Episode 239 – Pete Bagge and Mimi Pond

Virtual Memories Show 239:
Pete Bagge and Mimi Pond, Live at CXC!

“The way I draw is how I express myself. . . . Friends asked if I should have collaborated on these biographies with someone who draws realistically. . . . But then I wouldn’t have wanted to read it!”
–Pete Bagge

First Pete Bagge rejoins the show for a live Spotlight session at CXC – Cartoon Crossroads Columbus. We talk about Fire!!: The Zora Neale Hurston Story, his shift from fiction to nonfiction comics, his interest in feminist icons who didn’t ask for permission, dealing with cultural/gender appropriation issues in writing about women of color, expressing serious moments in his funnybones cartooning style, going through male menopause, making a living, and why he hasn’t made any Buddy Bradley stories in a long time. Then, we get a few segments from my CXC spotlight session with Mimi Pond, where we talk about her creative process, sexism in comics, and what she misses about the ’70s. Give it a listen! And go buy Fire!! and The Customer is Always Wrong!

“As long as you’re in your chair in front of your drawing board, there’s more of a chance that you’re gonna make a mark on a piece of paper at some point.”
— Mimi Pond

Enjoy the conversation! Then check out the archives for more great episodes!

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About our Guests

Alternative comic creator Pete Bagge is best known for the 90s comic series, Hate, featuring the semi-autobiographical antihero Buddy Bradley, whose adventures have been collected in two volumes: Buddy Does Seattle and Buddy Does Jersey, both from Fantagraphics. Bagge has also created three graphic novels: Reset, Apocalypse Nerd, and Other Lives. The journalistic strips Bagge has done for Reason have also been collected into a book entitled Everybody Is Stupid Except For Me. More recently, Bagge has written and drawn a full-length biographical comic, Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story, from Drawn & Quarterly, and a collection of short biographical strips, Founding Fathers Funnies, from Dark Horse. His newest book is Fire!!: The Zora Neale Hurston Story, from Drawn & Quarterly. Peter Bagge lives in Tacoma, WA with his wife Joanne and two darn cats.

Mimi Pond is a cartoonist, illustrator, humorist and writer. Her graphic memoir, The Customer is Always Wrong, was recently published by Drawn and Quarterly. It is the long-awaited 400 pages+ sequel to 2014’s Over Easy, which detailed her post-art school waitressing career in the late 1970s in Oakland, CA. Over Easy garnered a tremendous critical response, a place on the New York Times Best Seller List, the PEN Center USA award for Graphic Literature Outstanding Body of Work, and an Inkpot Award from Comic Con International in San Diego.

Pond has created comics for the Los Angeles Times, Seventeen Magazine, National Lampoon, The New Yorker, and many other publications too numerous to mention, along with five humor books. She has also written for television: her credits include the first full-length episode of the Simpsons in 1989, and episodes for the television shows “Designing Women” and “Pee Wee’s Playhouse”. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, the painter Wayne White.

Credits: This episode’s music is Nothing’s Gonna Bring Me Down by David Baerwald, used with permission from the artist. The conversation was recorded at the Columbus Metropolitan Library on a pair of Blue enCORE 200 Microphones feeding into a Zoom H5 digital recorder. I recorded the intro and outro on a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone feeding into a Cloudlifter CL-1 and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack 2×2 USB Recording Interface. All processing and editing done in Adobe Audition CC. Photo of Pete Bagge by me. It’s on my instagram.

2013 Podcast Countdown: #6 in the Bagge

Hope you had a merry Christmas! I spent mine struggling to write a short story about two Jews trying to find somewhere to pray on Yom Kippur (with breaks for Dim Sum and a little basketball).

Our podcast countdown continues! The 6th most downloaded episode from 2013 was my conversation with legendary cartoonist Pete Bagge!

#6 – The Least Insane of Cartoonists – Peter Bagge, cartoonist/creator of Hate! joins us to talk about his new book, Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story. We have a great conversation about why he chose to write about the founder of Planned Parenthood, how he made the shift from fiction to nonfiction comics, who his favorite “pre-feminist feminists” are, why he stuck with comic books over paperback books for too long, what the strangest sketchbook request he ever received is, and why R. Crumb considered him the least insane of cartoonists. (10/15/13) – mp3

You want some behind-the-scenes stuff? Well, Pete & I recorded our talk at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, MD in September. And before we started recording, Also, I gave him a copy of The Leopard as a guest-gift (I try to do that for all the guests). I mentioned Visconti’s film version of it, which starred Burt Lancaster, and Bagge told me that Lancaster stars in his favorite movie, along with Tony Curtis: Sweet Smell of Success. I’d never seen it before, so I grabbed it on Netflix and WOW is it an amazing flick.

Now go listen to our #6 most downloaded episode from 2013! (and go watch Sweet Smell of Success sometime!)

Check back tomorrow for #5! I give thanks to all my guests for the great conversations, and I thank you, dear listeners, for each and every download! Have a great Boxing Day, if that’s your thing!

#10-8 – Craig Gidney / Ed Hermance, Drew Friedman, Jesse Sheidlower

#7 – Willard Spiegelman

And remember, you can find all our episodes at the podcast archive or by visiting iTunes!

What It Is: 8/17/09

What I’m reading: Moby Dick, The Jew of New York, The Nobody, and Everybody is Stupid Except for Me.

What I’m listening to: Arular, by M.I.A., Yes by Pet Shop Boys, and Welcome to the Pleasuredome by Frankie Goes to Hollywood (thanks to their roof-raising performance in that Trevor Horn tribute concert we watched last week).

What I’m watching: Old episodes of The State, to commemorate the cancellation of Reno 911!, Anchorman and Pulp Fiction. Our current Netflix discs are The Man Who Would Be King and Bubba Ho-Tep.

What I’m drinking: Juniper Green & Q Tonic, and Red Stripe lager.

What Rufus is up to: Staying out of the heat. We skipped another Sunday greyhound hike because we had a bunch of Amy’s friends coming over for lunch that day, and needed to get the house clean(ish).

Where I’m going: Connecticut next weekend, to visit my cousins and let Rufus meet the Golden Retriever side of the family.

What I’m happy about: That someone made a movie for the 9-year-old me who was serenaded daily on the school bus with taunts of “Heil Hitler!”

What I’m sad about: This whole aging process.

What I’m worried about: The dietary habits of yuppies, and whether it stunts their ability to have intelligent conversation. (Good job, Agitator!)

What I’m pondering: Whether Smokey Bear is a gay icon.