A collection of noir, surreal stories, comicbook asides, hardboiled moments, fantasy, dystopia, sci-fi, snapshots of Japanese culture, and the existentialism of contemporary experimental electronic music. This is Bergen's baptismal short story collection, bringing together recent short stories, never-before-seen older material, new comicbook art, and a range of incisive pop-culture articles written about music and Japan from 1999 to 2013.
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, Andrez Bergen gloriously redefines the mild-mannered superhero novel.
"First up, a disclaimer. I suspect I am a dead man. I have meagre proof, no framed- up certification, nothing to toss in a court of law as evidence of a rapid departure from the mortal coil. I recall a gun was involved, pressed up against my skull, and a loud explosion followed."
Thus begins our narrator in a purgatorial tour through twentieth-century Japanese history, with a ghostly geisha who has seen it all as a guide and a corrupt millionaire as her reluctant companion.
Thrown into the milieu are saké, B-29s, Lewis Carroll, Sir Thomas Malory, Melbourne, 'The Wizard of Oz', and a dirigible - along with the allusion that Red Riding Hood might just be involved.