Written by Peter Bagge, Art by Gilbert Hernandez
May 24, 2011 Web Exclusive
It's hard to come into an author's new work (well, new to me anyway) with no preconcieved notions about what to expect.
As an uber-fan of Peter Bagge's HATE!, maybe I should have invested some time in Yeah! back when DC was originally publishing it in '99. Fantagraphics smartly has repackaged and republished the entire nine-issue series in a black & white trade paperback. It's a smart-looking book, and the choice to go color-free really allows Gilbert Hernandez's cartooning to shine.
But make no mistake: this is vintage Bagge. Sure, we're minus the delicious Buddy Bradly angst, and the goofiness is rated PG, but the increasingly ridiculous situations that the girls of Yeah!, an all-female rock trio in the vein of Josie in the Pussycats, get themselves into is very much in Bagge's wheelhouse. His worldbuilding is there as well, with lingering subplots and such, much as it was in HATE!
Well, perhaps we should call it "universe building." The conceit of Yeah! is that the girls are the most popular band in the universe, playing their pop to sold-out alien venues, but are ridiculed and can't even win a $200 battle of the bands prize on their home planet. And no fellow Earthlings beyond bandmembers, their manager Crusty, and Honey the drummer's boyfriend Muddy (and their pet goat) even know about aliens existing.
Yeah! also has in spades something that HATE! rarely, if ever, did: cuteness. Some of the hijinx and situations that the band finds itself in are, well, adorable. Hernandez's pen is as much to credit for that as is Bagge's turn to the "pop side."
The series didn't find its financial legs and only lasted the nine issues, which in itself drags this book down a bit. With no hope nor promise of most of the plotlines getting resolved, reaching the end of something that slowly burned itself into your brain is to come face to face with a bit of futility. Dug the art, dug the stories, dug the ongoing narrative, must have more for it to be considered a masterwork.
Even so, this is good, and it's the kind of comic you can share with all audiences—even if old '90s comix fans like me see shadows of subversion in the adventures of Honey, Krazy, and Woo-Woo that may not really be there. (And, bonus, a little story about rival band The Snobs drawn by Bagge himself is pretty delicious.) (www.fantagraphics.com)
Author rating: 6/10
Average reader rating: 5/10