The Washington Post's Peter Carlson spews big love over our own Peter Bagge's form of unique cartoon journalism in a profile today. Some excerpts:
Reason is a libertarian magazine and Bagge is a libertarian cartoonist, always eager to satirize the war on drugs or gun control laws or other governmental restrictions on personal freedom. But he doesn't just sit around drawing cartoons. He goes out and covers events like a reporter, jotting down quotes and sketching in his notebook. Then he turns his observations into multi-page comic-strip essays that are funny and smart and surprisingly nuanced.
"I call it cartoon journalism," Bagge, 49, said in a phone interview from his home in Seattle. "I don't know what else to call it."
Over the past six years, Bagge has covered political campaigns, protest marches and, in one hilarious piece, a very earnest convention of polygamists, swingers, sadomasochists and transsexuals, where a panel discussion on legal issues inspired a rather dumpy woman to ask this question: "If I adopt my live-in lovers, would I be violating incest laws?"
In the current Reason, the one with his hideous self-portrait on the cover, Bagge travels to a gun show, interviews people on both sides of the gun control issue and ultimately concludes that, yes, an American should be able to own a bazooka: "If I don't hurt, threaten or disturb anyone with it, then why can't I own one?"
His reasoning failed to convince me, but I enjoyed the piece anyway. Arguing with Bagge is part of the fun of reading Bagge. As libertarian polemicists go, he's a lot more fun than, say, Ayn Rand.
Check out our Bagge archives and bow before the wonder of our own cartoon journalist. And visit Peter's personal site. And to tie today together into a neat bow, yes, Peter used to draw Bat Boy for the dearly departed Weekly World News.