Oh, lord. HATE is funny because it's so goddamn true: Buddy Bradley is a flannel-clad piss-drunk Everyman for the end of the century, steeped in pop ephemera and bad girlfriends. If you bought Bleach and Nevermind, if you've ever slept in a car because you were too drunk to drive, smoked a cigarette butt because you were too broke to buy more, or went all too often to see shitty bands play because there wasn't anything better to do, then HATE will spook you with its uncanny mimicry of your so-called life. What was once startling to read in its accuracy now almost - almost - makes me nostalgic for the days of grunge and bad roommates... but not quite.
Bagge's real gift here is that he's not condemning his characters, no matter how bizarre and low they get; there's a genuine, if strange, affection on display as each member of HATE's cast slouches evermore towards some sort of adulthood. Bagge loves all his little fuck-ups, and their lives and times get richer and weirder from this, his first HATE collection. And it's funny. HATE is Laugh out loud, embarrass yourself in public funny. Coming off like someone's videotape of your sad bastard twenties and drawn like the bastard son of Crumb and Big Daddy Roth, HATE is compulsively readable, hysterical, and a killer shot that hits every one of its targets.
Matt Fraction splits his time between motion graphics and design house MK12, writing comics, and reading comics. He is the author of the graphic novels The Annotated Mantooth and Last of the Independents, both available from AiT/Planet Lar. He can be found on the web at mattfraction.com. His wife is hot.