comic book creator #10

$ 8.95 in the USA 1 8 2 6 5 8 9 7 0 7 3 4 0 4 THE DEFINITIVE, OUTRAGEOUS STORY OF THE COSMIC BROADWAY EPIC A TwoMorrows Publication No. 10, Fall 2015 Cover art by Neal Adams

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COMIC BOOK CREATOR #10 give you a double-dose of amazing coverage as we feature a history of the short-lived but amazing Star Wars precursor, the Broadway science fiction epic WARP! Though the 1973 show lasted a mere two weeks on the Great White Way, the work of art director NEAL ADAMS is unforgettable and, after all, it spawned a 1980s series at First Comics! We interview Neal, director STUART (Reanimator) GORDON, playwright LENNY KLEINFELD, stage manager DAVID (Flying Frog) GORDON, as well as those participates in the First Comics series! On the flipside, CBC is proud to feature an exhaustive interview with PETER (Hate!) BAGGE, from his work on Comical Funnies to editor of Weirdo magazine to his solo series Neat Stuff to the chronicles of Buddy Bradley, and beyond! Edited by JON B. COOKE.


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$8.95 in the USA







A T w o M o r r o w s P u b l i c a t i o n N o . 1 0 , F a l l 2 0 1 5

Cover art by Neal Adams

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Comic Book Creator ™ is published quarterly by TwoMorrows Publishing, 10407 Bedfordtown Dr., Raleigh, NC 27614 USA. Phone: (919) 449-0344. Jon B. Cooke, editor. John Morrow, publisher. Comic Book Creator editorial offices: P.O. Box 204, West Kingston, RI 02892 USA. E-mail: [email protected]. Send subscription funds to TwoMorrows, NOT to the editorial offices. Four-issue subscriptions: $40 US, $54 Canada, $60 elsewhere. All characters are © their respective copyright owners. All material © their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorial matter ©2015 Jon B. Cooke/TwoMorrows. Comic Book Creator is a TM of Jon B. Cooke/TwoMorrows. ISSN 2330-2437. Printed in China. FIRST PRINTING.

Peter Bagge’s great apocalyptic cover is actually a parody of the Bruce Timm/Alex Ross collabo-ration cover of Justice League Adventures #1 [Jan. 2002]. Goes to show you how long Pete has been waiting for yours truly

to finally — FINALLY — get ready this issue devoted to the great cartoon-ist, especially given P.B.’s piece is dated 2006! — Ye Ed.

Fa l l 2015 • Vo i ce o f t he Comics Med ium • Numbe r 10

WARP-WOOdY CBC mascot by J.d. King©2015 J.D. King.

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About Our Cover

Art by PEtER BAggEColor by JOAnnE BAggE

t a b l e o f c o n t e n t s

Ye Ed’s Rant: It’s All in the Bagge .................................................................................... 2

CoMiCs Chatter

incoming: Missives touching upon the awesome work of the late Steve Gerber .......... 4

the good Stuff: George Khoury looks at some invincible, superior die-cast figures ..... 8

Hembeck’s dateline: Our Man Fred remembers when, in the comic strip pages, Mary Perkins shared her stage with super-hero Captain Virtue!............................... 9

Man of Miracles: Cory Sedlmeier discusses the revival and restoration of perhaps the greatest super-hero saga of them all, Miracleman ............................. 10

the Big Red Cheese in 75: As told to FCA’s P.C. Hamerlinck, Captain Marvel reflects on his three-quarter century as the World’s Mightiest Mortal ................... 15

Comics in the Library: Rich Arndt takes a look at the Mystery of Rick Geary! ........... 17

WARP! sPeCiaL seCtioN

the night Broadway got Warped!: More than four years before Star Wars, an innovative and daring theatrical troupe out of Chicago created a cosmic trilogy of the forces of good versus evil — all inspired by the Marvel Age of comics — that awed audiences in the Windy City… but could the show, now joined by the legendary Neal Adams, make it on the Great White Way? .......18

the MaiN eVeNt

Peter Bagge’s World and Welcome to it: CBC ’s comprehensive interview with one of the great American cartoonists, from surviving suburbia as a kid to his start in the “punk” comics scene, to Weirdo, Neat Stuff, Hate, and to modern- day work as a graphic novelist — a remarkably candid and insightful talk............ 40

BaCK Matter

Coming Attractions: The indelible mark of the amazing Gil Kane! ............................... 78

A Picture is Worth A thousand Words: Ernie Colón shares his Dark Opal ............... 79

note: With regret, we were unable to include any number of items prepared for this issue due to the respective lengths of both of our two cover features, but CBC with strive to include those articles in future issues. Our appreciation to you patient readers and to all of the magazine’s understanding contributors.

Right: Cover detail from the last issue of Peter Bagge’s Neat Stuff magazine, #15, April 1989.

SPECiAL tHAnKS: Glenn Whitmore colored our awesome Warp cover. Art is by (of course) Neal Adams!

ComiC Book Creator is a proud joint production of Jon B. Cooke/TwoMorrows

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interview conducted by JOn B. COOKE CBC Editor

[For many of us old-time comics fans, the domain of the devil got downright frigid on Jan. 15, 2014, when the first issue of a reprinting of the legendary Miracleman series, that ground-breaking saga as originally written by Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman, made it to the racks. We all knew that the property was fraught with contention, and litigation, and that one giant mess engulfed the tales — arguably composing the finest super-hero saga ever written — and many were resigned that the epic would never again see print. But the House of Ideas pulled off the impossible and the stories are again seeing the light of day (albeit without Moore’s name attached, by his request, as the credits feature only the credit, “The Original Writer”). Cory Sedlmeier is overseeing the re-presentation of the series, which will soon return from hiatus with the Neil Gaiman-scribed story arcs. (Full disclosure: Cory has been my editor for a handful of introductions I’ve written for the Marvel Masterworks series.) Transcribing by Steven Thompson. — Y.E.]

Comic Book Creator: Can you give us a little background, Cory, and what people might recognize as you having worked on?Cory Sedlmeier: The main thing that I do now is edit the Marvel Masterworks. I came to Marvel 14 years ago, as a college intern, and they tossed me into the collections department. I wanted to learn as much as I could and threw myself headlong into whatever they’d let me do. At the end of the internship, Axel offered me a job, but by intent or just unwittingly, I’d specialized in being a little crazy about making the classic collections the best they could possibly be. The collection guys I interned for grabbed me and I ended up helping them before moving on to edi-torial proper. I worked on… just about everything everywhere there was a fire to put out… Epic, X-Men, you name it. Working with Garth Ennis on Punisher MAX and helping launch Astonishing X-Men were great experiences. Of the series I edited on staff, Fantastic Four/Iron Man: Big in Japan, by Zeb Wells and Seth Fisher, is the most important to me. Haunt of Horror, the series of Edgar Allan Poe adaptations by Richard Corben, is up there, too. Now, I get to do what I do freelance.CBC: And you’re currently working on the Miracleman restoration. Cory: For me, Miracleman goes as far back as when I was an intern. I remember being in the office way back in 2001 and Joe

came in and said, “We’re going for Miracleman.” Well, it took quite a while to get everything ironed out because it’s

the longest and craziest history of any character — by a pretty long stretch, going as far back as the

’40s, if you want to draw a really long line. It took some time to get everything untangled,

but once the green light was finally lit, I jumped in with both feet.

We started work in late October of 2013. It’s amazing that much time has passed, but I’ve been busy, busy, busy, try-

ing to gather all the materials and original artwork that we can… From there it’s been

all about working with the artists, Garry Leach, Alan Davis, Rick Veitch, and John Totleben, and

now Mark Buckingham, to bring the series back to print in a way that best represents their creative vision. Because, particularly for guys like Garry, Alan, and Rick, they didn’t have a lot of involve-ment or input as to how their work looked beyond the ink they put on the page. Chuck Austen’s first story, for instance. That was a nighttime scene, but they originally colored it as daytime!

In particular, Garry told me stories about how the early Eclipse stuff, when his stories were first printed in color, that they were colored by underpaid fabric designers from Spain. They had no idea how

to color a comic! Garry described it as if an insane person dumped an Easter Egg kit all over the pages.

When we got to Alan Davis’ run, I spoke with him about how he wanted to approach bringing his work back to print. I asked what he thought

of the original series’ coloring, and he said, “I’ve actually never seen my Miracleman work in color — ever.” I sent him PDFs of

the original stuff and his response was that he didn’t have any nostalgia for it because, of course, he’d never seen it before and he didn’t like what he saw in the versions from the ’80s.

I wanted to keep the look of the series consistent with the time that it was conceived. The colorist that I thought could best do that was Steve Oliff, who, I didn’t know this at first, worked at Eclipse and developed a lot of the coloring techniques that were used on Miracleman in the ’80s and ’90s. They just weren’t used as well as he used them! At least, not until Sam Parsons, who Steve trained back then, took over.

Steve was a real pioneer of a technique called grayline coloring. They would take the artwork and reduce it onto a Photostat in either blue or gray. The line art was on a separate acetate overlay. With this method the colorist could do painted coloring that the printer repro-duced from directly. It allowed for much

The Return of MiraclemanCory Sedlmeier, Marvel’s restoration virtuoso, on the revial of the classic series



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more nuanced painted coloring instead of the traditional, flat 64-color comic book coloring.

Steve actually re-used those grayline techniques on the new editions of Miracleman, just like 30 years ago, doing the work by hand with markers and watercolors, then scan-ning it in and bringing it in Photoshop for the final print art. We send files to the printer digitally now, but the techniques and methods that he used were all strictly of the period.

With the new coloring, this isn’t something where we’re trying to update! We’re not trying to do Turner Classic Mov-ies colorizing Citizen Kane or something like that. It’s about doing Miracleman, for the first time ever, with the artists’ full involvement and input, realizing their original vision. Everything’s been discussed with the creators and they’ve had full approval. We also worked from the original scripts and took direction from there as well.

The other challenge is restoring the line art. Over half of the first three graphic novels are shot directly off the originals, in particular the Totleben run. I think I got close to finding 60% of John’s originals. His pages, scanned directly from the original artwork… are just absolutely stunning. Mark kept virtually all of his originals, which is a massive boon. For the rest, I’ve been digging up every source possible, which has been very successful. People knew this series’ importance. They held onto stuff.

You know, Garry just has an amazing memory for this stuff. He has it all right in the back of his head and he saved pretty extensive files and materials from the series. So he could send me scripts, notes, sketches, and designs — all kinds of development stuff — that we incorporated into the comic reprints and the collections. It’s enabled us to really bring things together in a definitive format.

It’s great that with today’s technology, we can retain so much more detail than was possible in the ’80s and ’90s. The Letratone, Mark’s photo-collages, every-thing’s crisper and clearer. It’s what these guys actually laid down on the boards. Mark’s art from “Notes from the Underground”? So much was lost in the original printing! Being able to re-present Miracleman with this level of fidel-ity and quality is a pleasure. These guys did some of the greatest work of their careers and it deserves to be shown in the best conceivable way that it could ever be done. And that’s what we’ve tried to do.CBC: What is your assessment of Miracleman?Cory: Miracleman is one of those series that just blew my mind, like so many other people. When it originally came out, in 1982, if you look at what else was around at that point in time, if you look at the comics field surrounding it, it is so far ahead of everything else. Me, I didn’t come to the series until later on, but when I did, the scope of what was being done and the way that it approached the concept and the metaphor of super-he-roes and blended it with Nietzsche’s philosophy, trying to draw a conclusion as to what might happen if these kind of super-powered creatures existed… How that would affect them as humans… The way that Johnny Bates is corrupt-ed… How power affects your sense of self and morality and the way that you relate other beings around you… It

just showed a level of potential I don’t think had been seen before and since.

Miracleman, for very good reasons, was very influential and you can see strong reflections of it in other work. Because it’s been out of print for so long, a lot of the ideas from it have been liberally borrowed, but what’s crazy is that there’s a generation that has never

actually read the real thing. CBC: Right. And you’ve finished of the “Original Writer’s” run, right? It’s been on hiatus?Cory: Yes. We took a little time off because we needed schedules to line-up for [writer] Neil Gaiman and [artist] Mark Buckingham. Bucky was finishing his amazing, massive run on Fables including the 150th, final graphic novel-size issue. So we waited until the timing is right to begin their run. To get the best work from two of the best creators that have ever worked in the medium, you wait. What they have in store, we want that to be as satisfying and perfect as possible.


Above: This godlike Miracle- man variant cover by Gary Leach is from #16 [May ’15]. inset left: Warrior #2 cover.Below: A nod to that out-of-print, great book on the history of the character, Kimota! The MIracleman Companion, with Mark Buckingham cover art, a pastiche of Whiz Comics #2.

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Shazeventy-Five & Counting!The aging hero reflects on his colorful, multi-faceted days of Golden Age gloryAs channeled by P.C. HAMERLinCK

Holy moley! It has all seemed like a dream, just like what Billy said outside of the old abandoned subway station on that very first fateful night. Poor kid… some of the crazy stuff he’d have to report over the radio! But a lot of folks believed him — and believed in us.

Shaz– err, you-know-who anticipated the kind of situations we’d be up against, and equipped us with the wisdom, strength, stamina, power, courage, and speed to face everything, and I mean everything!: a raging atomic fire that could even burn water… the mirage maker… the mountain mover… an artist with an eraser that could wipe out anything… the time I had to seal off the hole to Hades, where all the water in the world’s oceans had been draining down into… and even fighting the whole world itself!

But I think some of our greatest challenges involved lifting up disheartened souls and help them find their way as they stumbled through life. We did this frequently with Tawny, our frequently foibled furry feline friend! Otherwise, I’ve witnessed humanity at its lowest and at its highest, like the day I wandered down the Street of Forgotten Men. I’ve also seen opportunity knock for many people, and wit-nessed how it’s so often ignored. Once I went so far as to become a hobo in order to give a disillusioned man a sense of purpose again in his life. I fondly recall the blind man who “saw” me in a different light than anyone else ever has, and actually helped me solve a crime. I also met a man that nobody loved (except for his dog!).

I despise discrimination and prejudice more than any-thing else. I battled it often, like when Tawny tried to move into a new neighborhood … or when all the “undesirable” people were driven out of a town called Perfection.

And, since I am a mortal after all, I’ve had to overcome some of my own personal issues, like being envious of the lives of “ordinary” men … and dealing with the monotony of saving people every day of the week.

Yet, as often as not, each of those days were filled with something exciting, sometimes otherworldly, and always troublesome! Anything seemed possible. I smiled and rolled with it, no matter how offbeat things got! Imagine, if you can, trying to make sense in the World of the Subconscious where all things were backwards, upside down and inside out … or traveling through a black hole to an illogical, dou-ble-talking place called Nowhere … or entering upon the Land of Surrealism, a place where imagination was more important than rules.

Along the way I’ve encountered Glomper frogs from Venus, ogres, trolls, imps, prehistoric zombies, a junkman from the Land of Limbo (where all discarded things of Earth end up), a house that didn’t want to be haunted, mist-like creatures who were the discarded instincts of mankind, a colorblind man jealous of people who can see color so he develops a blackness germ to remove color in the city, a ghost writer who wrote ghost stories and who really was a ghost, a collector of bad thoughts who put a curse on a man to think aloud, the Temple of Izalotahui in Guatemala, the Book of All Knowledge that fell into the wrong hands, and the trouble caused just from getting the wrong clothes back from the dry cleaners!

And there were always plenty of an-noying thingamajigs popping up that I had to deal with: the Selective Invisibility Belt that caused me to think I was having hallucinations … the mirror that produced evil reflections that came alive … the Dream Transmitter that could control people’s dreams … the Hate Machine … or that darn horn that spewed out anything you wished for, and as much as you desired. It sounds nifty, but it was a big mess.

Speaking of messes, there’s been a lot of unex-plainable things that happened that still have me scratching my head to this day: the Three Sister Fates who control the world and everyone’s desti-nies recklessly turned 1942 into 1492 … and the commotion from a simple, seemingly endless string pulled from another dimension. Additionally, I faced the living embodiment of fear itself that, quite easily, stirred up panic in the city. Then there was the day Father Time had absent-mindedly turned his hour glass upside down, thereby setting events on Earth backwards — but gave me the chance to re-do things all over again the right way. And then there were the seven men roaming the earth who were the living counterparts representing the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man. It was a bit humbling knowing that, even when I stopped such evil in the world, it would ultimately be replaced by even greater evil.

I guess nothing was more evil than that nasty little twerp, Mind. It took me two years to stop that monster. There’s been scores of other losers like him that I’ve had to take down … a psychotic beast-man … a human-hating, atomic-powered, ten-foot tall robot … and the Nazi nut job who left my friend Freddy for dead … all real pieces of work that ultimately got what they deserved. Ah, but from day one, I still hear the incessant cack-ling of the demented Doctor who keeps on inventing gadgets and contraptions to rule the

geez louise, it’s the big red cheese!

Above: Cartoonist Mark Lewis kindly contributed his version of the Big Red Cheese at 75. Below: This illo of Mr. Mind is from a sales flyer for The Monster Society of Evil slipcase edition. next page: C.C. Beck re-creation of his Whiz Comics #22 cover, plus a Captain Marvel Club pin. Both courtesy of Heritage Auctions.


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From the ’70s it came. The first episode of a

trilogy depicting the cataclysmic, other- worldly struggle

between cosmic warriors, some allied with the power of

darkness and others with the force of good. Fantastic char-

acters, a few unaware of their own true nature, yet destined to save the universe through

newfound abilities. Shockingly, some would be revealed to

be siblings to one another, as desperate battle is

waged against an evil overlord,

all played out before an astounded and delighted

audience… one rumored to include an incipient young filmmaker by the name of George Lucas.

And lo, so it was, more than four years before the release of Star Wars,

there came Warp! But the trilogy’s first episode, entitled Warp One: My Battlefield, My Body, wasn’t committed to celluloid; rather it was a production staged on Broadway, opening on Valentine’s Day in 1973, performed live before the Klieg lights in front of enthusiastic Manhattan theatergoers. Conceived as homage to Marvel’s Doctor Strange and Mighty Thor, the ambitious science fiction epic featured an able young cast and crew, some of whom would go onto Hollywood distinction, and featured the art direction of the most highly-acclaimed comic book artist of that era. And although it would receive standing ovations and eventually an award for the innovative costuming, Warp closed after a mere seven previews and eight performances, doomed by caustic and dismissive reviews and maybe a too-quick rollout on the Great White Way.

Whence Came Warp: The Warp trilogy was the brainchild of future fea-ture film director Stuart Gordon (later renowned for cult favorite horror flick Re-Animator) and novelist/playwright Lenny Kleinfeld (writing as Bury St. Edmund). The production, which first had a successful year-and-a-day run in Chicago, was initially staged to critical notice by the Windy City’s renowned Organic Theater, a company founded by Gordon and his wife, actress Carolyn Purdy-Gordon. The Organic would later be noted for premiering famed playwright David Mamet’s breakout drama, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and be at the epicenter of a thriving theater scene in the ’80s. The origins of Warp are to be found, as easily suspected, in an appreciation of both comics and theater.

“I read comics as a kid,” Kleinfeld said. “I read everything as a kid. I was an only child. The first writing I can remember doing (in second or third grade, maybe) was when I discovered you could erase the dialogue balloons in comics and write your own. So I did an unau-

Neal Adams, Stuart (re-Animator) Gordon, and others share about wArP!, the ’70s Marvel-inspired theatrical cosmic epic about a bank teller who becomes God!

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thorized rewrite of an Uncle Scrooge comic book.” The budding scribe would return to the form, though he explains, “I stopped reading comics sometime around junior high (my father threw out my collection and warned me not to buy any more), and didn’t resume reading them until the end of my senior year of college, in 1969. I believe those guys [Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby] had been at work for a while by then. I had no idea who they were. A friend said that Marvel Comics went well with pot and acid. He was right.”

Stuart’s upbringing was a bit restrictive. “My parents didn’t want me to read super-hero comics,” he said, “so I was reading things like Scrooge McDuck and stuff like that. But when I got older, when I got into high school, I got into Marvel Comics. I became a big fan of Doctor Strange, The Mighty Thor, and Conan the Barbarian.”

Stuart’s younger brother, David George, who would be a technical director in early Organic productions, recalled the early years with his sibling. “We were very close. When I was 11 and Stuart was 14, our father died. He had a heart attack and that broke up the nuclear family, as it were. So I often joke that my mother raised two ‘only children,’ in that we both had our own passions and our own interests, and we were always encouraged to pursue them.”

While David is a self-described “nature nut,” Stuart revealed an inter-est in the performing arts at a very young age. “I wished I had saved this,” the younger brother remembered, “but after our mother passed away, I had found, rubber-banded together, all of my brother’s report cards. On his kindergarten or first grade one, it had some mention of he was great at directing play on the playground. This guy was born to be a director. ‘Plays well with others’? No, he was directing the play!”

the World’s A Stage: A passion for theater came to each his own way. “I’ve always loved theater,” Brooklyn-native Kleinfeld shared. “When I was in high school, there was great stuff being done in New York — a new Albee play every year; Pinter was on a roll, too… I saw the Royal Shakespeare (or was it the National’s?) production of Marat/Sade, which blew me away… And in my high school English classes, I was the only kid in the room who got Shakespeare, loved Shakespeare, was immediately intoxicated by the language.”

Chicago-born Gordon said, “I was in some high school plays and some friends and I started a comedy group called ‘The Human Race,’ which we patterned after [the Chicago improvisational comedy group] Second City.” When asked if he performed, he said, “I did when I was a teenager, and I did some acting in college, but I discovered pretty quickly that I was a pretty bad actor. So I started directing.” The name of his first troupe was Screw Theater.

Cecil O’Neal, an Army veteran who started at the same university as a

political science major, described the ideologi-cal leanings of the Midwest institution. “At that time, UW was ranked only behind Berkeley in terms of academic standings of public universi-ties,” said O’Neal. “It attracted a lot of students from the East Coast, from all over the country, a lot of international students. So there was certain-ly a very well-educated, slightly radicalized East Coast student who had a large profile at Wiscon-sin at the time.”

Provocateurs: Of impact was The Game Show, a parody of TV contest programs created by Gordon, one with a razor-sharp satirical edge. O’Neal said, “The Game Show was really out there. An audience would come in. We locked the doors of the theater. It was based on the idea of a television game show except audience members who participated in the game were abused, physically attacked, re-strained… and, of course, they were all actors, plants

in the audience. The whole premise of it was, ‘Would an audience rise up and object to what was going on and shut it down?’ In ways, it was a social experiment.”

In an interview with the Wisconsin Union website, Gordon described the the-atergoers reaction. “Real audi-ence members eventually rose up and charged the performers onstage, demand-ing the show be stopped…We were surprised by the reaction to The Game Show. We thought the au-dience would

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what I didn’t know. And it was pretty amazing, because in the process of doing it, I discovered that I actually could make costumes, which I’ve been doing for the next 40 years.”

She would find her forté. “What I could do is put together, essentially, wearable soft sculpture,” Gluck said, “though I had no idea what I was doing at the time and my process got much more sophisticated as I knew more about what I was doing. But having the ability to visualize two-dimensional shapes in space, solid geometry — I had a good head for math but being able to calculate that, and also having a sense of practical physics, which is another thing I had no idea at the time would have a practical value to me — and I came to this as an artist.”

On a web page devoted to the history of the Organic Theater, Gluck said, “If the [Warp] designs seemed imag-inative, it was because I didn’t know any bet ter. The only reason the men’s space costumes exposed their rear ends, which was considered very daring at the time, was that I had no idea how to construct a pair of trousers.” (Fortier did recall, “There were these really incredible, tight-fitting costumes that were crocheted with these open spaces.”)

Enter the Flying Frog: “We were pushing as many sorts of things as we could,” the director admitted. “We had strobe lights, but some of the stuff was very low-tech,” said Gor-don. “The sound effects were all done by my brother, doing explosions in the microphone with his mouth!”

So the low-tech approach was, in its way, convincing? “It was!” Gordon exclaimed. “But it was very simple stuff. We had things like flashpots, a little bit of pyro. We had projections. We ended up using a laser in it, some of the first laser effects. It was a combination of high-tech and low comedy.”

The director’s kid brother did serve as Warp’s techni-cal director. “There were a lot of special effects,” David George said, “lighting and things like that, in which I had a direct role in. I also had a direct role in making sound effects. I would use a microphone and guitar amplifier and make explosion noises, believe it or not. We’re talking low-tech here, but it worked! Almost the same thing that you’d do as a little kid, but with a microphone and reverb, I could make really giant-size explosion noises when someone got zapped by Lord Cumulus.”

David George reveled in his stint with the Organic. “The theatrical life was a good as being a rock star,” he en-thused. “A lot of theater people would like to be musicians and a lot of musicians would like to be theater people. Basically with both you’re moving large crowds, making them happy or sad or whatever. It gives you a great sense of power.”

Describing his stage credit, he said, “I created a spe-cial effects company (I’m not really sure why) and Flying Frog Enterprises was the original company. Actually, in retrospect, I did have people helping me… working with lasers and Theremin, things a little beyond my reach, and they became part of Flying Frog.” Where did the moniker come from? “By the time I got to New York,” David George explained, “I found that there already was a David Gordon in the Actors’ Guild, so I decided to be the Flying Frog. My friend, André DeShields, and I would periodically go to a restaurant in Chicago called the Flying Frenchman and, one night after drinking a lot, we decided Flying Frog was a good name for me. (There’s actually a line in [the film] Mc-Cabe & Mrs. Miller, ‘If a frog had wings, it wouldn’t bump his ass on the ground so much.’)”

the Surrogate: Asked to describe what a theatrical director does exactly, Gordon answered, “Well, it’s hard to describe. I think that the director often stands in for the audience and you’re trying to tell a story and the director says, ‘You know, I’m not getting this part of the story. It’s not coming through.’ Or sometimes literally he can’t see you because you’re standing behind another actor or scenery

Above: Caption

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Tom Towlesas Prince Chaos

Richard Fireas Lugulbanda

Richard Firepromoting Warp

Cordis Fejeras Sargon

Cecil O’Nealas Lord Cumulus

William J. Norrisas Symax

Carolyn Purdy-Gordon as Valaria

John Heardas Lord Cumulus

Tom Towlesas Prince Chaos

William J. Norrisas Symax

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or whatever. I think the director’s job is to take the script and bring it to life.”

Brother David George believes Stuart, who recently adapted his cult horror classic as a musical production to great success, has talents most effective when used for the stage. “My brother is actually a brilliant director of live theater,” he said. “To tell you the truth, I think that’s where he best connects with his audience. Re-Animator: The Musical I actually enjoyed more than the movie. He completely gets that the audience has the hair standing on the backs of their necks. He really uses creativity and imagination — and playing — to great advantage.”

The younger brother was impressed with the writing. “I really have to credit Lenny Kleinfeld for working on some really beautiful scripts,” he said. “There are lines in that show that I still quote today. When Lord Cumulus first meets Prince Chaos, Chaos says, ‘I am Chaos, king of the universe’ (or whatever), and Cumulus says, ‘I am not impressed,’ and Cha-os replies, ‘Serves well enough to keep the natives in line.’ There’s a line from André DeShields playing Xander, who says, ‘I’m amazed to hear such braggadocio squeeze itself from the mouth of such a worm.’ It’s almost like Shakespeare!”

O’Neal — whose favorite line is “’Here I stand, once again, before the portals of my fate,’” adding, “It’s a riff on ‘Casey Jones,’ and for years I’ve had that in my head” — doesn’t recall simultaneously remembering lines from three plays as being that challenging. “The text was not difficult to learn,” he shared. “People not in the theater often say, ‘My god, how do you remember all those words?’ But, with a few exceptions, unless you’re doing King Lear, that’s really not the hardest part of acting. The most difficult part was the backstage choreography. There were so many quick scene changes and so many places we had to get off and get around to make a new entrance somewhere else. And when we weren’t on stage, we were making sound effects or playing musical instruments… all of that was a lot to get embedded in your brain.” (Nor did Heard find learning three plays at once off putting. “No, that wasn’t hard,” he said. “That was

fun.”)By spring 1972, what took a toll on the lead actor were the arduous

action sequences. “We had no physical coaches or fight captains and I probably had five stage fights per a performance,” said O’Neal, “where I was doing back rolls, handsprings, and falls… Physically, it was really demanding. One night I was doing a movement sequence where I had to do a couple of handsprings and take a fall behind a scrim, so that part was done in shadow. I hit the stage and almost blacked-out from pain. And then I was fine. But a similar thing happened a few days later and it happened a couple more times. One night it happened and the next morning I couldn’t get out of bed. I had a herniated disk and pinched nerves in my back, and I wound up spending something like ten days in traction in a hospital. Then I tried to return and my back just wouldn’t take it. So, at that point, I had to very sadly leave the company and the production. We were in rehearsal for Episode Three, so there was quite a workload — performing during the night and rehearsing during the day.”

The loss of O’Neal as Cumulus put the production in dire need of a new leading man, one with the looks and stamina to step into the role of Lord Cumulus. Cordis Fejer, who played both Sargon and Penny Smart, suggest-ed her younger brother.

Heard by Happenstance: John Heard, who after Warp would go onto suc-cess in film and television (featured in innumerable productions, including The Sopranos, Big, and The Trip to Bountiful, though best known perhaps as the father in the first two Home Alone movies), started acting as a child because his mother was active in community theater. Attributing his breaks as an actor to luck, Heard continued on stage through high school and into college, where he became involved in experimental theater. “It all just kind of came together, instead of being in the classical drama society plays,” he said.

The thespian explained how he came to Warp in the middle of its Chicago run. “What happened,” he explained, “was my grandfather died and my sister Cordis came home, and she was involved with Warp and the

#10 • Fall 2015 • CoMiC BooK Creator

Warp TM

& ©

Stuart Gordon & Lenny Kleinfeld.

this spread: Neal Adams character designs for theBroadway production of

Warp. From left, Lugulbanda,Sargon, Lord Cumulus,Prince Chaos, Symax,

and Valaria, the Insect Queen.

Page 10: Comic Book Creator #10

30 #10 • Fall 2015 • CoMiC BooK Creator

them, would be rather out there.”Gluck recalls the comic book artist’s contribution and was impressed

with the rendering, though concerned about the execution as wearable designs. “Neal Adams is a wonderful illustrator,” she said, “and I think he had a sense of what science fiction looks like. He never knew a thing about the way to construct a wearable garment, but he would do all these pictures that were gorgeous. And then Stuart and the rest of them would want me to reproduce that in costuming because they didn’t have any idea how you get, for instance, those two little lightning bolts to be right over her nipples, and stuff like that. It really takes a lot of material and tooling and structural know-how, all of which I learned because I had to. But it didn’t come from Neal Adams. It’s almost as though he stretched it by calling for things that were difficult to construct. I mean, he stretched it and then we scrambled to materialize it.”

Regarding both creatives, David George Gordon said, “Cookie’s de-signs were very much Cookie’s. They had macramé in them, for example, that she did herself. They worked; they were really good, but instead of having, for instance, Sargon wearing a leather outfit, she was now wear-ing brass breastplates. Neal did a lot of work based more on the genre.”

Art director Adams: The artist, not being a card-carrying member of any union, was given the catch-all credit of art director and, indeed, he contributed to more than just the clothing. “Not only did I design the cos-tumes,” Adams said, “but I also designed the stage and the sets.”

Having to follow union protocol could be frustrating for Adams. “Un-fortunately, the unions said that there had to be a union stage designer. It didn’t matter that I had already designed it, he said. “I had designed the stage that had a lip and it was sharp, so it basically looked like an oval. The stage designer redesigned it so it was [less] thick, so it looked a little bit like a space ship. And that was my first discovery of what it’s like to work with other people who had no brains.”

Adams also contributed to the scenery with background paintings, illustrated slides, and lighting effect suggestions. “Then I did the poster, which you’ve seen a million times,” he said, “which everybody seems to think is cool. And it was put up all around town. Then I started to do the drawings for Playbill and had a different [cover] drawing for each episode.

I essentially designed the thing to come to Broadway with some really new ideas.”

For some in the crew, the involvement of such a remarkable talent was invigorating. “You had the same feeling with Neal as you had with Stuart Gordon,” Fortier said. “All of the sudden, there was this perfect stranger who you hadn’t read about in the newspapers and you realize when you meet him that there’s this whole scene that’s galvanized around him filled with creativity and energy, like a dynamo for a whole area of creation.”

The man also socialized with the company. “I got to know the guys,” Adams shared. “Everybody in the crew was great. We had them up to our house. At the time, we had a nice apartment in the Bronx. The guys were used to living in these hotels, so we’d bring them up for dinner. André DeShields would bring extra dishes — he was a charming guest… what a great guy. We had everyone around the dining room table, we all had a big dinner with home-cooked food, and it was good for them. It was really nice. They got to relax. We had them up a bunch of times.”

tubular Hell: Jerry Fortier revealed that a special effect he had de-vised was tested with terrifying results during rehearsal. “It was actually my idea to get this big, Plexiglas tube and it was about eight feet tall and maybe three feet across. This tube comes down over Lord Cumulus and, from an opening in the stage, a fog machine fills the tube with ‘poison’ gas — Cumulus is gassed by Chaos. At the very first rehearsal and the tech run-through, they pumped in too much fog, with John Heard, who was in costume in the tube. He totally got scared sh*t-less and was freaked-out by the super-thick, oily fog. It probably wouldn’t have really killed him, but he started leaping, trying to grab the top edge of the tube eight feet up! It was the most scary, pathetic moment in the theater to be watching this happening, especially it being my stupid idea! It was just terrible, just aw-ful. I felt so bad… it was dramatically very effective! It had cost a helluva lot of money and they just figured out how to minimize the fog. They just went in too gung-ho the first time.”

Answering a written inquiry about the incident, actor Heard said, “Your tube question was a response to ‘How are we going to mount this on the Broadway stage and fill the stage?’ We were in a tiny little place in Chicago and the audience was sitting almost semi-circular around the

Warp TM

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Stuart Gordon & Lenny Kleinfeld.

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I discovered Peter Bagge’s work at Newbury Comics in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The first issue of Neat Stuff had been

beckoning to be purchased for more than a few visits, with the cover’s cartoon mesmerist beseeching me with his hypnotic gaze.

But I held out, instead buying an Arthur Adams annual featuring Marvel properties I didn’t give a hoot about or the latest Reid

Fleming, World’s Toughest Milkman, starring a character who actually was interesting. But, after a summer’s resistance, I caved. Bagge

had me... for life. Initially I wavered because of the seemingly crude art, but Peter’s writing pulled it all together for me to recognize that,

whether depicting Buddy Bradley or Margaret Sanger, his is a truly remarkable and original body of work, some of the best comics ever. I’ve also been impressed with Peter’s moxie to keep an eye on the ball.

I first met the cartoonist on his 1993 Hateball tour with Daniel Clowes. It was in a dingy second-floor record shop near Brown

University. I came with pal Les Daniels and, with few others paying attention to the visiting creators, I had my Neat Stuffs and Eightballs

signed and prattled on to the pair, mostly about my love for the Bagge oeuvre. Clowes listened patiently but I recall Bagge cutting me off and (not unkindly) prodding me with, “Are you gonna buy

something, or what?” It had been, after all, not a great day of sales for the two. The impact on me was lasting. Bagge means business.

The majority of the following interview was conducted over marathon phone sessions a number of years ago and once over lunch during MOCCA, enlightening conversations I enjoyed enormously. This

transcript came close to being the centerpiece of the seventh issue of Comic Book Artist, Vol. 2 — Peter had provided the cover in 2006

— but that “final” edition wasn’t meant to be. I’m grateful to the artist for his patience, understanding, and help. It’s taken quite a spell.

The cartoonist and I last met at this year’s Comic-Con International: San Diego, where he indulged my wonky concept for a photoshoot.

He was also having a surprisingly profitable show despite being tucked in a corner of Artists Alley. When I sat with the guy, a steady stream of aficionados were picking up commissions or buying stuff, amid amiable chit-chat. I was delighted to purchase a piece myself. It was gratifying to witness. One of the greatest comic book creators of his generation was, be it sales or adulation, effortlessly doing well.

Peter Christian Bagge was having a very good day.

#10 • Fall 2015 • CoMiC BooK Creator

Peter Bagge portrait © 2015 Kendall W


Back in the mid-’80s,

Page 12: Comic Book Creator #10

Comic Book Creator: How do you pronounce your last name, Peter?Peter Bagge: “Bag,” as in “paper bag.” People usually pronounce the “e” at the end, like “baggie.” It’s Swedish in origin.CBC: Does the name mean anything?Peter: I asked lots of people if the name had a meaning and nobody was sure, except that they said that it’s very similar to the word for a ram, or male sheep. I’ve also read that it’s an Old English name for a bag maker!CBC: You said your father had an English background?Peter: My great-grandfather emigrated from Manchester, England. He was extremely am-bitious and eventually started an architectural firm, even though he had no formal training. His firm, Neville & Bagge, was more like a land speculation and development business than anything else. Anyhow, he became a millionaire from this racket and employed all four of his sons, including my grandfather, until the Depres-sion hit and the firm was wiped out.CBC: What was your mother’s background?Peter: Well, on my mom’s mother’s side, they go way, way back. She even joined the Daughters of the American Revolution at one point, but quit al-most immediately because they were such stuck-up bigots. But my mother’s father was an immigrant from Denmark, and worked as a chauffeur for the Rockefellers.CBC: That is impressive. Did they tip well?Peter: He seemed well taken care of. My mother met the Old Man — John D. Rockefeller, the first — lots of times when she was a little girl. If my grandfather was driving him around and he spied a bunch of kids playing, including my mom and her brothers, he would have my grandfather stop, get out and open the door to the backseat. He’d then make the kids hop into the limo with him one at a time, and he would hand each one a shiny new dime (which, in the ’30s, wasn’t chump change.) It was apparently terrifying for the kids, because Rockefeller looked just like Mr. Burns from The Simpsons. He was real thin and covered in liver spots, and he was probably in his 90s by then. My mother says it was a horrifying experience, sitting in the back of a dark limo all alone with the Crypt Keeper, but it was worth the dime. Apparently some PR firm advised him to do this so he wouldn’t come off as so miserly.CBC: Was your mother’s family solid middle class?Peter: More like comfortable working class. My grandfa-ther had a lot of sh*t jobs before he landed that one, so he was extremely appreciative towards the Rockefellers.

CBC: What did your father do?Peter: He was an officer in the Air National Guard and hated every

minute of it. Unfortunately, my father was never really clear about what he wanted to do with his life, which is one of the many reasons why he always seemed very bitter and frustrated. He had been drafted into World War II, but didn’t see any action, so when the Korean War was kicking up, he was eligible for the draft yet again. And here he was married and want-ed to start a family, and had an okay job as an office clerk on Wall Street, so the idea of getting hauled off to Korea terrified him. One of my uncles was in the Air National Guard Reserves, and he suggested my dad join the Guard for as long as the war lasts, to keep out of the draft. So my father joined the Air National Guard as a form of legal draft-dodging. Once the war was over, he looked into what else he could do, but nothing else paid quite as well, or the benefits weren’t quite as good. And the Air National Guard was based in Westchester County — my parents were both from there — which meant not having to go into the city. So he stuck it out for a while as an enlisted man, working part-time at a record store and going to officer’s school at night, so that by the time he retired he worked his way up to a colonel. He was just a paper-pusher, to be honest. An office manager

in a fancy uniform.CBC: Had he had a college education? Peter: When he was in high school, my father had a very good short-term memory, so he always got straight A’s. He had this inflated opinion of him-self as a genius just because he aced everything. He never had to study or work very hard to get an A; it just came really easy to him. But once in college he struggled just to get a C. He suddenly wasn’t a genius anymore, so he dropped out. His ego was wounded.CBC: You said he was bitter?Peter: Yeah. He could be a very difficult person to deal with. Very moody and short-tempered.CBC: Did your father drink?Peter: Oh, yeah. Both my parents did. My dad was an angry drunk, too. My mom is a real sweetheart, but she was… [pauses]CBC: An enabler?Peter: Yeah, I guess. Everybody that met my ma just loves her to death. She could be the sweetest, kindest person in the world, but she’s a real space case. My parents were very much like [TV sitcom All in the Family

characters] Archie and Edith Bunker. My ma was a real “Edith,” always wanting everyone to make nice. She hated conflict, which my father was

41comic Book creator • Fall 2015 • #10


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a career-spanning conversation with the Brilliant cartoonist Behind hate and a whole lotta neat stuff…

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always providing in spades. But she was also quite helpless and dependent on others. She awas utterly dependent on my dad, and later on the various men she dated until they died off, one by one. She never mourned any of them once they passed away, either — including my father! She’d just move on to the next one, and eventually became utterly dependent on my younger sister.CBC: Did they stay married?Peter: Yes, they stayed together, but it got really grim. They both got really depressed, with endless money prob-lems. It seemed like they were sh*t-magnets, but it was because they always let things happen to them. Rather than foreseeing problems down the road and acting accordingly, they would do nothing to avoid trouble. They just let life happen to them, something I swore I would never do when I grew up. It was the same with having five kids. They didn’t want five kids, but they didn’t do what it takes to avoid it, either.CBC: Were they Catholic?Peter: Obviously! But that’s another strange thing — and it also goes to show how passive my parents were — is that my mother grew up Protestant, though she was not very religious. She couldn’t even recall what denomination she was as a kid, it meant so little to her. She just remem-bers vaguely enjoying Sunday school and stuff like that.Meanwhile, my father’s father was a lapsed Episcopalian, but his mother was half-Irish and very Catholic. She pushed

to have all us grandkids raised Catholic and, since nobody was pushing back, we were raised

Catholic.CBC: Did you go to confession?

Peter: Yeah, we did all that twisted, meaningless nonsense. By the

time I was 13, I told my parents, “I don’t believe a word of this.

I can’t stand it anymore.” I couldn’t stand breaking up my Sundays and missing [New York children’s TV game show] Wonderama just to go and listen to all that convoluted, hateful bullsh*t. It wasn’t like I wanted to learn about or experience other faiths, either. I was and remain a hopeless agnostic. I don’t have a spiritual bone in my body.CBC: It retrospect, did it seem like an alcoholic house-hold?Peter: Oh, yes, it definitely was. My parents always drank somewhat, but by the time we were all in high school, their inability or willingness to cope kept diminishing, and they turned more to drinking. Booze and TV, that was their life. Neither ever helped us with school or homework – my ma just watched the soaps all day and my dad watched the Mets at night.

They had five kids in seven years, so we all moved out of the house, in pretty short order, which made life a lot easier for my parents. My father was also able to retire fairly early. They moved to Florida, bought a condo on the water, and by then they seemed okay. The pressure was off. Still, y’know, I wouldn’t say they were happy; it still took very little to get my dad all pissed off.

My father once got so mad watching the news and hearing [U.S. Senator] Ted Kennedy talk about something or other (my dad was a Republican) that he wrote Kennedy a letter. He typed it up and showed it to me. I said, “Dad! You can’t send this!” It was practically a death threat! “When those crazies shot your brothers, they shot the wrong one!”CBC: Where do you stand in the lineup of the Bagge kids?Peter: I’m the second. Well, I’m the oldest now, since my older brother passed away, so now there’s me, two sisters, and the youngest is my other brother. My two sisters and I were like Irish triplets, all born a year apart of one another. My little brother is five years younger than me.CBC: Were there any creative streaks in either your siblings or your parents?Peter: Yes, my older brother Doug was very creative and spontaneous, a real natural cartoonist. Without even trying that hard or honing his craft, he was just one of those people who had a gift. He sorta reminded me of someone like [The Simpsons’ creator] Matt Groening, how he’d just sit down and do a drawing and everybody’d be immediately charmed and amused by it.

My brother and I would make our own funny pages, fake Sunday supplements. Doug would draw a comic and then I would draw one. We’d even make our own newspaper. It was called The Daily Snortster. My brother invented this whole little country called Philberville. It was like this island off of New Jersey coast

Above: A 1987 snapshot of the Bagge men, taken in Peter and

Joanne’s backyard in Seattle. Left to right, Mr. Bagge, Peter, Peter’s younger brother Tony

and older brother Doug, the latter who would contribute to

the short-lived Comical Funnies at the behest of Peter. Below:

The battling Bradleys, Peter Bagge’s outrageously dysfunc-

tional middle-class cartoon family creation, first appeared

in Comical Funnies, the New York City tabloid that lasted for three issues between 1980–81.

Edited by Punk magazine legend John Holmstrom and Peter Bagge, both late of the

School of Visual Arts, along with Bruce Carlton and J.D.

King, Comical Funnies would also feature other early Bagge

creations Studs Kirby and Junior. The Bagge art here was used as the wraparound cover

for The Bradleys, collecting the Neat Stuff strips [1989].

All courtesy of Peter Bagge.

#10 • Fall 2015 • CoMiC BooK Creator

Photo and The Bradleys TM &

© Peter Bagge.

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so there are some parallels. Buddy was always ten years younger than me, and even though on the surface a lot of things are different his life very much did parallel mine.CBC: Does your brother Doug play a role in Buddy’s personality?Peter: Mmmm, not so much, really… One thing that was horrifying, however, was, in the later full-color issues of Hate, I had Pops Bradley suddenly die. Right after that, my dad suddenly died. So it was life imitating art. Then I had Stinky, whose life was unraveling and he reaches a point where he commits an “accidental” suicide — as did my brother, right afterwards! It really made me think twice about killing anyone else off!

By the way, Stinky’s death didn’t come across as clearly as I had thought it would. I thought I foreshadowed his death better than I did, so I didn’t expect it to be a complete shock to readers. While his death wasn’t a deliberate sui-cide, he was so indifferent about life, he was willing to play Russian roulette. If you want to live a long, healthy life, you don’t mess around like that. CBC: Is Christine more like Babs Bradley than Barbara?Peter: No. Babs was vaguely based on my sister Barbara, when Barb was an adolescent (hence the name “Babs”). They shared a similar temperament, and Barbara was a classic example of a girl going through her “awkward years” when she was 13 or so. She was dramatic and rebellious, always fighting with our mom over every little goddamned thing. “You’re not wearing that halter top to school!” “Oh yeah? Try and stop me!” Real typical mother/daughter crap. The big difference, though, is that Babs Bradley is a bit of a dumbass, while my sister is very smart, obviously. [laughter]

My other sister, Christine, is married to a contractor, and they live in this 250-year-old farmhouse that they’ve fixed up in the Catskills. She’s got three kids, and is a stay-at-home mom, for the most part, although she’s an artist, too. For a while she was doing architectural renderings, where an architect would design a building, and then she would do a line drawing and/or watercolor picture of what the building would look like once it was built. She would do the same for real estate agents, drawing houses for sale for their listings.CBC: What do your siblings think of your accomplish-ments?Peter: None of them really comment on it much, unless I ask them to. “Did you read this? Did you like it?” “Oh, yeah, that one was pretty good.” That’s it! [laughter]CBC: Do you think they’re lying?Peter: No, they mean it, but you’d think they’d have a lot more to say about the Bradleys, since so much of it was inspired by our family. I would even point out a story to, say, my brother, and go, “That character did the same thing you did way back when, remember?” And Tony would go: “Yeah, I noticed.” I’m like, “Are you flattered? Insulted? Do you even care?” He’d be the latter. “Why should I care?” [laughter] They’re shockingly indifferent about my work.CBC: Did you ever think about doing a flat-out autobi-ographical comic book?Peter: No. There’s no reason for it. Plus that’s a real sticky wicket! I do make cameo appearances, and occa-sionally do short pieces that are purely auto-bio, but to do something more involved, well, you’re never just writing about your-self. You’re also dragging your family and friends into it, and they might not remember things the same as you, or want that aspect of their lives talked about at all. It’s so much simpler to fictionalize things. It’s

more thoughtful, too, in that unless you get everyone to sign off on how they’re portrayed you’re really just using them in a way. My wife is also a particularly private person. She never objects when she makes a cameo appearance in one of my comics, but she’s never too excited about it either. It makes her a little uneasy.

I have no urge or need to confess like Crumb or Joe Matt does. Crumb is extremely confessional, yet with both Matt and Crumb and a lot of other auto-bio comics, there’s a strong exhibitionistic streak behind it as well. They’re simultaneously confessing their sins and bragging about it. “Look at what I just did! I am one sick puppy! What’s to be done with me? Wheeee!” Drew Friedman’s dad, Bruce J. Friedman, did something similar in his Harry Townes novels (which Woody Allen shamelessly ripped of in his Deconstructing Harry movie, in my opinion), where he

Above: Finally the cartooning excellence of Peter Bagge would be widely recognized through his anthology series Neat Stuff, which lasted for 15 issues between 1985–89. Though the mag would feature a good number of developed characters, it would be Buddy Bradley who would become the ostensible star of the black-&-white comic book. Below: Video Games magazine featured Bagge work, including a one-pager starring The Video Kid and gag panels.

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couldn’t stand her — mainly because she’d remind them of someone who’s caused them a lot of trouble and misery in their lives. She reminded a lot of the guys of their crazy ex’s. CBC: So you don’t see any fundamental difference be-tween the genders in terms of behavior?Peter: Well, sure, but not a lot. But ever since the inven-tion of the [birth control] pill, even the biological differences aren’t quite as great as they used to be. You know, it’s much easier for a woman to be “one of the guys” now. The Pill and other forms of birth control is what really liberated women, in that it truly freed them to live their lives as they pleased, and where no longer bogged down by unintended pregnancies. In countries where birth control is still unac-ceptable, such as in the beautiful Muslim world, [laughs] men and women are completely segregated. And, as a result, the sexes seem totally different. In this country, too, prior to the ’60s, day-to-day life was far more segregated along gender lines.CBC: You say you just simply put your feet in the shoes of a female character, and that’s how you do it. But a good number of cartoonists often have just extremely unrealistic female characters.Peter: Yeah, they’re called super-hero artists. [laughter] Well, I think that, for the most part, is one of the big dif-ferences between alternative cartoonists and super-hero comic book artists. When I was going to SVA, most of the cartoonists I knew wanted to be super-hero artists, and a lot of them had a real hard time incorporating female characters in their work. In life drawing classes, their efforts were laughable, since they’d make the model look so stiff and wooden. But then there were the more macho Frazetta-wan-nabe types, who were the exact opposite, in that they made all their women look über-sexy and idealized. CBC: How long did Comical Funnies last?Peter: We just put out three issues. Though after J.D. King saw the first issue, became fully involved, as much as Holstrom and me.CBC: Who was J.D. King?Peter: He’s a cartoonist. [laughs] Well, now he’s an illustrator. I was thrilled to have him, because I absolutely adored his drawing style. I loved the way he drew. He also was very knowledgeable about pop culture and all, but there was also an awful lot of “kid” still stuck in him. He was a lot like Holmstrom in that way, so not surprisingly those two agreed on everything, and I found myself constantly getting outvoted.

After three issues of Comical Funnies, Holmstrom and J.D. decided they wanted to change the name and format, and they came up with this idea for a maga-zine called Stop. It still was newsprint, but was a magazine-sized format. It definitely looked nicer, and had a better, snappier name, but it was more of a fanzine, and not really a comic book at all. They wanted to have articles and reviews mixed in with the comics. And, for me, the whole point of doing Comical Funnies was not only to see my own work in print, but also so I could finally do something that was more than a single page long. To get my work printed elsewhere, in Screw or High Times or wherever, I was lucky to get even a full-page strip printed, and I really wanted to try my hand at longer stories. With

this new proposition, Stop, that was out of the question. There was no chance of doing anything that was more than a page, and I wasn’t gonna reach into my own pocket to pay for that, so I opted out of our informal publishing partnership. They were nice enough to run a one-page strip of my own in each issue, but they really only wanted “Studs

Kirby.” I begged them once to run something else by me, but after that it seemed futile to do anything but “Studs” for them.CBC: What was

the format of Comical Fun-

nies? It was maga-

zine-sized?Peter: Comical

Funnies was done in a newspaper format, just like

The New York Times. [laughs] It was quarter-folded. It was folded

twice so when it was stocked on the newsstand, it would be magazine-sized,

8.5" by 11". But then you’d open it up, and then open it up again.

CBC: How many pages?Peter: It varied. The first issue was I think 24

pages, and the last was maybe 36. CBC: And you were in every issue of Comical

Funnies?Peter: Oh, yeah. I was the most prolific of the

bunch, so I’d take up a third or a quarter of the whole thing. I hogged up that sucker as much as I

could with my amateurish scrawlings.CBC: John Holmstrom did some strips, as well?

Peter: Yes, we all did comic strips. And that was still the case with Stop, but I thought it was so odd that a bunch of cartoonists were

this page: Peter Bagge’s Buddy Bradley might be the most sharply defined character in comics history and perhaps the most put-upon. Essayist Bob Mackey, writing about the character in an online piece for puts it smartly: “It would be easy for Bagge to vilify Buddy, but instead the cartoonist’s alter ego is rather sympathetic. He’s very real, very flawed, and ultimately powerless in the face of being peed on so many times by the universe. Reading Hate is an exercise in vicariously experiencing the joy of minor achievements and the ambiva-lent grumbling of loserdom — and really, isn’t that what life’s all about?”

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Above: The title’s characters spell out Hate, from #5 [Sum-mer 1991]. Below: Detail from the cover of Hey, Buddy! [1993], the first Hate collection.

Page 16: Comic Book Creator #10

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Cover art by Peter Bagge

Cover art by Peter Bagge

COMIC BOOK CREATOR #10The Broadway sci-fi epic WARP examined! Interviews with art di-rector NEAL ADAMS, director STUART (Reanimator) GORDON,playwright LENNY KLEINFELD, stage manager DAVID GOR-DON, and a look at Warp’s 1980s FIRST COMICS series! Plus: aninterview with PETER (Hate!) BAGGE, our RICH BUCKLER inter-view Part One, GIANT WHAM-O COMICS, and the conclusionof our STAN GOLDBERG interview!

(84-page FULL-COLOR magazine) $8.95 (Digital Edition) $3.95