It’s a loving homage to hard-boiled noir: the detective fiction and pulp produced in the first half of the 20th Century by writers Raymond Chandler, Mickey Spillane and Dashiell Hammet. An author himself of 4 published novels as well as a graphic novel and comic book anthology series, Andrez Bergen wears the stain with pride.
But he also covets his sci-fi/dystopia-veering from The Matrix to Blade Runner, Inception to Ghost in the Shell and the Bullet Gal comic embraces these inspirations too. Thirdly, there’s the visual aesthetic. Bergen, a long-established artist with music video clips, photo exhibitions, sequential art shorts and that graphic novel on his resume, pushes the illustrated perimeters here.
Taking cue from innovators like Marcel Duchamp and William Burrough’s cut-ups. “found” art, and collages, Bergen further cites the witty photo-montage work of Terry Gilliam. The imagery used for Bullet Gal falls under various categories: the creator’s own photos, fair use of public domain, advertising imagery, alteration of existing imagery, a heavy element of home, digital iconoclasm, and original art.
Think a newfangled exercise in media manipulation and experimentation that even so remembers the tale being told while also catching the imagination of reviewers and fans who have been privy to this developing foray into new comic book storytelling.
Therefore case your imagination.
This is a vast, homogenized city patrolled by heroes and populated by adoring masses as well as a dark criminal undercurrent. A pulp fiction fortress of solitude for crime-fighting team the Crime Crusaders Crew, led by Major Patriot, a lifetime away from the rain-drenched, dystopic metropolis of Melbourne.
Into this old school metropolis enters 17 year old Mitzi, bundled up in the passenger seat of a World War 2 ear, canvas backed lorry. In her duffel bag she has a couple of paperbacks, a brown beret, a few bunched up pairs of black tights, undies, socks, two bras, and a cardigan with a hole in the elbow. Also twin polished nickel 9mm Star Model B pistols, with a mother-of-peril handgrip.
Hoping she looked like 5’10” of man-eating, gut-crunching terror. Mitzi has it in her to fight for truth, justice, and her fair share of strong espressos…
Yet this simple mission is compromised by love, deception and vendettas aplenty.
In its short life to this point, beginning as a limited-edition monthly comic in Australia only in August 2014, Bullet Gal has received international critical acclaim. The series has been compared with Frank Miller’s Sin City and Ed Brubaker’s Velvet, the heroine labelled a female Jason Bourne.
Author and artists Andrez Bergen had already finished the series, a 12 issue arec set to conclude in June 2015, so Under Belly got in early, bundling together all 12 issues, some of them as yet unpublished, and complied the lot together for this exclusive collection. Also included are author notes and insights, guest illustrations from other artists, the original covers in full color, plus the added attraction of a gorgeous special collected volume cover painting by Niagara Detroit.
Most important is the grandiose story that fills out these pages: a series that is oh-so heavily noir, has it’s fair share of drama, tragedy, mirth, and the bizarre, snappy dialogue, and characters you will never easily forget.
Under Belly is proud to be able to work with Andrez Bergen and IF? Commix in Australia to present this groundbreaking series to the international audience it deserves.
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To contribute to this kickstarter campaign and help make this Bullet Gal collection become a reality please go here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/underbelly/bullet-gal