Saturday, April 14, 2007
And by "Hate" I don't mean the feeling you get when you see bunch of dudes all dressed the same in a bar doing shots. I mean the seminal alt comic by Peter Bagge, featuring everyone's favorite everyman, Buddy Bradley!
Some of you will recall that the 1990's were a shitty time to be into comics. Things were dire, man. After the creative high of the 1980's (wherein we got WATCHMEN, RAW, WEIRDO, Simonson on THOR, Miller on DAREDEVIL, all that rad Batman shit, etc etc), the nineties were just pooped out I guess. (You can't expect anything to be great forever- television has by and large sucked ass since the eighties as well, although THE OFFICE alone has made television watchable again, along with a few other choice programs. But I digress...)
The 1990's were really licking balls, as far as comics were concerned. Quick example? Batman in the eighties, by groundbreaking artist David Mazzuchelli....
... and Batman in the nineties, in a costume designed by someone tripping on bad jimsonweed.
(There are many, many more examples. It was rough. Just trust me on this one. It sucked.)
It was a "dry spell" for me, when it came to reading comics, which is a shame, because traditionally, comics were one of the few things that kept me from choking back a bottle of Drano. I was hardly reading any comics at all, save a few lonely gems here and there (Madman, Hellboy, Sin City, and some others).
Now I realize that the problem wasn't that there were no good comics, it's that I was living in Shitville, USA, and the local comic shop (where I has previously been exposed to CEREBUS, which is a good sign) had changed management (the new guys loved Valiant, which was a very, very bad sign). There were plenty of good books being published, I was just not getting exposed to them. Which pisses me off in retrospect, but whatever. You can't stay mad forever.
Hidden from my sight were comics like EIGHTBALL, ED THE HAPPY CLOWN, DIRTY PLOTTE, and a bunch of other stuff I can't remember. I had to find them all later, stuffed in a wire rack in the back-end of one of New York's filthiest comic shops. A whole world of comics I had missed out on during the 90's drought, including HATE.
HATE was cartoonist Peter Bagge's continuing saga of the Bradley family (especially oldest son Buddy), first seen in NEAT STUFF. It featured some of the dirtiest, most unappealing art I had ever seen.
It was downright grody. It was printed on this gritty newsprint, and all the cross-hatching was smudged and inky in a way that made you feel dirty. The characters were ugly and fucked up, and not very pleasant at all.
The stories typically involved a lot of people yelling at each other, gruesome accidents, and animalistic sex with nauseating sound effects. But man oh man, it was MESMERIZING. I read every issue I could find, and tore through that cheap-ass newsprint laughing my ass off.
Verily, I say unto thee, HATE was awesome.
This guy Peter Bagge, he had restored my faith in comics as something worthwhile. (With a little help from Dan Clowes, Bob Fingerman, Gary Panter, and Los Bros Hernandez, but that's a whole other story.) These unattractive tales of horrible people really ponged my tetherball, and I was hooked on funnybooks again. Then, I became President of the United States of America.
Okay, not really. But close enough, you judgmental asshole.
The HATE comics that filled my heart with so much joy have been collected recently, into two books called BUDDY DOES SEATTLE and BUDDY DOES JERSEY. I highly recommend them to anyone, except my mom. I don't think she would appreciate them. Not enough paisley and potpourri and flower arrangements. Fuck, my mom has shitty taste.
So if you feel like reading about dirty losers living in Seattle and drinking a lot and getting in fights and bitching about everything, this is the book for you. (Wow... that totally sounds like one of those READING RAINBOW book reviews by some kid with a gap in their teeth talking about "Goodnight Moon"... "So if you feel like reading about bedtime, this is the book for you!")