Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat (144-page graphic novel), published by IF? Commix on August 17. Words & art by Andrez Bergen, aided by Cocoa Bergen.
Bullet Gal, the ongoing comic book series published by IF? Commix from July 2014. Words & art by Andrez Bergen.
Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth, the new novel by Andrez Bergen, published through Perfect Edge Books on July 26.
Aussie writer-artist Andrez Bergen has just published a new book and a graphic novel, and launched a monthly comic book series. So why does he feel like he’s gone full circle — and how can that be part of his game-plan?
Andrez Bergen writes,
You know, there are moments when I feel like I’ve gone full circle.
Not all the time, I swear, but over the past week or so I’ve had ample opportunity to mull the concept, since I just released a graphic novel titled Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat — based on my 2011 novel of the same name.
Three years on I’m hawking this four-word noir/dystopia beastie. Again. Admittedly this time with images as well as typeface.
But there are differences aside from artwork.
Key plot-points have been added into the new graphic novel that weren’t in the original book, making this tome a stand-alone affair that works by focusing more on support characters rather than only our protagonist Floyd Maquina.
And by returning to this world I’m not trying to pull a George Lucas. Floyd doesn’t blunt his punches or shoot second. If anything, this time round his character lilts a little.
Between the publication of the original novel in 2011 and the release of this baby on August 17, I’ve published three other novels, along with several short stories, an ongoing comic book series (Bullet Gal), and a quarterly comic anthology that I do with artist Matt Kyme (Tales to Admonish).
And all of these relate.
There are undercurrents, asides, locales that often twist on an oily dime between digital cities like Heropa — set up on the shady, government-run idInteract network, and key to Bullet Gal as well as novels Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? and Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth — and “real” near-future, last-city-on-earth Melbourne.
While each title is a stand-alone construct, people and places trade up. Hylax CEO Wolram E. Deaps is villain in one book, anti-hero in another. Characters flit through the text and pictures of companion titles.
There’s a riff — only a sentence, really — in my latest novel Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth, published last month, which refers to a scene in my first book. Blink and you’d miss it.
It’s the same with the new Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat.
But the thing is, you don’t have to read the original novel or the intervening ones to dive straight into this project. You can buck the world building that’s gone on beforehand and begin afresh.
In that case, maybe I should here be pimping the pictures — conjured up by me and my eight-year-old daughter Cocoa — which, so far as I’m concerned, have been heavily influenced by such diverse things as comic artists Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Jim Steranko, David Aja, Steve Epting, Sean Phillips, Frank Miller, Ben Templesmith and Barry Windsor Smith, along with Dr. Seuss, Terry Gilliam, a childhood love of cut-and-pasting, and the Dada aesthetic of ‘found’ cut-ups.
Even so, I can’t shake that feeling of going full-circle.
But who says that’s (always) a bad thing?
Andrez Bergen is an Australian writer/artist/musician based in Tokyo.
Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat (the graphic novel) and Bullet Gal are available from IF? Commix. Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth is available through Perfect Edge Books.
Cannibalizing A Tobacco-Stained Groove