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Pulp TV – Adventure, Inc.

barryreese1972:

Great read, pulp fans!

Originally posted on Karavansara:

Adventure Inc_frontLooking for some diversion in this dead dead dead week of mid-August, when Italy all but shuts down and it feels like a zombie plague is on, I dug up the DVDs ofAdventure Inc., an old TV series from 2002 which I missed when it first came out, and shelved after viewing the first three episodes.

The series was apparently inspired by the exploits of real-life adventurer and treasure hunter  Barry Clifford – and this is the foremost reason of interest, for me, as I read and liked Clifford’s books quite a bit (we’ll talk about the guy sooner or later).

Then it’s an adventure series, and I’m a sucker for adventure.
And while a cursory perusal of the first three episodes left me cold way back in the days of yore, now boredom has been mightier than that initial disappointment, and I gave the series a second…

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My Favorite Comic Book Stories

jla-200Welcome back to Ye Olde Blog!

I thought I’d take a few minutes to talk about some of my favorite comic book stories today — some are storylines/epics, others are one-off issues. Most of them come from my younger days because nostalgia rules us all, don’t you know?

Here are a few of my faves:

JLA/Avengers by Kurt Busiek & George Perez – I was gutted when the original was scuttled back in the Eighties but this was a worthy substitute and I still pull it out to re-read on occasion. Great art and a wonderful story.

JLA 200 – This was an all-star extravaganza with a wonderful wraparound cover by George Perez. Basically, the original 7 Leaguers are mind-controlled and forced to fight the newer members of the League, with each chapter drawn by a different superstar artist (like Brian Bolland & Jim Aparo!). This was the gold standard anniversary issue to which I hold all others. Written by Gerry Conway.

The Great Darkness Saga by Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen. Amazing artwork, a tense story and the greatest use of Darkseid EVER. I was already a Legion fan but this put me over the top.

New Teen Titans by Marv Wolfman & George Perez. The whole damned thing.

Excalibur by Chris Claremont and/or Alan Davis. See New Teen Titans.

Sinestro Corps War by Geoff Johns. Loved it and it flowed smoothly into the later (also excellent) Blackest Night.

The FF/Nova crossover by Marv Wolfman. I really dug this when I was a kid, all the way up to the amazing Galactus/Sphinx battle.

Crisis on Infinite Earths — the greatest “crossover” of all time. When the first issue came out, I was so excited that I asked my mom to run out and buy it as soon as it hit the stands. I bought two issues of every issue — one to save and one to read. My “reader” copies were read so much they fell to pieces.

Action Comics by Marv Wolfman & Gil Kane. I was a huge fan of this run at the time and I was thrilled when it was reprinted in a big glossy hardcover.

The Hobgoblin Saga by Roger Stern. This blew me away as a kid and I still re-read it (and Stern’s return with Hobgoblin Lives!). Great stuff with some awesome JR Jr artwork.

The Generations Saga by Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway — As a major fan of the Earth-Two heroes, I was psyched beyond belief to see the JSA and their kids interacting. Classic stuff.

All-Star Comics – The entire 1970s run by Gerry Conway and Paul Levitz. I adore it. I treasure it. It rocks so hard. That first issue with the cover announcing the arrival of the “All-Star Super Squad” is one of the greatest memories I have as a young comics fan.

What are some of your favorites?

The “Other” Hero of The Rook Chronicles

Today I figured we’d spend a few minutes talking about the ‘other’ hero of The Rook Chronicles. Will McKenzie is introduced in the second Rook story and soon becomes not only best friend to our hero Max Davies but also a frequent companion on his adventures.

Some of the highlights include:

1937 – Will arrives in Atlanta and is introduced to Max by the mysterious Benson, a man who was risen above tragedy in his own life to become a hero in the employ of the government. The youngest police chief in the nation, Will has movie-star good looks and a fierce attraction both both the ladies and to danger. As we’ll see, the combination of those two interests is a particular problem for him! In his debut appearance, Will heads off into the Atlanta underground to help foil a vampire uprising “Kingdom of Blood”, The Rook Volume One).

1939 – Max and Evelyn become parents to a son that they name William, after their good friend (“Abominations,” The Rook Volume One). Later in the year, Will and an ex-girlfriend named Violet Cambridge become embroiled in a horrific adventure surrounding a cursed object, an ancient cult and Aleister Crowley (The Damned Thing).

1940 – Will travels to Berlin with The Rook and The Domino Lady to confront the organization known as Bloodwerks (“Bloodwerks, The Rook Volume Two).

1941 – Kidnapped by a Nazi agent known as The Iron Maiden, Will is able to not only escape her clutches but convince her that she’s fighting on the wrong side. Kirsten Bauer and Will are soon married.

Later in the Forties, we learn that Will and Kirsten are struggling to have a child. As of this writing, we don’t know if they ever succeeded or not. Will is actually in most of The Rook stories after his introduction but the above are some of the best. If you’re a big fan of Will, I’d definitely suggest you seek out “Kingdom of Blood” and The Damned Thing, both of which feature him very prominently.

Writers Who Have Inspired Me

EmmaWatson-HarryCrowder03I’m not going to go in-depth as to why these guys have influenced me since in many ways, it would be hard to nail it down. These are authors that have been favorites of mine and are ones that when I read them, I consciously go “Wow, look how they did that! I want to be able to do that!” I certainly read and enjoy other authors besides just these guys but these are the ones that I’d list as inspirations (in no order other than what popped in my head). Some of them have styles that are very different from my own but I still feel like I’ve taken something from them along the way.

Paul Ernst

Robert E. Howard

Walter Gibson

Stephen King (“old” King anyway — ’70s & ’80s)

Michael Moorcock (Elric specifically)

Rob MacGregor (his Indiana Jones work)

Andy McDermott

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Frank Herbert (his Dune series)

Timothy Zahn

Chris Claremont

Clive Cussler

Marv Wolfman

Geoff Johns

Jim Shooter

Wayne Reinagel

Arthur Conan Doyle

Derrick Ferguson

Top 10 Favorite Comics 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.

Pulse Fiction!

pulse_fictionKnown as an innovator in New Pulp and Genre Fiction, Pro Se Productions proudly announces the release of the first volume in a new series two years in the making. Want stories that will get your heart racing, your blood pumping? You’ll find them in Bishop and Hancock’s Pulse Fiction Volume One, available now from Pro Se Productions.

“Pulse Fiction,” says Tommy Hancock, Partner in and Editor in Chief of Pro Se Productions, “is the brainchild of Paul Bishop. Known for his work in the crime field as well as being one of the major forces behind the Fight Card creator’s collective he’s built, Paul is also a fan of classic Pulp Fiction! The sort of books where several characters were featured, each one in an adventure designed to top the one before it! So, Paul pitched the idea of doing a series where there was a set pool of characters that authors could utilize and tell stories with. Not every character would recur in every book, but they’d all make the rounds, showing up whenever a writer felt the urge to tell a story with them. He had a handful of characters in mind and I threw in a motley crew of a few of mine and Pulse Fiction was born.”

A two fisted, gun toting Private Eye! A Member of the French Foreign Legion waist deep in Intrigue! A Lady with a taste for Diamonds and Danger! Heroes many have thought lost to yesterday now blast their way into today in Bishop and Hancock’s Pulse Fiction!

Pulse Fiction takes the best of the past and shakes and stirs it with today’s finest Genre Fiction writers. Encounter a cast of characters created by Bishop and Hancock and written into four color, over the top life by Eric Beetner, Barry Reese, D. Alan Lewis, Brian Drake, James Hopwood, and Hancock. Just like the bygone magazines of the past, Pulse Fiction brings rich, vibrant characters embroiled in death defying adventure to readers, characters that will return in later volumes crafted by these and a whole myriad of other authors.

“This,” says Hancock, “is not simply a homage to the classic Pulp tradition or those digests from the 1950s and 60s. Although these stories are definitely ‘pulpy’ in every sense of the word, they also ring with a modern resonance and relevance. These tales are certainly products of the past as well as the present and the authors we’ve gathered blend the two effortlessly.”

Bishop And Hancock’s Pulse Fiction Volume One is available in print at Amazon and through the Pro Se Store at http://tinyurl.com/n2jyob2 and features a fantastic cover by Jeff Hayes with cover design and print formatting by Percival Constantine for only $12.00. The collection will be available in digital format in the coming days.

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

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

Pulp? Yeah, Pulp.

When I was a kid, I was surrounded by the paperback reprints of the classic pulp heroes: Doc Savage, The Avenger, John Carter, Conan, etc. Those books excited me with their lurid covers and exciting characters, instilling a love for that kind of fiction that remains with me today.

These days, when people ask me what kind of things I write, I sometimes avoid describing it as “pulp” because most people have no clue what that means and I’m too tired of explaining it to bother. Sometimes, I say I write “horror, sci-fi and fantasy” but then folks expect to find elves or something in my books. A bunch of folks (of which I was one) spent a lot of time coming up with a ‘definition’ of pulp that runs like this: “Fast-paced, plot-oriented storytelling of a linear nature with clearly defined, larger than life protagonists and antagonists, creative descriptions, clever use of turns of phrase and other aspects of writing that add to the intensity and pacing of the story.”

Now that’s quite a mouthful so it’s not something I can just spout off at a moment’s notice. It’s a compromise, too, which means that nobody was really happy with it. And there are so many exceptions to the rule that the definition often sparks debate amongst pulp fans.

I understand the desire to want to brand ourselves as “pulp” — we love it and we want to be a part of it, to be seen as the inheritors of the mantle and the ones who continue to carry it forward.

But to the general public, pulp fiction is a movie that starred John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson.

I don’t have the answer for how to change that. Honestly, I think it will take that brass ring we’re all chasing — the book or character that “breaks out” and becomes popular to the mainstream. But when that happens, will the New Pulp label be brought with it? I don’t know.

In the end, pulp is kind of like pornography… I may not be able to define it, but I know it when I see it. Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy? Pulp. The Time Traveler’s Wife? Not Pulp.

Our art today is by George Sellas and features Leonid Kaslov in a scene from “Kaslov’s Fire,” which can be found in The Rook Volume Two Special Edition.

You like me! You really like me!

Got my award in the mail yesterday and I once again want to thank everyone who voted. Gravedigger is a character I’m very proud of and I’m pleased that so many of you have enjoyed her adventures this far.

Also, congratulations to Will Meugniot, who deservedly won Best Interior Art for The Adventures of Gravedigger!

Look for Volume Two soon!

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Johnny Galahad

ru-proof-r11.jpgI thought that some of you might be interested in seeing this — it was a pitch for a series that I never got around to doing. If you’re a neophyte writer, you may have never done a “pitch” before. It’s basically the elevator pitch or high concept, hitting upon the feel of the story and introducing some elements of the character that I feel is important.

If you like it, maybe I’ll dust it off and do something with him at some point.

Maybe.

Anyway, here you go…

John “Johnny” Galahad

Galahad is a Southern Gentleman, born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Everyone who’s ever met him agrees that he is a product of another age and that only a cruel twist of fate deposited him in the 20th Century. With a debonair wit and swashbuckling style, Galahad throws himself into the path of danger not because he needs the money (he’s quite wealthy, thank you) but because he loves the satisfaction of walking the tightrope, poised above death itself, and coming away victorious.

Galahad runs The Round Table, a small private eye firm nestled on Peachtree Street. The Round Table is comprised of Galahad and his two aides: the lovely vixen named Desiree Williams and the burly ex-boxer David Holcomb. Desiree is Galahad’s Girl Friday, answering the phones and occasionally accompanying him into the field. David is a two-fisted terror, serving as Galahad’s driver and chief enforcer.

Galahad himself stands 6’3” and he’s slender but surprisingly strong. With blond hair and blues eyes, he looks like the Aryan dream, though his Southern drawl makes many underestimate him. Skilled in a number of languages and the type of man who cracks codes for fun, Galahad is rarely without a joke on his lips, a cigarette in his fingers and a lustful woman in his wake.

Galahad is the sort of man that you’d want for your best friend but not the sort you’d ever trust to watch over your little sister. It’s not that he’d take advantage of the situation – it’s simply that an evening with him would ruin her forever. They’d end up the target of Chinese assassins, forced to go on the run through the oldest cemetery in the city and barely surviving a night of intrigue, romance and danger. In other words, every other man in the world would pale next to the luminous light that is Johnny Galahad.

Galahad’s first adventure will be depicted in “The Case of the Lovely Corpses.”

From the Vault: Just Write, Stupid.

snoopy_writingPeople often ask me for advice about writing. I’ve even given talks about writing to would-be writers. But I don’t think people really like what I have to tell them. You see, a lot of them are members of “writer’s groups” where they swap stories, critique them and go into re-writes. I don’t really believe in those because they’re an example of why a lot of people never manage to finish that novel they’ve been working on for twenty years: they spend too much time talking about writing and not enough time writing. I once infuriated a room full of folks by saying that nothing was scarier to me than somebody with an English degree and a passel full of “How-To” writing guides.

Because that English degree person is probably never going to write a damned thing. They’re going to spin their wheels, talking about this and pondering that, instead of sitting down at the keyboard and pounding the keys.

Look, I’m not the world’s greatest wordsmith. But I write. I write a lot. I don’t sit around on my ass and say “Boy, I’d love to write a book.” I wrote a book. And then I wrote another one.

There’s no “one way” to do it, either. If you like to do 80 page outlines and that works for you, do it. If you like to have a swig of beer, unbutton your pants and then start writing without any clue where you’re going with the story, do it! Never ever, ever, let someone tell you that you’re doing it wrong. Hell, if you’re in a writer’s group and it helps you (ACTUALLY WRITING), then do it. It doesn’t work for me and I can count on one hand the number of folks I’ve met that it did work for, but hell, there are exceptions to every rule.

And by all means, DON’T FEAR WRITING CRAP. Even if you write the worst novel of all time, you’ve still written a novel. That puts you way ahead of all the Charlies and Nancys who spend their lives saying, “I always wanted to write a book!” Besides, you won’t be the first person to write crap and you won’t be the last. Enjoy the fact that you completed a project and then get to work on the next one, so you can move up to mediocre the next time around :-)

But my main advice to wanna be writers is this:

1. READ. A lot. Look at how things are written and dissect them. Think to yourself, “I like how writer x does that… HOW does he do that?” and try to learn from it.

2. WRITE. A lot. You get better the more you write. You really do. But don’t navel-gaze so much. Finish a damned project and then do some revision but then MOVE ON. Keep going forward. It will never be perfect. Accept that.

3. NETWORK. You need to meet other writers and make friends with them. You never know who might help you someday. How did I become a professional writer? Because a friend of mine worked for Marvel Comics and recommended me for a job. I didn’t submit anything to them — Marvel emailed me, on the basis of my friend’s recommendation. It went from there.

So… here’s my suggestion for today. Stop reading this blog. Stop flipping through that Stephen King book on writing. Stop over-analyzing the act of creation.

And then go CREATE.