Category Archives: comics

I’m Interviewed by Mark Ramsden

SMC

Ace transgressive fiction  writer Mark Ramsden has some nice things to say about my writing and then we have a little natter:

‘In the mid 20th century there were light-hearted crime novels about decent chaps with a taste for adventure. The Saint. The Toff. Perhaps, like Paul Temple, they had a cockney manservant and lived in Mayfair. Mr Brazill’s comedic capers are generally set somewhere less salubrious. Perhaps a grim seaside town, where laconic losers drink super strength lager, which might be stored in their pockets for later – not much later at all.

Instead of a search for the Maltese Falcon a vile gangster wants to know which of his girls are offering, against his wishes, a ‘full service’.
The one liners come thick and fast. ‘”I’m as honest as the day is long”. If you live in Iceland.’
‘The silence dragged like a BNP voter’s knuckles.’
There’s nifty descriptions: ‘He had salt and pepper hair that erred on the side of Saxa, and his face had that scrubbed-by-a-Brillo Pad look favoured by football mangers like Sir Alex Ferguson.’
It’s realistically sleazy and gritty but with enough humour so you don’t need to drown your sorrows – unlike Paul’s protagonists.
Like his Too Many Crooks there’s a sly metafictional flavour but it’s gentle and playful. It won’t strip the enamel off your teeth, like some of the beverages consumed herein.
In short, an original homebrew with a kick. Well worth sampling.

MR  Your earliest influence, writers you most admire? 

PB   Well, I wasn’t a book person as a kid so the first writers I noticed were comic writers like Stan Lee, Steve Gerber, and music writers like Jane Suck and Paul Morley. Monty Smith’s film stuff for the New Musical Express was essential reading. After that, the ‘grown up’ books were by Dorothy Parker, Graham Greene, Kurt Vonnegut and Elmore Leonard – the latter due to an NME article by Charles Shaar Murray.’

Read the rest here.

Examining the Hellboy Graphic Novel ‘Into the Silent Sea’ Ahead of the Upcoming Movie Release in 2018

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(Image via IndieWire)

Examining the Hellboy Graphic Novel ‘Into the Silent Sea’ Ahead of the Upcoming Movie Release in 2018

Hellboy is returning to the silver screen next year with Stranger Things actor David Harbour replacing Ron Perlman as the titular character. The film is looking to strike a new tone with the film’s screenwriter Andrew Cosby stating that the reboot will be a “darker, more gruesome” version than the previous releases.

The new film, titled: Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen, will lean much closer to the tone of the Hellboy comics. Cosby confirmed that the film’s director Neil Marshall (The Descent, Game of Thrones) wants the movie to “walk a razor’s edge between horror and comic book movie.” As the upcoming film will be closer to the comic book version of the character, we look at the Hellboy graphic novel Into the Silent Sea released earlier this year.

Into the Silent Sea is a Hellboy original comic co-written by Hellboy creator Mike Mignolia, co-written and illustrated by Gary Gianni, and coloured by Dave Steward. The graphic novel is a direct sequel to Mike Mignolia’s 2005 two issue mini series Hellboy: The Island. Into the Silent Sea follows Hellboy after he has set sail from the deserted island. After escaping the island Hellboy runs into a ghost ship, and is taken prisoner by a mysterious phantom crew.

Speaking to Dark Horse before the graphic novel’s release, Gary Gianni described Into the Silent Sea as “Hellboy’s greatest adventure”. Gianni has illustrated work for George R. R. Martin, Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, and Michael Chabon. He also created the Monstermen series, which was a back-up feature in Hellboy. He calls Into the Silent Sea “the biggest comic event of the year”.

Mike Mignolia debuted Hellboy in 1993 and the character has become a cult favourite due to its Lovecraftian horror and ironic humour. In an interview with Nerdist this year, Mignolia explained that part of Hellboy’s success was due to releasing the stories as a mini-series or graphic novel, rather than the tradition monthly comic book model. “One of the things I really think I did differently to other things out there was to tell short stories. Almost half of the Hellboy stuff – some of the better Hellboy stuff – are these eight or 12 page stories.”

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The format has clearly worked, as Hellboy is one of the most successful comic book characters outside DC and Marvel. In preparation for the movie remake, Dark Horse formed a partnership with DC Comics in order for Hellboy to be included in the highly-acclaimed video game, Injustice 2, which includes some of the most popular superheroes of the DC Universe. Hellboy’s parent company also signed a deal with online entertainment firm Slingo to release the Hellboy slot game on its platform that uses the Hellboy from the comics rather than the screen. Hellboy is a casual game that uses themes and characters based on the iconic Dark Horse character. The two partnerships with entertainment companies is a clear sign of how popular both the comic book and screen version of the character is with audiences.

The Hellboy remake will star David Harbour as Hellboy, and Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil) as the film’s antagonist, The Blood Queen. The film is expected to be released at the end of 2018. Fans who are waiting for the film should make sure they keep up with the latest adventure of the character in Into the Silent Sea.

Short, Sharp Interview: Andrez Bergen

bullet galPDB: What’s going on now?

What’s not going on now is p’raps a better question, particularly overseas! In my own walled-up ballpark here in Tokyo my daughter is about to compete in her first ballet competition at age nine, while I’m set to release the 12-issue trade paperback of my noir comic book ‘Bullet Gal’ via Under Belly Comics in North America, just started a new noir series called ‘Trista & Holt’ (a ’70s crime-oriented revamp of Tristan and Iseult) via IF? Commix in Australia, and I’m working on my next novel ‘The Mercury Drinkers’.

 

PDB: How did you research this book?

‘Bullet Gal’ is my kiss-off homage to film noir and hardboiled literature of the 1930s and ’40s, mostly related to Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett —thrown in with the off-beat science fiction of Philip K. Dick and artistic sensibilities of Dada and Terry Gilliam. So, the research? Growing up with this stuff, along with comic book art from Jim Steranko, Will Eisner and Jack Kirby.

PDB: Which of your publications are you most proud of?

Jeez, that’s a toughie—they all have their moment in the sun depending upon the mood I’m in. But I think I’d swing with my second novel ‘One Hundred Years of Vicissitude’ (2012). There’s something there that I just really love.

PDB: What’s your favourite film/ book/ song/ television programme?

Fave film bounces between ‘The Maltese Falcon’ and ‘The Big Sleep’. Book-wise I’d best cite ‘The Maltese Falcon’ as I’ve read it thirty-odd times. Song? Easy—Ary Barroso’s ‘Brazil’. TV programme is tough. Let’s go with ‘Black Adder II’ for now.

PDB: Is location important to your writing?

Yeah, I think so—most of my stuff is set in my hometown Melbourne, even though I’ve lived in Tokyo going on for 14 years.

PDB: How often do you check your Amazon rankings?

Ha Ha Ha… shhh! Every now and then. Not to often, I swear!

PDB: What’s next?

Focusing on ‘Trista & Holt’ (I just finished #5, and I think the arc will be about 12 issues) along with the new novel, and working with Matt Kyme and a bunch of artists on our next ‘Tales to Admonish’ anthology. Otherwise applauding Cocoa at her ballet performance!

Tobacco -Stained Mountain Goat by Andrez BergenBio: ANDREZ BERGEN is an expat Australian author, journalist, DJ, comic book artist, and ad hoc saké connoisseur who’s been entrenched in Tokyo, Japan, for the past 14 years.

He makes music as Little Nobody and previously ran groundbreaking Melbourne record label IF? for over a decade, before setting up IF? Commix in 2013 in collusion with Matt Kyme.

The duo do a comic book together titled Tales to Admonish.

Bergen has also written for newspapers such as The Age and the Yomiuri Shinbun, as well as magazines like Mixmag, Anime Insider, Australian Style, Remix, Impact, 3D World and Geek Magazine.

He’s published four novels: The noir/sci-fi novel Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat (2011), surreal slipstream/fantasy One Hundred Years of Vicissitude (2012), comic book, noir and pulp homage Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? (2013) and the gothic-noir mystery Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth (2014).

Bergen is current working on novel #5 (The Mercury Drinkers).

In 2014 he unveiled his first graphic novel, a 144-page adaptation of Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat that Bergen both wrote and illustrated, along with the monthly comic book series Bullet Gal.

In 2015, all 12 issues of Bullet Gal have been collected together as a 348-page trade paperback, and he’s started a brand new series called Trista & Holt.

He’s further published short stories and sequential yarns through Crime Factory, Shotgun Honey, Snubnose Press, Solarcide, Weird Noir, Big Pulp, 8th Wonder Press and All Due Respect, and worked on translating and adapting the scripts for feature films by Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell), Kazuchika Kise and Naoyoshi Shiotani, for Production I.G.