Timeline of My Pulp Adventure Universe (Updated 8/28/2020)

gravediggerMajor Events specific to certain stories and novels are included in brackets. Some of this information contains SPOILERS for The Peregrine, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger and other stories.

~ 800 Viking warrior Grimarr dies of disease but is resurrected as the Sword of Hel. He adventures for some time as Hel’s agent on Earth. [“Dogs of War” and “In the Name of Hel,” Tales of the Norse Gods].

1748 – Johann Adam Weishaupt is born.

1750 – Guan-Yin embarks on a quest to find her lost father, which takes her to Skull Island [Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island].

1776 – Johann Adam Weishaupt forms The Illuminati. He adopts the guise of the original Lazarus Gray in group meetings, reflecting his “rebirth” and the “moral ambiguity” of the group. In Sovereign City, a Hessian soldier dies in battle, his spirit resurrected as a headless warrior.

Continue reading → Timeline of My Pulp Adventure Universe (Updated 8/28/2020)

A New Broken Empire Review!

broken_empireRaven’s Reviews recently took a look at the first Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age novel, Broken Empire. Here’s what they had to say:

Assistance Unlimited, the next generation!

Lazarus Gray is now 59, still active, but not as involved in the daily affairs of Assistance Unlimited as he used to be. These are the adventures of Emily Grace, daughter of Samantha Grace, one of the original members of Lazarus Gray’s organization. Emily is getting a new partner, Benjamin Falk. Falk was on President Kennedy’s team in Dallas and blames himself for the assassination. But Gray referred to here as “the old man” sees something in Falk.

There are two interconnected stories in this volume.

Book One: The Rise of Helios

Marvin Levin and his crew of clones endeavor to reestablish the Fourth Reich. To accomplish the madman’s goal they seek supernatural objects either under lock and key in Assistance Unlimited headquarters or being actively pursued by them. But Levin has a rival… or is it more than one…

Book Two: Roll the Bones

Otto Darling, the current leader of SIGIL (Supreme International Group for Illicit Liaisons) is after the Chalice of Madness. Allying himself with Helios from Book One, he seeks knowledge that drinking from the chalice is said to bring. Or was that insanity and chaos?

I found the book exciting. The only complaint I have is that according to information at the end of this book, it is slightly out of sequence. Things that take place here are direct results of events in Lazarus Gray volume 8 which I am reliably informed will be out later this year.

That said, it does not really affect the story all that much since the focus is on the characters. The exact events of Emily’s birth and parentage being forthcoming does not stop the reader from enjoying what a kickass character she is. The character is 100% pure smashmouth pulp hero and the action never stops. There are over-the-top villains, world-shaking weapons, Nazis, the supernatural—what’s not to love? Encore! I say!

I give the book a resounding five stars plus!

Broken Empire Gets Another Review!

barry reese 3 bAssistance Unlimited: The Silver Age – Broken Empire was examined over at Max Reads Comics in a special edition that’s dubbed “Max Reads Other Things.” You can click on the link to read the review in full and also check out the many wonderful columns and reviews that Max has posted. I follow his blog and always enjoy it. Here’s some of the highlights of what he had to say:

As you can see by the sub-title, this is the latest in the “Assistance Unlimited” series by the author, named after an organization founded by one of Reese‘s most iconic characters, “Lazarus Gray.”

The “Silver Age” part of that same sub-title is kind of a comic book reference, as the story takes place in the 1960s, and us comic book folks know that the 60s was prime “Silver Age” time.

Normally, the Assistance Unlimited (“AU” from here on) stories are set many years before this swingin’ decade, and this book marks a kind of experiment by Mr. Reese. Specifically, he’s decided to jump two decades into his characters’ futures, potentially “spoiling” certain things along the way. Continue reading → Broken Empire Gets Another Review!

Broken Empire gets reviewed!

thumbsupRay Bara has been a longtime supporter of the Reese Unlimited universe so it’s no surprise that his is the first Amazon.com review for Broken Empire. Ray gave the book 5 stars and titled his review “Loved the next wave of Assistance Unlimited” – here’s what he had to say in full:

I’ve been a big fan of Barry Reese’s Lazarus Gray series. It’s been a long time since the last novel (the publisher has inexplicably delayed publishing Reese’s already-written Gray novels), and this one is not a straight Lazarus Gray novel, but it is a great one nonetheless. Reese has skipped ahead a few years in this one, placing the story in 1964 instead of the 1930s. Assistance Unlimited, Gray’s group of heroes, has expanded and moved out of Sovereign City, Reese’s setting for his fictional universe. We see more focus on Emily Grace (the daughter of Samantha Grace) and Ezekiel Gray (Lazarus’ son). While the focus is not on Lazarus Gray, all the elements of a classic Barry Reese novel are there: lots of action, a great “pulp” feel, plenty of occult references, and great characterization. Reese also did a great job of moving Assistance Unlimited into the future; it’s great to see something “pulpy” that’s not in the 1930. I would love to see an actual new Lazarus Gray novel soon (I know they are ready to go), but Broken Empire is a wonderful way to spend the time while waiting. Go get this one!

Thanks, Ray! I’m really glad that you enjoyed the book. When I originally came up with the idea for the novel, I thought it would be fun to see Assistance Unlimited grow into a SHIELD or UNCLE type of organization – and since we’d established that some of the old crew were becoming parents, it just seemed natural for those kids to lead the future version of Assistance Unlimited.

As for the release of the other Lazarus books, I’m hopeful that you’ll see volume 8 before too long. I’ve written books 8-12 and am currently working on number 13. I sympathize with your impatience – it’s been three years since volume 7 was released! Pro Se is a big company, though, and they sometimes have to put their focus where they think it’s best. Our time will come.

Thanks again, my friend!

The Black Terror (Reese Unlimited Version)

BLACK TERROR_col_smallerThe Black Terror is a character that dates all the way back to Exciting Comics # 9, published in January 1941 by Nedor Comics. His secret identity was pharmacist Bob Benton, who formulated a chemical he called “formic ethers”, which gave him various superpowers. He used these powers to fight crime with his sidekick, Tim Roland, together known as the “Terror Twins”. The character proved popular enough to survive until 1949 and his distinctive costume made for some truly memorable covers. After the Golden Age, the character eventually fell into the public domain – which led to a whole host of publishers reviving him for various projects. Over the years, he’s appeared in books published by AC, Eclipse, Wild Cat, Image, Moonstone and, of course, the Reese Unlimited imprint of Pro Se Press. I first wrote the character for Wild Cat back in 2008 as part of a book called Legends of the Golden Age and later used him in a couple of stories for The Peregrine. More recently, I’ve gone further back into his continuity to incorporate him into my Lazarus Gray stuff. Because his “later” appearances were written first there are a few discrepancies in how he’s portrayed.

In my universe, we first see The Black Terror in 1934 and learn that he’s the creation of a United States military operation overseen by General Arbogast and a scientist named Kenneth Butler. The Black Terror was, in fact, a plant-human hybrid — he had literally been grown in a tube. His memories (all the “facts” from the Golden Age comics) were implants designed to create a backstory that would make him a better soldier for the United States government — Jean Starr was there to give him a woman to fight to get back to and Tim gave him a sense of family. Neither actually existed, except in his own mind. When Bob found out the truth, he broke free and went rogue — but his programming was strong enough that he decided to continue fighting as The Black Terror. In 1936, this led him to Sovereign City in search of a man named Maxwell Schmidt. The German was running Omega Solutions. In conjunction with another product of the same government program that created The Black Terror — a man named McIness that was codenamed Titan – Schmidt hoped to transform himself into an entity dubbed Prometheus. In the end, Schmidt died for his hubris and The Black Terror was forced to kill Titan, the only other entity like him in the world. When all was said and done, The Black Terror used the technology that had created him to grow versions of Jean and Tim — he implanted similar memories into their minds and gave them life. All of this was recounted in “Making of a Hero” from Lazarus Gray Volume Two.

Continue reading → The Black Terror (Reese Unlimited Version)

Emily Grace

barry-reese-1Folks know that the Grace family have formed part of the heroic backbone of the Reese Unlimited Universe – we’ve seen Samantha Grace as part of Assistance Unlimited; Charity Grace has fought crime as Gravedigger; Eobard Grace has adventured on both Earth and The World of Shadows. There are others that have popped here and there, as well… and when I decided to tell a story set in the Sixties with Assistance Unlimited, I knew there would have to be at least one Grace on center stage. That turned out to be the daughter of the villainous Nemesis and our beloved Samantha.

The task of designing Emily fell to Chris Batista, a talented artist who not only delivered the covers to The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Five and Götterdämmerung  but he’s also done work on JLA, The Flashand Booster Gold. I’ve known Chris for awhile and trusted him to take my notes and come up with something special. And, boy, did he ever!

Broken Empire – Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age is available now!

barry reese 3 b

barry reese 2

Updates from Barry Land

aidra_foxWelcome back, folks. Things have been busy around here – on a personal level, my mom recently fell ill and she’s been forced to move in with me so that I can help assist her with daily living. Given that we were all afraid that she was going to pass away just a few weeks ago, we’re glad to have her around. Even so, it’s led to some disruption on the homefront. Oh, and there’s some sort of pandemic which has led to me teaching all my classes from home!

But I did manage to finish the Lilith novel and it’s been sent off to Pro Se. Speaking of Pro Se, I completed a short story for their St. Germain project and I’m hopeful that it will meet with approval.

Plus, Broken Empire: Assistance Unlimited – The Silver Age has been released! That novel is set in 1964 and features several brand new characters as well as some shocking updates on our beloved Assistance Unlimited heroes. It has a spiffy cover by Steven Novak and interior art by comics legend Chris Batista. Sean Ali and all the usual gang at Pro Se have made it a lovely book to behold so please check it out.

Next up from me on the writing front is adding to the mummy-inspired anthology I’m putting together. This one will have a cover by Mike Hoffman and I think you’ll all be just as blown away by the art as I was when I first saw it.

The Icons writeups I’ve been posting have proven to be very, very popular. In fact, they get far more hits than the ones based around my professional writings. I find that humorous but maybe one of the rpg fans that drift through here will get curious and buy one of my books. Why not, right?

 

Press Release: Broken Empire

broken_empireTHE LEGACY OF LAZARUS GRAY CONTINUES-

BROKEN EMPIRE-ASSISTANCE UNLIMITED: THE SILVER AGE Debuts

A Fallen Agent…A Faceless Legion…A Fearless Female Fury…It’s 1964. Do You know who your heroes are? Award winning author Barry Reese does and brings them to readers just in the nick of time in BROKEN EMPIRE-ASSISTANCE UNLIMITED: THE SILVER AGE, now available in print and digital formats from Reese Unlimited and Pro Se Productions.

Benjamin Falk thought his life and career were over. Still grappling with his greatest failure, Falk is thrust into the secretive world of Assistance Unlimited. Together they must face a bizarre foe with a deadly agenda that threatens the world! Barry Reese presents the next generation to carry on the legacy of Lazarus Gray in BROKEN EMPIRE-ASSISTANCE UNLIMITED: THE SILVER AGE. From Reese Unlimited and Pro Se Productions.

Featuring an atmospheric cover and logo design by Steven Novak, interior illustrations by Chris Batista,  and print formatting by Sean Ali, BROKEN EMPIRE-ASSISTANCE UNLIMITED: THE SILVER AGE is available in print at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B086Y5P9V3/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=broken+empire+assistance&qid=1586744063&sr=8-2 for $9.99.

This new chapter for Assistance Unlimited is also available as an eBook formatted by Antonino lo Iacono and Marzia Marina for the Kindle at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0871MP6DR/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=broken+empire+assistance&qid=1586744129&sr=8-1 for only $2.99. The book is also available to Kindle Unlimited members for free.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, email editorinchief@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.

Breezing Along

IMG_2282Good news all around – I’ve approved the galley edits on Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age so hopefully you’ll get to see this 1960s-era story soon. From what I’ve been told, the backlog of Lazarus Gray books will begin to roll out on a quarterly basis soon, too.

The novel I’m currently writing is flowing from my fingers onto the page like water. It’s been remarkably easy to write – I think this may be the best thing I’ve written in several years. It’s set in the modern day (though the opening is a few hundred years back) but is definitely set in the Reese Unlimited universe. In fact, it builds off an event shown in Lazarus Gray # 11 and includes a lengthy guest-appearance by a certain vigilante with a penchant for bird-inspired masks. I wonder who that could be…?

Stay tuned, folks. Exciting things await.

 

Nearing the promised land

kiernan_shipkaI’m moving closer and closer to the end point for the current novel and it’s at this stage that I’m always bursting at the seams to go ahead and type, “The End.” I’m anxious to think about what’s next and the thrill of the current WIP has simply evaporated. I’ve lived with it for too long.

I was hoping that Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age Volume One would be out by now… not sure what’s holding it up at Pro Se but I’m sure there’s a good excuse. I’m thinking I might step away from Lazarus Gray until they catch up on the backlog – soon, they’ll have volumes 8-12, plus the Lazarus/Nightveil crossover book.

I’ve begun watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and I’m really enjoying it. Same for My Hero Academia, which was introduced to me by my son. There’s so much great television out there! A lot of it really inspires me and I just wish I had the time to do all the stories that I have in my head. I know, it’s the writer’s lament…

Our post today is accompanied by an attitude-laced photo of Kiernan Shipka, the star of the Sabrina series.