The world of Bigfoot is more than just the research, there are podcasters, writers, artists, filmmakers etc. And some that do it all. Recently I caught up to an author and artist. Charles Berlin. He has created some great art and the wonderful world of Professor Wexler and I got to pick his brain a bit. So here’s a little Q & A…
What types of media do you enjoy working with?
I like them all, but have a particular affinity to ink and watercolor, thanks to inspirational cartoonists like Will Eisner (The Spirit) and Bill Watterson (Calvin n’ Hobbs).
How long have you been doing it professionally?
I had my first inks published at age 16 (1980) in a local newspaper as an editorial cartoonist, satirizing local politics.Got my first nationally distributed comics job at age 22 from APPLE Comics,during the independent comics boom of the late 1980’s.Did a couple of books for FANTAGRAPHICS Books in the 90’s.
Do you do commission work?
Yes. Usually I do a 5-6 commision pieces a month: For instance, as a freelance illustrator of the paranormal and associated fields, I did 30 inks for an ANOMALIST book, Alien Who’s Who operating on eye-witness accounts of E.T. —Then onto illustrating science fiction writer Philip Jose Farmer’s stories, to doing art for author and explorer, David Childress’ magazine, WORLD EXPLORER. Did a few works for legendary cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, Worked for STRANGE MAGAZINE’s late Mark Chorvinsky back in the day , illustrating the FIRST PERSON column, interpreting eye-witness encounters with the unknown.
Who is your favorite artist?
I have a long list—I love all the classic illustrators of pulp magazines : Walter Baumhofer, J. Allen St. John,.Contemporary illustrators: Frank Frazetta, Dave Stevens, Joe Kubert, just to name a few.
How did Bigfoot become part of your art? I saw LEGEND OF BOGGY CREEK film when I was 7 and read CREATURES OF THE OUTER EDGE by Jerome Clark and Loren Coleman when I was 12. These two works were pivotal for me demonstrating you didn’t have to live in the Pacific Northwest to be near mysterious creature encounters. Naturally, I wanted to draw these creatures.
Are you a Bigfoot believer?
The sheer number of documented sightings by credible witnesses should convince anyone with any sense. Include the BLUFF CREEK footage, dermal ridges in 16 inch footprints and Dr. Grover Krantz’s analysis, one would have to conclude there is an unknown “something” out there.
Do you believe in any other cryptids?
I’ve been diving in the waters of Andros Island , Bahamas and the local divers I talked to are very wary of the giant squid-like “Lucasa” that allegedly live in the bottomless Blue Holes there. I didnt swim the Blue Holes after that. Also, never heard anyone bring this up, but the “Chickcharny”as they are called
on Andros bear an uncanny resemblance to the Chupacabra.
I am firm believer in an active cover-up of Giants in North America. Again, the sheer number of
reports of giant bones by credible experts carried in hundreds of newspapers, hundreds of well- educated witnesses, actual giant bones photographed. All the bones carried away by the same government institution suggests to any thinking person there is an active cover-up.
Do you draw Â witness encounter descriptions?
Yes, love to interpret encounters. I think they are fascinating.
Do you hit the woods for research of your own?
Yes- I’m an avid hiker: Been to Loch Ness, Bluff Creek , Hung out with the Kwakwakaʼwakw of Vancouver Island whose Chief described two Bukwas (bigfoot) he saw by spotlight from his fishing boat. Usually I travel for crytozoological reasons.
Do you have a favorite among Cryptozoology researchers?
I do art for David Hatcher Childress, who just recently penned BIGFOOT NATION (with some my
illos in it). Loren Coleman is always interesting and I really miss Dr. Grover Krantz and his methods of investigation.
When did Professor Wexler come to you? And why?
In 1998, I picked up a copy of WORLD EXPLORER MAGAZINE (www.WEXCLUB.com), It had a picture of Bigfoot on the cover, btw. It was about high adventure travel, exploration of earth mysteries, megalithic ruins, lost cities, cryptozoology. I was hooked immediately. So quickly I developed a character with an anagram name, (WEX-ler) , sort of loosely based on the old pulp character, DOC SAVAGE and Childress himself and sent him a few drawings as a fan. To my surprise, he called me few days later and told me to send more! So I continue to this day…
I love the humor angle, what made you decide to go that route?
I love THE FAR SIDE cartoon by Gary Larson and his insane humor. Big inspiration on the writing of the strip.
I love how clever they are, you come at it from a different approach, what made you decide to go that route with your character?
Thanks! I told Childress when I first started these ‘toons they were going to address very obscure topics that only people with an interest in cryptozoology and the world of the paranormal might get. He was fine with that. I suppose that’s who buys WORLD EXPLORER magazine and ADVENTURE UNLIMITED books anyway!
Who is your favorite author?
I’m trapped in the world of pulp: Edgar Rice Burroughs is always number one with me. I actually was a consultant on the recent TARZAN film for screenwriter Craig Brewer. One thing that was asked : What type of ape raised Tarzan? Was it Chimpanzee or Gorilla or what? So I had the pleasure of describing to Craig the “Bili Ape”, which seems to match ERB’s desciption of the Mangani in the books.
What is next for you?
I’m currently doing illos for an upcoming book on Sir Richard Francis Burton, the Victorian explorer and adventurer. As well as doing more Prof. Wexler for WORLD EXPLORER MAGAZINE– New issue coming out in early March,2020!
Where can people find your art? Graphic Novels etc I’ve got a gallery here:
Here’s a couple of my books:
This is WORLD EXPLORER MAGAZINE, Prof Wexler appears each ish. Plenty of new articles on cryptozoology too!