Take a second and think back on all those life-changing regrets you have in life.
Now suppose you have the chance to relive those missed opportunities. You can say and do all those things you wished you’d said or done. What would you do? What’s it going to take to get closure?
If you’re has-been comedian and actor, Guy Krause, these questions aren’t hypothetical anymore. In Dark Horse Comic’s new series Reset veteran underground comics artist/writer Peter Bagge brings his unique brand of humor to this story. Discovered by a rep from a small tech firm during a D.U.I. class, misanthrope Guy is recruited to be a guinea pig for a virtual reality product that lets him hit ‘reset’ on his life.
Probably most well known for his seminal 90’s funny book Hate, which famously mixed the Seattle grunge scene with curmudgeonly cartoonish aesthetics, we recentlly talked with Bagge about his comics career.
Geeks of Doom: Hi Peter, great to have you here.
Your work has always put its very human characters at the center of your stories, warts and all, but it seems like in the last few projects there’s been a slight tonal shift. Apocalypse Nerd was a high concept story and Other Lives explored human relationships in the digital age. Now we have Reset which is very high concept and also, in part, about technology. Do you see this as a science-fiction story?
Peter Bagge: No, not at all — in the sense that everything that happens in this story could happen in real life, with existing technology. At least I think so. I’d be shocked if the technology you see here is beyond what anyone isn’t capable of now!
But yes, the three GNs you mentioned are very high concept, while all still in the realm of possibility. They all started with me thinking “what if?”, but the what-ifs are all reality based. No one grows wings and flies in them.
Geeks of Doom: It’s interesting how your work in the last few years has swung from high concept stories to the journalistic/documentary comics in the Founding Fathers Funnies back-ups and your contributions to Reason magazine. Have you discovered anything about your work by telling stories in these different ways? For instance, is there an approach you find more rewarding?
Peter Bagge: I like the variety, to be honest. I don’t like to work with the same characters or the same type of stories constantly. Working in different styles and approaches keeps my brain synapses a-poppin’! So I can’t chose one approach over the other. I’m just glad I’m able to do all of the above.
Geeks of Doom: Do you consciously seek out new approaches or is it just a matter of keeping your brain open for when the muse comes knocking?
Peter Bagge: All of the above — as well as keeping an open brain when a generous publisher comes a-knocking!
Geeks of Doom: Are you fond of your older work?
Peter Bagge: Which “older work” are you referring to? There’s a lot of it! In general though: yes. At least, there’s not much of it that I truly dislike! I mainly just cringe at some of the artwork, or the verbosity of some of them, is all.
Geeks of Doom: I was thinking of the Neat Stuff and Weirdo years mainly. I have a deep fondness for stuff like The Leeways, Zoove Groover and The Reject, in part because you were playing with so many different voices and narrative devices.
Peter Bagge: Yes, I was very experimental in those days. Trying all different things, trying to find what works best.
Geeks of Doom: You’re still doing Buddy Bradley stories all these years later. What do you do to keep that interesting for you?
Peter Bagge: I have no shortage of ideas for Buddy. Just a shortage of time! But I could still do him full time with no problem if I could afford to.
Geeks of Doom: Thanks for your time, Peter. I’d like to ask just one last thing – WHAT DO YOU HAVE AGAINST DRAWING KNEES AND ELBOWS ANYWAY?!?!
Peter Bagge: I’ll answer that question WITH a question: Why do so many artists waste their time drawing elbows and knees?
Geeks of Doom: Do you hear that other artists? The ball’s in your court.
Peter Bagge, thank you so much.
Peter Bagge: Thank you!