Barry Reese

Pulp Writer Extraordinaire

Michael Brown posted the following review of Tales of The Rook:

The Rook is a new hero pulp created by Barry Reese. The Rook fights crime and evil in the 30s and 40s (and later). Barry mixes in pulp hero, comic book & comic strip characters, along with occult horror/weird menace, and does a good job. He also adds in a love interest who will marry him (pulp heroes never do that, which is different). The Rook goes up against traditional villains, pulp super-foes, and occult horrors, and has the assistance of characters based on pulp heroes and comic book/comic strip characters (some original, other done as pastiches or homages to other characters).

The Rook is also a generational story, as Barry gives a timeline of the Rook universe, showing that the Rook’s son and daughter will later take up the mantle, as will another individual in the near future. It also helps those who want to know where the stories fit in this timeline. An updated timeline is includes with each volume, so you know where the stories fit in.

This volume is something different, and something promised for a long time. This is NOT “The Rook volume whatever”, this volume is a collection of new short stories of the Rook written by others, BUT all being canon. This allows for some other new pulp writers to have a go at this new and popular character.

First up is a new story by the Rook’s creator, Barry Reese. This one is a sort of new take on “The Deadliest Game”, but with some different elements so its not a total copy.

Next is a story by Ron Fortier (of Airship 27 fame), writing a story set in the early years of the Rook’s career.

Then we have a story by Bobby Nash (new pulp author). A decent story, with The Rook going up against an arsonist in Atlanta, but after all the supernatural-based stories, its overshadowed.

The story by Mike Bullock (new pulp author) has the Rook teams up with a new pulp hero, Xander Janus. Will we see more of this character?

Perry Constantine (new pulp author)’s story is actually set in the future with the fourth’s Rook. Another pulp hero makes a cameo appearance.

And finally, Tommy Hancock (head of Pro Se Press)’s story has The Rook go up against the classic pulp villain, Doctor Death! And this sets up possible future conflicts with him.

One thing I would have liked to have seen would have been some short biographical info on all the authors. I’ve seen this in many works, and was a little disappointed by the absence here.

I look forward to the next Rook volume, and well as more volumes of “Tales of the Rook”.

Thanks for the kind words, Michael! Pro Se doesn’t generally run the short author bios that other companies do. I like those, too, and have expressed to the editors there that I think they’re more than a good idea — they should be viewed as a necessity. It gives readers the chance to learn more about the authors and aids them in finding other things to read (or avoid, if they really disliked that author’s story!). I also like the essays that Airship 27 used to run in their books or the Q&A things that Wild Cat Books sometimes ran with the author.

You asked about Mike Bullock’s Xander character — I know that Mike is putting together a collection of stories that should see print later this year, so stay tuned there.

Our art for today is by George Sellas and comes from Tommy Hancock’s story from the Tales collection.

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