Digging in the dirt: the secret origin of Gravedigger

allstarsquadron_homage_clean_smallCharity Grace – aka Gravedigger –  has appeared in two solo volumes so far (with a third on the way!) and she played a big role in the  “crossover” novel that paired her with Lazarus Gray and The Peregrine. She’s become one of my most popular creations, thanks in no small part to the stunning costume design that George Sellas came up with. But where did she come from? What inspirations led her to spring forth from my crowded little mind?

What follows is an essay that ran in the first volume of The Adventures of Gravedigger. If you’ve read it before, hopefully you’ll enjoy seeing it again — if it’s your first time, expect a few insights into my creative process. I’ve tweaked it from the original in a few places, removing a link to the blog and altering the name of Max Davies’ costumed identity.

Our art today is from my buddy George Sellas and is an homage to one of my all-time favorite comic book covers: All-Star Squadron # 1. The original was drawn by Rich Buckler but I think George captured the feel perfectly, replacing the original DC heroes with my own. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

And now on to the main event:

Continue reading → Digging in the dirt: the secret origin of Gravedigger

A Short (But Sweet!) Liberty Girl Review

LibertyGirl_CoverMock-upProphecy Jones left another Amazon.com review of my work this month — this time looking at Liberty Girl, an adaptation that I wrote of the Heroic Comics series. Let’s see what he had to say:

A very good short adventure novel that is another solid outing from Barry Reese. Barry Reese does a great job mixing modern sensibilities with classic style adventure. Reese stands tall as a writer of new pulp adventure and superhero prose and this is another good outing for him. The adventurer Liberty Girl stands as a strong female character, and all supporting characters are drawn well above a perfunctory level. It’s a good, well thought out plot. Enjoyable short read.

Thanks, Prophecy! I had fun working on the book. Some of the plot was certainly not what I would have come up with on my own (I was adapting a comic book script and adding detail to it) but it was fun and I do really like the character.

Much appreciated.

The Occult Forces Project

br8smallOne of the background elements that has featured in a lot of my pulp adventure stories is the Geheimnisvolles Kraft-Projekt, also dubbed The Occult Forces Project or OFP. Founded in the late 1930s, the OFP was dedicated to utilizing super-science and magic in the name of The Reich and was a subset of The Ahnenerbe. The group had several notable successes when it came to creating larger-than-life figures who spread the Nazi ideals across the globe. Thankfully, they were defeated at every turn by heroes like The Peregrine and Lazarus Gray. A division of the OFP was known as the Department of Occult Armaments (D.O.O.M.) and was headed by Dr. Meer.

Here are some of the more notable agents of the OFP that we’ve seen thus far:

Silver Wolf – This werewolf agent of the SS named Karl Raider battled Lazarus Gray and The Darkling in 1937 during the events of “Eidolon” (The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Three). He was enslaved by Princess Femi before he had a fatal encounter with The Darkling.

Geist – General Luther Strauss was a graduate of the OFP who encountered Assistance Unlimited in 1937. An accident in Tibet left him with the ability to manifest ghostly powers. Blackmailed by The Darkling, Geist worked as a double agent until his skills were no longer needed and The Darkling killed him. His story is told in “Eidolon” (The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Three).

Continue reading → The Occult Forces Project

Two New Nightveil Reviews!

image1Nightveil: The Quiet Girls was released back in October and has been slowly gaining steam as word of mouth has been extremely positive. The past week saw two new reviews go up on Amazon.com so let’s check them out, shall we?

First up is Lou Mougin. He gave it 5 stars and wrote the following:

Well, I enjoyed this one. Barry did a good job in humanizing Nightveil for her first novel appearance, plus giving us a decent supporting character and villain. Woulda liked him to get inside Nightveil’s head a bit more, but this is a good leadoff on ProSe’s AC Comics books.

Next up is Prophecy Jones. They gave the book 4 stars and this was their review:

Another good outing by Reese. The heroine, her sidekick, the villain, and his henchmen are all well done, a kick above standard issue, but it’s the appearances and enigma of the quiet girls that makes this book really worth reading. Who they are and their purpose to the plot make this one of the good ones…

Thanks to both of you! I had a lot of fun writing the story and I’m glad that both of you mentioned not only the supporting cast I created but specifically the ‘quiet girls’ themselves. Nightveil is a really fun character and I’m proud to have been involved with the project!


Lines I Wish I’d Written

If you’re not a fan of Derrick Ferguson, I’m not sure you can rightly call yourself a New Pulp fan. The man can write. This post is a good one – I could add a bunch of lines to this myself but I’ll let D. do the talking for me.


#1: “Those motherfuckers had a Gatling gun and more bullets than China had rice.”

#2: “Peace! Freedom! And a few less fat bastards eating all the pie!”

#3: “Would it be all right if I show the children the whoring bed?”

#4: “Now listen to me you benighted muckers. We’re going to teach you soldiering. The world’s noblest profession. When we’re done with you, you’ll be able to slaughter your enemies like civilized men.”

#5: “You can push them out of a plane, you can march them off a cliff, you can send them off to die on some God-forsaken rock, but for some reason, you can’t slap them. Now apologize to that boy immediately.”

#6: “She wasn’t just tall. She was great big. She was honey blonde with the mark of The Valkyrie and her mouth was curved in a moist, lush grin because my eyes swept over her…

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A Brief Update

spiritThe past few weeks have been rough ones so my writing has slowed considerably. I did finish off the fourth story that will run in the eighth volume of Lazarus Gray so there’s only one more to go – I’m currently sitting at around 50,000 words on the volume. This book will basically span the entire year of 1940 and leave us on the precipice of America’s entry into the war, which will occur (of course) in December of ’41.

We had a couple of days of snow this week which is very unusual – it was only an inch or two of accumulation but that was enough to shut down the schools and send people scrambling for milk and bread at the stores. Madness!

I’ve been reading Reveal, the latest Robbie Williams biography, and really enjoying it. I’ll jump back into pulpier reading material when I’m done with this but I’m not rushing it.

Hopefully I’ll be back with another update soon.

Stone Cold: Charles Bronson in THE MECHANIC (United Artists 1972)

I love, love, love THE MECHANIC. This review captures my thoughts pretty much perfectly but be warned that it does contained SPOILERS if you haven’t seen the film.

cracked rear viewer

Stone-faced Charles Bronson is perfect as an ice-cold, classical music loving hit man who mentors young Jan-Michael Vincent in 1972’s THE MECHANIC. I’d say this is one of Charlie’s best 70’s actioners, but let’s be serious – they’re ALL damn entertaining!

Arthur Bishop (Bronson) takes his work seriously, meticulously planning every assignment he receives from his Mafia boss (Frank De Kova ). Given a job to kill family friend Big Harry McKenna (Keenan Wynn), Bishop does the deed with chilling precision. McKenna’s son Steve (Vincent) is a stone-cold sociopath himself, and soon worms his way into becoming Bishop’s apprentice. Their first caper together goes sour, bringing Bishop’s boss much displeasure. Bishop’s next hit takes the two overseas to Naples, where they’re set up to be killed themselves, resulting in a violent conclusion and a deliciously deadly twist ending.

Bronson, after over twenty years and 50 plus movie roles, became…

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Saturday Matinee: The Monkey’s Paw

In my secret identity, I’m a mild-mannered high school English teacher. One of the lessons that I always do involves a reading of the classic horror story, “The Monkey’s Paw,” by W.W. Jacobs. It’s a great, tension-filled tale and most of my students really enjoy it. The short film version that I’m posting today takes some liberties with the material (mostly to condense it into the running time but part of the ending is slightly altered, as well) but it’s still a great version and is a little more visceral with the ending, which students really enjoy.

Hope you like it!

The Strange Tale of… Catalyst!

Catalyst loResCatalyst, at least in the form of Nathaniel Caine, is one of my oldest characters. I created him way back in 1985 and he went through several permutations, popping up in various stories, comic book scripts, fanfiction and roleplaying campaigns over the years. When I finally became a professional writer, it was only a matter of time before Nathaniel would enter my Reese Unlimited universe. Why does he still linger, when so many of my other characters from my youth have fallen by the wayside? I’m not sure. He was the first creation of mine that I felt was worthy of saving… plus I always loved his green color scheme. Credit has to go to Cari Reese for taking my original (and very derivative) costume designs and merging them with the Kirby-esque Asgardian and New Gods looks that I desired. Other artists have depicted him since then but all of them have used her costume design.

So who or what is… The Catalyst?

Continue reading → The Strange Tale of… Catalyst!

Creator Spotlight: Adam Garcia

adamOne of the best authors in the New Pulp movement is Adam L. Garcia, whose name has become synonymous with the classic hero, The Green Lama. Adam first burst onto the scene in 2009 with a novella reviving The Green Lama, “Horror in Clay.” The story was written as a gift for his father and went on to garner a Best Short Story nomination in the New Pulp Awards. The very next year saw Adam’s reputation continue to grow as his novel Green Lama: Unbound won two Pulp Factory Awards: Best Novel and Best Interior Art (for his collaborator Mike Fyles).

He’s continued adding to the legend of The Green Lama with works like Crimson Circle, The Heir Apparent (in which the hero teams with Sherlock Holmes), Scions and Day of the Destroyers. While several companies use The Green Lama, Adam is one of the very few that has the official sanction of the creator’s estate and it’s clear why they gave it: Adam is not only a tremendous author but he’s also a huge fan and advocate for the character.

Adam has branched out in other directions, as well. He contributed a story to The Peregrine Omnibus Volume 3 featuring the third Peregrine teaming up for a night on the town with Kayla Kaslov; wrote a graphic novel called Sons of Fire with artist Heidi Black; and most recently contributed to the bestselling The Obama Conspiracy.

lamaholmesAdam’s one of my favorite creators in the realm of New Pulp right now. While he understands what made the classic pulp stories work, he’s not wedded to the past. He pushes the characters and their situations forward with a very modern way of thinking. I encourage you to check out his Amazon Author Page and check out some of his work if you haven’t already. You can come back here later and thank me for the recommendation!