Even after he was grown, Tom Hagey wasn’t sure what he wanted to be. ”But I did know I didn’t want to be a pig farmer. So I wrote my father a letter telling him why I didn’t want to take over the family pig farm, and it turned into a 48-page illustrated affair that became the first Playboar.” Playboar, the six-issue parody of Playboy, first appeared in 1977 and sold almost 700,000 copies. Hagey had found his calling, and Cowsmopolitan followed hard upon its predecessors’ cloven hooves.
Like these first efforts, the newly published Penthorse reduces a magazine’s hype to the barnyard level. Everything about Penthouse is fair game, from the centerfold (”Penthorse Center Foal”) to condom ads. Though Hagey’s prose is stinging, he’s never been sued. ”When I started the Penthorse project I called them, and they said, ‘Mr. Guccione is not amused. Proceed at your own risk.’ Then they phoned last week and asked for copies.”
Operating out of Cambridge, Ont., the 39-year-old Hagey writes all the copy, commissions the art, and even directs the photography for his books, which publisher William Kent sells in bookstores and on magazine racks, often cheek by jowl with their targets. Once, while working on Playboar, Hagey was pulled over by a state trooper on his way to a photo shoot. ”It was early in the morning, still dark, and when he shined his flashlight in the car he saw this pig, its toenails painted pink, and a bagful of panties next to it, and it was like, Buddy, what are you into?”
Hagey’s already at work on his next project. ”All I can say is that it involves a lot of different barnyard animals,” he says. Vanity Farm?