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Peter Bagge: 'I always associate stuffed birds with libraries'

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In this interview, the author of the Hate comic shares his expectedly quirky view of libraries.

He says his most vivid memory of libraries "doesn't have to do so much with books."

Growing up in Peekskill, N.Y., he said his local public library owned a huge glass case filled with stuffed exotic birds.

"I used to just stare at that forever. So I always associate stuffed birds with libraries," he says.

He said he loved that old library so much that he reacts with disappointment upon entering a new library, preferring "the old, stuffy, moldy ones."

As a high school student, he remembers the school library as a place where he could find solitude.

"I was there to read books, but also to hide from everybody, so it served two purposes," he says.

Today, he takes advantage of the Internet in using his library, placing orders for books with the library online.

"It's just so easy. If there is a book I need, I'll look online to see if the Seattle library system has it, and then ask them to ship it to my local branch," he says.

He praised Seattle, where he lives, for supporting libraries financially.

"The people in this city and in this county, they routinely, consistently asked for libraries to be open more often, to open up more libraries. And it's one thing that we always agree to pay for. It's a levy that always passes overwhelmingly," he says.

In the interview, he talks about working on what ultimately became his graphic novel biography of activist Margaret Sanger, Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story.

"She lived the life of 10 people," he says. "When I first started reading about her, I immediately thought this would make for a great comic."

Bagge's comic Hate was first published by Fantagraphics in 1990 and became one of the best-selling alternative comics of the 1990. It traces the life of Buddy Bradley, described on the Fantagraphics website as a "slacker ne'er-do-well," adding that it "managed to show probably the truest representation of Seattle during the 'grunge' boom and bust."

 

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