This is a special preview episode of A Year in Seattle, Notebook on Cities and culture’s upcoming sixth season. Or rather, it will come as long as we raise its budget on Kickstarter by Saturday. Check out its Kickstarter page to find out how you can help make it happen. Thanks.
In downtown Seattle, Colin talks with comic artist Peter Bagge, creator of the legendary alternative comic series Hate, contributing editor and cartoonist at Reason magazine, and author of such graphic novels as Apocalypse Nerd, Other Lives, Reset, and Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story. They discuss whether Seattle is still the place to be for the Buddy Bradleys of the world; the cheap “place to invent yourself” he first found there; the ever-increasing importance of place in his work, and its necessity in telling longer stories; how Seattle won out as a storytelling location versus the other “cities where hipsters gather”; what Seattle once looked like from his perspective in Manhattan; the feeling of a “pioneer town” then and now; how he found Seattleites who took the time to live elsewhere differed from Seattleites who’d never left, and what it has to do with the Seattle inferiority complex; the relationship between Seattle and the alternative comics scene; how he convinced his publisher Fantagraphics to come join him in Seattle, and how the town came subsequently to crawl with cartoonists; Buddy Bradley as a young cynic, and Seattle’s accommodation of the young cynic; what the fictional life of Buddy Bradley and the real life of Margaret Sanger have in common, beginning with their premises of “doing exactly what they want to do”; which of Sanger’s many accomplishments and battles (which she never fought on straight gender lines) he usually uses to explain her life; why Sanger’s achievements in birth-control legalization became so important to all society; our transition out of “the age of stuff”; the probable fate of bookstores, and how they might succeed through the social dimension; why conventions have become more important than ever to comics, and why cities have become more important than ever to life; the impossibility of the Spokane swinger; what his visit to the depleted city of Detroit taught him, especially about the ways the government itself holds back a potential revitalization; where he thinks Seattle goes too far, politically; why he prefers the monorail Seattle might have built to the light rail system it is building; whether governments just can’t build transit right, or whether specifically American governments just can’t do it right; what happens when anyone’s shovel hits an Indian artifact in Seattle; and how to win mayoral office by campaigning against the inevitable.