YEAH! by Peter Bagge and Gilbert Hernandez is the story of Krazy, Honey, and Woo-Woo, the trio in an all-girl pop band. A band that is “…without a doubt the most popular band in the history of the universe,” but complete unknowns on planet Earth. The girls are managed by Crusty, an aged looking young fellow, and are arch enemies with Miss Hellraiser, whom the reader later finds out was once a member of YEAH!.
The main conceit of this comic is that the band is able to travel all over the universe and has a huge fan base of aliens, but can’t even headline a school dance in their hometown back on Earth. Since no one on Earth knows about aliens, this has the effect of creating a natural tension in the band’s life, one that plays out over the course of the series as they go to alien planets to perform and aliens come to Earth to see and meet the band.
If that sounds strange that’s because it is. Other than the alien angle, the comic reads and looks like a slightly edgier version of a 60s era (or any era) Archie comic. As author Peter Bagge mentions in the foreword to this edition, YEAH! had a difficult time finding an audience because there is no punch line or other sarcastic factor. This book is Josie and the Pussycats meets ET, and it is as earnest as either of its component parts would suggest.
Bagge’s collaborator, Gilbert Hernandez does an amazing job of bringing this madcap world to life. His lithe lines are kind to human and alien alike and he deftly handles all the movement and crazy (Krazy) faces, expressions, and tropes that are common to an Archie-esque comic. Ultimately this results in a very solid offering that has a small audience.
Who might this audience be? Not public or school libraries. Public libraries may have a modicum of success if they leveled this title for adults, but ultimately the audience for this type of comic is too small for the public or school library.
That leaves academic libraries. Most academic libraries should stay away as well, excepting those that have a strong comics collection that needs to be complete when it comes to both Bagge and Hernandez. Other academic libraries that focus on nostalgia might want to consider this title. It seems that Bagge was right in the foreword. “In spite of all this – AND in spite of the fact that the resulting title was everything I envisioned it to be and then some – YEAH! was a failure.” Thus, “after 9 issues and ever-dwindling sales, YEAH! was tragically yet mercifully brought to an end.”
by Peter Bagge
Art by Gilbert Hernandez