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Strange Tales

Strange Tales Spotlight: Peter Bagge

At long last, 'The Incorrigible Hulk' is about to be unleashed-and Marvel.com asked its altcomix-superstar author about it.

To celebrate the upcoming release of Marvel's groundbreaking series STRANGE TALES, in which some of the brightest stars of alternative and indie comics present their takes on the Marvel Universe, Marvel.com will be showcasing the contributors in an expansive series of exclusive interviews. And don't forget to pick up STRANGE TALES #1, on sale September 2!


By Sean T. Collins

Peter Bagge's cover to STRANGE TALES #2
What a long, strange trip it's been for Peter Bagge. He's credited along with Love & Rockets' Los Bros Hernandez and Ghost World's Daniel Clowes as one of the pioneers of alternative comics in the '80s. His humor comic Hate reported from the front lines of Seattle's grunge/slacker scene in the '90s. And his political strips for Reason magazine have skewered Left, Right and Center in the '00s. But for Marvel fans, it's what he hasn't done that is perhaps best known. After Bagge crashed the House of Ideas with his satirical MEGALOMANIACAL SPIDER-MAN in 2002, the announced follow-up, THE INCORRIGIBLE HULK, never materialized.

Until now! Bagge's long-awaited stab at the Green Goliath smashes its way through the pages of STRANGE TALES, and Marvel.com snagged Bagge for a brief chat about what he has in store for Ol' Jade Jaws-and why we're finally getting our hot little hands on the story.

A page from Peter Bagge's "The Incorrigible Hulk" story in STRANGE TALES #1
Marvel.com: Of all the stories in the STRANGE TALES series, your Hulk story faced the longest, winding-est road to get there. How did you first decide to do a Hulk story, and what prevented it from seeing the light of day until now?

 Peter Bagge: I was asked by Axel Alonso, who wanted me to do another one-shot title like the one I did about Spider-Man. Both were to be tied in with the release of movies based on the characters, so I hardly got to pick what character I wanted to write about. I was eager to do a Hulk story, though, since his whole Jekyll and Hyde persona gave me a lot of ideas.

I was almost half done with it when Marvel came under new management, and the new bosses weren't too happy with my title. They asked that I make quite a few changes and I complied…andit sat on a shelf until now. Marvel never entirely ruled out publishing it eventually, and Axel never gave up on making that happen. So here we are!

Marvel.com: So what's the story about? Is the vibe similar to your Spider-Man story?

Peter Bagge: The two stories are pretty different, actually. The Spidey one was partly inspired by what I know about Spider-Man's two creators, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. I incorporated the personalities and quirks of each man into Peter Parker's own personality. The Hulk story's about both the Hulk and Bruce Banner trying to cope with their many issues via the use of modern pharmacology, in the form of head pills, Viagra, et cetera. Needless to say, wackiness ensues.

Marvel.com: What would you say a Hulk story by a cartoonist like yourself has to offer the average Marvel fan?

Peter Bagge: I hope people will at least be intrigued of the idea of a lone artist writing about one of these characters in his or her own style, just to see what kind of highly personalized spin they'd put on it.

Marvel.com: Let's talk a bit about your Marvel background. What are some of your fondest Marvel memories?

Peter Bagge: When I was about six to eight years old, a neighbor of mine was buying all the Marvel titles coming out at the time—he clearly was hooked on "the New Marvel" right from the get-go. I used to plow through all of them, and I found the Hulk the most interesting of all the characters. I also vastly preferred Jack Kirby's art to everyone else's. What I didn't like was "to be continued"!  That struck me as a scam, and I wished the stories just ended at the end of each book!  My favorite title by far was NOT BRAND ECCCH!, of course, being a humor guy. I remember liking Marie Severin's art a lot as well.

A page from Peter Bagge's "The Incorrigible Hulk" story in STRANGE TALES #1
Marvel.com: Would you ever like to try your hand at another Marvel character?

Peter Bagge: Sure, any of them. These titles are fun to do.

Marvel.com: What would you recommend to readers who'd like to see more of your work?

Peter Bagge: My latest book is Everybody's Stupid Except for Me, which is a collection of journalistic strips I've done for Reason Magazine over the last 10 or so years. My best known work, the Buddy Bradley stories from Hate Comics, are collected in two thick volumes: Buddy Does Seattle and Buddy Does Jersey.

Marvel.com: What else are you working on these days?

Peter Bagge: I'm just finishing up a graphic novel for DC/Vertigo called Other Lives, which is due out some time in '10.


Read Peter's Hulk story in STRANGE TALES #1, on sale September 2!

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