Wednesday, 9 April 2014

DEPTH CHARGING THE TOBACCO-STAINED MOUNTAIN GOAT

By Andrez Bergen

I have two things I'd like to run by you today, and first up I'd like to thank the remarkably supportive Tony Black for the opportunity to do so.

Fittingly, I guess, both projects relate to pulp. And noir. But they also brush up against elements of dystopia, science fiction, horror and the hardboiled. One is set in the past (1986) while the other takes place in a relatively near future.

First up? Let's talk Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat.

Yes, this novel — heavily influenced by Raymond Chandler, Philip K. Dick and Dashiell Hammett — was previously published, in 2011, but I'm doing a George Lucas in grabbing the thing by the scruff of its sepia-brown cover to reboot and rejig much of it... from a visual perspective.

Having run IF? Commix with Matt Kyme over the past six months, and with a few comic book short yarns under the belt, I've decided to tackle my first book head-on as a graphic novel, for which I'm also doing the artwork and rejigging the story/dialogue, plus inserting some plot extras.

And I'm actually rather over-excited about the thing.

I'm doing this the same way I write my novels, short stories, and music — on the fly, with a vague idea of short-term planning that's flexible and bends at every turn.

Like my music, I'm also able here to better pursue the Dadaist ideas of "found" objects and the collage — along with William Burroughs', Brion Gysin's and Cabaret Voltaire's suggestions of cut-ups — to create some kind of original comic book art: Slap-happy painting and inks along with said wayward cut-ups and collages, an underlying sense of humour and silly surreal moments.

I mean, one of my favourite pieces of "art" still remains Marcel Duchamp's Fountain (1917) and I've always loved the sense of mischief as well as iconoclasm and inventiveness that applied in Dada.

I also dig my DalĂ­, and have been mad about comic book artwork since I first started turning pages.

I grew up at the altar of Jack Kirby, along with Jim Steranko, Will Eisner, Joe Kubert, John Buscema and Barry Windsor-Smith. More recently — here read over the past 30 years — Frank Miller, Steve Epting, Matt Kyme, David Lloyd, Sean Phillips, Walter Geovani, Matteo Scalera and David Aja have joined these people. Writers? Eisner, Miller, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Rick Remender, Stan Lee and Roy Thomas.

To fund this project (printing of a -colour, full gloss, 130+ page tome is pricey) I've also decided to test the waters of the Kickstarter enigma, running a campaign till the May 23rd. We've had fantastic support already, and received over half said funding in pledges from some brilliant people — but further support to get us over the finishing line would never go astray.


Second up, before I lose your interest, is my next novel.

It's titled Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth (yes, I do like my long-winded epithets) and we now have finished artwork and a publication date — July 25th.

I'm working again with Perfect Edge Books in the UK, and this time around it's something close to my heart that reflects a particular time and place (the Melbourne gothic/post-punk scene in the 1980s) and yet also embraces much, much more.

Encapsulated within the story are studies of the human condition, domestic abuse, coming-of-age under duress, self-identity, murder and heroism — soundtracked by music from the '80s.

It's also a leftfield detective/crime story with a touch of surrealism and should appeal to pulp and comic book fans as well. Since I'm a major fan of all these things, they definitely infiltrate my work.

You can find out a wee bit more here:
http://depthchargingiceplanetgoth.weebly.com/

Anyway, I've had my "me" time here and you're probably exhausted, so I'll try not to overstay the welcome mat Tony lobbed my way.
Cheers!

:: Visit Andrez Bergen on Amazon