So, what's it all about then?
Even the logo of that novel's superhero team the Equalizers (see above) has a story.
Lee Denslow, a.k.a. Major Patriot, possibly puts it best in this year's Bullet Gal novel.
“That,” said Lee, as he wheeled in a trolley embalmed in a white sheet, “is the flag that belonged to the British Union of Fascists in the 1930s... chosen by Oswald Mosley and his half-wits to represent ‘action within unity’, but I see it as a divisive emblem on par with the swastika.
Truth be told, "HEROPA" started out as a pun.
When I began writing the novel that would become Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?, back in 2013, I wanted to bounce off the title of Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? — a 1978 comedy mystery film starring George Segal, Jacqueline Bisset, and Robert Morley.
Given that I loved Lars von Trier's 1991 movie Zentropa, also called Europa, and this was a book about superheroes, it was a cinch that "Heropa" was my eventual name for the title city.
"Something we must always struggle against, you see. English band Throbbing Gristle took the Mickey by using a variant as the cover of their industrial album CD1."
Here, however, it's reversed.
What HEROPA gifted me three years ago was a giant sandbox, another world construct in which to work my fictions, preferably — as here — with others.
It's a metropolis in which multiple genres can fiddle, especially noir, but also mythology and comedy, all the while paying homage to great sequential art from around the world over the past 80-odd years.
Hence the farces that are Magpie and The Fenders, the faux-serious, grandiose nature of Onna Bugeisha, and the genuine dramas of Crash Soirée and Bullet Gal.
Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the ride — and tip my hat to the other creators involved here.
ANDREZ BERGEN, Tokyo, 2016.