant.