New Pulp Reviews

GRVSHWPROMOIMAGEA trio of reviews this time, starting off with:

GRENDEL VS. THE SHADOW – Given that I love both Hunter Rose and The Shadow, this pairing excited me from day one. Add the fact that Matt Wagner was writing and drawing it… and you had the makings of a classic. This three-issue series lived up to its billing, showing exactly how a crossover should be done. Both characters got a chance to sign and their face-to-face confrontations crackled with energy and emotion. The artwork was beautiful all the way through and I liked the way that Wagner contrasted the two lead characters. The only stumble, for me, was that the time travel contrivance felt a bit too convenient and I’m not 100% onboard with the way Wagner portrays The Shadow/Margo relationship. Even so, I adored this series and will pick it up in trade. While not everything Dynamite has published with their pulp heroes has been to my liking, I’d rank this series, The Shadow: Year One and The Shadow/Green Hornet: Dark Nights as being among the best Shadow comics ever published.

Knight From Hell by David White: I’ve been a fan of David White’s writing for quite awhile. He’s got a straight-forward style that’s perfect for New Pulp stories. His works have that same breakneck pace that the classic pulp series did but he incorporates modern characterization and mature elements seamlessly.

This particular story is not for the easily offended. If the notion of angels fornicating and committing adultery doesn’t sit well with you, you might want to give it a pass. But if you’re willing to approach it with an open mind, you’ll find an intriguing protagonist that mixes the hard-boiled P.I. type with some fantasy elements.

Characters are briskly but vividly described and the tale manages to feel dense despite the small page count. Can’t wait for the follow-up!

Justice, Inc # 4: I think Michael Uslan is, along with Matt Wagner, one of the best Shadow writers working for Dynamite right now. This particular series reveals an alternate universe take on The Avenger, pairing him with both Doc Savage and The Shadow. The two “big” heroes are perfectly portrayed but The Avenger’s voice still feels slightly off to me — I’m going with the fact that he’s still so new and that this is a slightly different version to explain it. A pair of classic villains – John Sunlight and The Voodoo Master — are working together in this one and I love Voodoo’s scenery-chewing dialogue. It was odd not seeing Sunlight in his trademark monochromatic clothing, though. Art-wise, this is the best work I’ve ever seen from Giovanni Timpano. It’s solid throughout with nice facial expression. When all is said and done, I think this will stand beside Uslan’s Dark Nights as a wonderful addition to Shadow lore.

The Damned Thing Returns

damned_new_coverPress Release

BARRY REESE’S ‘THE DAMNED THING’ RETURNS TO PRINT FROM PRO SE PRODUCTIONS!

Pro Se Productions, a publisher of Genre Fiction and New Pulp, proudly announces the latest release from its first author-centered imprint, Reese Unlimited. With new edits and a stunning new cover, Author Barry Reese’s thoroughly modern tip of the hat to classic mysteries bearing the mark of his very distinct style is in print once again. The Damned Thing debuts today in print and digital formats from Pro Se Productions.

“It’s not often,” says Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief of and Partner in Pro Se Productions, “that it can be said something written in the last few years should be considered a New Pulp Classic. I say it, however, without hesitation about Barry Reese’s The Damned Thing. Not only does Barry let you know every word on the page, every action, every plot twist is definitely his, he does it in a way that also echoes classic private eye fiction. Shades of Chandler and Hammett dance and play with murderous glee throughout Violet Cambridge’s first adventure and the great part is Barry makes it seem effortless, this blending of his own style and classic leanings. And the two together deliver one of the most unique New Pulp titles to date.”

The toughest detective in 1939 Atlanta is a woman by the name of Violet Cambridge. And she knows her job like she knows herself. All the shadows and alleys, the light and the dark. But when the search for a missing sister and the brutal murder of her partner take her into territory unfamiliar, Violet finds herself on the road to Hell in search of The Damned Thing.

Award winning author Barry Reese’s hard boiled supernatural detective thriller returns in an all new Pro Se Productions edition. Noted for pushing the boundaries of Genre Fiction, Reese takes the classic tropes of the Private Eye tale and gives them his own imaginative, bizarre twists and turns in The Damned Thing. Fans of Reese’s work will recognize characters and themes that run through Reese’s work and new readers will find intrigue, mystery, action, and terror on every page.
From machine guns to magic spells, from mobsters to monsters, Violet Cambridge will face them all in the unholy quest for The Damned Thing. From Reese Unlimited, an imprint of Pro Se Productions.

“It’s a thrill,” says Reese, “to have this work back in print, looking better than ever. Violet’s story was an important one for me, as a writer and a person, so I can’t wait for new readers to experience her journey.”

The Damned Thing features a haunting cover by Adam Shaw and logo design and print formatting and print formatting by Sean Ali and eBook formatting by Russ Anderson. Interior illustrations are by Kevin Dale Duncan.

The latest book from the Reese Unlimited imprint is available in print via Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/ku3tqpy and at Pro Se’s own store at http://tinyurl.com/kvjhk4n for $12.00. The Damned Thing is also available as an eBook for the Kindle at http://tinyurl.com/kaalk6f and for most other formats at http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/499193 for only $2.99.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, contact Morgan McKay, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations, at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

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

And… It’s Off!

20121228-083913.jpgSent off the completed Dark Gentleman short to my publisher yesterday – for something that’s only a tad under 6,000 words, it took me most of this year to write — a sign not of the difficulty I had with the story but with finding time to work on it. Still, it’s complete and if they like it, you’ll hopefully see it as a Pro Se Single Shot soon.

You can also expect Gravedigger Volume Two and The Damned Thing (pro se edition) coming your way soon! Yes, after far too long in terms of releases from Reese Unlimited, you’re about to get several!

And now I can work on completing the crossover novel, which currently sits at around 40,000 words. In other words, I’m 2/3 of the way to the finish line. I’m pretty sure I won’t finish it before the end of 2014 but you guys can wish me luck as I attempt to do so.

Lots Of Stuff!

dark_gentlemanWelcome back, my friends, to the blog that never ends!

The new Pro Se edition of The Damned Thing should be out very soon. This edition will sport a brand new cover plus a fresh set of edits so I hope people who may have missed the book in its Wild Cat edition will check it out. I like to think it’s one of the best things I’ve written.

I also hope to put the finishing touches on The Dark Gentleman short I’ve been working on for many months. It’s a little thing but with my schedule being the way it is, I haven’t had time to focus on it the way I should. Plus, I’ve been working on the crossover novel lately and that’s taken time away… But superstar artist Jeffrey Hayes has delivered the amazing image you see at left, using yours-truly as the model for The Dark Gentleman. I love it! With that image serving as inspiration, I’ll be focusing on the tale for the duration and getting it completed so you can all enjoy it.

On the review front, Mat Nastos delivered the following review of Lazarus Gray Volume Three:

I’m a long time fan of Reese’s pulp-adventure work, having started with volumes of his Rook adventures before checking out the Lazarus Gray collections. Volume 3 introduces one of the most interesting characters Reese has created in the conflicted/mentally unstable Eidolon. I can’t wait to see more of this character in the future. The work is very well-written and moves along at a great clip. If you like short story collections filled with action-adventure and pulpy heroes, then you should check out the Adventures of Lazarus Gray.

Thanks, Mat! I’m glad you enjoyed Eidolon… most readers seem taken with The Darkling more than Eidolon but I enjoyed writing both. Please be sure to check out Mat’s latest, Man With the Iron Heart, if you’re in the mood for some good New Pulp reading!

Hope everyone in the United States had a great Thanksgiving holiday last week… now we’re in the stretch run for the end-of-the-year celebrations! Stay safe and happy, my friends.

My Ten Favorite Spider-Man Writers

romita_jr_spidermanI’ve been reading tons of old Spider-Man books lately and after really immersing myself in this stuff, I’ve been solidifying some long-held opinions about creators on the series. Today we’re looking at my 10 favorite Spidey writers!

Yes, I know — it’s not pulp related but you can deal with it for one day, right?

Let the list begin:

10. Joseph Michael Straczynski – JMS wrote Spider-Man from 2001-2007 and he did a lot of very good things. He also did some truly awful things. But the early issues were pretty good. I quite enjoyed the Morlun storyline and there was a really good Doctor Octopus story in there. Yes, the later stuff (Sins Past and One More Day) were things that are almost unforgivable but I still include him here for the strength of the stories he wrote in the beginning.

9. Tom DeFalco – The 1980s was really “my” Spider-Man and DeFalco did some amazing stuff when paired up with Ron Frenz. I really enjoyed most of his stuff and continued to enjoy his contributions via Spider-Girl later on. An underrated Spidey writer in my opinion.

8. Kurt Busiek – This is mainly on the strength of the wonderful Untold Tales of Spider-Man series. Busiek did a pitch-perfect series that danced in and out of established continuity. Some of the new characters he introduced in there are some of my favorites in Spidey history. Loved it.

7. David Michelinie – Most of his run is remembered for two things: the artists he was paired with (McFarlane, Larsen, Bagley) and the Venom/Carnage stuff. But it was a lot of fun overall and you never knew where things were going — towards the end, this was because neither the writer nor editor knew either.

6. Brian Michael Bendis – Look, I hate how decompressed his stuff is. Everything is stretched sooooooooo thin. But in the Ultimate Universe, Bendis has really defined the Spidey character(s). I actually really like Miles Morales! And the issue where Peter reveals his identity to Mary Jane is an absolute classic.

5. Gerry Conway – I felt that the Stan Lee era had really become boring by the end and Conway injected a lot of life back into the character. His version of Spidey was actually the first I read as a kid and I still enjoy reading them today. Some of the stories are bad, sure, but some are wonderful and hold up very well. His return on Web of Spider-Man was pretty good but I wish it had featured better artwork.

4. J.M Dematteis – Yes, sometimes you run into the trademarked psychological mumbo-jumbo that Dematteis always does but he also wrote the amazing Amazing Spider-Man # 400, Kraven’s Last Hunt and the death of Harry Osborn. When he’s on, he’s very good.

3. Dan Slott – The character’s current writer, Slott had consistently told entertaining stories and Superior Spider-Man has been some of the best Spider-Man we’ve seen in a long, long time. I’m really enjoying it and hope he stays on the book for a long time to come.

2. Stan Lee – The early issues with Ditko are brilliant! I’ve always found the Romita issues to be bland and boring (though pretty to look at) so I’m ranking him so highly based upon his role as the character’s defining voice and the fact that the first 30+ issues are some of the greatest superhero comics of all time.

1. Roger Stern – My Spidey writer! Stern did some amazing stories and his Hobgoblin storyline remains one of my all-time favorites. I enjoyed it when he came back and revealed the true identity of the iconic villain, too. So many great stories and Stern was the best at handling the supporting cast. Hell, he even made Lance Bannon interesting!

What say you, Spidey fans?

Happy Thanksgiving!

legion_of_heroes_smallHappy Thanksgiving from all the heroes at Reese Unlimited!

Thanks to my wonderful wife and son — and to all my family and friends who have supported me over the years.

And thanks to YOU for keeping up with my blog and my writing career. Without you, my faithful readers, I’d have nothing to talk about!

Our amazing art today is courtesy of George Sellas.

Have a great day, folks!

 

Updates! Yes, It’s Updates!

gravedigger_small_colorHello, my friends! I’ve been working away on the crossover novel recently and have added a few thousand words to it. I still think it’s about 20,000 words shy of being complete but I’m 2/3 of the way through the book and hopefully you guys will enjoy it when it finally hits. Pairing Gravedigger, Lazarus Gray, The Peregrine and quite a few of my other pulp adventure characters, it’s jam-packed with action and drama.

And death! Oooh…

I also approved the new cover for the upcoming Pro Se edition of The Damned Thing. This occult-tinged homage to The Maltese Falcon was originally published by Wild Cat Books and introduces the lovely but dangerous Violet Cambridge to my little universe. I think it’s one of the best things I ever wrote, with a very tight plot and some genuine surprises. If you’ve never read it, I hope you’ll check out the new edition.

Several new episodes of Ubergeeks have been recorded and released recently – this is a podcast I record with my wife and we generally chat about all sorts of geeky topics. Check it out!

I continue to post two blog entries a week on the Ultraverse Network. I’m the resident “Strangers” guy so you get reviews and commentary on that series from me. If you’re a fan of this beloved comics universe, I hope you’ll give it a try. It features not only blog posts but also a whole series of podcasts.

Keep in mind that Gravedigger Volume Two, Lazarus Gray Volume Five and the new editions of Max Davies’ adventures as The Peregrine are all on the way — so stay tuned! The pulp goodness will continue to be delivered.

Our art today is by George Sellas and is his original design for Charity Grace, aka Gravedigger!