Saturday, March 8, 2014

Review of the graphic anthology BLACK/WHITE, from Andrez Bergen and friends.

      Well, I recently finished the rather excellent graphic collection Black/White, offered up by writer Andrez Bergen, and a host of talented artists namely: Matt Kyme (cover); Drezz Rodriguez (art for 'Zig Zag'); Marcos Vergara ('Get Busy'); Michael Grills ('Linoleum Actress'); Nathan St. John ('The Writing on the Wall'); Andrez himself ('Waiting For Sod All.'); and last, but not least, Andrew Chiu ('Come Out Swinging'). If you want to learn a little more about the individual artists, click here.

Drezz Rodriguez
First off, we have 'Zig Zag'. A story that is steeped in noir, to the point of drowning. The story, along with Drezz Rodriguez's excellent art, is so dark that only hints of light manage to break through. The story opens with a man whistling a Cole Porter tune while cleaning a certain Webley-Fosbery revolver (an item that makes appearances in many of Andrez's works). Despite having a visitor that is heard commenting in the background, the nameless man concentrates on the task at hand. Eventually finishing his task, he earns a couple of compliments from his visitor. Loads the gun, passes it into waiting hands, and then the last of the light goes out of the story. With a quick ending that you won't see coming, this is a good story to start off the collection. Drezz's stark black and white etchings perfectly compliment the mood of the piece. Impressive, to say the least...

Marcos Vergara

Next up we have 'Get Busy', a look at the local night life through the eyes of a jaded bartender. A quick hit where we witness a few players from Andrez's novels sweep through the landscape, and once again, are confronted with a rather familiar revolver... This seems to function quite like an intermezzo, in my opinion. It ties together a number of pieces from other works, while the party goes on in the background, the bit players oblivious. Marcos Vergara's art is unique, and definitely fits the story. It reminds me a bit of some of the underground comic greats from the 60's and 70's that I love. Very nice...

Michael Grills

Third story up is 'Linoleum Actress', and what an actress she is, indeed... Definitely playing up her turn on the stage, you may want to look up "captive audience" for this one. With excellent art, from Michael Grills, Andrez's quick hit shows how low some will sink in this dystopian future... What's your poison, and do you love real butter? If you're confused, buy the book, 'cause I'm saying no more, except that your money will be well spent. Trust me!

Nathan St. John
With 'The Writing on the Wall', we have a brief encounter between a Seeker and two hapless souls. After a bit of sage advice offered to the two, and a quick critique of their attempt at a political statement, she sends them on their way. Lucky for them, for there are a few unsavory blokes headed the Seeker's way... I have a feeling the Seeker will be fine, though. The art is very unique, and quite striking.

Andrez Bergen
'Waiting For Sod All', is probably my favorite of the collection. With story and art courtesy of Andrez, it is definitely a poignant tale. A tale of the gradual erosion of hope, it is masterfully executed, especially in so brief a format. Absolutely striking. Although it may seem to be the end of a story, in my opinion, it is actually a beginning. For more info, track down Tobbaco-Stained Mountain Goat.

Andrew Chiu

The collection is rounded out by 'Come Out Swinging'. An action filled finale, it's a nifty tale of a rescue that gets a bit complicated.The art by Andrew Chiu hits all the right notes, perfectly fitting this hard-boiled short. A great ending to a very entertaining collection.

To sum up, this is a great collection of short fiction, perfectly complimented by some wonderful graphics. The stories are tied into Andrez's fictional world as a whole; this selection can be read on it's own, but also functions as a great companion piece to previous releases. Highly recommended, so why don't you run out a pick up a copy? Stop by Black/White and If? Commix for more info. 


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