Biff Bam Pop’s The Comic Stop Exclusive Interview: Peter Bagge On His New Dark Horse Series Reset

What if you could do it all over again? Talk to that girl or guy in high school that you always got tongue-tied around. What would you say? Would it be any different this time, or would you make it even worse than before? That’s what beloved Harvey Award winning writer and artist Peter Bagge asks with his new Dark Horse Comics series Reset, in which down on his luck comedian Guy Krause is offered the chance to reset pivotal moments in his life via virtual reality. Peter was kind enough to answer some questions via email about Reset, his inspiration, creative process and much more.

Andy Burns: Congrats on the first issue of Reset – as someone who often wishes they could go back and change some pivotal moments in my life, I really enjoyed the story. On that note, what was the genesis of Reset?

Peter Bagge: Like I assume everyone else that ever lived, it started with me wondering “what if” and “if only.”  I then tried to imagine it actually happening, but had to ground it in reality somehow to make it work as a story for me.  The whole “relive your life VIRTUALLY” thing was the only way I can see that happening.  From that starting point I had an easier time imagining the bugs and pitfalls of such a thing than I did any potential fun or benefits.  I’m a hopeless cynic.

Andy Burns: The notion and science of virtual reality – it’s something that’s been talked about for so long in various ways, I suppose starting back in the 80’s with William Gibson, if not before that. Is that subject something that’s always had some fascination for you? 

Peter Bagge: No.  I don’t have a science fiction writer’s foresight or imagination, sadly.  Thinking and writing about virtual reality started for me only after I’d seen and experienced it on the internet and computer games.

Andy Burns: Let’s talk about the main character, Guy Krause. Guy has clearly seen better days as a comedian and a star – but he was one at some point. What inspired you to go with a character like Guy for your story?

Peter Bagge: As explained in the first issue, he’s a perfect candidate for the program he volunteers to work for: his stand up act gives the researchers lots of painful research materiel; his level fame gives them a lot of written material about him, and his current hard times means he’ll do anything for money.

Andy Burns: Reset moves between Guy’s real world and the one he is given the opportunity to “redo” – do you have any specific way of approaching the two different scenarios, in terms of tone and structure, or does it all fall under one umbrella of the overall story? 

Peter Bagge: One explains the other, at least as far as how Guy himself tries to use it throughout the story.  Plus I loved the contrast it winds up presenting.

Andy Burns: How did you wind up working with Dark Horse Comics on Reset?

Peter Bagge: I did a graphic novel/mini-series for them 5 or so years ago: APOCALYPSE NERD.  I asked them if I could do the same for them again and they said yes.  Fools!
Andy Burns: At Biff Bam Pop, we’re all very interested in the creative process that one goes through in putting their work together. Could you take us through be a typical day for you working on Reset – how much time you spend on a given page or issues, if you listen to music while you’re working, etc?
Peter Bagge: I wrote an outline of the entire story first.  Then I did each issue assembly line style: script, roughs, pencils etc.
Andy Burns: How many issues of Reset can we expect to see?
Peter Bagge: Four.  Then a book collection.
Andy Burns: What else are your working on at the moment?
Peter Bagge: A comic biography about Margaret Sanger for Drawn & Quarterly.  Wish me luck!  Plus a couple of new features for REASON Magazine are in the works.
Andy Burns: And finally, is there anything you’re reading, comics or otherwise, that you would recommend Biff Bam Pop readers check out?
Peter Bagge: It’s been out for a while, but Chester Brown’s PAYING FOR IT was the last comic I read that knocked my socks off.
Thanks to Peter Bagge for talking to Biff Bam Pop and, as always, Aub Driver at Dark Horse Comics for making it happen. Reset is out in store and the Dark Horse Digital store this coming Wednesday. You can find out more about Peter’s work here.

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