Kickin’ The Willy Bobo With…PERCIVAL CONSTANTINE

I’ve known both these guys for years and really enjoyed the writing of each. This interview is a great introduction to Percival and I highly recommend looking into his books.

FERGUSON INK

Derrick Ferguson: It’s been something like 42 months since we last talked like this so we’ve got to do the obligatory thing where you tell the folks reading this something about you and what you’re all about. So, who is Percival Constantine and what are you all about?

Percival Constantine: I’m a professional author and university lecturer originally from Chicago, but I’ve been living in southern Japan for almost ten years. Basically, I’m a huge geek. Growing up, I was a massive fan of superhero comics, video games, and movies, and those interests haven’t abated now that I’m in my mid-thirties. I started writing comic book fanfiction when I was in high school and I published my first novel, Fallen, in 2007. Since then, I’ve been continuously writing and have produced over twenty novels, plus several short stories collected in various anthologies. My writing has been spread across many…

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R.I.P. Norm Breyfogle

smaller_rook4Norm Breyfogle passed away yesterday and not only was he a fantastic comic book artist with a rightly celebrated run on Batman, he also worked with me back when The Peregrine was still fighting crime as The Rook. Norm provided a couple of covers for the series and his take on Max Davies remains a favorite of mine and many fans. I only interacted with him via Facebook and email but I got to find out that Norm was a warm, generous guy with a serious love for comics and pulp. We’ll miss you, Norm.

Doc Savage, dunderhead: Mystery on Happy Bones and The Mental Monster

Fraser Sherman's Blog

This months two novels are good evidence for Bobb Cotter’s thesis that Doc became increasingly human during WW II. Beyond human, really; he comes off as a tough, but extremely fallible guy.

THE MYSTERY OF HAPPY BONES (the last paperback before Bantam switched to doing two Doc novels per book) reminds me a lot of Mystery on the Snow; it’s a mundane adventure focusing on control of natural resources, enlivened by a formidable female character. In Mystery the resource was a new metal, benlanium, for use in aircraft manufacturing; here it’s a tungsten vein the Nazis want to mine.

The story opens with a mysterious messenger dropping off a parcel at Doc’s tied up in wire; the wire is actually an unwound spool from a wire recorder, a way to get a message to Doc past watching Nazi eyes. The messenger is a cross-dressed Hannah, descended from a line…

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Characters I Love: Marion Ravenwood

marionIntroduced in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Marion is the daughter of Dr. Abner Ravenwood, a professor of archaeology obsessed with finding the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Abner was the mentor to Indiana Jones, who accompanied the Ravenwoods on many archaeological digs. Marion entered into a sexual relationship with Jones when she was just 14 years old (Indiana was 24) and the relationship continued until Marion was 17. Indiana abruptly left her in 1926, a move that left Marion seething with anger. When they met again, in 1936, Marion confronted Jones by saying, “I was a child! I was in love! It was wrong and you knew it!” Jones showed little remorse, and simply replied “You knew what you were doing.”

During their time apart, Abner Ravenwood had vanished, leaving his daughter in possession of a headpiece for the Staff of Ra, an artifact that would later prove crucial in locating the Ark. When Indiana found her, she was living in Nepal and running a bar known as “The Raven.” Refusing to simply hand over the Staff of Ra to Jones, she accompanied him on a dangerous mission in which he was attempting to reach the Ark before the Nazis did the same. Terrorized by Nazi agent Arnold Toht and nearly seduced by Jones’ rival, Rene Belloq, Marion eventually helped rediscover the object that her father had so coveted.

Following this, Marion returned to the states. After a failed turn at journalism, she re-opened “The Ravens Nest” in New York City. Jones abandoned her the week before their planned wedding day, unaware that she was pregnant with their future son, Henry “Mutt” Jones III. Three months after Indy’s departure, Marion met RAF pilot Colin Williams and the two eventually married. Her life with Colin and Mutt was a happy one but it ended far too soon when Colin was killed in action during World War II.

Many years later, a friend of Marion’s named Harold Oxley was captured by the Russians, who were interested in the power of the crystal skulls. Marion sent Mutt to find Jones, knowing that only he could rescue their mutual acquaintance. Jones learned the truth about Mutt and Marion forgave him for his many transgressions. The two married at last and set out on new adventures together.

I love Marion’s spunk — the way she drinks her patrons under the table and delivers a powerful roundhouse punch. Plus, she’s cute as a button and her smile can light up a room. She’s intelligent, sexy, funny and capable. What’s not to love?

I never liked how she forgave Indiana for dumping her at the altar, though — I love Indy but considering that this was the second time he’d abandoned her, I think she should have kicked his ass to the curb for good. Despite that, Marion is one of the inspirations for virtually every pulp heroine/love interest I’ve created.

Definitely a wonderful character!

Marion-3

New Pulp Recommendations: Brother Bones – City of Lost Souls

coverOne of my favorite New Pulp characters is Brother Bones, the Undead Avenger created by Ron Fortier. Bones patrols the shadowy streets of Cape Noire and is an excellent melding of The Shadow with Marvel Comics’ Ghost Rider… he’s a fedora-wearing, skull-faced dispenser of retribution. I was lucky enough to get Ron’s blessing to feature Brother Bones in one of my Lazarus Gray volumes and it was a blast to handle the character.

City of Lost Souls is the newest volume in the series and it features five stories of varying length – the shortest is a scant five pages while the longest clocks in at 103 pages. The book is a bit different than the earlier Bones adventures in that there feels like a lot less Brother Bones than usual… a strong emphasis is placed on the supporting characters. In fact, Bones doesn’t even appear in “A Taste of Cherry Pie,” which is one of the strongest tales in the book!

The cover artwork is based upon “The Synthetic Man,” the longest story in the book, and that tale pits Doctor Satan against Brother Bones. It wasn’t what I was expecting, though, as there’s not really a whole lot of Satan vs. Bones in direct conflict… I did really enjoy the tale, though, and found the subplot revolving around a disfigured henchman and his mannequin girlfriend to be particularly strong.

As for the cover itself, I really liked it – Michael Stribling did a nice job on this.

Overall, if you’re a fan of the character, you’ll like this book. It deepens the vigilante’s world and makes it clear that the supporting characters are strong enough to carry the tales even without Bones.

What’s Happening?

keanuHello, all. I’m currently over 18,000 words into the tenth volume of Lazarus Gray and this one is shaping up to be a doozy. A lot of new concepts are swirling around in these pages and I’m also bringing in Babylon (from THE SECOND BOOK OF BABYLON, due out soon from Pro Se Productions) so he can have his first encounter with Assistance Unlimited. Given that THE SECOND BOOK OF BABYLON is set in 2011 and the current Lazarus book is set in 1942, I’m writing the character a good 69 years before his “prior” appearance. It makes for a few headaches for ye olde author but it’s fun, too.

Pro Se recently announced that they had the rights to Skyman, The Face and Nature Boy, a trio of classic golden age superheroes. I’m planning to submit for all three anthologies, as I have ideas for all of them. Fingers crossed for me, please!

Excited about the Captain Marvel trailer that debuted yesterday. Looks very good – I’ve loved Carol Danvers since her Ms. Marvel days in the Seventies so I’m definitely going to be in the audience for this one.

Our image today is of the photogenic Keanu Reeves.

Nightveil: The Quiet Girls gets a new review

nightveilwatercolour3Bobby Nash, noted writer of both comics and novels, has been gracious enough to leave a review of my Nightveil novel over on amazon. He gave the book 4 stars and titled his review “Another thrilling review of Nightveil.” Here’s the rest of his review:

Barry Reese writes good stories. I have enjoyed reading Barry’s other work and his Nightveil novel, The Quiet Girls was no exception. Barry and I share a few similar interests. We both write pulpy style action and adventure and we both have a soft spot for AC Comics character, Nightveil. That love shows through in this novel. Recommended.

Thanks, Bobby! You’re right that I really love Nightveil and I’m glad that my enthusiasm for the character came through on the pages of the book. She’s so much fun and I hope that her popularity will continue to grow.

A New 5-Star Review!

Jose Rivera posted a new review of The Adventures of Gravedigger Volume 3 over at amazon.com. He gave it 5 stars and titled his review “A Fitting Finale!” Here’s what he had to say:

We’ve come to the end of Barry Reese’s Gravedigger trilogy. After finishing it, how do I feel? If we’re talking about the book itself, it had a little of everything: we had a fantastic set of villains, a death I honestly did NOT see coming, the origin of The Voice and the judgment both Charity and me as the reader was dreading since the first book. I wasn’t sure how this book was going to end but I was more than satisfied when it was all said and done. How do I feel about the trilogy as a whole? It was amazing because I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Gravedigger has always been a wild card in terms of Reese’s work. She’s certainly more violent than her half-sister or anyone at Assistance Unlimited. The supporting cast was fantastic, especially in this book.

While it’s bittersweet to know this is the last of these stories, I do love that Mr. Reese has left so many things open that he can return to these characters in other places if he so wishes.

If you’ve read the first two books or just a fan of Barry Reese’s work in general, please do yourself a favor and pick this up!

Thanks for the kind words, Jose! I had a really fun time writing Charity’s adventures and I’m glad you felt this was a nice resolution to the trilogy.

New Pulp Recommendations: Wayne of Gotham

wayne_coverEvery 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 Wayne of Gotham by Tracy Hickman.

Before we dive into the book itself, let me show you how the publisher describes the work:

Two men separated by murder: Thomas, the rebellious doctor and heir to the vast Wayne empire, and Bruce, his son, whose life is forever altered by witnessing his parents’ murder. The slaying of Thomas and Martha Wayne is the torturous point on which Bruce turns to become Batman.

The Dark Knight’s file on the case has long been closed, the foundations of Bruce Wayne’s secret life secure in the simple genesis of a mugging gone horribly wrong.

These foundations are shaken, however, when an unexpected guest invades the grounds of Wayne Manor, raising questions about the event that ended the lives of the mother he loved and the father he worshipped, and sparked his unquenchable drive to protect and avenge.

To discover his real family history, Batman must face down old foes, his only confidant, and the evil heart of Arkham Asylum, and shoulder the new burden of a dark legacy.

This novel is a prose adventure of Batman – such things are sometimes very, very good. Other times, they are very, very bad. Since I am familiar with other works by Mr. Hickman (mostly in conjunction with Margaret Weis), I expected to enjoy this story quite a bit.

I most certainly did, though it’s not without some flaws.

There is no mention of the other Bat allies here, so there’s no Robin, Huntress, etc. We do get references to Barbara being in a wheelchair but there’s no telling if she was ever Batgirl or Oracle in this universe. The story jumps back and forth between the modern day and Thomas Wayne’s time. We find out that the elder Wayne was involved in a project aimed at removing all crime from Gotham City… but it ended with disastrous results, which are now haunting Bruce. Alfred may have complicit in keeping the truth from Bruce, which leads to some very tense scenes between the two. It’s pretty shocking to see their relationship disintegrate.

There’s a very compelling mystery here and I was riveted, curious to see where the author would go with it. He definitely went some places that I never thought he would.

If I have any complaints, it’s that some scenes are needlessly confusing and this version of Bruce is, if you’ll pardon my language, a real dick. He’s just a self-absorbed ass, who sits in the Batcave thinking these kinds of morose, over-written thoughts: I was young once… or was I? I don’t remember being young. The face is still strong but there are more lines in it than I remember. Dusk to dawn, fall to spring… Did the wheel of the years turn and I never noticed? There are no seasons in this cavern tomb where my soul resides. Does Gotham exist in an eternal rain-soaked night, or do I only see it that way?

I know – it’s like something straight out of Twilight. Thankfully, the entire book isn’t written like that… but too much of it is. That and the constant “tech babble” keeps this book from being a classic, in my opinion.

It is, however, worth reading if you’re a fan of Batman and want something a bit different.

Speaking of Movie Superheroes, Here’s Captain Marvel!

Henchman-4-Hire

The first official look at Captain Marvel has arrived, courtesy of Entertainment Weekly! And actor Brie Larson looks pretty darn awesome on the magazine cover!

CaptainMarvelMovieLook 01 Photo: Michael Muller/Marvel Studios (Entertainment Weekly)

I like the look! Captain Marvel looks great! The EW article talks about the plot of the movie, with Carol Danvers fighting aliens both in space and back on Earth. Nick Fury and Coulson will guest star, and I’m kind of excited for more Ronan the Accuser. I think it’d be neat to see him doing something else beyond his psychotic zealot role in the first Guardians of the Galaxy.

Here’s a link to a couple of official pictures from the film, showing off the Skrulls and a couple more surprise characters! At least one surprise character, for sure.

Hooray, Captain Marvel!

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