Buddy Does Seattle
by Bruce Sweeney
An example of an accomplished comic book is Buddy Does Seattle, published by Fantagraphics and written by the great Peter Bagge of Seattle. This is a helluva book with 336 pages of black and white humor. This particular item is an accumulation of the complete Buddy Bradley stories from Bagge’s Hate comics Vol. 1. I would not be without it.
An extremely deft comedy book, and like some of the great comedy formats such as Jackie Gleason’s The Honeymooners or the Jerry Seinfeld troupe, it’s not about much. Buddy Bradley is a wandering 20-something with a half-baked life, complete with half-baked roommates, jobs, and girlfriends. The true artistry is in the tiny dramatic details, i.e. who stole the last beer from the fridge, or how poor Buddy gets squeamish about flirting. Needless to say, in the hands of a grand comedy writer like Bagge, those ridiculous details are as much about Crime or Romance as much of our waking lives. To us living it, it is High Drama.
Almost as important, Bagge delivers all this very recognizable lifestyle in a solid, imaginative cartoon style that is really all his. It’s not an easy task. His stories are not resplendent with action and adventure; there are plenty of narrative dialogs in it, and ultimately, it centers on relationships and emotions. To be able to deliver that in an engrossing, funny, visual book is a true accomplishment.