cover image Buddy Does Jersey

Buddy Does Jersey

Peter Bagge, . . Fantagraphics, $14.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-1-56097-837-4

The acerbic story of ultimate slacker Buddy Bradley from the pages of Hate concludes in this second compilation volume, originally serialized in color in the 1990s but collected here in black and white. Buddy and girlfriend Lisa leave freewheeling Seattle for Buddy's childhood home in New Jersey, where his father sits in a hospital thinking he has cancer, his mother frets loudly and his friend Jay stalks teenage girls and shoots heroin. Buddy and Jay soon hatch a plan to open a store selling junky collectibles to appeal to aging hipster nostalgia. Buddy's religious mother and Lisa get drunk while bowling, and Lisa spills the fact that she's had five abortions. An old friend starts selling drugs and driving around with an Uzi. The episodic tales veer through a lot of ground—the unexpected death of Buddy's father, Lisa's inexplicable infidelity, a friend's out-of-the-blue suicide—but always with a loud, frenetic, "life sucks, who cares" attitude reflected in the big loping swirls and exaggerated features of Bagge's illustrations. Fans of underground comics' brutal social satire and people with generally bitter dispositions will laugh out loud at virtually every seedy panel; other readers will find it a total bummer, dude. (May)