"Bullet Gal is unlike any other
comic book you're likely to read."
"Stunningly crafted... Bullet Gal's mesmerizing
blend of noir crime caper
and wry sci-fi punk is utterly sublime."
PAUL BOWLER @ SCI-FI JUBILEE
"Writer/artist Andrez Bergen has been having a lot of fun with this series as well as with the artistic style of it all..."
DAN LEICHT @ ALL-COMIC
DAN LEICHT @ ALL-COMIC
ANDREZ YACKS WITH DAN LEICHT @ ALL-COMIC RE: TRISTA & HOLT AND BULLET GAL HERE!
BULLET GAL #10
This issue of Bullet Gal follows another side character as they view and contribute to the main story as it unfolds. This time, it’s a minor superhero who can shrink down to the size of an ant. Sound familiar? Well, not quite. You see, in Heropa, you’re only allowed one power. So, once our hero, Little Nobody, shrinks himself down, he can’t control an army of ants or anything like that. Upon his first use of this power, he quickly discovers that his main enemies aren’t criminals or supervillains, but shoes and stairs.
This is a fun issue that explores some of the hidden implications of having Ant-Man powers: what they might be good for and what it must be like to use them. It’s also got creator Andrez Bergen’s trademark self-referential humor. In addition to being a character who’s spoken of but never seen in Bergen’s novel, Who Is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?, Little Nobody is also the name Bergen uses as a musician and DJ. Well, one of the names he uses, but that’s a whole other Easter Egg. Little things like this are part of what makes Bergen’s work so much fun to read.
It also helps that he tells a good story. The Bullet Gal saga is drawing to a close in just a couple more issues (In fact, I’ve already reviewed the completed trade paperback.), but it’s been a wild ride since the beginning, and Bergen always manages to keep it fresh and compelling. And, issues like this are a good example of how.
This issue also features a brief explanation of how Bergen does the unique artwork for the comic, and what inspired him to do it this way. It’s a style he’s also made use of in his graphic novel, Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat, as well as his latest comic series, Trista & Holt, so getting a glimpse at the process and backstory is rather interesting.
If you’ve been keeping track of the Bullet Gal story from the beginning, then you should definitely check out this issue. If you haven’t been reading since the beginning, at this point, it’s probably better just to buy the full, collected volume. You won’t be disappointed.
SCI-FI JUBILEE REVIEW
Following the release of the Bullet Gal trade paperback, issue #10 of the 12-issue Bullet Gal arc by Andrez Bergen continues, and will be available digitally and exclusively published in comic book form in Australia. This month Bullet Gal #10 introduces another great character to this IF? Commix series, a new recruit called Little Nobody, who has been given an urgent mission by Major Patriot to find Mitzi’s would-be-killer. However, as Little Nobody quickly discovers, life as a superhero is fraught with oddball dangers and uncannily perilous situations – especially when you are an ant sized newcomer faced with an insanely gigantic world…
After last issues innovatively silent take on Mitzi’s adventures, Bullet Gal #10 brings us the debut of Heropa’s newest hero, the diminutive Little Nobody. This latest issue of the IF? Commix book prequel series from Australian author Andrez Bergen, writer of the acclaimed noir-themed superhero detective novel Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa, IF? Commix series Tales to Admonish, Trista & Holt, the graphic novel Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat, and his new novel Depth Charging Planet Goth, brings us his most quirky and off-the-wall adventure yet in Bullet Gal #10 – available May 1st 2015 digitally and in print mediums by Australia publisher IF? Commix.
Right from the get-go Bullet Gal #10 miniaturises us down to pavement level were Little Nobody is facing the thunderous challenge – and snapping mandibles – of a marauding ant. The flashback which follows quickly brings us up to speed, as we learn more about Little Nobody while he’s hanging out with his friends at the Teen Crusaders HQ, before a surprise call from Major Patriot gives our super-hero newbie the chance he’s been waiting for.
With his mission briefing providing only scant clues: the photograph of a beautiful woman, a scribbled pseudonym, and the address for Ray-Man Studios, Little Nobody is ready to set off. Andrez Bergen playfully eschews the characters similarities with Ant Man. Although Little Nobody obviously has the ability to reduce to tiny size, he’s certainly no Hank Pym, he can’t control insects as the antenna on his helmet are purely for show, and even his snazzy looking utility belt holds little more than a few chocolate snack bars. So, when the journey begins Little Nobody soon discovers how everything suddenly feels very small once the world becomes instantly vast and immense around him. The characters inexperience and the haphazard nature of his first mission are what really defines this issue, a simple trip across the city becomes a dangerous urban safari viewed from Little Nobody’s miniaturised perspective, and it is these qualities that make his adventure so engaging and fun.
As the writer and artist of this IF? Commix series, Andrez Bergen has constantly pushed the boundaries of storytelling and art with Bullet Gal, and this issue really highlights Bergen’s ability to fuse story and art in new and refreshing ways. Andrez Bergen’s art blends seamlessly with the clever amalgamations of photomontages and digitally enhanced black and white images, while the distinct noir-infused style of previous issues is defused somewhat, this issue boldly establishes a kinetically refined identity and pace all its own that ingeniously expands the scope of the Bullet Gal series as Little Nobody embarks upon his mission.
The perils and pitfalls of Little Nobody’s journey provide a startling insight into this miniature world. A series of stylish montages and uncanny perspectives catalogue events: from the spinning record that divulges how Little Nobody chose his unusual moniker, we follow his unique trek across Heropa almost as if we were waving a magnifying glass over the page, as scenes shift from the bizarre, to the horrible, and the even pleasantly unexpected. Little Nobody’s battle with the ant is actually quiet unnerving, the latter stages of the mission prove less fraught, and the secret meeting deftly spliced with its allusions towards The Seventh Seal is utterly sublime.
Fortunately the ant would much rather munch on something sweet and chocolaty than the wannabe Cape that’s currently trying to kick its ass; and our tiny hero is soon able to escape from his six legged friend and move on. Little Nobody still has to endure the indignity of being scooped up by a kid with a bug catching net before finally reaching his destination, a death defying acrobatic feat in itself, achieved via the hat of an unsuspecting officer of the law and a billowing line of laundry. After eavesdropping on a clandestine meeting its time to contact Major Patriot, however, finding a telephone to relay what he’s discovered soon proves to be another tall order for Little Nobody to accomplish – it’s a small world after all…
Little Nobody’s adventure in Bullet Gal #10 provides an extraordinary and fresh slant on the events following the attempt on Mizi’s life, it introduces us to a brand new hero, and takes the series in an entirely unexpected direction. Bullet Gal #10 is about as clear a homage to the writers and artists of yesteryear that Andrez Bergen has ever done in any of his works, his admiration for this halcyon era of comics shines though on every page, and this issues somewhat lighter, more off-beat tone, makes it a delight to read.
Along with the release of Bullet Gal #10 in May there’s also latest issue of Bergen’s new IF? Commix 70’s crime series, Trista & Holt #3, to look out for, and the new Bullet Gal trade paperback edition: It’s not you it’s me, which collects the entire 12 issue series, is also available now from IF? And Under Belly Comics. Bullet Gal #10 is another terrific issue in this IF? Commix series. Andrez Bergen raises the bar yet again with this pint-sized Die Hard mash-up with Tales To Astonish. With its hyper-stylish art and visuals, great characters, and strong plots, Bullet Gal is a series that continues to exceed all expectations. Little Nobody may be small but his fun personality is larger than life. His mission turns out to be one of this IF? Commix series’ most unexpected highlights and Little Nobody’s witty observations ensures a wry smile or two will also be had along the way.
This issue of Bullet Gal is another sidetrack from the main story. Previously, series creator Andrez Bergen did this in Issue #5 to give us the origin of Brigit, the murderous French femme fatale. This time, it’s to give us the origin of Heropa, the city where they all live—or are programmed into.
Yes, Heropa is a computer simulation, existing in the world of Bergen’s first novel, Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat. And, the creator of this simulation? None other than Lee, the duplicating superhero who is both Bullet Gal’s former mentor and current mentor.
The story of Heropa unfolds as the story of Lee, a man living in a dystopian Melbourne, but who has a love of Japan, as well as of Silver Age comic books. One can only speculate as to how Andrez Bergen came up with a character like that.
The story is great. Much as I love the ongoing Bullet Gal story, I think that the two tangent issues are my favorites so far. Of course, while they deviate from the ongoing sequence of events, they’re still very much a part of the story. They shed more light on the characters and the world that we’ve come to know, and they do it in an interesting way.
The visuals are also particularly good in this issue. It’s done in the same digital photo montage style as the previous issues that gives it a gritty, noirish feel. This issue depicts a completely different world, though. As such, it adds the dystopian future element, including a use of color similar to Bergen’s Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat graphic novel.
Those who have read Bergen’s novel, Who Is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?, will be particularly interested to get the city’s backstory in this issue. Those who haven’t read it will still enjoy the dystopian story of love and tragedy that’s presented in Bullet Gal #7.
Bullet Gal #7 is available in both digital and print forms from IF? Commix.
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word serendipity as follows: noun., the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way; a fortunate stroke of serendipity [count noun]: a series of small serendipities.
Eighteen months ago I was assigned a book review. I had never done more than a blurb comment about a book on a site before so this was something I was extremely apprehensive about but also couldn’t wait to start. I had never heard of the writer, Andrez Bergen, but his own description of the book intrigued me. Bergen said of his work, Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?:
“A vast, homogenized city patrolled by heroes and populated by adoring masses. A pulp fiction fortress of solitude for crime-fighting team the Equalizers, led by new recruit Southern Cross – a lifetime away from the rain-drenched, dystopic metropolis of Melbourne. Who, then, is killing the great Capes of Heropa? In this paired homage to detective noir from the 1940s and the ’60s Marvel age of trail-blazing comic books”.
He had me at ’60s Marvel Comics, but I wasn’t sure how he was going to weave in ’40s detective noir. Not very many pages into the book the ‘how’ became clear. This book was just the beginning of the story of Heropa and her denizens, or was it?
The ‘small serendipities’ of finding Bergen’s work through chance assignment and our common interests resulted in my meeting a writer who I find both inspirational in his work, and prolific in his work ethic. I have since read all of his work which includes novels like Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth, graphic novels like The Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat, and comic books like Bullet Gal.
Without any spoilers, I can tell you that through Bergen’s writing we meet many interesting characters in Heropa. Some of them come to a tragic end, as you might assume from the title of the novel that started it all. In Bullet Gal #7 Bergen changes the whole game. From the beginning I wondered why Heropa was such a strange amalgam of times, places and events. Bergen gives us something in Bullet Gal #7 that fans of other mediums, for example television’s Lost, never get… answers.
This seventh of twelve planned issues begins the story of how Heropa came to exist. As I started to read the story I thought Bergen was telling an autobiographical story of how the setting was created in his mind. Even after I finished reading it I still think there is some of the real Bergen in the story. I think that kind of honesty and internal connection is necessary for a work to feel real. As always the writing style that Bergen uses is simple dialog. He speaks directly to you, drawing you into his world. His characters aren’t overly developed leaving the reader with plenty of mystery, but still enough to connect with them and actually care what happens to them.
Bergen uses a style of sequential art that is pretty unique. He combines pre-generated art, photographs and original art to create a canvas that can almost tell the story without the words. It’s dark and gritty and sometimes even confusing, but in a way that makes you want more. If you love Bergen’s stories about Heropa as much as I do then more is exactly what you want. I have great news for you!
Not only will Bergen release five more issues of Bullet Gal, he has successfully completed his second Kickstarter campaign which will fund the collection of all twelve issues into a massive graphic novel. Bullet Gal #7 will be available later this month. You can download it and other individual issues of Bullet Gal as well as other Bergen comics at the If? Commix website for just $1, or paper versions for $5. Don’t forget to order your copy of Bullet Gal: The Complete 12-Issue Collection while you’re there.
The latest issue of Bullet Gal is out this month with #7: Once upon a time…Heropa. It’s so kind of Mr. Bergen to take you on a nice safe trip with his story. He takes you down a trail were you start to feel comfortable with where he is leading you, that’s when you feel the first few bumps in the road that make you start to question how safe you really are.
One of these major bumps happens in issue #6 were Andrez throws out a clue to his world, and not a little clue, but full on blows to the head from Mjölnir. How does one of Lee’s clones, sitting in a bar getting drunk, just blurt out “HAVEN’T YOU NOTICED HOW SOME THINGS HERE SEEM…NOT QUITE RIGHT? PIXELATED, ALMOST, UNCLEAR AND UNFINISHED? LIKE SOME PARTS ARE TOO GLORIOUSLY DETAILED, OTHERS RUSHED AND AMATEURISH?”…“PEOPLE RESEMBLING OTHERS YOU KNOW FROM EITHER TV OR MOVIES, PULP NOVEL COVERS, OR EVEN STUPID ADVERTISING…HEROPA IS ADIGITAL WORLD, MITZI. A CONSTRUCT. FAKE-ANDBAKE IF YOU WANT TO PUT IT THAT WAY.”
Wait, this is all taking place in a virtual world?
When he makes that statement it changes the whole dynamic of the story. I know what you’re thinking. “Well of course it does dummy they are living in a computer!”
No, what I’m saying is that it changes everything from the story to the art for the reader. Now Andrez’s beautiful stylized art of famous movie stars, cityscapes, and old cars are not just for telling the story, they are the story. When you see a panel with Marilyn Monroe, or Al Pacino, you’re no longer seeing an image you think the author is using to represent the script, but instead you’re looking at the script. At the story! He has created a book where the fourth wall is nonexistence and you feel as if you’re standing inside the story with Bergen standing next to you smiling.
But once again that big bump comes and we are off on another trail. With issue #7 we are taken from the storyline and lead into another inside Andrez brain where he reveals the man behind the curtain. In this issue, more than any other, you can feel the hand of the author guide this story and leave a little of himself on the pages; as we are taken, supposedly, into the “real” life of the person who has created Heropa and given the background of why he did it. It seems in this future Melbourne is the last major city left, and the creator of the dystopian city of Heropa spends his time building virtual training programs, loving the lost culture of Japan, reading golden age comics and creating, in secret, his fantasy world. He was married once, to his true love, but like the rest of the world she died. But unlike everything else he could not give her up, so instead of letting her go he uploaded everything about her into the program. In a freak accident the server in which he created Heropa and placed his wife crashed, and he lost her again. This time he would go find her!
These are amazing books by Andrez Bergen both in storytelling and art design. I cannot preach enough that if you are looking for a great independent creator to read than these are the books. You can find them for sale at the IF? Commix web site for $5 for printed copy or digitally for $1. Also, at the end of March you can find the entire 12 issue collection published by Under Belly Comics.
Plus if you are craving more Bullet Gal or Heropa stories then I suggest checking out the novels Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth and Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?, both by Bergen.
--Tim @ ReGeeken
"Reveling in the noirish voice that series creator Andrez Bergen both loves and excels at."
"These are amazing books by Andrez Bergen, both in storytelling and art design. I cannot preach enough that if you are looking for a great independent creator to read then these are the books."
BULLET GAL #11
"Bullet Gal has been a great story, but it's not over yet! So check out this issue and prepare yourself for #12!"
BULLET GAL #12
Meanwhile, back at the press conference…
“I don’t get it! Where are Big Game Hunter… and Major Patriot??And isn’t that Milkcrate Man on the podium?? What’s he still doing here??”
Get out of here Milkcrate Man!
Writer/artist Andrez Bergen returns to Heropa for one last Bullet Gal story, and this time he pulls out some of his best work on the series yet!
This story has been centered around the idea of superheroes, but with a constant noir vibe. This issue, Bergen crawls even deeper into the narrative that creates a good noir story. “Went that afternoon to seek out Brigit and kill the cow, but found only a sweetheart reading a romance novel with an outrageous French accent and a dog on her lap. No memory of bullets or ballistics.” The image featuring this quote takes up the entire page, and shows the girl described. Bergen takes to the edges to feature the short narrative, using cursive to bring a sophisticated style to the elegant image, the words themselves presenting a danger to the otherwise peaceful scene – which depicts a girl we all know might not be too peaceful…
With Heropa “reset” there’s a lot of unrest in the city. What are all the villains up to? What about the heroes? Well, Owl seems to have a certain take on this, which showcases some of Bergen;s more comedic writing, “Heropa is set to become more sanitized than if an overzealous toilet cleaner were at large. We need pizzazz.” A line like this also seems to resemble another character, could see Nicholson’s Joker saying something like this, as Bergen continues to give each character of his a different take on the world.
The overall artwork in this issue follows Bergen’s usual noir style that features various images from pop culture as well as art from Bergen himself, but it’s clear he’s learned a few tricks during his time spent with this story. The pages in this issue are loaded with creativity and, if you look closely, some of your favorite stars. Following the scene/artwork previously mentioned are a few more pages of the text style – cursive, but this time they’re weaving around different panels, along with the words “THE END IS NEAR!!!!!!!”, which just sounds heartwarming. Something Bergen also does this issue is bring color into the mix, which he has been rarely using (the bright yellow lightning bolt seen at the news conference stands out and emphasizes the importance of the meeting).
Bullet Gal #12 wraps up the story of Heropa and Mitzi as she puts her guns away to live a simpler life and “live a little”, but that doesn’t seem too likely… does it?
Hey… Milkcrate Man! Thought I told you to get out of here!
"I was stunned by the turn of events and found myself getting more excited to see where the story is going next. Andrez Bergen is phenomenal at his job, since apparently his job is to keep me on the edge of my seat..."