Creator short profile:
– Name: Andrez Bergen.
– Location: Tokyo, Japan (from Melbourne, Australia).
– Creative style: Writer, Musician, DJ, Artist, Photographer & Journalist.
– Bragging rights (Featured work/collaborations): I sent Stan Lee my original character design for an Australian superhero (Southern Cross, which I’d been tweaking since school) in 1987 and he wrote back to say he loved the idea, but, sadly, the editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics at the time was not also enamored. – Published two novels, one of which went to #1 in the fantasy books section of Amazon in January this year. – Worked on the English translation for ‘Assault Girls’ (2009), a live-action movie by Mamoru Oshii (‘Ghost in the Shell’).- Music has been remixed by respected techno producers like James Ruskin, Si Begg, Dave Angel, Blake Baxter & Aux 88.- Worked with 25 different artists to create images for novel #3, from Australia, Japan, Chile, Spain, Argentina, the USA, the UK, Canada, Mexico and the Philippines.
– What are your goals as a creator?: Always to push the envelope, open up the perimeters, and stretch the imagination regardless of the medium. While creativity and bloody-mindedness are essential, equally vital is a sense of humor to hold all this together.
– If you could have any power from a Comic character, what would it be/why?: I’d probably go for Wolverine’s healing factor. If you look at Wolverine in comic books, he’s been on death’s door dozens of times, yet always recovers. I know it’s not the most realistic mojo to have, but I’d like to avoid quack doctors where possible.
– Where there any defining moments in your life that have influenced your creative style?: As a primary school kid, the discovery of my older half-brother’s mid to late ’60s Marvel Comics stash in a shed in my grandparents’ backyard in Melbourne. He had classic issues like Avengers #21 & 22 (written by Stan Lee, penciled by Don Heck), Fantastic Four #25 & 27 (Lee with Jack Kirby), and Silver Surfer #4 (Lee with John & Sal Buscema). Discovering 1960s Marvel and following up with bronze age stuff from the 1970s and early ’80s, completely changed the way in which I approached story writing and imagined yarns.- Getting that letter from Stan Lee in the mid ’80s in answer to my Aussie superhero pitch.- Moving to Tokyo in 2001. What a head-spin that was — I’m still in thrall 12 years later.- The birth of my daughter Cocoa in 2005. It’s been a fascinating ride, one that’s definitely seeped into my writing (the six-year-old in One Hundfed Years of Vicissitude is modeled in some ways on her). We adore her and she’s very strict about how much time I spend on the computer writing.
– Favorite Comic artist of all time/why?: Jack Kirby, principally for his style from 1964-69. With inkers like Joe Sinnott, Mike Royer, Frank Giacoia and Syd Shores (Even though a lot of people bag Syd out I love what he did with Jack on Captain America). I do like earlier Kirby and his ’70s excesses, but 1964-69 he was spot-on and I loved the way in which he did the full page pieces, futuristic machinery, gadgets, city-scapes, collages, fore-shortening and action.
– Favorite Comic writer of all time/why?: I’m torn between Stan Lee and Roy Thomas. I grew up with them, they personify that classic 1960s Marvel edge. I also dug Chis Claremont’s work with X-Men #122-137. Frank Miller knocked me out with Daredevil #181 in the early ’80s and The Dark Knight Returns that same decade. More ‘recently’ I think Kick-Ass was a hoot, so hats of to Mark Millar. In terms of manga, I’m the first to sing the praises of Katsuhiro Otomo, Masamune Shirow and Eiichiro Oda. But you know what? I’ll probably go with Hergé. I still get a kick out of Tintin, and you’ll often catch me on the loo reading one of his romps with Captain Haddock.
– If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be and why?: God, what a question! – Musically I’d love to work with the members of British industrial band Cabaret Voltaire, if we could back-track to 1979-80 when they were (to my mind) at their peak, assembling heir brilliant album ‘Voice of America’. That vinyl has never left my record box and I still adore every single moment of their tape-loops and samples. It was a huge influence on my own music.- Comic book wise I’d have to say working on a story with artist Jack Kirby, if I could grab him (and Joe Sinnott to do inks) in around 1966. Actually, Jack Kirby from any period would be brilliant, but this is wishful thinking, right? I grew up worshiping his art, mostly via old back-issues of 1960s Marvel comics like Fantastic Four, Thor, Captain America and X-Men, but also I picked up Kamandi and 2001 in the ’70s and loved them. If Kirby was too busy, I’d settle for Jim Steranko, John Buscema, Frank Miller or Barry Windsor-Smith. Kirby, though, I’d love the chance to natter with. – Writing-wise, it’d be fun to do something with Stan Lee or Michael Chabon, but I’d prefer to kick back and read their stuff. If I could sit down with Raymond Chandler for a few hours over high-balls and swap notes, that’d be neat. But, you know, I reckon it would be an absolute blast to have gotten Philip K. Dick and Hunter S. Thompson together in the same room, preferably one with a prop merry-go-round, allow them to indulge, and see what happens.
– What do you prefer to snack on when creating a masterpiece?: I’ll stuff my face with anything (slices of bread, cheese, rice crackers, fish sausages) and barely taste the things. More important is the coffee — strong and black — since I do most of my work in the wee hours (4:30 a.m.) before the family wakes up. Occasionally I celebrate with a beer or saké.
– How do you think you would handle the Zombie apocalypse?: Head back to the saké. The empty bottles would come in handy.
– Apples or Pears?: Apples. I don’t especially like them — they’re OK — but I loathe pears. Seriously. Even the round ones that look like apples here in Japan. That’s taking the piss.
– If you could spend the day with a Comic Character, who would it be/what would you do?: I’d love to pick the Thing and the Beast, two of my ongoing faves, but I think I’ll opt for Captain America. The Cap that Jack Kirby and Stan Lee reinvented in the 1960s swayed me with his personality, not his wardrobe. A man out of place, out of his time, looking to fit in — a humble guy, once weak but now blessed with great strength, who wants to do the right thing but is coming to grips with guilt related to the death of his partner. The world has changed and he doesn’t understand it — reflecting the crisis of confidence in the U.S. at the time. Even though Cap may be old fashioned, he’s a symbol of hope — for everybody — and maintains that despite all the evil tossed his way. Sure, you’ve got to sift through this stuff and place it in context. The Soviets and geriatric Nazis get a bad rap, but over all Cap was a decent human being, and Jack Kirby drew him so damned well — even if the character, along with the suit, was too patriotically American.
– Dislikes: Pears, fermented soybeans, money.
– Favorite joke: Oh, crap, I’m pretty bad at the telling of jokes. There is a very visual one that may be hard to put into writing, but here goes: – Jesus Christ is up on his cross, recently nailed there by the Romans, and he peers Heavenward. “Father,” he says, “grant me the strength to pull my left hand off the cross.”
After much huffing and puffing, he successfully yanks the hand free.
Once again Jesus peers Heavenward. “Father,” he calls, in a stronger, more assured tone, “grant me the strength to pull my right hand off the cross!”
After more huffing and puffing, he successfully yanks that hand free. Then his eyes widen as he lurches forward.
“The feet!” he shouts. “The feet!”.
– Any thank you’s/shoutouts?: Only to your own fine self, Nessa (cheers again), along with the other Australian comic book creators currently at work — there seem to be one heck of a lot of ’em right now! — and fellow hardboiled/noir writers like those involved with the Crime Factory crew in Melbourne. I want to thank the amazing Phil Jourdan, my boss at publishers Perfect Edge Books, who’s had such incredible faith in my writing and is madly supportive. And big, big cheers to the 1960s Marvel Bullpen.
Thank you Andrez for his fantastic profile 🙂 – Ness.
People mentioned in Andrez’s profile:
Jack Kirby: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Kirby
Frank Miller: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Miller_(comics)
Barry Windsor-Smith: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Windsor-Smith
John Buscema: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Buscema
Joe Sinnott: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Sinnott
Jim Steranko: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Steranko
Cabaret Voltaire: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cabaret_Voltaire_(band)
Raymond Chandler: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raymond_Chandler
Philip K. Dick: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_K._Dick
Hunter S. Thompson: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunter_S._Thompson
Stan Lee: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stan_Lee
Mike Royer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Royer_(comics)
Syd Shores: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syd_Shores
Frank Giacoia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Giacoia
Roy Thomas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Thomas
Mark Millar: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Millar
Chis Claremont: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Claremont