Re/Read is an occasional column by Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery curator Larry Reid examining books you may have missed or merit more attention. In light of the tragic events recently afflicting Seattle’s music scene, it’s a good time for a lighthearted look at the good times in Peter Bagge’s classic, Buddy Does Seattle.
Seattle’s sensational grunge era of the 1990s is often viewed through the gloomy lens of Northwest Noir. Peter Bagge’s Hate comic book serial adds levity to that perception. Protagonist Buddy Bradley and his crew of lovable losers provide a perfect allegory for the lively youth movement that influenced pop culture on a global scale. While mercilessly satirizing the scene, Bagge was also instrumental in formulating its attitudes and aesthetics. His insights were so precise that countless Seattle residents are convinced they were the inspiration for his characters. They’re probably right. I unwittingly played the role of Leonard on several “Stinky Dates” fictionalized in the pages of Hate. (My “dates” with Dame Darcy and Jessica Abel are immortalized in this collection.) An early review of these comix by Bruce Barcott in the Seattle Weekly suggested, “Twenty years from now, when people want to know what it was like to be young in 1990s Seattle, the only record we’ll have is Peter Bagge’s Hate.” Two decades later, these words ring true.
Buddy Does Seattle and other works by Peter Bagge are available at Fantagraphics Bookstore, located at 1201 S. Vale Street, just minutes south of downtown Seattle. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206-557-4910.