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Friday Fun (Now With 35% More Fred Hembeck!)

hembeck_smallerIt’s finally here — FRIDAY! Yes, we’re all celebrating at Ye Olde Blog as the end of the workweek looms large. I don’t have any major plans for the weekend, though we will be heading out as a family to see Monsters University.

Yesterday saw the first comics company announce a licensing agreement with Kindle Worlds — and it’s none other than Valiant! I’m a big fan of their universe and back in my fanfic days, I wrote many stories featuring X-O Manowar, Shadowman and a few characters they no longer utilize (Magnus & Solar). I had a good half dozen people forward me the news yesterday… and I am mightily intrigued. I might dust off some of the old tales I wrote and see if I can make something out of them. I like to think I’m a better writer now than I was back then, after all. We’ll see — Kindle Worlds is still making announcements and hasn’t actually gone live at this point.

Writing on The Adventures of Gravedigger Volume Two is going quite well. I’m close to 16,000 words into the novel and I’ve set up all the main villains, their plot… and even had Gravedigger shot in the streets of Sovereign City and left for dead! Pulp fiction, ladies and gentlemen… where the action is fast and furious!

Just finished reading Xenos, which is the first novel in the Eisenhorn series by Dan Abnett. Really, really good stuff. I’m going to read a Shadow novel next and then probably dive back into the Eisenhorn omnibus.

I have no hard sales figures but anecdotally, I believe that The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Three: Eidolon is off to a good start, sales-wise. The snafu that led to the eBook version being available for a week before the print one might have driven a few sales towards digital but that’s okay. It takes many more digital sales for me to make as much as I do off a single print sale but if I were doing this just for the money, I’d be a fool. As long as you guys are reading and enjoying, that’s the main thing.

Another episode of The Shadow Fan’s Podcast went live yesterday — 36 episodes and counting! Hard to believe I’ve done so many — and there’s no end in sight!

Our art today is from the amazing Fred Hembeck — you know you’ve made it in this world when Fred’s done the squiggly knees effect on one of your characters!


Press Release: The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Three: Eidolon Is Here!

tiny_coverA man unconscious on a city’s shore line. The only clue to his identity was a small medallion with a name stamped on it. Taking it for his own, this stranger to himself became one of Sovereign City’s greatest heroes!

Pro Se Productions, an independent press on the cutting edge of genre fiction, heroic storytelling, and New Pulp, proudly announces the latest volume in one of the most popular New Pulp series today- THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUME THREE: EIDOLON! From the mind of Award Winning Author Barry Reese!

“Heroes,” Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief of and Partner in Pro Se Productions, explains, “are not only a major part of what Pro Se does and does well, but they’re vital to New Pulp! Pulp as a style covers many genres, but the two fisted, fast paced tales of the Hero are what people remember and want to read! We’re fortunate enough that Barry Reese hangs his mask at Pro Se and continues to add to his own Pantheon through Reese Unlimited.”

From Pro Se Productions and Reese Unlimited -Pro Se’s inaugural Author Imprint- comes the latest chapter in the Sovereign City Project featuring one of the most popular New Pulp heroes of recent years! Thrill to tales in this latest volume as Lazarus Gray and his aides battle against their opposite number as some of their most dangerous enemies band together to form MURDER UNLIMITED! They’ve sworn to destroy Lazarus and his team, but is there another agenda that secretly guides this sinister alliance?

Also, Gray squares off with a new foe- Eidolon! Who or what is this latest adversary! Follow Gray as he works out a puzzle that began in the steamy jungles of Peru and may end with the fall of a hero!

“Barry Reese,” Hancock states, “not only delivers a tried and true Pulp Hero tale in the tradition of the Classic tales, he brings a definite excitement to his work. Twists and turns combined with characterization and controlled chaos make Barry’s dialogue pop and action roll like thunder.”

The Adventures of Lazarus Gray continue explosively with a third volume full of action, excitement, and danger as Assistance Unlimited plunges into the heart of evil…but will they all survive the journey?

Also presenting SECRETS OF THE DEAD, the first in a series of illustrated features by Barry Reese and Award Winning Artist George Sellas!

THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUME THREE: EIDOLON featuring cover and interior illustrations by George Sellas, print formatting and design by Sean Ali and Ebook design by Russ Anderson! The latest and greatest in New Pulp from Reese Unlimited and Pro Se Productions!

The third stunning volume in the LAZARUS GRAY series is available now via Amazon at and at Pro Se’s own store at print for $15.00!

THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUME THREE is also available in Digital Format for $2.99! Available on Kindle at, the Nook version at, and in most formats at Smashwords at for $2.99!

“Barry Reese’s new pulp heroes have all the zest of the classic heroes of the 30s with a discreet touch of today’s sensibilities for an added kick. Always a fun, page-turning read.” – Will Meugniot, artist of DNAgents & Supervising Producer of X-Men: The Animated Series

For Review Copies, Interviews, or further information, contact Morgan Minor, Pro Se Director of Corporate Operations, at

Characters I Love # 10: Nightwing

Nightwing_0002Every Wednesday, I focus on a character from adventure fiction (film, comics & prose) that I simply adore. This week we’re talking about: Nightwing. This character’s real identity is Dick Grayson, who is probably better known as the former Robin, The Boy Wonder. What I really liked about Nightwing was that he fulfilled a lot of comic book fans’ fantasies — he was a sidekick who grew up and became an adult hero. Because of the way time usually works in comics, we rarely see true change or growth from the characters. But with Dick Grayson, we saw him as a kid, then as a teenager and finally as an adult. Along the way, he became leader of his own team (the Titans) and eventually dropped the Robin identity to become his own hero — heck, he even spent a significant amount of time as Batman, filling in for his mentor on a couple of occasions. During one of those, he even led the Justice League of America (during James Robinson’s run on the title).

Nightwing’s solo title has had its ups and downs but I’ve enjoyed the majority of it. A lot of talented people have worked on the character over the years, most notably Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Chuck Dixon, Scott McDaniel, Greg Land and Kyle Higgins. In the New 52 continuity, Nightwing has been shaken up a bit — apparently, he was never involved with The Titans and his romance with Starfire is unclear in terms of whether or not it actually happened. But the core of the character and the wish fulfillment factor is still there. Like the other sidekicks-turned-adults (like Wally West and Donna Troy), this character has a lot of hardcore fans who feel like they grew up with them. This increases the emotional connection and in Dick’s case, his diehard fans are called Wingnuts.

Nightwing is also considered one of the ‘sexiest’ male heroes — you can find more beefcake shots of the character in the comics and on the internet than is usual for a mainstream superhero. I’m not sure if it dates back to his short pants days or the fact that he’s generally depicted in a sleek, skintight suit of spandex (he’s an acrobat, you know).

Anyway, Nightwing is a longtime fave of mine. For me, it was really the debut of The New Teen Titans that made me into a major fan. I loved seeing Robin leading his own team and taking flight away from his mentor. And when he became Nightwing in the classic storyline “The Judas Contract,” they had me for life. DC has periodically threatened to kill off the character (most notably during Infinite Crisis) but even if they did, it wouldn’t stick. Dick Grayson is too important to the fabric of their universe.

A New Avenger Review — And the Usual News & Nonsense

lg07_morgan_watts_smallWelcome to Tuesday at Ye Olde Blog!

I was pleased to see that a new review of The Avenger: Roaring Heart of the Crucible had been posted on Amazon. Our old friend Darkendale has been keeping up with his New Pulp reading, as we saw with his review of The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Three: Eidolon the other day. Here’s what he had to say about The Avenger:

I eagerly awaited my copy of this book and I can tell you, it was worth the wait. We find Richard Henry Benson and Justice, Inc. back in the business of seeing criminal masterminds destroy themselves in their own clever traps.We can enjoy stories by such pulp word slingers as Will Murray, Win Scott Eckart, CJ Henderson, Barry Reese, and Greg Cox. all of these diverse and skilled writers manage to echo the style of Paul Ernst. Occasionally, a bit of Ron Goulart creeps in but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

My favorites tales from this third volume of hard hitting Avenger pulp are.

The Moth Murders – Will Murray
The Box Of Flesh by Barry Reese
The Snarling Man – Christopher Sequeira with C J Henderson
An Excellent Beauty – C J Henderson
and last but definitely not least, Terror From The Depths – David White

Here’s to more offerings (I hope, fingers crossed!) from the authors and more, and from Moonstone, the very best in New Pulp Fiction!

I’m very glad that he enjoyed the book and I sincerely thank him for specifically mentioning my contribution. I’ll be honest in saying that I haven’t had time to read through the entire book myself yet but I fully expect to love it — the previous volumes from Moonstone have been of the highest standard.

On another note, I managed to write close to 2,000 words on Gravedigger Volume Two yesterday, which means that I’m closing in on 12,000 words. Since most of my novels fall in the 60,000 word range, this means that I’m about 20% through the first draft. I consider this to be pretty good progress. I plan to ride this momentum for awhile yet before moving to work on the second story for Lazarus Gray Volume Five.

Saw a truly stunning piece of promo work from Sean Ali and George Sellas the other day but I can’t share it yet — not until it’s been run in various other channels first. But trust me — it’ll make you very excited about the Reese Unlimited imprint. Hell, I authored all of the books on the ad and it made me want to read them! Sean is one of the most amazing graphic designers I’ve ever seen and his work makes Pro Se far and away the best-looking publisher in the field. And, of course, George’s artwork is always stellar!

All the stories for Tales of The Rook Volume Two are in so that one will probably be placed on the schedule at some point soon. Despite all the problems I had with getting this one together, I’ve been kicking around ideas about some sort of Lazarus Gray anthology… maybe one where each member of Assistance Unlimited got a turn in the spotlight. Any interest in that? Or do you prefer to see them all written as a team, under my hand?

Our art today depicts Morgan Watts, the oldest member of Assistance Unlimited — it is, of course, by the incredible George Sellas.

See you guys tomorrow!

Monday Chatter

miss-fury-bannerIt’s a Monday, which means we’re starting off a new week here at Ye Olde Blog. Hopefully all of you had a pleasant Father’s Day yesterday – I spent the day with my family and got some pretty cool loot as gifts, though of course the best part of the day was simply playing with my son and relaxing.

Reaction to The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Three: Eidolon has been very strong, even though the print edition is still several days away from being released. I’ve heard from a number of people who have already bought the eBook edition and, as you saw from yesterday, it’s already garnered one 5-star review. As excited as I am for everybody to read this book, it just makes me more anxious for you all to see the conclusion in Volume Four! I’m never satisfied, am I?

My work on the second Gravedigger volume has been going quite well, though I’m having to spend part of today working on an old Moonstone project that was accepted quite awhile back. Can’t say I’m looking forward to doing this but who said writing was always fun?

Not sure what the next released after Eidolon will be from Reese Unlimited… I think it might be the re-release of Rabbit Heart but we’ll see.

Currently reading the Eisenhorn Omnibus by Dan Abnett, my introduction to the Warhammer 40K universe. So far, I’m loving it! Very good stuff. I also just got the Dr. Zeng Omnibus from Altus Press but I won’t get to that one for awhile. Looking forward to it, though. Continuing with the book talk, I also got the last three print books that Margaret Weis Games published for the Marvel Heroic RPG. I’m still quite sad that the system died such an early death but it was quite fun and I’ll continue to use it whenever I can.

Over on the comics front, I’m still enjoying The Shadow and The Shadow: Year One from Dynamite Comics… I’m also enjoying Miss Fury, though the narrative is unnecessarily confusing. I’m also trying the first few issues of their Black Bat revival but based upon the first issue, I don’t think I’m going to continue getting it.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more news & commentary. Until then, be careful out there — you never know when a dark society is going to launch their latest plot to take over the world!

Eidolon Gets Its First Review!

Darkendale Raven has given us our first review of The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Three: Eidolon! The print version isn’t here yet but the book is available for your Kindle and Nook now!

Let’s see what Darkendale thought of the story:

Usually I wait for the paperback of books like this. I am old fashioned, I love the feel and smell of a good book in hand. But this time, Barry Reese has dropped so many breadcrumbs about the continued adventures of his pulp heroes, that I jumped at the chance to read this one at once!

And I was not disappointed. Doctor Pemberley escapes prison aided by dark magic and a mysterious summonings! Princess Femi, the, resurrected Egyptian Queen of the Undead returns once again! Abraham Klee, turned by his mad scientist father into a super criminal who uses 90% of his brain, faster, stronger, quicker thinking becomes involved with these two bad eggs. Also in the group is Stanley Davis, wickedly clairvoyant. And Constance Majestros, returning for revenge on Assistance Unlimited for destroying her face is bankrolling the entire group, now known as Murder Unlimited, and determined to make Lazarus Gray and his associates pay in spades. Truly a battle royale for pulpdom!

Then there is the matter of an evil relic, said to be the body of the devil, or at least some high order demon. A powerful talisman that absolutely oozes dark power, it was cut into pieces and scattered long ago. Lazarus Gray himself had stolen the devil’s heart while he was a member of the Illuminati as Richard Winthrop, turning it over to Walter Lunt. Now various powers are in a race to collect all the body parts, to rebuild the demon, and endeavor to control the almost unlimited dark power it possesses.

Assistance Unlimited is asked by the US Government to seek the devil’s body on their behalf. Nazi Germany is sending their own agents in hopes of unleashing the power of the devil for the Third Reich. And the mysterious Darkling, with powers similar to The Shadow, but perhaps darker, wants the body for his own purposes, leading to battles between The Darkling and Lazarus Grey. During all of this intrigue, one member of Assistance Unlimited is turned into the very strange Eidolon. That’s enough hints, and certainly no more than Barry usually gives in his timelines.

Who will prevail? Can Murder Unlimited gain revenge on Lazarus Gray and company? Who wins the great race to assemble the devil’s body? What happens to the devil’s body as a relic? Will evil become unleashed? Who becomes Eidolon, and what power could turn one of Assistance Unlimited’s own? Read the stories. They are worth it, believe me! Barry has outdone himself with this volume.

As an aside directly to Barry Reese, I had wondered if I could guess who was going to be Eidolon knowing only what you had hinted would happen. I went down each member of assistance Unlimited and weighed them for likelihood. I was right! I didn’t get the how, just the who!

Great novel. I can’t wait for the book to join your others on my shelves! Looking forward to more from a man who is fast becoming the greatest new pulp writer ever!

High praise indeed! Thanks so much – and I’m like you, I prefer the feel of a real book in my hands, though I do indulge in 6-10 eBooks a year.

Glad you figured out who Eidolon would be – and I’m glad you found it an exciting addition to the Lazarus Gray narrative. I have a feeling you’ll enjoy the wrap-up in Volume Four just as much!

Thanks again!


Saturday Matinee: Buck Rogers

219041-science-fiction-buck-rogers-in-the-25th-century-wallpaper-2Every Saturday I find a movie or clip that I think will appeal to the fans of this blog. Since most of you enjoy action/adventure, I tend to focus on something that falls into that category. This week we’re looking at the many incarnations of Buck Rogers!

First up, we have the first two chapters from the 1939 serial starring Buster Crabbe:

Then we jump to 1979’s Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’s opening credits. This show was my introduction to the Buck Rogers character and I still love it:

And here’s a really cool fan-made movie-style trailer for the tv series:

Marvel Heroic RPG Stats: Lazarus Gray (Updated)

lg01_lazarus_solo_with_text_smallLazarus Gray
AKA Richard Winthrop
First Appearance: The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume One

Affiliations: Solo D6   Buddy D8   Team D10

Distinctions: D4 (+1PP) or D8
Forgotten Past
Stoic Avenger
Born Leader

Power Sets:
Assistance Unlimited Gear
Weapon D6
Wireless Communicator D6
SFX: Dangerous – Add a D6 to your dice pool for an attack action and step back highest die in pool by -1. Step up Physical Stress inflicted by +1
Limit: Gear

Combat Expert D8 or 2D6
Covert Expert D8 or 2D6
Crime Master D10 or 2D8 or 3D6
Mystic Expert D8 or 2D6
Science Expert D8 or 2D6
Tech Expert D8 or 2D6

Assistance Unlimited
1XP when you assist a potential agent for the first time.
3XP when you turn down payment for a job or when you perform an act of justice without being hired by anyone.
10XP when you offer someone membership in Assistance Unlimited.

The Past Never Dies
1XP when you declare that Richard Winthrop is dead and that only Lazarus Gray remains.
3XP when you encounter someone from Richard Winthrop’s past or when you must deal with an occult relic from his time with The Illuminati.
10XP when you experience Mental Stress over the fact that you have lost emotional connection to Richard Winthrop’s memories.

Eidolon Is Almost Here…

laz3coverThe Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Three: Eidolon will be available any day now… if you missed out on how to snag a review copy of the book, just scroll down a few days on Ye Olde Blog and you’ll find all the details. The middle chapter in a sprawling three-book epic, this tome is described by my publisher in this way:

Who or what is Eidolon? Assistance Unlimited investigates a puzzle that began in the steamy jungles of Peru and the discovery of a fabled lost temple…

Will it end with the fall of a hero?

The Adventures of Lazarus Gray™ returns with action, excitement and danger as Assistance Unlimited plunges into the heart of evil…

…but will they all survive the journey?

I think that’s a pretty apt summary… at the end of the second volume, Assistance Unlimited had added two new members: former SS officer Jakob Sporrenberg and Southern spellcaster Abigail Cross. As they settle in to their new roles on the team, our new heroes come face-to-face with the deadly Murder Unlimited before encountering a vigilante called The Darkling. The Darkling’s arrival coincides with a word-wide search for a mystical artifact that could mean the end of mankind. Along the way, one member of Assistance Unlimited is transformed into something dark… and another may very well find death waiting at the end of the adventure. I think it’s a rollicking adventure with plenty of twists and turns — and I hope you’ll agree! Volume Two swept the Pulp Ark Awards this year, winning Best Novel, Best Cover and Best Interior Art, so I think George Sellas and I have a lot to live up to.

When you’re finished with this one, I suspect you’ll be wondering where we’re headed from here… and all I’ll say is that Volume Four is going to knock your socks off.

Stay tuned!

Characters I Love # 9: Seekay

seekay_coverEvery Wednesday, I focus on a character from adventure fiction (film, comics & prose) that I simply adore. This week we’re talking about: Seekay. This pulp hero is relatively obscure, having appeared in only five stories, published in 1937 & ’38. Written by Paul Ernst (the genius behind the original Avenger novels and the Doctor Satan series), Seekay’s entire series has been reprinted by Altus Press in the volume The Casebook of Seekay and Other Prototypes of The Avenger. It’s a $29.95 paperback, which is a bit steep, but it’s well worth the price and you can probably do some shopping around to get it for less.

Seekay is a private detective who wears a plastic mask to hide his disfigurement. There was a whole trend of “defective detectives” who suffered from some form of ailment, be it physical, emotional or mental — and Seekay is one of the best of those. The first two of his stories appeared, appropriately enough, in “Stange Detective Stories” before the rest of the series switched to “Detective Tales.” While the full truth about his disfigurement is never detailed, we do get some tantalizing hints. In the very first story, he aids a young woman who goes on to become his secretary and sidekick in adventure — she yearns to know more about him and there’s some nice romantic tension as she struggles with what is obviously a growing crush on the tragic hero.

While Seekay’s success rate isn’t focused upon, we have to assume that he’s doing quite well for himself, since he’s able to pick and choose his cases. If they intrigue him, he takes them on — but if not, he refuses to even hear them out.

As with all Ernst stories, the characterization is spot-on and I’m continually amazed at how he’s able to make you feel for his characters while never losing the pace of the story. As with The Avenger, Seekay is perfectly willing to let his enemies engineer their own demise, as well.

I am genuinely sad that there’s only five of these stories out there as I think he could have had a long and interesting run. At one point, I was told the character was in the public domain but I’ve since learned that’s not true. It’s a shame in some ways as I would love to have the opportunity to write Seekay or at least read what others would do with him.

Definitely seek out the Altus Press book and see why I’m so high on this character!