Book Signing Today!

banner01_smallIf you’d like to meet me, I’ll be at Avalon Comics in Macon, Georgia today! I’ll be appearing there from 11:30 am to around 1:00 pm. The store is located at 2384 Ingleside Avenue and is a great place to come and hang out. It’s also just down the road from Red Lobster, which is always a good thing, right?

I’ll be bringing along copies of all three Lazarus Gray books, plus The Adventures of Gravedigger and several other items. And if you already own one of my books, I’d be glad to personalize it for you for free.

The last time I was there, I had one of the best days ever in terms of moving product — so I’m hoping for a similar turnout this time around. Of course, last time was for Free Comic Book Day but you never know. This particular promotion is their “5th Annual We Couldn’t Afford to go to Dragon*Con Sale” and everything in the store (aside from snacks) will be 50% off. Normally I’m actually at Dragon*Con but I elected not to submit an application this year. While I love Dragon*Con, it’s getting so expensive and so huge that I decided to skip it this time around.

If you miss me at Avalon, you can still catch me at the Crossroads Writers Conference on October 5, 2013 and at COMO on October 10, 2013, plus at the Georgia Literary Festival November 9, 2013.

Hope to see you soon!

A New Eidolon Review!

laz3coverOver at Amazon, a new review of The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Three: Eidolon has been posted! It was reviewed by SteamDave and this is what he had to say:

New Pulp – Classic Elements, Modern Sensibility – 5 stars

For the uninitiated, Lazarus Gray is the central character in Barry Reese’s series of pulp stories set in Sovereign City in the 1930s, and featuring crime-busting, evil-thwarting team, Assistance Unlimited. An obvious, heartfelt homage to such Lester Dent classics as Doc Savage and The Avenger, Lazarus Gray is a man of mystery and action – his past gone, he swears to bring justice to the city, and assistance to anyone in need. And so he does.

The Lazarus Gray stories feature all the classic pulp elements – the stalwart, omnicompetent hero, his varied team of quirky assistants, a choice of villains, thrilling locations, superscience, ancient mysteries, the supernatural…
In a proper new pulp twist, Mr Reese approaches his materials with a modern sensibility, sidestepping the trap of political correctness by providing us with a fresh, modern, intelligent take on “delicate” issues such as gender, race, politics.
This is pulp like in the days of old, but without the outdated and unpleasant biases of our grandfathers.

The third book picks up where the earlier entry in the series (Die Glocke) left off, and shows us that the universe in which the characters move is still evolving – there’s big changes in the air, there’s lots of stuff happening, old enemies are back in the game, new enemies are in, too. The author’s willingness to let his characters grow, change and mutate is another element of fun and interest in the series. There is a dynamic quality, in Sovereign City and its denizens, that keeps the reader’s attention up.

This is new pulp as it’s meant to be, and to me, the Lazarus Gray stories are an almost perfect template of how it’s done – they are complex, tightly-plotted, hard-hitting, fun.

The ebook edition of the third volume in the series – which goes by the title of Eidolon, but let’s not spoil the fun by revealing more – also includes a short, gorgeous comic and a selection of black and white illustrations. Not bad, for something like 3 euros.

Defects? There’s too little of it – the Lazarus Gray stories are a fast, fun read, and the new book’s over way too soon.

All in all, a highly entertaining, intelligent, stimulating read.

The whole series is highly recommended.

Thanks so much for the review! I’m really pleased that you enjoy my efforts to meld the best parts of the classic pulp era with the modern sensibilities and techniques we have available to us today. I enjoy seeing my characters grow and evolve and think that such things are part of what make a series so much fun to write (and read!). I think you’ll really enjoy what’s coming up in Volume Four — I’ve already written that book and it’s currently in production with George Sellas working on the cover. Look for it in early 2014!

Medic!

20130829-070648.jpg

Well, this will be a fairly short post, I think. My son was ill last evening so I didn’t get any sleep until around three this morning and even then, it wasn’t particularly restful since I was curled up in a chair!

As a result, I probably won’t add anything to the Lazarus Gray story I’ve been working on – which is a shame since Brother Bones and Lazarus are about to meet for the first time. In classic tradition, they’re going to throw down before teaming up. Cliche? Sure! But it’s all about The Fun.

One cool thing I can share is that longtime comics artist Grant Miehm is working on the cover to Tales of The Rook Volume Two! Grant has worked on numerous projects both in and out of comics but I’ll always have a soft spot for his Legend of The Shield series. I’m thrilled to have him onboard.

Take care, folks! I’m gonna hang out with the little guy and maybe catch some zzz’s when he goes down for a nap later.

Characters I Love # 17: The Huntress

huntressEvery Wednesday, 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.

Updates & Avalon Comics Appearance

11746dcd0c65886c_Kate-Upton-Elle-2Hello, folks!

I just uploaded the 46th episode of The Shadow Fan Podcast, so you can head over and download that one if you’re a fan of pulp’s greatest crimefighter. At the end of the episode I reveal who will be joining me on the 50th episode! I think people will really enjoy the conversation I had with this famous Shadow creator.

Work continues on the Lazarus Gray/Brother Bones crossover story. I’ve crossed the 6,000 word mark so I think we’re making good progress. Once I’m finished with it, I’ll pass it on to Brother Bones’ creator, Ron Fortier, for his approval and comments. If he gives it the green light, then I’ll have knocked out two of the five stories that will run in Lazarus Gray v. 5. It all adds up, doesn’t it? It’s interesting to note that once that book is released, I’ll have written almost as many Lazarus Gray books as I have The Rook.

I’ll be at Avalon Comics this Saturday from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm so if you’re in the Macon, Georgia area, please stop in and say hello! I’ll be there selling and signing books. Avalon is a great store and it’s located down the road from a Red Lobster so you can do what I’m doing and grab lunch afterward. Pulp fiction and cheddar bay biscuits… where could you go wrong?

I’ll be exchanging emails with my frequent collaborator George Sellas this morning, firming up our schedules for the next few months. Even though Chris Batista and Jen Broomall have been doing work with me lately, don’t think I’m letting George slip away. He’ll continue defining the looks of my characters for a long time to come, if I have anything to say about it!

Our accompanying photo today is of the lovely Kate Upton. She’s obviously doing some reading in bed, which makes it appropriate for inclusion on this blog. ‘Cause we promote literacy and stuff.

Plus, it’s Kate Upton.

Booyah! The Crossover Novel’s Cover Artist Is….

LEGION_SECRET_ORIGIN_5It’s the start of a whole new week and I’m hoping that I’ll get a lot of stuff done — I have to record episode 46 of The Shadow Fan Podcast (in which I’ll be reviewing a classic novel and the newest issue of The Shadow/Green Hornet series), I’m still working on the Lazarus Gray/Brother Bones crossover story and, of course, I have a day job.

So I won’t be lacking for things to keep me busy.

The big news, though, is that I’ve been talking with superstar artist Chris Batista and he’s agreed to do a cover for a Reese Unlimited book! He’s going to be doing the cover to a special novel that I have in the planning stages — it will bring The Rook, Lazarus Gray and Gravedigger together for the very first time! We’ve seen The Rook paired with Lazarus Gray and both of those heroes have worked separately with Gravedigger but now the three of them will be gathering to face a titanic threat that will not only imperil Sovereign City but the entire world!

Chris has had celebrated runs on Steel, the Legion of Superheroes, JLA and Robin, among many others. He’s also the artist on the villain’s month issue Grodd, coming out next week from DC Comics. His clean, sleek style has made him one of my favorite artists working in comics today and I’m very, very excited to see what he comes up with for this cover. Our accompanying artwork today showcases the incredible stylings of Mr. Batista — if you’re unfamiliar with his work, I’m pretty sure you’ll understand why I’m such a fan after looking at this image.

The team-up novel doesn’t have a title as of yet so feel free to suggest one – The Rook/Lazarus Gray/Gravedigger Team-Up Book just doesn’t cut it, I’m afraid. The current plan is for me to finish up this LG/Brother Bones story, then I’ll work on some Pro Se work-for-hire stuff, then I’ll put the emphasis on completing the rest of Lazarus Gray Volume Five (the Brother Bones story is the second of a planned five stories to run in that volume)… and *then* I’ll write the big team-up book. Since I’m writing Lazarus Gray Volume Five first, you can be sure that I’ll be seeding the team-up’s plot in that one, making a smooth transition for folks who are reading all of the titles. You will, of course, be able to jump right into the team-up if you wish, though. I try to make all my books new-reader friendly.

It’s been an exciting time for Reese Unlimited lately, with the announcements of both the Brother Bones crossover and now Chris Batista’s upcoming cover work… but the announcements may not be quite complete just yet… Stay tuned for more.

 

My Favorite Shadow Novels (Updated 8/25/2013)

946458-S253-TheVampireMurdersAs most of you know, I’m a big fan of The Shadow – in fact, I host a weekly podcast entitled The Shadow Fan. Today I thought I’d share with you a few of my favorite Shadow novels, so that if you are looking to jump into the series, you’ll have some recommendations about where to start. These are by no means all the great Shadow stories — it’s just a handful that I really love. In addition, there are still Shadow novels that I haven’t read yet — so I might go back and add to this list as time passes.

To be honest, I think it’s a great idea to simply start with the first story and go forward — but that’s not always possible, I know. So here are my favorites, in order of publication:

The Living Shadow – April 1, 1931

The Eyes of The Shadow – July-September 1931

The Shadow Laughs – October 1, 1931

Gangdom’s Doom – December 1, 1931

The Death Tower – January 1, 1932

The Ghost of the Manor – June 15, 1933

The London Crimes – September 15, 1935

Crime, Insured – July 1, 1937

The Shadow Unmasks – August 1, 1937

The Green Hoods – August 15, 1938

Death From Nowhere – July 15, 1939

The Golden Master – September 15, 1939

Shiwan Khan Returns – December 1, 1939

The Invincible Shiwan Khan – March 1, 1940

The Prince of Evil – April 15, 1940

Masters of Death – May 15, 1940

Murder Genius – July 1, 1940

The Man Who Died Twice – September 15, 1940

The Devil’s Paymaster – November 15, 1940

The Thunder King – June 15, 1941

The Devil Master – September 15, 1941

The Book of Death – January 15, 1942

Death’s Bright Finger – May 15, 1942

The Vampire Murders – September 1, 1942

Author Q & A

Breyfogle_Rook_A_smallEvery now and then I let some of the questions I’m asked pile up so I can answer them all at once. Here’s the latest batch! And if you want to play along, just send me a question by replying here or through Facebook!

What characters would you love to write?

Well, I’ve had the chance to write some iconic heroes — The Avenger, The Green Hornet and G-8, for instance — but there are a few I’d still love to get my grubby little hands on. The Shadow definitely tops the list, followed by Batman, The Doom Patrol, Challengers of the Unknown, The Phantom and Norgil. I’d prefer to handle those characters in prose but I wouldn’t turn down any opportunity, be it in comics, on the back of a cereal box or whatever!

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever written?

Hmm. In terms of quality? Or do you mean in terms of being disgusting or something? I’m not sure. I do know that my book Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island is the worst-reviewed book I’ve done and, in retrospect, it is a bit of a hot mess. It was meant to be a fun, quick little romp with pirates, the undead and a giant ape… but it ended up being more “mess” than anything else. In terms of being disgusting, probably Rabbit Heart, which was all very intentional. One character is anally raped to death in that one! Good times.

If they made a Rook movie, who would you want to star in it?

A few years ago, I would have said Nathan Fillion would have made a fantastic Max Davies. He’s starting to get a little old for it now, though. I’m terrible at those kinds of questions, actually. I never cast movies in my head the way other people do. I’d just be happy they made a Rook movie at all!

What’s your favorite Rook story?

Ask me tomorrow and you might get a different answer but my favorites have been “Lucifer’s Cage” (Volume One), “Kaslov’s Fire” (Volume Two), “The Resurrection Gambit” (Volume Three), “Dead of Night” (Volume Four) and “The Scorched God” (Volume Six). I can’t narrow it down any more than that.

For each of your heroes, who is the best villain you’ve created for them?

Good question! The Rook has faced an awful lot of villains in his time and I enjoy a lot of the one-off villains a lot. But I guess I’d have to say The Warlike Manchu, who is not only an homage to Fu Manchu but to the greater Yellow Peril in general. I think he started off rather one-note but some of the later stories with him I’m pretty proud of, including the one where he is revived from the dead “The Resurrection Gambit” and the one where he and The Rook team up (“Dead of Night”).

For Lazarus Gray, I think I’d go with Walther Lunt, even though he’s killed off in Volume Two and as of this writing (I’m working on Volume Five now), he hasn’t returned. I think Lunt works because he has a classic visual and his origins are so intertwined with those of our hero.

Gravedigger has only had one book published and another completed but not yet released, so I don’t think it’s fair to really pick one yet.

Any artists you’d like to work with?

Tons! I’m proud to say that so far I’ve had guys like Frank Brunner, Anthony Castrillo, George Sellas, Fred Hembeck, Will Meugniot, Bob Hall and Norm Breyfogle do work for me. There are always more out there whose work I really love, though. My “dream list” would include George Perez, Alan Davis, Chris Batista and Jae Lee.  Our art today is the original black-and-white version of The Rook Volume Four that Wild Cat Books published — with gorgeous pencils courtesy of Norm Breyfogle.

Thanks for the questions, guys! Keep ’em coming!

Artsy Friday

Gravedigger loresIt’s Friday here at Ye Olde Blog and I, for one, could not be happier. It’s been a long week but from a writing perspective, I’ve been getting a few things done. I’m close to 5,000 words into the Lazarus Gray/Brother Bones short story (it will be the second of five stories in Lazarus Gray Volume Five) and I think it’s going very well. Just had a big action scene and the introduction of our villain is looming. Plus, we get to see the surprising date night between Samantha Grace and (name removed to maintain the surprise).

In other news, I’m in talks with one of my favorite comic book artists about doing an image featuring my “big three” — Lazarus Gray, The Rook and Gravedigger. At this point, it might be used as a promo image for my pulp adventure universe and/or as the cover to a novel that would pair all three into one giant adventure. I don’t want to give too much away but it would involve The Warlike Manchu and Walther Lunt as villains. But wait, you say, isn’t Lunt dead? Well, yes, but of course so was The Warlike Manchu. He got better! Besides, as you’ll see in Lazarus Gray v. 3 & 4, Lunt doesn’t have to actually be around to still loom large — and his legacy can be just as deadly as the man ever was. Stay tuned.

Staying on the artistic track, George Sellas is one image away from completing work on The Rook Volume Three Special Edition. I’ve also sent him the comics script for the Gravedigger ‘Origins” strip that will run in Volume Two.

After he finishes up The Rook Volume Three, George has plenty of Reese Unlimited stuff to keep him busy – Lazarus Gray Volume 4, Gravedigger 2, Rook Volume 4 Special Edition, etc. If you love his work as much as I do, you’ll be pleased to note that we’ll hopefully be working together for quite awhile to come!

Our art today is by the amazing Jen Broomall. It shows Gravedigger (sans mask) about to kick some ass. Hope you like it as much as I do! George Sellas will be back as cover artist on Volume Two (which has already been written) but this image will probably make it onto the back cover or as an interior piece.

Thursday Things — Including A New Review!

Noir01-Cov-Syaf-NOTFINALHello folks!

It’s a Thursday so the weekend is just around the corner. That’s always a good thing, right? I don’t have any major plans for Saturday or Sunday at this point but if it gets me out of the office for a bit, I’ll be happy.

Noticed a new review for The Adventures of Gravedigger had gone up last night, courtesy of Amazon reviewer Liz Tadehara. Here’s what she had to say:

5 out of 5 stars

Squee

I love this book. Of course it helps that I’m a huge fan of The Shadow. This was such a parody of the character. I also like the twist with The Headless Horseman bit. I won’t go further into it than that.

Thanks, Liz! I’m a major fan of The Shadow, too, and I did intend for Gravedigger to be a sort of homage to that hero, at least in terms of the ways she interacts with her agents and so forth. Glad that worked for you! And any time I can make a reader “squee” I consider my job to be a successful one!

I worked a good bit on the Lazarus Gray/Brother Bones crossover story yesterday and it’s going quite well. It’s kind of fun to take my heroes out of Sovereign and into another setting… I think it brings to life not only new facets about the Cape Noire characters but about my own, as well. The working title for the story is “Shadows and Phantoms” but that might change.

Not sure if I’ll continue my “weekly features” as both Characters I Love and Saturday Matinee have turned into the lowest-hits days of my week. It’s kind of strange, too, because on Facebook the links for the Characters I Love feature get more “likes” than usual but apparently people are liking it without clicking on it, lol! And Saturday Matinee is a fun idea but it tends to draw 50% of the hits I get on Friday or Sunday, when I’m just posting whatever nonsense pops into my head. If I really got some great thrills out of doing those features, I’d say screw it and keep doing them anyway but there are weeks it’s been a chore finding YouTube links and so forth. So you might see them vanish soon. In fact, I tested the waters for this a few weeks back, when I skipped both of them… and, yep, the hits went *up* on the days when I didn’t post new installments of those features. You’re speaking and I’m listening, as far as I can see.

Just finished reading a James Bond novel and now I’m starting up a 1938 Shadow book in preparation for next week’s Shadow Fan Podcast. So far, it’s off to a good start.

Our art today is the cover to Noir # 1, a new book coming soon from Dynamite Comics. It features the return of The Black Sparrow, a femme fatale introduced during Victor Gischler’s run on The Shadow. I really, really liked her and thought she was the best villain for The Shadow ever introduced in a comic book. I’d love to see her translated into prose if The Shadow ever gets new short stories or novels. Anyway, I’m psyched to see what’s done with her in Noir.

See you guys tomorrow!