Everything Changes…?

lg11_lazarus_graveyard_smallPro Se has been marketing volume five of Lazarus Gray with the tagline that “Everything changes.” Boy, isn’t that the truth when it comes to the real world, eh? In classic pulp fiction, however, change was generally the exception and not the norm. Most pulp characters changed very little or at least very, very slowly over the course of their adventures. I’ve always played a delicate balance of evolution vs. static in my own creations – Max Davies gets married and has kids, for instance, while staying essentially the same character, though with differing responsibilities. Max at age 45 is not unrecognizable from Max at age 20 but he has a lot more to be concerned about.

We have something of a similar nature that occurs in the newest Lazarus Gray volume — someone’s life is changed in a major way and it propels them forward into the crossover novel and will continue to play a huge role in volume 6 (which I’m currently writing).

You guys will have to let me know if you like the changes that are wrought in the newest adventures.

Lazarus Gray Returns!




Award winning author Barry Reese’s occult adventurer from Sovereign City returns in the fifth volume of adventures from Pro Se Productions. Reese Unlimited, Reese’s author imprint, proudly announces the debut of The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Five in print and digital format.

“Barry Reese,” says Tommy Hancock, Partner in and Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions, “is a master at painting one of the most intricate and imaginative universes in fiction today and Lazarus Gray is a primary player in that. Not only is the action always on and the adventure top level, but Barry has a way of building characters, from the lead player himself to the most minor of characters, in a way that makes readers demand more, invites them into the lives Barry creates. And in Volume Five, Barry does what he does best by delivering two fisted tales that leave the reader in awe and wanting more.”

The Winds of Change Blow for Everyone…Even Lazarus Gray. The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Five by Barry Reese continue the tale of the man once without identity and now filled only with purpose! Forming an alliance with other lost souls, Gray and his team stand as Assistance Unlimited and now face their greatest threats ever!

Thrill along with Gray and Assistance Unlimited as they face new dangers, battle old foes, and even cross paths with Ron Fortier’s mysterious undead avenger- Brother Bones! And Lazarus Gray begins the greatest adventure of his life, one that will change everything…

Also Included is SECRETS OF THE DEAD, a comic strip origin sequence by Reese and artist George Sellas. Prepare yourself for the unexpected as you return to Sovereign City and The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, from Reese Unlimited and Pro Se Productions.

Featuring fantastic cover art by Chris Batista, interior art by Sellas, and logo design and print formatting by Sean Ali , The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Five is available now at Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Lazarus-Gray-Five/dp/1512270547/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1432130228&sr=8-1&keywords=adventures+of+lazarus+gray+volume+five and Pro Se’s own store at http://www.prose-press.com for 15.00.

Lazarus Gray’s latest volume is also available as a digital EBook formatted by Russ Anderson and Forrest Bryant for only $2.99 at Amazon for the Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Lazarus-Gray-5-ebook/dp/B00XWT98XG/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1432130228&sr=8-2-fkmr0&keywords=adventures+of+lazarus+gray+volume+five and for most digital formats at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/544050.

For more information on this title, contact Morgan McKay, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations, at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to http://www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.

Updates & Things

lazarus_batista_smallFigured I should update you guys on where we stand with various projects. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

1. The crossover novel has been finished and my beta reader gave it high marks. As such, it’s been passed on to Pro Se for editing and to be slotted onto their publishing schedule. Mark Propst was supposed to do interior pieces for it but we’ll have to see if that pans out.

2. I started work on the second Dark Gentleman short but couldn’t get into it… then I began work on a story featuring a new character… and wasn’t feeling that, either. So now I’m working on the first story of Lazarus Gray Volume 6. That’s going quite well, thank you.

3. Speaking of Lazarus, Volume 5 should be out really soon — maybe in the next week or two!

4. The omnibus editions of The Peregrine should take flight right around that same time. Not sure if you’ll see all three volumes at once or spread out over time, though.

Our art today is the pencil version of Chris Batista’s cover to Lazarus Gray Volume 5. Enjoy!

My Favorite Fantastic Four Runs

ffI’ve been on a Fantastic Four kick lately, re-reading lots of old FF adventures and loving them. Like DC’s Challengers of the Unknown, the FF is a very pulp-style concept and it lends itself to those kinds of storytelling. The family aspect of the team is also very appealing and sets them apart from other superhero groups.

So what runs are my favorites? Let’s take a gander:

8. Mark Waid/Mike Wieringo – I don’t love this run as much as others do. While I am a huge Wieringo fan, something never clicked with me during his FF run and the plots varied wildly in quality. Having said that, I actually enjoyed the mystic-centered Doom storyline and appreciated the fact that the FF’s family relationships were highlighted so strongly.

7. Chris Claremont/Salvador Larocca – Yes, it was basically the FF hanging out with all kinds of X-Men concepts but it had some great moments and it gave us Valeria, for which I will always be grateful. Besides, I liked the stuff with the Captain Britain Corps, Ronan and even Crucible. It was a fun period for the FF but it did rely too heavily upon Claremont’s mutant storylines.

6. Steve Englehart/Keith Pollard – This much-maligned run is a real guilty pleasure of mine. I always adore Englehart’s characterization and thought this run did a lot to recapture the epic scope of the FF. The team traveled all around the globe and into other dimensions, while uncovering all kinds of hidden Marvel lore. It also guest-starred Mantis, Kang, the Beyonder (they did a storyline called Secret Wars III that was, to me, absolutely wonderful) and tons more. The artwork was solid and the team dynamics — for most of the period, the squad was Ben (as leader), Johnny, Crystal and She-Thing — were a lot of fun to watch.

5. Marv Wolfman/Keith Pollard/John Byrne – The Wolfman period featured not only the greatest Reed/Doom battle of all time (issue 200) but also featured a wonderful multi-issue storyline where the FF teamed up with Nova and the Champions of Xandar to take on Galactus and The Sphinx. The throwdown between Galactus and The Sphinx remains one of my all-time favorite FF moments. As always with Wolfman, the characterization and plotting are pitch-perfect.

4. Carlos Pacheco/Jeff Loeb/Rafael Marin – First off, the art was incredible. Second, these guys actually made me enjoy two villains that had always bored the crap out of me: Diablo and Annihilus. The characterizations were great, the plots were exciting and I only wish that Pacheco could have stayed on even longer. I never hear people talking about this era but they should: it was tremendously fun!

3. Tom DeFalco/Paul Ryan – Yes, there were missteps along the way (Sue’s peekaboo costume, for instance) but there was so much great stuff, too. Even Sue’s costuming had a story explanation — Malice was influencing her, after all. I dearly wish this entire run was collected in trade. The art was solid and some of the storylines are just sheer, unadulterated fun. It really was like a Silver Age comic written with a dash of 90s sensibilities thrown in. Plus, it was one of the last times where it felt like the Fantastic Four title was a place where Important Things Happen. The “death” of Reed led to a heavy emphasis on both Kristoff and Ant-Man, which was fine by me, and I actually even enjoyed Hyperstorm.

2. John Byrne – An absolutely masterful run. Some of these stories are such absolute classics that it’s hard to limit yourself to naming just a few — the terror in a tiny town issue, the battle with Gladiator, the “everybody vs. Galactus” story, the arrival of She-Hulk to the team, etc. This period is rightfully considered one of the title’s Golden Ages and if you haven’t read it in its entirety, you haven’t read the FF.

1. Stan Lee/Jack Kirby – How can you not put this at the top? A 102 issue run (plus annuals) that set the foundation for the entire Marvel Universe. The Inhumans, Doctor Doom, Galactus, The Silver Surfer, the Kree, the Skrulls… you could go on and on. Kirby’s art was at its peak, Lee’s grandiose storytelling was never better… this is the pinnacle of the Marvel Silver Age.

What about you guys? What are your favorite FF runs?

Gravedigger Volume Two Gets A New Review

Gravedigger loresPat Casey reviewed the second Gravedigger volume on Amazon.com. Here’s what he said:

Barry Reese unearths another hit with Gravedigger vol. 2

5 stars out of 5

Barry Reese’s second volume with Charity Grace & her team offers a touch of supernatural, a smattering of romance and a torrent of pulp action!

The use of the mythological Pandora as Gravedigger’s nemesis in the story was great. The twist Mr. Reese put on the character was even greater. We see a determined Pandora as she tries to fulfill an ancient mission imposed upon herself centuries ago. Unfortunately her violent methods(and those of her partner Tamaki) come to the attention of Gravedigger.

As with other series in the “Reese Universe” the strength of the protagonist’s support team grows with each volume. Always a treat to see how the individual parts form a strong team dynamic in these adventures.

Tight dialogue, strong characters and pulp-style pacing made this a book I couldn’t put down. The nod to a certain Dr. Jones was a nice touch as well.

My only quibble being the lack of interior art. The cover by George Selas was fantastic and I looked forward to seeing his B&W interior art in this volume. Hopefully interior art will return in volume 3.

Thanks, Pat! I enjoyed writing Pandora a lot and I’m glad you thought she made a quality nemesis for Gravedigger.

As for the lack of interior art, I’m afraid that will be the case for Lazarus Gray v. 5, as well. There are lots of behind-the-scenes reasons for it that I can’t go into at the moment but I missed it, too! Hopefully we’ll see a return to interior art in future releases.

Our art today is by the talented Jenevieve Broomall.

Another Damned Review

damned_new_coverPat Casey posted the following review on Amazon.com for The Damned Thing. Let’s see what he had to say:

The Damned Thing Is A Damned Good Read! 5 stars out of 5

It was a joy to find Barry Reese’s “The Damned Thing” back in print under the Pro Se Press banner. I’ve read positive reviews of the book during its initial offering & wondered how it would hold up against the incredible work he’s produced in The Rook (now The Peregrine) and Lazarus Grey. Let me say that it holds up VERY well.

We are introduced to a 1930’s style P.I. named Violet Cambridge who is as tough as she is beautiful (fighting off attackers from almost page one! ).

The search for and destruction of an ancient statue nicknamed “the damn thing” drives this story at a pace that barely gives you time to catch your breath.

Reese has introduced some extremely seedy characters that are willing to do anything or kill anyone to obtain the statue which has an evil sentience of its own. It was quite interesting to see Mr. Reese’s take on “the Great Beast” Aleister Crowley who also joins in the search using his legendary powers of dark magic. It was also a treat to see the inclusion of Chief McKenzie from the Rook series join in the adventure.

The story can go beyond the usual PG-13 type tales that can often be found in Reese’s Rook, Grey or Gravedigger novels. But don’t let that deter you from reading The Damned Thing as Mr. Reese has once again focused on strong characters & fast pace storytelling in this novel.

The ending was satisfying and open enough to suggest a sequel. Hopefully we will see the return of Violet facing the hoards of hell…

….something tells me she would send them running with their tails between their legs!

Thanks for the kind words, Pat. I really enjoyed writing this one and I’m glad it’s back in print via Pro Se. Violet pops up in a cameo role in a later Peregrine story but aside from that, we haven’t seen her again.

Maybe there’s more adventures in her future, though!

R.I.P. ?

Barry_Reese_cover_colI’m putting the finishing touches on the so-called “crossover novel” where all my heroes team up. I’ve finished the heavy lifting and now I’m working on a series of epilogues that both close off the story and set up the next stage of my pulp adventure universe.

Yesterday, I killed off a major character.

I’m not using ‘major’ lightly, either.

This will set in motion some pretty interesting stories and events so their death won’t be glossed over or forgotten, I promise you.

Having said that, I imagine that a few fans will be very, very upset with me.

Pro Se head honcho Tommy Hancock has said they’re going to fast track this one so hopefully you might still see it in 2015.

And that cover by Chris Batista is gorgeous, isn’t it?