Underground comics legend Peter Bagge (Hate) joins Earth Prime Time to talk about his latest work, including Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story from Drawn and Quarterly. Peter’s biographical hardcover graphic novel takes a look at one of feminism’s most controversial and important icons. Sanger’s (September 14, 1879 – September 6, 1966) life’s work was devoted to legalizing birth control and played a part in forming what is known today as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Peter’s book tour stops at Brookline Booksmith on Monday, October 21 at 7pm.


DigBoston: The most obvious question, and the one you are probably getting a lot, is why Margaret Sanger?
Peter Bagge: I wish I had a short snappy answer to that question! For a while now I’ve been doing nonfiction pieces, mainly for a publication called Reason magazine.

Short journalistic comic strips, most recently I’ve been doing short biographical strips. It felt like it was starting to build up to the possibility of doing a book-length one. I ran a bunch of names by this one particular publisher who I thought would be interested, and they were the ones who published it, Drawn and Quarterly.

One of the names I ran past was Margaret Sanger. What was interesting was the other subjects I had in mind were all literary figures for the most part. I was very interested in women writers from the mid 20th century, from between the two wars. The reason I was interested in them, besides liking their work, was that they lived very autonomous, independent lives. Though these women weren’t the least bit masculine, they lived their lives as if they were men.

They didn’t let their gender hinder them from doing anything. And that made me wonder about birth control. I also couldn’t help but notice these women didn’t get pregnant, they weren’t saddled with a bunch of kids.

I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of birth control did they use, what was available if they were using anything.

Peter Bagge - Self-Portrait

Peter Bagge - Self-Portrait / Author Photo (Drawn and Quarterly)

While researching that, I kept getting taken to Margaret Sanger. I kept running across incredible contradictory things that people would say about Sanger.




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