Comics

Peter Bagge on Mad, Hate, Art School, Urban Legends, and His Feminist Semi-Fans

Vice interviews the legendary libertarian cartoonist.

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The great cartoonist Peter Bagge—a frequent contributor to Reason—has just been interviewed by Vice. Here's an excerpt:

Click the pic to read the strip!
Peter Bagge

Q: You never really learned how to draw, but your comics look great. Most people who try to make comics without learning to draw make garbage. How did you figure out the drawing style you have?

A: Well, I can draw people and things that look like what I'm drawing while looking at it/them. But that bores me, and I assume it would bore the viewer of the results as well. So I prefer to draw from my mind's eye, and I take my chances from there. I'm almost never happy with the results, though, so I have a hard time arguing with anyone who thinks my art looks awful.

Initially, I was trying to duplicate the way old cartoons look, specifically ones directed by Bob Clampett. Later on, I was also mimicking early comics drawn by Harvey Kurtzman, in his old Hey Look! one-pagers and such.

It's a very polarizing drawing style, though. Goodreads has all these rave reviews of Woman Rebel [Bagge's comic-book biography of Margaret Sanger] by all these woman's studies majors who love the content of the book but give it three or four instead of five stars, simply because they can't stand my art!

Read the rest here; check out Bagge's new series of strips for Vice here; and visit Bagge's Reason archive here. And keep an eye peeled for his next Reason comic—a four-page dispatch from Cuba.

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  1. OT:

    Btw, you guys wanna see how the drug war starts, it begins with stories like these, immediately followed by legislators “doing something”.

    A violent car crash involving Seahawk Derrick Coleman raises questions about the drug Spice, which is unregulated, unlicensed and doesn’t show up in standard drug tests.

    The speeding car ran a red light, flew over the intersection and struck Scott Braymer on the sidewalk near Pike Place Market a week before Christmas in 2010. He came to with 12 broken bones and a gash across his scalp that would need 17 staples to close.

    The driver told police he had smoked spice, a form of synthetic marijuana, 15 minutes before the crash and blacked out. He later pleaded guilty to vehicular assault, reckless driving and reckless endangerment.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/se…..h-experts/

    1. My local news seems to be running a Spice scare story every time i accidentally watch it, so at least three or four times a year.

    2. The spice must flow.

    3. How fast did he make the run to Kessel?

  2. You never really learned how to draw, but your comics look great. Most people who try to make comics without learning to draw make garbage.

    ?!!

    This is the strangest thing I’ve read all month.

    Initially, I was trying to duplicate the way old cartoons look, specifically ones directed by Bob Clampett. Later on, I was also mimicking early comics drawn by Harvey Kurtzman, in his old Hey Look! one-pagers and such.

    Back in my day, this is what we called “learning to draw”.

    1. It’s not learning unless it happens in a classroom, following a strict curriculum.

      1. You forgot the mandatory culture studies classes.

      2. …and state-approved instructors.

    2. What’s it like having no faculty for contextual interpretation? I imagine you must waste a lot of time waiting for stop signs to say go.

      1. That’s not the question at hand. The real question, Hugh, which everyone is dying to know is… what’s it like being you? I’ve always imagined it’s a bit like having a perpetual hard-on that just won’t go away.

        1. Perpetual means “won’t go away”, Mr. Redundant.

          1. Is that like being an unnecessary grammar nazi?

          2. I think Paul did that deliberately on purpose.

        2. Actually it’s exactly the opposite of that. I’m a white sheet hanging on a clothesline in a gentle summer breeze.

          1. [pauses, then spies opportunity] White Sheet = RACIST!

  3. Quite a while back, Bagge did an article in the dead-tree Reason regarding a small-time do-gooder in Seattle handing out dope to sick people and ending up in all sorts of trouble for his efforts.
    Who says he can’t draw? The last panel did poignancy far better than the written word, or any photo could have done.

  4. Bagge is a *great* observer and cartoonist.

  5. Goodreads has all these rave reviews of Woman Rebel [Bagge’s comic-book biography of Margaret Sanger] by all these woman’s studies majors who love the content of the book but give it three or four instead of five stars, simply because they can’t stand my art!

    Or maybe in this case “don’t like the artwork” is a proxy for “not drawn by a woman.”

    1. +1 national woman day

  6. I would love to see Melissa Click get the Bagge treatment.

    1. *Photographs* of her look like they’re drawn by Bagge. She is a literal Bagge caricature come to life.

  7. Peter Bagge is one of the greatest cartoonists of all time.

    In a world that has had Outcault, Herriman, Watterson, Crumb, Opper, Bushmiller, McCay… no, I don’t think so.

  8. Writing is what drives comix. It’s tough to plow through a poor dialog and weak story in a comic no matter how well it’s rendered.

    Ideally, you want both smart writing and great art.

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