Writing, Writing, Writing!

I’ve been zooming along over the past few months – wrote two Straw-Man books at the end of the year I’m over halfway through a complete rewrite of Lazarus Gray Volume 14. I’ve been in a nice groove and enjoying myself, which isn’t always the case. Not entirely sure what I’ll work on once I finish off the current project — I’ve considered doing Straw-Man volume 3… mainly because I have a new character named Ephemera that has some great design work by Gilbert Monsanto. She’s a modern-day character and visually she looks like she could fit into the Straw-Man canon as perhaps an ally or a supporting character. But she looks so cool that I kind of think I should do some short stories featuring her as the main character… We’ll have to see.

Television-wise, I’ve been watching Inventing Anna on Netflix… totally different from the kinds of stories that I write but so good! Highly recommended.

Edits? Edits!

Pro Se, always a busy place, has been really percolating behind the scenes lately with a lot of books in various stages of production — and among those are Lazarus Gray Volumes 11-13, plus the first Lilith novel.

In recent days, I’ve approved edits on Lazarus Gray 11 and on Lilith, plus I’ve heard from the editor on volume 12 about how much he’s enjoying it. I don’t know what the release schedule will be for these but there’s a good chance that you might see all of them sometime in 2022. That means that 2023 will probably see Omnium Gatherum (a novel), the first two Straw Man books, and possibly Lazarus Gray 14.

Speaking of volume 14, I’m about 30k into the writing of that one and I think it might be one of my favorites so far. It involves a new version of Murder Unlimited and this time the group is led by one of the most famous literary villains of all time… and he’s going to put Assistance Unlimited through the wringer. A word of warning: not everyone makes it out alive!

Monster Aces Review

Amazon user Doctor Panic posted a 5-star review of Monster Aces, an anthology that I contributed to way back in 2012. Here’s what he had to say:

Wow what a great book, really enjoyed it. The book consist of 5 stories all together, with two of them being by Jim Beard and serving as book ends for the other three. The stories revolve around a group called the Aces, who have basically giving up their own personal lives to rid the world of monsters. It is a s stated, they look to kill the monsters…no exceptions. The group is shrouded in mystery even among themselves, no one knows eachother’s true identity, all looking for the day when they can return to the life they left behind.

The first story finds the group in Europe battling a certain eight legged variety of monster “Nuff said” It flows well and the action and suspense is there from start to finish.

The Second story by Barry Reese takes us into swamp country, to battle beings that very well may have been there before man, but now are struggling to keep from extinction, what creatures you may ask, well use your imagination, but really buy the book, great reading.

The third story takes us and the aces on a wild trip down the Amazon, where a alien life form if raising hell and must be stopped. The story was written by Van Allen Plexico.

The fourth story by Ron Fortier gets its start on the battlefield of WWI in France, but brings the Aces into it when a Ghoul makes its way back to Maine, and causes havok on the folks living in the northern woods.

Jim Beard’s second story ends the book, and brings us in touch with a couple of classics, one who you can tell by the cover, and the other, well I will let that remain a surprise. If you are a fan of Horror and good Pulp, then this book is a must have. It reads well and keeps your interest from start to finish.

Thanks, Doc! I loved writing the Monster Aces… they were wonderful characters and if given the opportunity, I’d definitely return for more!

Be Careful What You Wish For…

So many of my favorite comic book characters are of the obscure variety — and one of the most obscure of all is Pariah, the tragic hero introduced by Marv Wolfman and George Perez in Crisis on Infinite Earths. I’ll freely admit that the first thing that drew me to the character was that costume — I loved the audacity of it, from the puffy sleeves, to the strange collar, to the cloak and hood, to the boots. I felt like he had so much untapped potential — I would have played him like a superhero version of Quantum Leap, jumping from disaster to disaster every few issues, trying his best to save lives and atone for his ‘sins’ of hubris in the past.

Well, after years of waiting, DC has decided to bring him back in a huge way this summer. Yay!!!!

But, wait! He’s going to be the villain of their series, Dark Crisis.


Damn. Be careful what you wish for, I suppose.

Omnipresent Sunlight: Doc Savage’s archenemy – Part 9

A really great read that touches on an often-overlooked period of Doc’s existence: DC Comics’ First Wave.

Doc Talos

Time is strange. It doesn’t feel as if almost 20 years passed after Millennium Productions’ fine Doc Savage comics story The Monarch of Armageddon, before the character of John Sunlight would appear anywhere again. And yet it was 2010 that DC Comics (who had held the comic book rights to produce Doc stories in the late 1980’s) once again acquired those rights.

DC had featured John Sunlight in a memorable story arc in the ’80’s, but opted not to pick up the threads of their own series, instead essentially ignoring its existence. They had ambitious plans this second time around, building an “alternate universe” which they called First Wave, which would re-conceptualize numerous characters from their own publishing history alongside pulp and other (sometimes rather obscure, sometimes major headliners) heroes.

There was some controversy about this right out of the gate…First Wave author Brian Azzarello, in an interview…

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What is the New Pulp and why do we want one? — Damien Walter

Some weeks back I penned a column on the phenomenon of the New Pulp, and since then I’ve enjoyed watching the term continue to emerge as a zeitgeist from the group mind of genre fiction. David Barnett, author of the upcoming Gideon Smith novels, talks here about the Nu Pulp. Geek Syndicate provide a nice […]

What is the New Pulp and why do we want one? — Damien Walter

My Life in the Roleplaying Game Industry

I’ve always loved tabletop roleplaying games. I’ve played literally dozens and dozens of different systems but my all-time favorite is the D6 system invented by West End Games. They used it most famously in their Star Wars games from the late 80s through the 1990s. Elegant simplicity.

So after I’d been writing at Marvel for awhile, I decided I’d branch out into other avenues. I knew Nikola Virtis fairly well, since I ran a fansite devoted to West End’s DC Universe game and she’d been nice enough to send me some free stuff. When I asked if I could write for them, she put me on a book called D6 Space: The Fires of Amatsumara. By this time West End had lost the Star Wars license and were trying to reinvent themselves with various in-house setting. Amatsumara was basically Firefly, with a few modifications. When Nikola described it to me, it was Firefly-meets-Cowboy Bebop. Anyway, I was assigned about half the book to write and given a ton of free reign with the character. Basically, the high concept of the setting and brief descriptions of the planets were already in place but I had to flesh them out, fill the planets with characters (and stat them out!), then give a bunch of story ideas for each. It was fun and I included a few of my own homebrew characters in the setting, figuring that this would be the only one way I’d ever see them in print. I enjoyed it quite a bit and even started work on a second book for them (The Long Winter, about an earth frozen after another Ice Age) but it was cancelled after I’d written about 8,000 words.

And then… well, I kinda wanted to get paid. I had a contract, after all. But West End didn’t send that check… and when I called the phone number on my contract, it had been disconnected. Uh-oh! So I tried emailing the guy in charge (not Nikola — she was always aces with me) and wouldn’t get a response, again and again. So I posted about it on the WEG message boards, which did two things: it finally brought the publisher’s attention to me (he wasn’t happy) and it brought out a bunch of fanboys who jumped all over me because they would have been glad to have worked for free. As I explained, I loved West End, too — and you know, I might have worked for free if they’d asked me to. I really dug the company and its system. But they didn’t. They offered me a contract and I felt I should get my money. I eventually did but it was well over 18 months after they had initially said I would get it.

I then did a book called Godsend Agenda: U.S.E.R.’s Most Wanted, which was basically a collection of villains. I got to dream up several dozen villains and stat them out — they used a variant on West End’s D6 System, so I was right at home. I enjoyed the experience and the folks at Khepera Publishing were easy to deal with. They wanted me to do more for them but I got too busy with the pulp stuff and never did.

And that’s my exciting adventures in the roleplaying game world. I learned that rpg publishers are, by and large, living on the edge financially. Anyone who thinks comics or pulp sales are low should look at the lower-tier rpg publishers to feel better about themselves. But the rpg world is filled with fans and it’s nice to see people working on things that they love. I’m glad I got the chance to work with WEG and Khepera.

Murdering My Babies

Over 15,000 words into the apocalyptic 14th volume of Lazarus Gray.

So far, I’ve killed off one member of Assistance Unlimited, badly wounded three others, and I’m about to torture and then kill a recurring supporting character.

Dark days for our heroes…!

I’m having a blast writing this one. It’s been fun putting our heroes through their paces. They’re going to suffer even more before this one is through as they face the deadliest version of Murder Unlimited ever.

We know that a few of Assistance Unlimited will survive into the Sixties and beyond… but there are still plenty of associated characters that might be facing their final battles in this one.

Stay tuned, my friends.