Review: Hate Annual #9


bookcover_hata9 Hate Annual #9 is a 32-page comic, written and illustrated by Peter Bagge. The book costs $4.95, and was released by Fantagraphics Books on April 27th, 2011. You can order a copy direct from FB by clicking here.

Here’s the blurb:

Buddy & Lisa — back to Seattle! In the first full-length Buddy story in ten years (and it’s a doozy), just when things are starting to look idyllic for our heroes, a family crisis forces Lisa to re-unite with her Seattle-based parents and brings Buddy and their young son Harold along with her — and Buddy quickly learns why she’s been avoiding them for 20-odd years! And Lisa has some other unwelcome surprises in her family tree as well…

Plus, Pete gets political in cartoons from El Rios, High Times and Seattle Weekly. And a couple of ads!


Remember Buddy Bradley, the Gen X slacker who was always getting  into all kids of crazy situations? Remember his psychotic girlfriend Lisa? His crazy buddy Jay? Well, they all kind of grew up! Hard to believe, I know, but in the issue’s opening story ‘Heaven‘ we’re introduced to a much more mature Buddy & Lisa, pretty much living in domestic harmony. Jay and Buddy are no longer fighting over the scrap metal business, in fact they now co-own it, after buying out Jay’s boss and combining their businesses. Jay’s now on the straight and narrow, and even has a girlfriend of his own. You keep expecting something crazy to happen, but it never does, which is kinda nice! It’s great to see Buddy get it together after all these years.

The second story in the book, titled ‘Hell‘ sees Buddy, Lisa and their son Harold flying back to Seattle to see Lisa’s parents. It’s the first time we’ve actually met her parents, and if you thought the Bradleys were hard work, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Her dad’s gone senile and rubs shit all over the walls, her mom’s a control freak and is keeping a dark secret, and her cousin lives in their backyard and is a registered sex offender! And that’s just for starters! Throughout all of this craziness though, Buddy is the stable one, he proves himself to be a good father, a good husband, and when the temptation of sex and drugs is offered to him on a plate, he actually turns it down… well, mostly! The times they are a changing!

I love these (almost) annual check-ins with Buddy and family!. It’s amazing to think that this Buddy Bradley is the same character as the spotty faced kid that we first met in Neat Stuff #1, back in 1985. Here we are, 26 years later and buddy is now a bald middle-aged man, with an eyepatch, who runs a junkyard! Long gone are his days of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. He’s now a family man, and a business owner, with all of the responsibilities inherent to said roles. I love the fact that Bagge has taken Buddy and gradually moulded him into a mature adult over the years. It’s been a fascinating process to watch, and I hope that he continues to document Buddy’s life until they are both grey and old!

I’ve also noticed over the last couple of annuals that the focus has shifted more on to Lisa’s life rather than Buddy’s. In last year’s Hate Annual #8, we got a story that focused on Lisa starting up a band to shake off her suburban housewife blues, and this year we get a story that delves into her past and reveals a number of things that we never knew about her. I’m interested o see if this is a direction that Bagge intends to continue in, or whether he has even more tricks up his sleeve. Maybe the focus will go on to Harold, and the new generation of Hate?!

The issue is of course illustrated in Peter Bagge’s inimitable style, bendy limbs and all. I believe that he’s inking himself here, and the colours, which are splendid, are provided by Joanne Bagge. What I love most about Peter Bagge’s style is that If you see a cartoon or a cover by him, you instantly know it’s his, without having to read the credit. His style is just so unique and recognizable. In my opinion, that’s really the best thing that anyone can say about your artwork - that it’s 100% you, and not at all like anything else out there. I really think that Bagge’s artwork in this issue marks a high point of the series thus far, and I’m not just saying that. I actually dug out a few of my old issues of Hate, and a few of the annuals, and I swear that his style has become more and more refined over the years.

Hate Annual #9 is a fantastic and unmissable chapter in the lives of Buddy, Lisa, and friends. Old feuds are put to rest, new friendships are made, and we are introduced to a slew of new characters and new storylines. I’m really excited to see were Bagge takes Buddy and co. next year! Here’s to another 26 years of Hate!

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