I recently got a chance to talk to writer and illustrator Peter Bagge. Bagge is currently writing a new book released through Dark Horse Comics called Reset. I got a chance to read and review a preview copy of Reset last week and I’m personally hooked on it. Reset tells the story of down on his luck comedian, Guy Krause, as he becomes a test subject for a new virtual reality technology that will allow him to relive his life.

Rob The Wrecker Mr. Bagge, I usually like to start these interviews off with something of a generic question, but its one the readers usually like to hear the answer to: How did you first get into comics?

Peter Bagge It was probably the ONLY thing I showed the slightest ability towards, mainly. Plus it seemed like a fun way to make a living.

R.T.W. It does indeed seem like a fun way to make a living! When did you first know you wanted to work creatively with comics? You write and illustrate, did you start doing one before the other? Do you enjoy one more than the other?

P.B. I always fancied the idea of being a cartoonist when I was growing up, but regrettably I didn’t push myself very hard in that direction. It wasn’t until I discovered Underground comics — particularly the work of Robert Crumb — when I was 19 that I resolved to be a cartoonist of that type. I wanted to make my own comic book.

Peter Bagge self-portrait

R.T.W. Can you tell us a little about some of your influences as a writer? How about as an illustrator? Is there anyone in comics you particularly admire?

P.B. Besides Crumb, my biggest influence most likely was Charles M. Schulz. I also liked all the MAD artists from the 1960s.

R.T.W. Some of your work that I’m personally most familiar with was during your time Mad Magazine at the iconic Mad Magazine. What do you think about the decision Mad made to switch to a quarterly format? Any thoughts on what the future might hold for Mad?

P.B. I think they more recently decided to go back to bi-monthly, no? Either way, it’s all business related. I don’t begrudge them doing what they feel they have to do to remain viable.

R.T.W.You’re right, they did switch back to a bi-monthly release format, I’m surprised I missed that. Lets get down to the subject at hand, where did the idea for Reset come from?

P.B. Just me wondering what I would do different if I could live my life over again, keeping in mind that new trials and pitfalls would surely await if I did relive my life. I then imagined doing just that, only in a virtual sense.
Reset coverR.T.W. That is the age-old question, isn’t it? what if I could do it over. Anyway, what was the process of making Reset a reality? How did it come to be published through Dark Horse?

P.B. I pitched the idea to an editor there whom I’ve worked with previously. They bought the idea.

R.T.W. What, if anything, can you tell us about the back ground of the main character Guy Krause?

P.B. He’s a middle–aged comedian and film actor whose life and career has suddenly hit a bump in the road. He financial situation forces him to get involved with this “relive your life” project the book revolves around.

R.T.W. Are there any other characters we should be keeping a particularly close eye on as the story progresses?

P.B. Yes. ALL of them!

R.T.W. Interesting, it’s not often you see a book where all the characters develop as the story progresses. Switching gears a little, you have published your work through several different paths from self publishing to magazines to one of the most respected comic publishers in the world. What are some of the differences between each of those routes? Which are you most comfortable working through?

P.B. I’m fine with all of them, for different reasons. Self-publishing gives you the most freedom, but it also has the most risks. Working for a major publisher gives you the most financial security, but you have to answer to them and work within their ground rules, content-wise. It’s all a trade off.

R.T.W. Is there anything else you are currently working on that you want our readers to know about?

P.B. I’m slowly getting started on a biography of Margaret Sanger that I’ve been planning on forever. Plus more features for REASON Magazine.

R.T.W. Is there anything else in general you would like to add?

P.B. Yes, my band, Can You Imagine?, will have a new CD out soon: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/canyouimagine. It’s fabulous!

I would personally like to thank Mr. Bagge for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk to us here at ComicBooked.com! Make sure you check out Can You Imagine? on YouTube and pick up Reset which hits shelves tomorrow!