By Andrez Bergen
“You do know raw lamb is prone to parasites?” Suzie admonished him. “Ought to be more careful.”
“I’m sorry. I can’t help myself,” Lazarus bawled. He was blubbering again, a grown ghoul shedding tears. This was ridiculous.
“Well, next time. Just for the record, are you craving brains?”
Could you even imagine?! A grown ghoul crying? Seriously can you? Your imagination must be pretty good then. Also, it’s always a good thing to ask a ghoul if they’re craving brains (pro tip) because you never know how close you want to get. Anyone who has played the Fallout series can probably relate.
Writer Andrez Bergen, the author of such comics as Bullet Gal and Trista and Holt, has come up with a collection of stories surrounding another quick-witted pair with Roy Scherer and Suzie Miller. The two of them have the classic comedic odd-couple scenario as they spend each story with their various cases. A great line from Roy that sums up their relationship pretty well comes when he responds to Suzie’s singing, “Anyone tell you, Suze, that you have the dulcet singing tone of two alley cats in a death-fight for dominance?” Isn’t he just the sweetest? It’s this comedic banter between the two that gives the stories a hilarious flare. This along with Suzie’s deadpan questioning, as seen in the quote above, gives each character their own distinct approach to the job.
Throughout the stories we get the narration coming from Roy’s voice. He’ll often be telling the reader like it is while giving his snarky and comical commentary along with it. Something Bergen does well with using Roy’s voice is adding that snark to the descriptions of various characters. A humorous look at someone can be seen when Roy enters into a shop, “The bloke behind the counter seemed to actually be two people sharing the same beard, receding hairline and dress-sense (bordering on offensive suburban hippy).” With that, Bergen gives us a particular look at a new character while giving us the personality of his narrator, further fleshing out multiple characters at once. These scene also supplies us with some savvy comic book knowledge! “Mitch courteously filled in the massive gaps in my American comic knowhow: Action Comics #1 gave Superman his big debut, published in the U.S. in 1938 for just ten cents. Over seventy years later a rare copy was sold online for $2.16m.” You can learn a lot when you read, just remember that kids.
Bergen gives various looks into the lives of these characters while sending them on various adventures. Ever wonder what it would be look to fight a mummy? A ghoul? Visit a…a…comic book store?! Bergen gives you insight into all of these scenarios (assuming however he only has first hand experience from visiting the comic book stores, but who knows really). Bergen demonstrates once again his grasp on detective story arcs while blending the supernatural with the comical in Small Change.