Over the past three months I’ve rammed through Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s entire run on Captain America, their superb reconstruction of the birth of Marvel heroes in the ’40s (The Marvels Project) and the duo’s recent work on espionage thriller Velvet.
I also rifled through issues one to twenty of Brubaker’s horror-noir Fatale with artist Sean Phillips, all of Matt Fraction’s insanely cool take on Hawkeye with artists David Aja, Annie Wu and Francesco Francavilla, and other recent comics like Black Science, Red Sonja, From Above, New Avengers, and Day Men.
Along the way I backpedalled into classic stuff like The Spirit by Will Eisner, Miss Fury by Tarpé Mills, the Jim Steranko run on Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., Kazuo Umezu’s Orochi Blood, Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s V for Vendetta, Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaä, and Hergé’s Tintin.
I also stumbled once more into the fairly hilarious (and dated) Avengers comics from the mid 1960s by Stan Lee with Don Heck and Dick Ayers — I mean, in #25 alone Wanda (the Scarlet Witch) has a crush on Captain America. Hawkeye is jealous and calls Cap an over-aged square. Pietro (Quicksilver) is kind of like background wallpaper. And Hawkeye then defeats Doc Doom with a “Sneeze-Smog Arrow”. Of course. The Fantastic Four from the same period (by Lee with Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott) has aged far more gracefully.
Meanwhile, book-wise, I was being buffeted by Jedediah Berry’s The Manual of Detection; a hundredth reread of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, and way too many Dr. Seuss tomes to count (with my daughter Cocoa).
Thing is, at the same time, I’ve been making my own comic books with artist Matt Kyme (our Tales to Admonish series), assembling an anthology of sequential art noir by a bunch of other artists (the Black/White project we just released), and finishing up my fourth novel.
That’s titled Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth, will be published mid-year via Perfect Edge Books, and is no doubt subliminally influenced by all of these things (above) along with nudges and winks at three of my favourite comic book artists (Kirby, Mills and Steve Ditko) and a whole wealth of 1980s post-punk/goth music. The cover painting, by French artist Kmye Chan, was chosen as much because of its references to manga and gothdom as it was for the likeness to the art of Ditko.
I think my head is a bit of a mess, but messiness has its good points since you’re not exactly thinking straight, and creativity bounces off at right angles.
Which brings me back (in black?) to Black/White, that comic book anthology I mentioned, which captures the mind-bending artwork of guys from the UK (Andrew Chiu), the USA (Nathan St. John), Canada (Drezz Rodriguez, Michael Grills) and Argentina (Marcos Vergara) — messing with my hack words.
It’s the art that speaks volumes here.
Their focus? Noir, tongue firmly in cheek on some occasions; withheld in others. Set in a near-future Melbourne, these yarns veer into the territory of crime, graf, femmes fatales, assisted suicide and post-apocalyptic dystopia — and that’s just for starters.
Black/White is being published by our indie Aussie comic book house IF? Commix in March 2014, with the digital version available already to pre-order online — for just $1 — at the website: iffybizness.weebly.com
Bio: ANDREZ BERGEN :
AUTHOR PROFILE @ AMAZON
Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat / Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? / Tales to Admonish
MUZAK as Little Nobody and Funk Gadget
Senior Writer/Editor @ Impact magazine (UK)
Writer/Editor @ Anime Update / Gaijinpot / JapaneseCultureGoNow! / Yomiuri Shimbun
Comics @ IF? Commix