Month: June 2014

Properties That Need To Be Translated Into Prose – ASAP!

night-forceMy buddy Jim Beard has had some success translating the Captain Action toy into prose and we’ve certainly seen novels based on tv shows, comic book characters and so forth over the years. But there are some properties out there that I’d love to get to see in prose… and maybe even write myself!

What things am I thinking about? Let’s see…

The Six Million Dollar Man – These days, he’d have to be updated to Six Billion or more, right? Anyway, I always thought this was a pulpy kind of show and I think it would be fun to see new prose adventures that followed the television continuity.

Challengers of the Unknown – Let’s pretend the Ron Goulart novel from the 70s never happened, okay? The notion of these guys living on borrowed time is a great one and would translate easily into a New Pulp take.

Sheena, Queen of the Jungle – Everybody loves a good jungle girl story, right? I think Sheena is ripe for a revival and updating. If Sheena were unavailable, maybe we could get the tragically aborted Savage Beauty concept revived and explored in prose.

Micronauts – This toy line spawned a classic Marvel comic book but revivals since haven’t been able to hit the right notes. I actually read a prose trilogy based upon one of the later continuities… and I think there’s a lot of potential here, even if it hasn’t always been present since Marvel lost the license.

The Phantom – We’ve had a great series of paperbacks written by Lee Falk and Moonstone did some fantastic anthologies featuring the hero but I’d like to see more Phantom prose adventures.

Night Force – This Wolfman/Colan creation was a lot of fun from DC Comics back in the day and I’d be ready to follow them into prose adventures, as well. Baron Winters is a great character and the premise is just made for a continuing series of adventures.

What old properties would you like to see revived in prose?

 

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.

New Pulp Recommendation: Staff of Judea (Rogue Angel # 41)

judeaEvery so often I focus on a New Pulp work that I think merits your attention. Sometimes it will be something that’s brand new, other times I’ll look at something that’s a few years old. This week, I’m encouraging you to check out Staff of Judea, which is the 41st book in the Rogue Angel series published by Gold Eagle. Before we launch into a detailed look at the book itself, let’s see how the publisher describes the volume:

The Staff of Aaron…the sword of Joan of Arc.After decoding an ancient scroll—one that purports to pinpont the treasure of the Jewish Temple, lost for two thousand years—archaeologist Annja Creed agrees to lead the party to recover the find in Judea. It’s a perilous desert journey through sandstorms and bandits, and complicated by mysterious sabotage within the group, to arrive at a long-forgotten fortress deep beneath a mountain. Only then does Annja discover that this archaeological expedition is really one man’s quest for the mystical Staff of Aaron, one of the Bible’s holiest and most powerful relics—a weapon they say can do incalculable harm in the hands of the wrong individual. She must try everything humanly possible to prevent the staff from being used for selfish purposes. Even if it puts her in the mightiest battle yet—sword against staff.Rogue Angel stars Annja Creed, archaeologist and host of a television series, Chasing History’s Monsters. In the very first book in the series (“Destiny”), Annja becomes the owner of a sword that once belonged to Joan of Arc. This sword can be summoned to her mentally — when she’s not using it, it floats in another dimension, waiting for her call.

Rogue Angel is a consistently entertaining New Pulp series — and one of the most successful, to boot. New books come out every other month and you can find them at your local grocery store or convenience center. I bought this one at a K-Mart… how many other New Pulp series can you say that about these days?

At first glance, Annja looks like a Lara Croft ripoff and I’m certain that played a part in her creation. But despite her beauty, the series does not pander at all… in fact, it’s almost oddly sexless. There’s no romance to be found in most of these — it’s straight-ahead adventure fiction, just with a female protagonist. Plots vary wildly from book to book but are almost always based around ancient myths and relics.

This particular volume is written by Joe Nassise, though it’s credited to the house name of Alex Archer on the cover. The story moves quickly and, while it gives you sufficient historical detail about the Staff of Aaron and the various mysteries being explored here, it’s never a dry read. Some old faces from the series (like Roux) reappear but for the most part, Annja is with new characters in this novel and they play off of her very well. I sometimes worry when we delve into Christian myths that we’re going to somehow become a little too spiritual for my tastes but it’s handled well here, with little difference from how they treat any other mythology.

If you want some fun reads that can bring you back every other month, I heartily recommend not only Staff of Judea but the entire Rogue Angel series.

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

New Pulp Characters That I’d Like To Borrow

I’ve done a number of team-ups and crossovers but there are still a few that I’d like to get my grubby little hands on.

Brother Bones – I think having Lazarus Gray visit the undead avenger would be a lot of fun. At first, I thought about The Rook & Bones… but for some reason, I think a Lazarus team-up with be more fun. Brother Bones was created by Ron Fortier. EDITED: This one will actually be happening, as Brother Bones will guest-star in The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Five!

Dillon – People have been asking for a Dillon/The Rook team-up for years. Given the longevity of The Rook’s career, I think it would be easy to pull off. Dillon was created by Derrick Ferguson.

Sgt. Janus – I’d want to pair Gravedigger with this character… and for those of you who haven’t read the Gravedigger debut novel yet, you’re probably wondering why I think they’d be perfect together. But trust me… if you have read it, you’ll all be going “Oh my, yes, that would be perfect!” Janus was created by Jim Beard.

Elisa Hill – This modern day Myth Hunter would be fun to pair up with Fiona Chapman (from my Rabbit Heart novel). While Elisa’s adventures aren’t the gore & sex-fests that Fiona’s are, both are kick-ass young women with a penchant for getting into occult adventures. Having Elisa uncover the existence of the Furious Host would be quite interesting, I think. Elisa was created by Percival Constantine.

There are certainly other characters out there that I’d enjoy writing (and two of them, Fortune McCall and Doc Daye, I should get to, eventually) but those four are the ones that I can see crossing over my characters with most easily. What do you guys think?

Author Q&A

Every 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, sending me a message via Twitter or through Facebook! Heck, you can even ask me something via Tumblr! I do aim to please.

Let’s started:

When will we see a new Rook volume?

Volume six appeared in 2011 and since then, we’ve gotten re-releases of the earlier books and two Tales of The Rook volumes. In the past I’ve teased that Tommy Hancock was going to be writing a trilogy of Rook novels that would comprise volumes 7-9 but with his schedule, that may or may not be the case any longer. I don’t have any definitive plans to write a new Rook novel myself, either, but I can tell you that he plays a  major role in Götterdämmerung, the crossover novel that I’m currently writing. He’ll be teaming up with Gravedigger and Lazarus Gray in that one!

So don’t give up hope… I may do a new one at some point.

Which of your characters is your favorite?

I always have trouble answering this one. They’re all special to me in some way… I guess I’d lean towards Lazarus Gray as of today but Gravedigger, Fiona Chapman and The Rook will always be dear to me, as well. Hell, they all are!

I can’t answer that.

Next!

Any chance of you and George Sellas doing a comic together about one of your characters?

Maybe? We’d both be interested but it’s a matter of logistics and finances. To get something published through Image, for instance, would cost a couple of thousand per issue in addition to the creative costs. There’s always the self-publishing route via IndyPlanet or something but there’s smaller chance of something catching on there.

I’d love to see a book about the villains/the members of Assistance Unlimited/Leonid Kaslov! Could it happen?

I’m lumping all three of those together because I get asked them so frequently. All are possibilities and I’d like to see all of them happen, either spearheaded by me or someone else. I only have so many hours in the day, though! I’d also like to see a Handbook of my universe but, again, when would I do it? Anybody out there want to volunteer their services to help out? I’m game.

Who should play The Rook in a movie?

Anybody! Nah, seriously… I used to say Nathan Fillion, during his Firefly days. Now that he’s gotten older, I lean towards Matt Damon… but I could be swayed in other directions. I never play the casting game too often.

Why aren’t you writing any Shadow stuff for Dynamite?

They won’t let me? 🙂

I did send in a couple of inquiries as instructed on their website but I never got any response back from them so I assume they’re well-stocked on writers for the character. Given that they’re working with folks like Michael Uslan and Matt Wagner, they probably don’t need me.

Our image today is of the iconic Michael Caine. Enjoy!

Characters I Love: Dark Angel

dark_angelEvery so often, I focus on a character from adventure fiction (film, comics & prose) that I simply adore.

This week we’re talking about: Dark Angel!

Debuting in Hell’s Angel # 1 (the character was renamed after some threatened legal action), Shevaun Haldane starred in her own series during Marvel-UK’s 1990s heyday and recently returned in a crossover event called Revolutionary War.

According to Marvel.com: Shevaun Haldane was the daughter of Ranulph Haldane, one of the seven members of Mys-Tech which sold their souls to the Hell-Lord, Mephisto for immortality. Ranulph and the others agreed to supply Mephisto with souls for extended lives. While working upstairs in the laboratories of Mys-Tech, Shevaun heard a ruckus coming from downstairs in her father’s secret laboratory. She rushed to her father’s side moments after he was killed by Mephisto. She was approached by the Angel of Death, Dark Angel, guardian of souls who leave the mortal plane via the portal of death. The Dark Angel had arrived too late to claim Ranulph’s soul. He disclosed the truth about her father’s activities and later offered her a shred of the fabric of the universe, thus granting her the great power to oppose the sinister Mys-Tech. The Angel also gave her body armor that would help her command her new powers. Realizing that she now had the power of angels to fight Hell on Earth, she took the name Hell’s Angel. Shevaun would latter change her name to Dark Angel.

I always loved the look of the character, her complex back-story and I felt that she deserved wider play in the Marvel Universe. When I was writing fanfic, I featured her heavily in my Pendragons series. Given the chance, I’d throw myself at any and all Marvel editors to work on a title featuring her.

Given her piercings and general attitude, I actually think she could be more popular now than she was back in the Nineties.

Here are a few more images of her:

darkangeldarkangel3