The Oxford Dictionary defines the word serendipity as follows;
Definition of serendipity in English:
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.