The PopCult Bookshelf
Peter Bagge’s Other Stuff is an aptly named collection of many of the other comic strips the cartoonist did for his classic comic book series, HATE, as well as several that were done for other sources, all collected under one cover. HATE was primarily noted for telling the story of Buddy Bradley and those stories are collected in two excellent volumes, “Buddy Does Jersey” and “Buddy Does Seattle.”
Peter Bagge’s Other Stuff collects the backup strips from HATE along with strips that were done for Weirdo Magazine, Details, SPIN Magazine, Magnet Magazine, and other places. Not all of the comic strips are Peter Bagge working solo. It’s a testament to Bagge’s reputation that the people who wanted to work with him include Daniel Clowes, Los Bros Hernandez, Alan Moore, and Robert Crumb.
The nature of these stories, most of which are only a single page, demonstrate that Bagge is as gifted at the short form humor strip as he is with his longer works such as the Buddy Bradley saga or his recent “Reset.”
The characters that turn up in these strips include Bagge’s creations Lovey, a wannabe hipster and the Shut-Ins, a couple dealing with the self-imposed isolation created by the early days of the Internet. Real life people making appearances in this book are Dick Cheney, his spiritual cousin Charlie Manson, Beach Boys dad Murry Wilson, Little Richard, Bagge’s occasional inker Jim Blanchard and Alice Cooper.
One of the highlights of the book is Bagge’s collaboration with Alan Moore, “The Hasty Smear Of My Smile…” which, as you can probably tell from the title, is the darkly hilarious and very true story of Kool-Aid Man. Another high point is “Caffy!” which sees Bagge teaming up with artist Robert Crumb to take on Cathy Guisewhite’s beloved and insipid comic strip, “Cathy.” Somewhere along the way, it turns into a brilliant yet typical Robert Crumb ode to women with large buttocks.
There’s a lot of envelope pushing and if you’re overly sensitive, you may not enjoy the comic strip where a parody of “Dilbert” joins Al-Queda or the true story of Alice Cooper ramming a sword into his leg onstage. However, if you enjoy cutting edge humor and quality cartooning, you’ve got to love Peter Bagge’s Other Stuff.
Like I said earlier, this collection doesn’t have the impact of his longer, more sustained works. But it’s also an easier read. You can pick it up, go for a few pages and put it back down.
If you choose to go at it in one sitting, you’ll be rewarded with over 130 pages of primo social satire and brilliant cartooning. The book is mostly in color (with the coloring very well done by Bagge’s wife, Joanne).
Peter Bagge’s Other Stuff is a must-have for his die-hard fans who want to be completists, but it’s also a terrific introduction to the work of one of America’s most brilliant, yet under appreciated cartoonists.