Miscellaneous Chatter

die_glocke_cover_LOW_RES_mockup_croppedHello, my friends!

I’m about to begin reading the second Captain Action novel, written by my good buddy Jim Beard. I really enjoyed the first book and I’m sure I’ll get a kick out of the sequel. A full review will be forthcoming, once I’m done with it.

We got a new review of The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Two: Die Glocke, courtesy of Mark Beaulieu:

I got hooked on Barry Reese’s work with the first volume of the Rook. Lazarus Gray continues to be a good, exciting read. There’s really a lot that goes on in this one to set up future stories. The introduction of new villains and possible allies. It’s got that nice pulpy feel and the characters have depth. Just great stuff.

Thanks for the review, Mark! I had a lot of fun writing Die Glocke but I think volumes 3 & 4 are even better — hopefully you’ll agree!

Superstar artist Chris Batista is about to start on a new piece of work for me and I’ll be sure to give you more details as things progress.

Speaking of superstar artists, George Sellas is soon going to be sitting down with myself and Pro Se publisher Tommy Hancock, with discussions beginning about something that many people have expressed an interest in.

How’s THAT for being vague?

Work continues to keep me very busy but I did add a small amount to the crossover novel yesterday. Felt good to produce something fiction-related again but my primary focus has to remain on the things that pay the bills. I’m sure you guys understand — and things will go back to what approximates normal at some point, I’m sure. Just have to get past this early stage, that’s all.

Take care and we’ll do this again tomorrow, shall we?

The Diabolical Dr. York!

yorkMost of The Rook’s enemies are of the done-in-one variety: they pop up, bedevil our hero and then get killed. The Warlike Manchu is really the biggest exception to that, though The Rook has also clashed with Doctor Satan on multiple occasions.

But what about the deadly Doctor York? Why doesn’t this bad guy get the credit he deserves as one of The Rook’s archfoes?

Who’s that, you say? You’ve read all six volumes of The Rook Chronicles and aren’t familiar with Doctor York?

That’s because he’s faced The Rook multiple times but never done so in prose (at least, not yet!).

York first appeared in All-Star Pulp Comics (2011) # 1, in a story written by me and drawn by by Craig Wilson. Set during The Rook’s days in Boston (1933), this tale introduces us to our would-be master villain. York is a former scientist that is now in service to the Elder Gods. His body is the receptacle for dark energies that have have the unfortunate side-effect of altering his appearance. His brain now floats in a clear glass dome above his torso… York has plans to sacrifice the daughter of one of The Rook’s friends but our hero manages to foil the scheme and York is dragged off to the nether-realms by his angry masters.

Case closed, right?

Not quite!

York returned in The Rook Animated Script that was published in Tales of The Rook Volume Two (2014). In this story (set somewhere in the 1936-1937 period), York has managed to acquire the body of Princess Femi, the immortal enemy of Lazarus Gray. York revives her in hopes that she’ll aid him in destroying The Rook but once again he is dispatched back to Hell. How did he survive his prior defeat? We’re told that York was persuasive enough to convince the Elder Gods that he deserved a second chance. Who knows if they’ll be as understanding after yet another loss.

I originally created York because in both the comic book and proposed animated adventure, I wanted someone with a really strong visual. He turned out to be quite fun and I plan to bring him back down the road. Until then, he has the distinction of being the one Rook villain who has yet to headline a prose adventure.

The Crossover Novel

Barry_Reese_cover_colWelcome back to Ye Olde Blog!

Today we’re reminding all of you about some of the details of our upcoming crossover novel – so settle back and enjoy!

The crossover novel featuring Lazarus Gray, The Rook and Gravedigger will be called Götterdämmerung!

For those of you who don’t know the origins of the term, it translates as “twilight of the gods” and served as the title of the last of the four operas by Richard Wagner that comprised the The Ring of the Nibelung cycle.

The book will feature the cover shown at left, drawn by Chris Batista and colored by Tom Smith.

The novel is set in 1938, shortly after the events of “The Gasping Death” (The Rook Volume One). For those who don’t remember, that was the story where The Rook teamed up with The Moon Man and gained his signet ring (the one he would sometimes brand the foreheads of criminals with).

Obviously, Gravedigger and Lazarus Gray are both Sovereign City heroes so you can rightly assume that some of the novel takes place in that locale but there are also scenes in Atlanta (The Rook’s home base) and a good bit of traveling throughout Europe, as well.

Will we get to see some stuff involving the OFP (the Occult Forces Project) that bedeviled The Rook in so many adventures?

Maybe. :-)

We’ll also see a new threat, a new villain that is powerful enough that it will require all three of my main heroes (plus a number of guest-stars!) to handle the threat.

So when will you see this book?

I’m currently in the stretch run on The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Five… as soon as this one is finished, I’ll begin writing Götterdämmerung. So you’ll have to wait for me to actually write the book, then you’ll see Gravedigger volume two (already written) and volumes four and five of Lazarus Gray published before you get to see the crossover.

Honestly? That means you’re probably looking at 2015.

But good things come to those who wait, right?

Hope you’re excited about the possibilities.

Characters I Love: The Huntress

huntressEvery now and then, I focus on a character from adventure fiction (film, comics & prose) that I simply adore. This week we’re talking about: The Huntress. Now, there have been several versions of this character over the years but I’ve liked them all. Here’s a handy-dandy guide to the various Helena Wayne/Bertinelli Huntresses we’ve been presented with:

The Original – This was Helena Wayne, the daughter of the pre-Crisis Earth-Two’s Batman and Catwoman. This Huntress was a member of the Justice Society and carried on her father’s work in Gotham City. She was a strong female character in an era where too many women were still treated as secondary to the male heroes. She was best friends with Power Girl and the two of them later went on to become members of Infinity, Inc.

Post-Crisis – After the multiple Earths were seemingly done away with in DC’s big Crisis on Infinite Earths series, Helena was reborn as Helena Bertinelli, a mafia princess. Turning against the crime that had made her family wealthy, Helena began hunting criminals as The Huntress. This version of the character was a little more hard-edged than the others and she frequently sparred with Batman over her methods. She had romances with both Nightwing and The Question (Vic Sage).

New 52 – The current version is very similar to the original, hailing from a new Earth-Two and being the daughter of that world’s Batman and Catwoman. She is currently trapped on the main DC Earth, along with Power Girl. It’s interesting to note that even though she’s once again Helena Wayne, the Bertinelli identity has not been completely discarded, as it’s been used as an alias for her. This current Huntress is, once again, very intelligent and capable, which I really like.

I’ve always liked the fact that Helena didn’t become Batwoman or Batgirl or anything along those lines (though she did wear the Batgirl costume briefly during the No Man’s Storyline during the post-Crisis era & in the New 52 she was Robin before graduating to her own identity). She’s basically been her own woman from the start.I like her friendship with Power Girl and, to be honest, she’s probably my favorite member of the Bat-family. I’d much rather see her pushed to the forefront than Batgirl.

Our art today is by Marcus To, one of my favorite Huntress artists.

Top Ten Favorite Comic Book Artists

perezYeah, I like lists.

Anyway, in the past I’ve listed out my favorite Spider-Man writers, my favorite Spidey villains, my favorite classic and new pulp heroes & villains… heck, I even listed out my ten favorite pulp-inspired comics.

Today we’re looking at my top 10 favorite comic book artists. These are guys who always excite me when I hear their names are attached to various projects and over the years I’ve shared their work on my Facebook, on Tumblr, etc.

So let’s go!

10. Steve Rude – The Dude first came to my attention when he was working on Nexus. Loved the way he depicted the entire cast and he’s really underrated in the way that he draws facial expressions. The guy’s a master, period.

9. Jim Aparo – Aparo was the definitive Batman artist for me in the Seventies and I enjoyed his work on the Batman and the Outsiders series a lot. He also did great work on Aquaman over the years and in Brave and the Bold, he got to draw just about everybody!

8. Keith Giffen – If I had made this list in the 80s, Giffen would have been much, much higher. I adored his work on Legion of Super-Heroes but eventually his style became much more manic. I still enjoy it a lot (especially on Kirby-influenced projects) but there are times it comes off as a hot mess. Still, I’m always curious when I see his name attached to a project.

7. Will Meugniot – Will became one of my faves when he was doing DNAgents back in the 80s but I have continued to follow him through his work on Vanity and Femforce. He’s a remarkably talented guy and I’ve loved that I’ve had the chance to work with him on my own books.

6. Gene Colan – Colan was a master of atmosphere. I adored his pencils on Tomb of Dracula, Batman and Night Force. His work on other titles was sometimes a little odd in ways but I still loved his work. I mean, I would never have put him on Iron Man or Daredevil, for instance, and yet his pencils were so awesome that I didn’t even mind that he wasn’t a traditional superhero artist. He did work well on Batman, though.

5. Ivan Reis – The newest name on my list, Reis has really impressed me with his work on titles like Blackest Night, Green Lantern, Justice League and Aquaman. He’s amazing!

4. Chris Batista – I first noticed him on Legion of Super-Heroes and he’s actually my favorite Legion artist because he’s able to perfectly capture their youthful nature. I also really dug his work on Booster Gold and an all-too-brief run on Justice League. Why DC or Marvel hasn’t snatched him up for a major title is beyond me. I think he’d really rock on a New Gods revival, too.

3. John Byrne – Back in the day, Byrne was a stud. I followed him from X-Men to Fantastic Four to Alpha Flight to Superman… At some point, I think his work became somewhat less appealing to me but I still enjoy it. Aside from his work on Fantastic Four, I generally prefer him as an artist and not a writer but he’s capable of doing fine work on both sides of the creative fence.

2. Alan Davis – Captain Britain. Excalibur. The Nail. Batman. X-Men. Superboy’s Legion. I could go on and on. I am mad about his artwork. It’s fun, it’s sleek, it’s everything I want from a superhero artist. I’ve bought books simply because he drew them, even when I knew I’d dislike the story. He’s simply that good.

1. George Perez – The king of superhero artists in my opinion. He’s known for his crowd scenes — and they are awesome — but he’s also a fine character-based storyteller. Look at his run on New Teen Titans or Wonder Woman for proof. And unlike some artists, I find his later work to be just as good as the older stuff… Legion of 3 Worlds, his Avengers run with Kurt Busiek and his work on Worlds’ Finest are all fine examples of his more recent books that I think are great. For me, I’ll always associate him with the Titans first and foremost, then his work on Crisis. He also drew a fine, fine run of JLA.

Thursday!

hipster_hahaHello, my friends! Please don’t forget that Box Thirteen is now available from Radio Archives in eBook format, with audio and print versions on the way. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s based on a 1948-1949 radio drama that starred Alan Ladd. It was a ton of fun to work on and I’m pretty proud of my contribution to the collection.

I’m still focusing these days on studying for the new job –  there’s a lot to learn and it’s not leaving me a whole lot of time for other things. Hopefully things will eventually calm down but until then, I’m afraid that there won’t be much in the way of updates about my progress on various projects.

Because there isn’t any progress on those projects!

Patience, grasshopper, patience.

I did manage to break into the edits on Gravedigger Volume Two for a little while yesterday and approved about two chapters’ worth of revisions. Slow going but it’ll be ready at some point.

Be sure to stop by and check out Michael Brown’s The Pulp Super-Fan blog. Michael frequently reviews New Pulp books and characters — and he’s been nice enough to focus on several of my characters & volumes, as well. Stop by and tell him that I sent ya!

See you guys tomorrow!

 

Wednesday Musings

michael-fassbender

Welcome back to Ye Olde Blog, my friends!

I received the edits for The Adventures of Gravedigger Volume Two: The Silver Skull and I’m making my way through them — but it’s slow going since I’m reeeeeally busy in my day-to-day life. Starting a new career is time-consuming, my friends!

Still, I haven’t forgotten my pulp obligations and I hope you’re all excited about the upcoming debut of The Dark Gentleman’s e-book series. I think you’ll enjoy what I’ve got planned… it will definitely fit into my greater pulp adventure universe but be its own thing, as well.

I’m hoping to get a Guest Blog out of Tommy Hancock sometime soon, so stay tuned for that.

I also got an idea for a new project yesterday but I have no time at present. I’m stuck halfway through the crossover novel with no time to work on it and I still have to get cranking on The Dark Gentleman… perhaps someday you’ll see that idea of mine in some form but not any time soon, I’m afraid.

Our image today is of the amazing Michael Fassbender, who would be my choice to star in a Shadow film if I were casting it. He’s capable of pulling off Lamont Cranston, while having the penetrating gaze of The Shadow.

Are you listening, Hollywood?

I’ll be back with more tomorrow — until then, grab a classic pulp off the shelf and spend some time with an old friend or two, why don’t you? Remind yourself of why we love this crazy little slice of the action/adventure field.

See you soon!

 

 

Press Release: The Dark Gentleman Is On the Way

single_shotPro Se Productions, the publisher responsible for the recently revealed PRO SE SINGLE SHOT SIGNATURE imprint, announces that award winning New Pulp Author Barry Reese will bring his talent to bear on a series in this new line of digital singles.

Sovereign City has many champions but not all of them get the limelight. Reese’s THE DARK GENTLEMAN features one such hero. The Dark Gentleman is a crusader for justice, taking out the small fry criminals so that others can focus on the bigger picture. But for those whose lives are saved by the masked hero, he is just as important as Lazarus Gray or Doc Daye… He is the Dark Gentleman and he’s cleaning up Sovereign City, one petty thug at a time.

“The Dark Gentleman series,” says Reese, “represents a chance for me to do something a bit different within the confines of my pulp adventure universe. He operates on a smaller scale than most of my heroes and the focus will be on mundane (but still exciting!) adventures – no supernatural forces or globe trotting. This is straight-up, in your face pulp.

Barry Reese has been with Pro Se since the early days of the company’s foray into New Pulp and in 2011 brought his seminal New Pulp creation THE ROOK to roost as a part of Pro Se. Since then, Barry has opened his mind and let his vivid imagination pour out into various novels, including more adventures of THE ROOK as well as volumes featuring LAZARUS GRAY and GRAVEDIGGER.

Barry has spent the last decade writing for publishers as diverse as Marvel Comics, West End Games, Pro Se Press and Moonstone Books. Known primarily for pulp adventure works, Barry has also delved into slasher horror (Rabbit Heart) and crime noir (The Damned Thing). His favorite classic pulp heroes are The Avenger, The Shadow, Conan and Seekay.

Reese is also a winner of multiple awards for his Pulp work, including Best Novel, Best Short Story, Best Author, and most recently Best New New Pulp Character for his creation of Gravedigger in the 2014 New Pulp Awards.
THE DARK GENTLEMAN will feature cover art by Artist Jeffrey Hayes. Hayes is also the designer of the Pro Se Single Shots Signatures logo.

For interviews with the author or more information on the Pro Se Single Shots Signatures, contact Morgan Minor, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations, at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

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

A New Satan’s Circus Review!

lg4_frontispiece_smallOver on Amazon, reader Pat Casey has posted his thoughts about the newest volume in the Lazarus Gray series – Satan’s Circus. Here’s what he had to say:

In the first story, Leviathan Rising, we are introduced to (public domain character)Thunder Jim Wade and his companions as they are attacked by the minions of a mysterious underworld figure named Leviathan.

Lazarus Gray & his Assistance Unlimited organization are attacked in a similar fashion which soon leads to a team up between both groups.

Leviathan and a mystery companion are confronted by our heroes which ends in a blazing battle.

Satan’s Circus,the second story, sees the return of another public domain character in the form of the red cloaked & devil horned Dr. Satan!

The Darkling’s origin is spotlighted at the first of this story. We see what depths this great character has gone through to become the cold blooded skull faced killer.

We also see the return of Eidolon & a character thought dead who’s stories intertwine with that of the crimson clad Satan.

Dr. Satan leads the newly christened “Satan’s Circus” (formerly the Devils Circus last seen in vol. 2) on a spree of murder through Sovereign City in search of priceless gem. The climax has our heroes team up in a mix of gun play & magic to try and defeat Dr. Satan and his companions.

George Sellas provides the incredible cover/interior art as well as Lazarus Gray’s origin story in graphic form. (An art book featuring Sellas’ work in the Reese Universe would be a nice addition to my collection!)

Barry Reese is able to combine pulp & comic book style stories in a perfect blend. I would be delighted to see an entire novel (much like Tales of The Rook) where more of his Reese Universe characters are spotlighted in solo adventures. One story featuring The Darkling, another with Leonid Kaslov, another with The Dark Gentleman etc.

Mr. Reese is also great at taking public domain characters and breathing new life into them. His past success with The Black Terror, Ascott Keane & Dr. Satan (among others)are great examples of taking forgotten or misused characters and elevating them to main event players.

I’m sure Barry Reese’s upcoming cross over novel Götterdämmerung (featuring Lazarus Gray, The Rook & Gravedigger among others) will no doubt continue to thrill us with death traps, heroes who feel like old friends & new villains who we will love to hate!

A definite 5 out of 5.

Buy it. Read it. You will love it.

Thanks, Pat! I had a blast writing the book and I think it ended up showing on the final printed page. I hope to maintain the high standards with future books.

Again, the review is much appreciated!