Andrez Bergen writes,
What is it about Melbourne?
Strangely enough, the five novels I’ve published and two previous graphic novels have all been set at least partially in that city – and I’m talking up the far bigger metropolis on the south-east coast of Australia, not the younger, tinier town in Florida.
While timelines have blurred in these books – from the early days of John Batman scamming local indigenous tribes for land in the 1830s (‘One Hundred Years of Vicissitude’) right through to a near-future dystopia in which this is the last surviving city on earth (‘Bullet Gal’, ‘Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat’) and even a local online gaming platform (‘Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?’), my hometown’s been liberally sprinkled throughout all my fiction.
But I did throw in the comment “strangely enough” for good reason.
Strangely enough #1?
I haven’t lived in Melbourne over the past 14 years. The anniversary was actually on July 26. That was the date in 2001 that I left. For the past decade and a half I’ve resided in Tokyo. And while Japan obviously also filters into my work as both writer and artist, I can’t seem to let Melbourne go.
While the city here remains unnamed throughout the 15-issue run, to my mind it has to be an American one in the 1970s. The plethora of handguns is a giveaway.
And yet, while also tapping into and updating the age-old legend of Tristan and Isolde to unfold between two crime families in the days of disco, I also do still throw in the occasional Australian vernacular.
Can’t help myself.
And some city-scenes are definitely ones from my memory of Melbourne.
Finally, perhaps the strangest part: While I mostly haven’t been able to launch my books in Melbourne, or even Australia, over the years due to tyranny of absolute distance, this time I’ll actually be in town on August 29th to launch the first collected edition of ‘Trista & Holt’ (Volume 1) at Eisner Award winning store All Star Comics.
Yep — the yarn that isn’t set in Melbourne at all.
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